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Welcome to our pages of Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Fall 2010, and oh so many more Book Suggestions. For our Home Page, Please visit MyJewishBooks.com
SOME FALL 2011 BOOK READINGS
August 17, 2011: Amy Waldman reads from her novel, The Submission Court Street Books in Cobble Hill Brooklyn
September 15, 2011: Raiding the Shelves of the Jewish Book Council.
6 PM through 8:30 PM. Jewish Book Council 520 Eighth Ave. (between 36th & 37th), 4th Fl. New York, NY. Bring your own tote bag. Limit of five free books at first, and then 10 when it gets late
September 18, 2011: Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn NY
September 18, 2011: 3:00 P.M. Recharging through Spirituality. Senator Joesph Lieberman and Reverend A.R. Bernard chat with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Brooklyn Book Festival
September 18, 2011: Wayne Hoffman reads from SWEET LIKE SUGAR. B&N Bethesda MD
September 18, 2011: Yitzhak Buxbaum (The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov) and Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin (By Divine Design The Kabbalah of Large, Small and M_ssing Letters in the Parshah) in conversation at Brooklyn Book Festival
September 19, 2011: Wayne Hoffman reads from SWEET LIKE SUGAR. B&N Rittenhouse Philadelphia PA
September 21, 2011: Iris Bahr reads from MACHU MY PICCHU, Book Soup, LA
September 23, 2011: Iris Bahr reads from MACHU MY PICCHU, B&N (West Pico Blvd) LA CA
September 24-25, 2011: Library of Congress Book Festival. Wash DC
September 26, 2011 :An Evening on the Israeli Economy wuth Zvi Eckstein and Joseph Zeira. Columbia University NYC 7PM
October 09, 2011: 50th anniversary of West Side Story and documentary film on the dancers. St Luke;s Theatre 46th Street NYC (Dancers Over 40)
October 16, 2011: Shalom Auslander reads at B&N, Sarasota FL
October 18, 2011: Expected release date of Gilad Shalit
October 22, 2011: Wayne Hoffman reads from SWEET LIKE SUGAR. B&N Pico Westwood LA
October 23 – Nov 02, 2011: Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival Washington DC JCC
October 23, 2011: Jay Michaelson, God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality Washington DC JCC
October 23, 2011: Gail Levin, Lee Krasner: A Biography. Washington DC JCC
October 23, 2011: 3rd Annual Beyond Bubbe Fundraiser and Cookoff. Joing a dozen top Boston chefs and Bubbe and Avrom Honig as they cook a Jweish recipe. WGBH Studios, Boston, MA
October 24, 2011: Dr. Eitan Fishbane reads from THE SABBATH SOUL. Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time. JTS Library, NYC
October 24, 2011: Justin Frank reads from OBAMA ON THE COUCH. B&N Pico Westwood LA
October 24 Opening Night of the Literary Festival - United by Faith, Divided by War: Jews and the Civil War Washington DC JCC
October 25, 2011: 100 Years of the Arab American Novel: Ameen Rihani’s The Book of Khalid and Arab Life in Lower Manhattan, 6 - 7:30 p.m. NY Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, NYC
October 26, 2011: Dr. Freema Gottlieb teaches 7 sessions on “Prague In Jewish Letters” and reviews Kafka, Roth, Maharal, Sebald, Appelfeld, Kundera and others. Skirball Center, NYC
October 26-27, 2011: Conference on the writing of Aharon Appelfeld. Contact 215-898-6654 also, Aharon Appelfeld speaks with Nili Gold, associate professor of modern Hebrew literature in Penn’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Room G17, Claudia Cohen Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA
October 26 Charles King, Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams Washington DC JCC
October 26, 2011: Amos Oz chats about his newest collection of stories. 92nd St Y, NYC
October 30, 2011: UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks discusses life and his latest book. 1PM 92nd St Y, NYC
October 30 Vicki Weber, It's Too Crowded in Here! Washington DC JCC
October 30 ?Panel - Glasnost’s Children Washington DC JCC
October 30, 2011: Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, reads from "Sharon: The Life of a Leader," Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St., at 6 PM, Miami in cooperation with Books & Books
October 31, 2011 - Alicia Oltuski, Precious Objects: A Story of Diamonds, Family, and a Way of Life Washington DC JCC
November 01, 2011: Ken Ballen reads from TERRORISTS IN LOVE. The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals. B&N Bethesda MD
November 02, 2011: Closing Night - Lucette Lagnado, The Arrogant Years Washington DC JCC
November 02, 2011: Michael Gross reads from UNREAL ESTATE. Money Ambition and Lust for Land in Los Angeles. B&N UES NYC
November 02, 2011: Mindy Kaling reads from Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). B&N UWS NYC
November 02, 2011: Former Israel Chief Rabbi Meir Lau and Rabbi Menachem Genack chat. 92nd St Y, NYC
November 02, 2011: Michael Gross reads from UNREAL ESTATE. Money Ambition and Lust for Land in Los Angeles. B&N UES NYC
November 03, 2011: NYC Dor Chadash presents author, Professor Yair Tauman, Dean, Arison School of Business, IDC Herzliya, and SUNY, on Israeli Biz and Game Theory. 6:30 PM NYC
November 06, 2011: From Madoff to Weiner. Is Sin a Growth Industry? Skirball Center Seminar, NYC
November 07, 2011: Gilbert Gotfried and Judy Gold chat about life, comedy, books, ducks and Japan. 92nd St Y, NYC
November 15, 2011: Umberto Eco reads from Prague Cemetery. B&N Union Sq NYC
November 23, 2011: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach reads from 10 Conversations You Need to Have with Yourself A Powerful Plan for Spiritual Growth and Self-Improvement. B&N 86th and Lex, NYC UES
December 04, 2011: Dr. Neil Gillman speaks on the Biblical Jacob, The Dubious Patriarch - Skirball Center Seminar, NYC
December 07, 2011: Arthur Magoda reads from Nazi Séance: The Strange Story of the Jewish Psychic in Hitler's Circle. B&N Baltimore Pikesville
December 07, 2011: Stephen Sondheim reads from his newest book, B&N, Union Square NYC 7PM (get there 2 hours before if u expect a seat)
January 18, 2012: Shalom Auslander reads from HOPE: A TRAGEDY. B&N UWS NYC
April 23, 2012: World Books Night and World Book Night US – Distribution of 30 free titles in the USA. Anna Quindlen is Honorary Chair in the US. One of the thirty titles is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
SEPTEMBER 2011 BOOKS
Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor
Hebrew/English with Comentary
by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi UK
Summer 2011, Koren Publisher Jerusalem
A spiritual guide rather than just a prayer book...With characteristically elegant and unambiguous translations that distinguish between poetry and prose and favor an intimate, contemporary style over the distant, archaizing language of some other prayer books, Jonathan Sacks helps clear up the abstruseness and remedy the potential dryness of the liturgy...The Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor will be a cherished and widely used prayer book for years to come. --thedailyrabbi.com
Rabbi Sacks' meticulous translation of the Rosh Hashanah prayer service illuminates the authentic meaning of the Hebrew texts, while his introduction and commentary provide innovative interpretations of the service. --The Jewish Tribune
The Koren Rosh HaShana Mahzor is a new prayer book with translation and commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. The Mahzor marries the insight and eloquence of Rabbi Sacks with the renowned graphic approach of Koren Publishers Jerusalem. An invaluable introduction guides you through the themes of the day. A brilliant commentary blends insights from Tanakh and classical sources with Rabbi Sacks' keen observations. An eloquent, contemporary translation makes the prayers accessible and meaningful. A sophisticated design brings out the power and poetry of the text. The Koren Sacks Rosh HaShana Mahzor enables you to enter the true spirit of Rosh HaShana and emerge into the new year renewed.
According to Israel Drazin of Boca Raton, a top 700 reviewer on Amazon, wrote,”Does this new Koren mahzor improve upon those that were previously published and give Jews a better understanding what they are reading? The answer is an emphatic "yes." Indeed this is one of the primary purposes of the new mahzor. It aids Jews in acquiring all of the above-mentioned benefits by its manner of presentation, its comprehensive introduction, its translations, and its commentaries. The following innovations of this new mahzor are a small sample of how it enhances its users' period of prayer and their understanding of Judaism... Both the Hebrew and English are generally written with poetic spacing that, unlike run-on sentences, prompts readers to think and consider the meaning of each phrase, as in the Yigdal ("Great") prayer on page 98:
Is the living God and praised.
He exists, and His existence is beyond time.
He is one, and there is no unity like His.
Unfathomable, His Oneness is infinite.
He has neither bodily form nor substance;
His holiness is beyond compare.”
Click the book cover to read more reviews
Milk and Honey
A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry
Julie R. Enszer
September 2011. Paperback
In this land of Milk & Honey, poems flow.
Contemporary, Jewish, lesbian poets address an array of experiences relationships between and among women, family relationships, politics, solitude, ethical responsibilities, history, solidarity, and community.
Milk & Honey features poets like Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Elana Dykewomon, Marilyn Hacker, Sharron Hass, Eleanor Lerman, Joan Nestle, Leslea Newman and Ellen Orleans, as well as new and emerging voices. With language and imagery that moves from the sensual and political to the tender and serene, Milk & Honey explores the vibrant, complicated, exhilarating experience of being Jewish and lesbian (or queer) in the world today.
By Ned Beauman
September 2011. Bloomsbury USA
Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason-a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history. First, there's Philip Erskine, a fascist gentleman entomologist who dreams of breeding an indomitable beetle as tribute to Reich Chancellor Hitler's glory, all the while aspiring to arguably more sinister projects in human eugenics. And then there's Seth "Sinner" Roach, a homosexual Jewish boxer, nine-toed, runtish, brutish-but perfect in his way-who becomes an object of obsession for Erskine, professionally and most decidedly otherwise. What became of the boxer? What became of the beetle? And what will become of anyone who dares to unearth the answers?
Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her Daughter
By Elisabeth Gille (1937-1996)
Translated by Marina Harss
September 2011. NY Review Books
When Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française was first published, the world discovered a new great writer. Even in France, however, Némirovsky had been more or less forgotten for years, until her youngest daughter Élisabeth Gille, only five years old when her mother died in Auschwitz, wrote a book to bring her back to life. In 1992 Gille published this fictionalized autobiography of her mother, who had led a sparkling life in Paris as one of the most successful and prolific European 1930s writers before being arrested as a Jew and led to her death in 1942.
In the first section of the book, Irène looks back from 1929, the year of her first triumph with David Golder, to her privileged upbringing in Kiev and Saint Petersburg, the precocious only child of a warm, generous father and a vicious, preening, and distant mother. The family escapes Revolutionary Russia to arrive in France, a country of “moderation, freedom, and generosity” that Irène will embrace as her own. In the book’s second half, the writer, her husband and two children have fled Paris for a small town in Burgundy, where they must wear the yellow Star of David, come to some accommodation with the occupying German troops, and plead in vain with Irène’s illustrious fair-weather champions to intercede on the family’s behalf. She now sees her earlier self as vain and credulous, blinded by her success to the horribly changing political situation, but it is too late. As fully and deeply imagined as Irène Némirovsky’s novels, Gille’s mémoires rêvées will also prove indispensable to devotees of the nearly forgotten author for the new light it sheds on her.
WHAT YOU WISH FOR
A Book for Darfur
With stories from Book Wish Foundation
Alexander McCall Smith, Francisco Stork, Naomi Shihab Nye
Sofia Quintero, John Green, Jeanne DuPrau
Joyce Carol Oates, Nikki Giovanni, Karen Hesse,
Cornelia Funke, R.L. Stine, Mia Farrow, and MORE
September 2011. Young Adult, 288 Pages
A stellar collection from Newbery medalists and bestselling authors written to benefit Darfuri refugees. With contributions from some of the best talent writing for children today, What You Wish For is a compelling collection of affecting, inspiring, creepy, and oft-times funny short stories and poems all linked by the universal power of a wish - the abstract things we all wish for - home, family, safety and lovel. From the exchange of letters between two girls who have never met but are both struggling with the unexpected curves of life, to the stunning sacrifice one dying girl makes for another, to the mermaid who trades her tail for legs, to the boy who unwittingly steals an imp's house, and to the chilling retelling of Cinderella, What You Wish For brings together a potent international roster of authors of note to remember and celebrate the Darfuri refugees and their incredible story of survival and hope.
NOW IN PAPERBACK.
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD
When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone
The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry
September 2011. Paperback version Mariner
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.
Annotated and Explained
By Rabbi Rami Shapiro (
September 2011 Jewish Lights
More than commonplace truisms, the Book of Proverbs is an anthology of teachings designed to help you live with a sense of self-responsibility. Its wisdom, compiled in the seventh century BCE and credited to King Solomon, transcends nationality and politics, addressing instead the individual seeking the true satisfaction and tranquility that comes from living with an honest perception of reality.
In this fresh translation of an ancient "how-to," Rami Shapiro unpacks the proverbs, demonstrating how these complex poetic forms are actually straightforward instructions to live simply, without rationalizations and excuses. He shows how unlike almost anything else in the Hebrew Bible, the truths claimed in the Book of Proverbs are testable and verifiable. They force us to examine our lives and how we are living them without the benefit of psychological sophistry and New Age babble: We are either doing good or doing bad; we are either disciplined or lazy; we are either students of wisdom or puppets of desire.
Now you can experience the Book of Proverbs and understand Solomon's teachings with no previous knowledge of the Hebrew Bible. This SkyLight Illuminations edition presents insightful commentary that shares the ancient king's timeless principles and encourages us to put them into practice in ways that are uniquely our own.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice; The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained; and Ecclesiastes: Annotated & Explained
THROUGH SOVIET JEWISH EYES
Photography, War, and the Holocaust
By David Shneer
Rutgers University Press
Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust. These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau. In this passionate work, David Shneer tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-he has amassed never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives. Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.
Believing Is Seeing
Observations on the Mysteries of Photography
By Errol Morris
September 2011. Penguin
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris investigates the hidden truths behind a series of documentary photographs.
Morris, one of America’s greatest documentary filmmakers has had challenged eyesight since childhood.
In Believing is Seeing, he turns his eye(s) to the nature of truth in photography. In his inimitable style, Morris untangles the mysteries behind an eclectic range of documentary photographs, from the ambrotype of three children found clasped in the hands of an unknown soldier at Gettysburg to the indelible portraits of the WPA photography project.
Like someone studying Talmud, each essay in the book presents the reader with a conundrum, and then investigates the relationship between photographs and the real world they supposedly record.
During the Crimean War, Roger Fenton took two nearly identical photographs of the Valley of the Shadow of Death-one of a road covered with cannonballs, the other of the same road without cannonballs. Susan Sontag later claimed that Fenton posed the first photograph, prompting Morris to return to Crimea to investigate. Can we recover the truth behind Fenton's intentions in a photograph taken 150 years ago?
In the midst of the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts on record, FDR's Farm Service Administration sent several photographers, including Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans, to document rural poverty. When Rothstein was discovered to have moved the cow skull in his now-iconic photograph, fiscal conservatives-furious over taxpayer money funding an artistic project-claimed the photographs were liberal propaganda. What is the difference between journalistic evidence, fine art, and staged propaganda?
During the Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006, no fewer than four different photojournalists took photographs in Beirut of toys lying in the rubble of bombings, provoking accusations of posing and anti-Israeli bias at the news organizations. Why were there so many similar photographs? And were the accusers objecting to the photos themselves or to the conclusions readers drew from them?
With his keen sense of irony, skepticism, and humor, Morris reveals in these and many other investigations how photographs can obscure as much as they reveal and how what we see is often determined by our beliefs. Part detective story, part philosophical meditation, Believing Is Seeing is a highly original exploration of photography and perception from one of America's most provocative observers.
Errol Morris directed The Fog of War; Standard Operating Procedure; Mr. Death; Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control; A Brief History of Time; and The Thin Blue Line.
Jewish Vernacular and the New Land
Edited by Paul Buhle and the estate of Harvey Pekar
with David Lasky, too
September 2011. Abrams (ComicArts division)
Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like nosh, schlep, and schmutz all the time, but how did these words come to pepper American English? In Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from medieval Europe to the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. This comics anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists such as Barry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. Through illustrations, comics art, and a full-length play, four major themes are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and the revival of the language. The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar, this book is a thoughtful compilation that reveals the far-reaching influences of Yiddish.
Bruce Jay Friedman
September 2011. Biblioasis
For decades Bruce Jay Friedman has charmed the glitziest industries of American golden-age culture. He’s been in publishing. He’s been in theater. He’s been in film. And now, this best-selling author is in his own head, re-illuminating the dazzle of post-war American life. With cameos by Mario Puzo, Richard Pryor, Warren Beatty, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, and many others, Lucky Bruce is a moving and scandalous memoir that brushes against the brightest of American luminaries. Friedman published his first novel Stern in 1962 and established himself as a writer and playwright, most famously known for his off-Broadway hit Steambath (1973) (TV) and his 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. In addition to short stories and plays, Friedman has also published another seven novels, and has written numerous screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated Splash (1984).
THE BIG DREAM
By Rebecca Rosenblub
September 2011. Biblioasis
At Dream Inc., a lifestyle magazine publisher, people are struggling not only to do their jobs—or even to keep them—but to fall in love and stay that way, to have friends, to be good parents and good children, to eat lunch and answer the phone and be happy. Which can be pretty interesting . . . even on company time. In The Big Dream, acclaimed short story writer Rebecca Rosenblum offers a suite of linked stories exploring the working world in all its dark and humorous complexity, creating an In Our Time for our time. Rebecca Rosenblum's debut collection Once drew comparison to Alice Munro's Dance of the Happy Shades" (Quill & Quire). She works in publishing in Toronto, Ontario.
WHAT THEY SAVED
Pieces of a Jewish Past
BY NANCY K. MILLER
September 2011. University of NEBRASKA Press
After her father’s death, Nancy K. Miller discovered a minuscule family archive: a handful of photographs, an unexplained land deed, a postcard from Argentina, unidentified locks of hair. These items had been passed down again and again, but what did they mean? Miller follows their traces from one distant relative to another, across the country, and across an ocean. Her story, unlike the many family memoirs focused on the Holocaust, takes us back earlier in history to the world of pogroms and mass emigrations at the turn of the twentieth century. Searching for roots as a middle-aged orphan and an assimilated Jewish New Yorker, Miller finds herself asking unexpected questions: Why do I know so little about my family? How can I understand myself when I don’t know my past? The answers lead her to a carpenter in the Ukraine, a stationery peddler on the Lower East Side, and a gangster hanger-on in the Bronx. As a third-generation descendant of Eastern European Jews, Miller learns that the hidden lives of her ancestors reveal as much about the present as they do about the past. In the end, an odyssey to uncover the origins of her lost family becomes a memoir of renewal.
Click the cover to read more or to purchase the book on Amazon
The Sabbath Soul
Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time
By Eitan Fishbane Ph.d
September 2011 Jewish Lights
Explore the spiritual texture of Shabbat and its meaning for our lives today through the writings of mystical masters from the history of Hasidism. Drawing from the origins of the movement in late eighteenth-century Poland to late twentieth-century Jerusalem, Eitan Fishbane evokes the movement of the Sabbath experience--advancing from candle lighting and the donning of white clothing to the Friday night Kiddush and the act of sacred eating. Fishbane also translates and interprets sources that reflect the spiritual transformation that takes place for the mystic on the seventh day--one in which the person undergoes a radical shift in awareness, a journey into the realm that is all soul.
Fishbane offers original translations from a wide landscape of Hebrew Hasidic sources and extended commentary to help you enrich your experience of the Sabbath. He also includes passages from the personal prayers of the Breslov (Bratzlav) Hasidic tradition, special writings that express the spiritual dimension of Shabbat in the language of devotional and individual yearning.
Eitan Fishbane, PhD, a frequent scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America, is assistant professor of Jewish thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary; author of As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist; and co-editor of Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections
What's the Buzz?
Honey for a Sweet New Year
By Allison Ofanansky
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Visit a bee farm and follow the bees as they carry kisses from flower to flower and return to their hives with their tummies full of nectar. Along the way, the honey is processed and used for apple dipping on Rosh Hashanah. Allison lives in Kaditah Israel near Safed.
Note. Young children who fear bees might be put off by the pictures of smarmy sweaty swarming bees
JOSEPH AND THE SABBATH FISH
BY ERIC A.KIMMEL and MARTINA PELUSA
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Joseph always welcomes guests to his Sabbath table. His neighbor scoffs at this. Even as Joseph gets poorer, he remains generous, his door remains open. And then his neighbors comes for help. Can a special fish help Joseph save the day? .
BY MICHAEL ROSEN
September 2011. Candlewick Press
A master of POP UP books releases this one for Chanukkah
Open this beautiful gift book and follow the Festival of Lights through place and time — from Herod’s temple to a shtetl in Russia; from a refugee ship bound for the New World to an Israeli kibbutz. Inspired by Michael J. Rosen’s reverent poem, Robert Sabuda’s striking pop-ups depict each night’s menorah in a different scene, using imagery such as desert tents, pushcart lanterns, olive trees, and a final panorama of skyscrapers. Sure to be a treasured family heirloom, this stunning collaboration showcases the spirit and resilience of a people in search of home. Rosen resides in Ohio.
Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
By Deborah Bodin Cohen and Shahar Kober
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Hurrying home to celebrate Hanukkah, Engineer Ari screeches his train to a halt to avoid hitting a camel sitting on the tracks. Ari gets invited to a Bedouin tent where Ari and his host have an unplanned Hanukkah celebration, and become friends as they wait for help.
The Story of Hanukkah
By Tilda Balsley and David Harrington
Ages 7 – 8
Midwest Book Review writes, “"Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah" is an illustrated child's story of the events that led to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, told in jaunty verse. Simon's son Judah, nicknamed "Maccabee" because he organized Jewish resistance to religious intolerance, was like a hammer of God to the Jews fighting against King Antiochus and his enforced oppressions. Although Jerusalem suffered great damage during this war, Judah was determined that the Jews would clean up the desecrated temple and restore a holy set of lights called a menorah. Although the Jews were certain they did not have enough oil to keep the menorah lit, they used what oil they had in faith and hope. The miracle occurred over eight days of light, while the menorah kept burning long past the time they thought it would. Although this all happened very long ago, but the message remains for today: "Sometimes it only takes a few, Who know what's right, and do it too." "Maccabee!" is the perfect Hanukkah gift for children age 5 and up.”
The Hanukkah Hop!
By Erica Silverman and Steven D'Amico
September 2011. Simon and Schuster
Ages 4 – 8
Rachel’s twirling streamers
Daddy blows up blue balloons
Mommy sizzles latkes as she hums a Hanukkah tune.
It’s Hanukkah! This is a time to celebrate family and enjoy festive traditions. As Rachel and her parents prepare the house, grandparents, cousins, and friends travel from near and far to sing and tell stories. Together they will light candles, play games, and eat scrumptious potato latkes. And, of course, they’ll dance the Hanukkah Hop. The stamping, the hopping, and the bim-bim-bopping might just go on all night!
Erica Silverman’s lively, joyous text and Steven D’Amico’s delightfully vibrant illustrations are a perfect introduction to the holiday—and will inspire every member of the family as they celebrate the Festival of Lights!
The Princess of Borscht
By Leda Schubert and Bonnie Christensen
2011. Roaring Brook Press
Ruthie goes to visit her grandmother in the hospital. Grandma has pneumonia, but Ruthie kisses her anyway. Grandma doesn't feel well: she is hungry, she is irritable, and she is kvetching. Flowers are atop the drawers, as are get well soon cards from Molly, Sonia, Emily, Susan and more. Grandma requests some homemade borscht by 5 P.M. (if she is still alive), but falls to sleep before telling Ruthie the secret recipe. Ruthie and her father go to Grandma's apartment; it is 1:30 PM, dad falls to sleep and Ruthie is left alone to search for a secret recipe and figure out how to make the borscht. Fortunately, Mrs. Sonia Lerman resides across the hall and has beets. She is an Empress of Borscht and can help with the recipe. An hour later, Mrs. Susan Rosen, wearing earrings and a necklace of pearls, pops in from the hallway. She is, fortunately, the First Lady of Borscht and lends her advice. Molly Goldberg, a Tsarina of Borscht, offers her support 30 minutes later (readers can check the illustrated clock in the background). Too many bickering leaders can spoil the broth, perhaps, and 30 minutes later, Ruthie makes her own improvisations with the ingredients. It is a quarter past four by the time she and her father transfer the borscht to a thermos and see Mr. Lee, the green grocer, who sells sour cream, and beets (for $2.49 a pound, they better be organic at that price). Luckily, Ruthie and dad arrive at the hospital in time for dinner and Grandma loves the potion, lauds Ruthie for figuring out the secret, and end the evening with a comic zinger. A fun tale in the midst of illness, a tale of family, friends, and creativity, with lots of background illustrations that can be explored (like the cards, clock, furnishings, and attire.
I Will Come Back for You
A Family in Hiding During World War II
By Marisabina Russo
2011. Schwartz and Wade
What was it like to grow up Jewish in Italy during World War II? Sit with a little girl as her grandmother tells the story of her childhood in Rome, of being separated from her father, and of going into hiding in the mountains. One by one she goes through the memories of her bracelet. The Silvestri Brothers, righteous people, hide the family. Based on the experiences of the author's own family, this deeply moving book set during the Holocaust deals with a difficult subject in a way that is accessible and appropriate for young readers. I Will Come Back for You is an incredible story of bravery and kindness in the face of danger.
Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles
By Tami Lehman-Wilzig, Nicole Katzman, and Jeremy Tugeau
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 4 – 8
Jacob loves loves his brother, Nathan. His brother has autism. Jacob worries that Nathan is going to embarrass him at Hanukkah in front his Jacob;s new friend. But what happens when Nathan blows OUT the Hanukkah candles as if they are brithday candles?
GREEN BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN
By Tami Lehman-Wilzig
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 8 - 11
Beginning with the story of creation, the Bible teaches to respect the land and the environment, conserve, and save energy. Here are the stories of Noah, Abraham, Joshua and others retold from a green perspective.
Includes activities that will help young readers understand how to nurture and protect the environment.
Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast
for Sukkot & Simchat Torah
By Jamie S. Korngold
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 2 - 6
Rabbi Korngold is a rabbi and the founder and executive director of the Adventure Rabbi Program, based in Boulder, Colorado. She is nationally recognized for her innovative work combining religion and nature, as well as for her cutting-edge use of technology. Rabbi Korngold is an athlete and a scholar. She completed the Leadville Trail 100, a hundred-mile running race, in less than thirty hours and was ranked fourth in the nation for telemark mogul skiing.
Waking up early in the morning on Sukkot, Sadie or Ori decide to serve breakfast in the Sukkah hut. The table is set. The food is ready. But a sukkah needs guests. No one else is awake. So who should they invite?
TALIA AND THE RUDE VEGETABLES
BY LINDA ELOVITZ MARSHALL and FRANCESCA ASSIRELLI
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8 PreK – Grade 2
How can a vagetable be rude? Talia wonders, when she incorrectly hears her grandmother asking her to gather ROOT VEGETABLES for a Rosh Hashanah stew. As Talia digs in the garden, she collects the twisted ones that look angry and rude: carrots and parsnips. These must be the RUDE ones. Linda, a Barnard alum, has four children and a flock of sheep and many bunny rabbits in upstate NY
THE SHABBAT PRINCESS
BY AMY MELTZER AND MARTHA AVILES
September 2011. Kar Ben
Ages 3 – 8 PreK – Grade 2
Rosie likes queens
But she loves princesses
She asks her parents to invite the Sabbath queen, or Shabbat princess, to their dinner table one Friday night. As the family preps for Shabbat, they are reminded how beauty gets added to their Shabbat mitzvot. Meltzer blogs on HomeShuling on Beliefnet.org
Maybe he is Jewish??
Domo in the World
A Board Book
By Kate T. Williamson and Iain Browne
September 2011. Abrams
He looks like a meat loaf with legs
Domo is the funny, square-ish, brown creature that began life as a mascot for a Japanese TV network, but who has blown up into a beloved international phenomenon. His fuzzy, grinning mug has appeared everywhere from plush toys to figurines, T-shirts to key-chains, as well as on more than one million fansites and on his official Facebook page, where he has made over 230,000 friends. But Domo has never had his own book . . . until now. Featuring original photography and haiku, Domo in the World shows our plush hero making his way through the world, whether flying a kite (or is the kite flying him?), wooing a pillow that looks suspiciously familiar, or eating anything in sight. At last, there’s a witty and quirky love letter to the inimitable little guy who’s dug by fans of all ages around the globe..
THE ARROGANT YEARS
One Girl's Search for Her Lost Youth,
from Cairo to Brooklyn
By Lucette Lagnado
Lucette Lagnado is the author of THE MAN IN THE WHITE SHARKSKIN SUIT and the coauthor of Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz.
In The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado offered a heartbreaking portrait of her father, Leon, a successful Cairo boulevardier who was forced to take flight with his family during the rise of the Nasser dictatorship, and of her family’s struggle to rebuild a new life in a new land.
In this much-anticipated new memoir, Lagnado tells the story of her mother, Edith, coming of age in a magical old Cairo of dusty alleyways and grand villas inhabited by pashas and their wives. Then Lagnado revisits her own early years in America—first, as a schoolgirl in Brooklyn’s immigrant enclaves, where she dreams of becoming the fearless Mrs. Emma Peel of The Avengers, and later, as an “avenging” reporter for some of America’s most prestigious newspapers. A stranger growing up in a strange land, when she turns sixteen Lagnado’s adolescence is further complicated by cancer. Its devastating consequences would rob her of her “arrogant years”—the years defined by an overwhelming sense of possibility, invincibility, and confidence. Lagnado looks to the women sequestered behind the wooden screen at her childhood synagogue, to the young coeds at Vassar and Columbia in the 1970s, to her own mother and the women of their past in Cairo, and reflects on their stories as she struggles to make sense of her own choices.
By Jane Lynch, Foreword by Carol Burnett
September 13, 2011 Hyperion
Not Jewish, but an interesting read
Lynch is famous for her work with ensemble comedies, Christopher Guest films (Best in Show) Second City Chicago, a recent marriage to a female physician/scientist, and GLEE. On GLEE she plays Sue Sylvester, the cheer-leading coach. The title is from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (where Malvolio thinks a fake love letter is for him) But the title, HAPPY ACCIDENTS, is ironic, since Lynch, an Irish Catholic from Dalton, IL, though a follower of horoscopes and rules, does not believe in accidents. She believes in preparation. As a teen, she wrote letters to casting agents in Hollywood. She wanted a role on the BRADY BUNCH. She got devastating rejections (one replied that we don't always get what we desire). After deciding to be an actress, she arrived in Chicago and sent out resumes for acting positions. (Did I mention that she dropped out of her first high school acting role during her Freshman year) The only role she got was with Second City, an improv group. Something she never desired, but ended up thriving at. She ran into Christopher Guest at a coffee shop, and landed roles in his films from that chance meeting. She scored a role in Steve Carell's films through Steve's wife. She was only supposed to be a recurring role on GLEE since she was committed to another pilot; but when that pilot failed, she joined GLEE to great success. She has been sober 20 years, and now has a wife (NYT wedding announcement) and parents her partner's child. Carol Burnett wrote the foreword.
MAIN IDEA: Find out what you do best, and do your best at it
Love and Capital
Karl and Jenny Marx
and the Birth of a Revolution
By Mary Gabriel
September 2011 Little Brown
I was frightened by this book.... 768 pages.
But after 5 pages, I was hooked.
It flows so well and is very interesting. Brilliantly researched and wonderfully written, LOVE AND CAPITAL is a heartbreaking and dramatic saga of the family side of the man whose works would redefine the world after his death. Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny (Jenny Von Westphalen) (Pressburg) Marx's marriage. We follow them as Karl Marx leaves Trier as a teen for college (he was the hope of the family; his father Herschel has converted from Judaism to help his law practice), and as Karl has a drunken inebriated Freshman year at school. We follow Karl as he secretly gets engaged to Jenny (a Romantic who marries several stations below her economic and social standing), and we follow their roaming around Europe. They run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and the reader sees Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal. We also see Karl as immature, reckless, and selfish. We see him have an affair with a maid and father a child with her. Only three daughters survive, and two of them, avowed Atheists and dreamers commit suicide. We follow an egalitarian unmarried noble Engels as he funds the family and their mission
In LOVE AND CAPITAL, Mary Gabriel has given us a vivid, resplendent, and truly human portrait of the Marx family members - their desires, heartbreak and devotion to each other's ideals.
By Yael Hedaya
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
September 2011 Picador
I was attracted to this novel since Hedaya teaches writing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and she Yael Hedaya is the head writer for “In Treatment,” the acclaimed Israeli TV series that was rewritten in English and adapted for HBO.
Eden is not the paradise it appears to be. It is a stifling rural Israeli community in which upscale urban escapees Alona and Mark try to salvage their relationship under the resentful scrutiny of Roni, Mark’s adolescent daughter, who feels empowered by her sexual adventures with older men. The neighbors, Dafna and Eli, are in crisis, too, their marriage rent by the torment of infertility. Set against a backdrop of Middle East fears, family entanglements, disappearing countryside, and disappointed expectations, Yael Hedaya’s Eden brilliantly renders the strains of unrest in what, on the surface, seems an idyllic place.
Booklist writes, “Hedaya presents the stark realities of middle age against the background of the harsh Israeli countryside. The book is geographically focused on the city of Eden, a rural Israeli town that is the home of several families whose lives become intertwined throughout the course of the novel. Mark and Alona, a separated couple with two young children, find that living apart brings them closer together even though their musings on relationships are often morose and dark. Mark’s teenage daughter, Roni, neglected and lonely, finds an outlet for her emotions and energy through poetry and torrid love affairs with older men. One of those men is Eli, a lawyer whose wife, Dafna, has focused all of her energy into getting pregnant, a task that she has failed to accomplish for seven years. The plot takes a backseat to the pensive and intimate ramblings of each of these characters as the novel progresses. Hedaya does an excellent job of presenting the struggles, joys, and intimate moments of middle life through this austere, beautifully crafted, and many-voiced novel.”
You can read an excerpt by clicking on the book cover.
SIDE BY SIDE
PARALLEL HISTORIES OF ISRAEL-PALESTINE
BY SAMI ADWAN, DAN BAR-ON, EYAL NAVEH, AND P.R.I.M.E.
September 20, 2011 New Press
In 2000, a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered to address what to many people seemed an unbridgeable gulf between the two societies. Struck by how different the standard Israeli and Palestinian textbook histories of the same events were from one another, they began to explore how to “disarm” the teaching of the history of the Middle East in Israeli and Palestinian classrooms. The result is a riveting “dual narrative” of Israeli and Palestinian history. Side by Side comprises the history of two peoples, in separate narratives set literally side-by-side, so that readers can track each against the other, noting both where they differ as well as where they correspond. The unique and fascinating presentation has been translated into English and is now available to American audiences for the first time. An eye-opening—and inspiring—new approach to thinking about one of the world’s most deeply entrenched conflicts, Side by Side is a breakthrough book that will spark a new public discussion about the bridge to peace in the Middle East.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
By Stuart Nadler
September 2011 Reagan
Stuart Nadler’s In the Book of Life follows Abe as he finds himself attracted to the daughter of his best friend, and business partner. Abe had seen little of the girl—woman now—over the years. When young, she’d been awkward, bucktoothed, clad in orthodontics from the day after her bat mitzvah until the day she graduated high school. Abe was glad to see she’d changed. Yet, he was not the sort of man to cheat on his wife. This was something he knew, unquestionably, deep in his heart. And if he ever was to turn into one of these men, he would not do it with the daughter of his best friend. A literary suspense tale of longing and manipulation, with plot twists worthy of O’Henry. Stuart Nadler is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop..
N O W I N P A P E R B A C K
A SECRET KEPT
BY TATIANA DE ROSNAY
Paperback release in September 2011, Griffin
From Booklist: Frenchman Antoine Rey wants to do something special for his sister Melanie on her fortieth birthday, so he surprises her with a weekend trip to Noirmoutier Island, where the two spent many idyllic childhood summers until their mother’s untimely death. While the weekend itself goes well, on the drive back home to Paris, Melanie is overpowered by a memory of her mother and drives off the road. She suffers extensive injuries, and as she heals in the hospital, Antoine obsesses over just what it was that his sister recalled. He is determined to find answers, but where and how? There are few surviving family members, and those remaining resist his unsettling queries. Meanwhile, distractions abound, as Antoine takes up with the sexy hospital mortician (who wears black and drives a Harley-Davidson, ooh la la). He and his ex-wife must also deal with their badly behaving son, who’s recently landed in jail. Internationally best-selling French novelist de Rosnay renders swift, lucid prose and steady suspense (even though one of the novel’s big secrets is revealed mid-tale). Expect demand among fans of both literary mystery and high-end romance
Feed Me Bubbe
Recipes and Wisdom from America's Favorite Online Grandmother
Bubbe and Avrom Honig
September 2011 Running Press
Feed Me Bubbe is all about taking you into Bubbe's kitchen. Based upon the popular online and televised kosher cooking show seen all over the world this book includes all of Bubbe's classic recipes, insights, and stories that are sure to touch the heart. Her voice and wisdom come across each page through a format that makes cooking fun and comfortable for any skill level. Discover Bubbe's favorite Yiddish songs and create menus that will be sure to please any palate. This is a must purchase for any fan of Feed Me Bubbe and anyone interested in experiencing the feelings, memories, and tastes of being a part of Bubbe's kitchen. So pull up a chair, sit down, have some chicken soup, and as Bubbe says at the end of every episode "Ess gezunterhait!" Eat in good health.
Picture sitting around the dining room table while your Bubbe, your grandmother, is in the kitchen cooking your absolute favorite treat. Be it the smell of chicken soup with matzo balls, the sounds of the sizzling oil as latkes are being prepared.
And the smile on her face as she would bring in that meal to the table for all to enjoy. Those memories, feelings, and moments are what the highlights of our childhood was made of. Bubbe wants you to feel that connection, revealing only need to know information, making you feel like Bubbe is adopting you into her family. This is not your typical book, yes it includes recipes but this book has a "Yiddish Word of the Day", stories, words of encouragement amongst other surprises that makes any human soul want to know more. We worked very hard to get the results that we knew the fans expected to see at the end of the day. In addition we wanted to make this book accessible to those that may not have seen the show online or on TV through JLTV in which the book is based upon. If you have not seen the show for yourself take a closer look at Bubbe's incredible world up close and personal through this book in what our fans affectionately know of as Feed Me Bubbe.
Above is the official blurb. Now, for mine. Avrom Honig is a nice Jewish grandson. A college graduate, he gives great nachas to his Worcester family. He wanted to get involved in the media business after college, and was trying to make a tape/dvd/reel to show his work to prospective employers. He wasn’t happy with his sample dvd, and his father, in a fit of angst, said, why don’t you video your bubbe. And that is how his octogenarian bubbe became a media star, and part of a PBS Frontline documentary. He taped her making homey meals and giving advice, and these became an online sensation, a cable TV show, annual Beyond Bubbe Cook-off at WGBH in Boston, and, now, a cookbook
The cookbook is filled with stories, recipes, and cooking advice. There are memories of growing up in New England, marrying, and raising a family. The recipes are kosher, basic, easy, and heimisch. Each page has a Yiddish word of the day. There are recipes for latkas, blintzes, bulkelach (cinnamon rolls), chopped chicken livers, mock faux chopped liver, chopped eggs and onions (she uses olive oil), salmon puffs, chopped herring, Israeli style herring (tomato paste and apples), and pickled salmon. There is a story about a neighbor’s first taste of nova lox, the Catskills, a Boston area snowstorm and its food requirements, balancing work (she worked) and family and a daily hot meal for her growing family. Oh, there is the story of a crock pot and a frankfurter sliced lengthwise. Then there are more recipes, such as ones for pickles, black radish salad, homemade horseradish (with a story), and lime laced fruit salad. Naturally there is a recipe for chicken soup, and a gogol mogol drink that can cure you. There is fish chowder (cuz she is in New England), yellow pea soup with frankfurters (or hot dogs), meatball stew, lots of soups, bubbe’s burgers, and lettuce and tomato and onion on toasted bread. There are old family pics from the album. These are the foods your bubbe would make for you. There is baked fish cakes, sole stuffed with salmon, roasted chicken, mock gefilte fish (made of… chicken!), turkey eggrolls, turkey cacciatore (which she once flew with on a jet to California to feed at least ten relatives, because that is what bubbes do). Her brisket is to LIVE for, as is her beef or vegetarian tzimis, pitcha, cholent, pepper steak, pot roast, spaghetti and meatballs, corned beef, beef tongue, as well as kugels and desserts.
How Judaism Became a Religion
An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought
BY Leora Batnitzky
September 2011 Princeton University Press
Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea.
Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America.
More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.
The Challenges, Rewards, and Paths to Conversion
By Rabbi Steven Reuben and Jennifer Hanin
With a foreword by one of America’s most obscene and funny comics, Bob Saget
September 2011 Rowman and Littlefield
Becoming Jewish is an inclusive, step-by-step guide to converting to Judaism. Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben and Jennifer S. Hanin, a convert to the faith, lead readers through every step of the process, from understanding and selecting the best-fitting denomination to celebrating holidays to talking with family and friends who may not be supportive. Throughout, the authors infuse a focus on developing a healthy spiritual life, while helping readers understand what it means to be Jewish, absorb Jewish teachings, and live a Jewish life.
Steven Carr Reuben is Senior Rabbi of the 60 year old, 1000 family membership units strong, Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in California (3 rabbis, 1 cantor, no waiting). He lives in Pacific Palisades, CA. Jennifer S. Hanin is a freelance writer.
A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles
By Gabrielle Bernstein
September 2011 Harmony
GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN has been labeled by the New York Times as the next-generation guru. A motivational speaker, life coach, former druggie, and author, she is expanding the lexicon for the seekers of today and tomorrow. She gives talks and leads seminars throughout the country. She is on the Forbes list of the 20 Best Branded Women and is the author of Add More ~ing to Your Life. In this book, she guides readers through lessons she has learned. She wants readers to overcome fears, find tools to have peace and joy in your life, and teaches readers how to maintain happiness and share it with the world.
Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France
By Jean-Vincent Blanchard (Swarthmore)
September 2011 Walker Books
Chief Minister to King Louis XIII (the father of the Sun King, Louie the 14th), Cardinal Richelieu was the architect of a new France in the 17th century, and the force behind the nation's rise as a European power. One of the first statesmen to clearly understand the necessity of a balance of powers, he was one of the early realist politicians, practicing in the wake of Niccolo Machiavelli. (A notable advocate of realpolitik in our own time, Henry Kissinger, credits Richelieu with introducing a modern approach to international relations).
Forging a nation-state amidst the swirl of unruly, grasping nobles, widespread corruption, wars of religion, and an ambitious Habsburg empire, Richelieu's hands were full. Serving his king, however, and mastering the politics of absolute power provided Richelieu with his greatest challenge and ultimately determined his legacy to France and to all those who practice statecraft.
Jean-Vincent Blanchard's rich and insightful new biography brings Richelieu fully to life, at court, on the battlefield, at times cruel and ruthless, always devoted to creating a lasting central authority vested in the power of monarchy, a power essential to the hegemony of France on the European stage for the next two centuries. Especially interesting to contemporary readers will be Richelieu's careful understanding of politics as spectacle; much of what he accomplished was promoted strategically through the arts, through a "style," or romance of power. Richelieu's story offers us a keener understanding of the dark arts of politics.
And what I like about the book is that the author points out that after Richelieu's death, so many things fell apart and it took years for a war to end, that maybe Richelieu was not as great as everyone makes him out to be. By the way, under Richelieu, Jews were given added powers since they helped finance the Thirty Years War, etc.
OF GUNS, REVENGE, AND HOPE
BY DAVID LAWRENCE YOUNG
September 2011 GEFEN Books
This is the story of Benny the son of David Levi, the central figure of Of Guns and Mules and the five-year period he spent serving with the British army in World War II. Volunteering in the summer of 1940, Benny becomes a driver in a Jewish-Palestinian unit and sees active service in Egypt and North Africa. After taking part in the defeat of Rommel s Afrika Corps, he is sent to Italy via Malta. There he undergoes combat training and, as a fighter in the newly formed Jewish Brigade, participates in the Allies final push against the Nazis. He also takes part in the unofficial revenge squads that hunt down and kill escaping SS officers. During the war Benny meets and falls in love with Tamar and also learns about the plight of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. When not on duty, and with American support, Benny and his friends help those who survived the Holocaust, rescuing many concentration camp survivors and helping them reach Mandatory Palestine. After the war is over, the Brigade is sent to Belgium. Here, Benny continues to help the Jewish survivors before returning to Tel Aviv to begin a new life with Tamar.
FLAGS OVER THE WARSAW GHETTO
THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING
BY MOSHE ARENS
September 2011 GEFEN Books
Moshe Areans served as Israel’s Foreign Minister, as its Ambassador to the USA, and also as one of its Defense Ministers. In this book, Professor Arens recounts the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It includes the Stroop Report.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has become a symbol of heroism in Israel and in the Jewish community. It is part of the collective unconscious of many in Israel, and likely influences and informs government decisions and perceptions.
A short time before the uprising began, Pawel Frenkel addressed a meeting of the Jewish Military fighters: Of course we will fight with guns in our hands, and most of us will fall. But we will live on in the lives and hearts of future generations and in the pages of their history.... We will die before our time but we are not doomed. We will be alive for as long as Jewish history lives! On the eve of Passover, April 19, 1943, German forces entered the Warsaw ghetto equipped with tanks, flame throwers, and machine guns. Against them stood an army of a few hundred young Jewish men and women, armed with pistols and Molotov cocktails. Who were these Jewish fighters who dared oppose the armed might of the SS troops under the command of SS General Juergen Stroop? Who commanded them in battle? What were their goals? In this groundbreaking work, Israel s former Minister of Defense, Prof. Moshe Arens, recounts a true tale of daring, courage, and sacrifice that should be accurately told out of respect for and in homage to the fighters who rose against the German attempt to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto, and made a last-ditch fight for the honor of the Jewish people. The generally accepted account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is incomplete. The truth begins with the existence of not one, but two resistance organizations in the ghetto. Two young men, Mordechai Anielewicz of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), and Pawel Frenkel of the Jewish Military Organization (ZZW), rose to lead separate resistance organizations in the ghetto, which did not unite despite the desperate battle they were facing. Included is the complete text of The Stroop Report translated into English.
The Scandal of Kabbalah
Leon Modena, Jewish Mysticism, Early Modern Venice
(Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World)
By Yaacob Dweck, Princeton University
September 2011 YALE
The Scandal of Kabbalah is the first book about the origins of a culture war that began in early modern Europe and continues to this day: the debate between kabbalists and their critics on the nature of Judaism and the meaning of religious tradition. From its medieval beginnings as an esoteric form of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah spread throughout the early modern world and became a central feature of Jewish life. Scholars have long studied the revolutionary impact of Kabbalah, but, as Yaacob Dweck argues, they have misunderstood the character and timing of opposition to it. Drawing on a range of previously unexamined sources, this book tells the story of the first criticism of Kabbalah, Ari Nohem, written by Leon Modena in Venice in 1639. In this scathing indictment of Venetian Jews who had embraced Kabbalah as an authentic form of ancient esotericism, Modena proved the recent origins of Kabbalah and sought to convince his readers to return to the spiritualized rationalism of Maimonides. The Scandal of Kabbalah examines the hallmarks of Jewish modernity displayed by Modena's attack--a critical analysis of sacred texts, skepticism about religious truths, and self-consciousness about the past--and shows how these qualities and the later history of his polemic challenge conventional understandings of the relationship between Kabbalah and modernity. Dweck argues that Kabbalah was the subject of critical inquiry in the very period it came to dominate Jewish life rather than centuries later as most scholars have thought.
You know the Hebrew bible and the translations of it...check out Bloom's review of the King James' bible, from a literary perspective
The Shadow of a Great Rock
A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible
By Harold Bloom
September 2011 YALE
The King James Bible stands at "the sublime summit of literature in English," sharing the honor only with Shakespeare, Harold Bloom contends in the opening pages of this illuminating literary tour. Distilling the insights acquired from a significant portion of his career as a brilliant critic and teacher, he offers readers at last the book he has been writing "all my long life," a magisterial and intimately perceptive reading of the King James Bible as a literary masterpiece.
Bloom calls it an "inexplicable wonder" that a rather undistinguished group of writers could bring forth such a magnificent work of literature, and he credits William Tyndale as their fountainhead. Reading the King James Bible alongside Tyndale's Bible, the Geneva Bible, and the original Hebrew and Greek texts, Bloom highlights how the translators and editors improved upon—or, in some cases, diminished—the earlier versions. He invites readers to hear the baroque inventiveness in such sublime books as the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job, and alerts us to the echoes of the King James Bible in works from the Romantic period to the present day. Throughout, Bloom makes an impassioned and convincing case for reading the King James Bible as literature, free from dogma and with an appreciation of its enduring aesthetic value.
Here I Am
Using Jewish Spiritual Wisdom to Become More Present, Centered, and Available for Life
By Leonard Felder
September 2011 Trumpeter Shambhala
In these stressful times, it's easy to get caught up in feeling anxious, tense, foggy, overloaded, and unable to appreciate the simple gifts in your life. In this book, Leonard Felder, a popular psychologist, shares techniques for managing and rebalancing these emotions and helps you to find your calm, strong center. Felder draws from traditional Jewish prayers and blessings that have been used for centuries to refocus the mind; techniques that help you to reappraise a situation, manage an emotion, spend a moment in appreciation or contemplation, or to make a moment holy. Readers don't need to know Hebrew or have a Jewish education in order to find these techniques resonant and effective; the Hebrew words or phrases that Felder uses are simple and accessible.
Chapter topics include:
How to regain your equilibrium when you feel pulled in all directions
How to outsmart your moody, anxious brain
Knowing when to intervene and when to let go in a situation
Responding with wisdom when someone treats you harshly
Finding inner quiet and peace when you feel agitated
In each chapter, Felder includes examples drawn from his client base and explanations from mind-body psychology and neuroscience to support the effectiveness of this kind of mindfulness practice.
Leonard Felder, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in the Los Angeles metro area. has written twelve books on personal growth that have sold over 1 million copies.
Religion in Human Evolution
From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age
By Robert N. Bellah
September 2011 Harvard
Religion in Human Evolution is a work of extraordinary ambition—a wide-ranging, nuanced probing of our biological past to discover the kinds of lives that human beings have most often imagined were worth living. It offers what is frequently seen as a forbidden theory of the origin of religion that goes deep into evolution, especially but not exclusively cultural evolution.
How did our early ancestors transcend the quotidian demands of everyday existence to embrace an alternative reality that called into question the very meaning of their daily struggle? Robert Bellah, one of the leading sociologists of our time, identifies a range of cultural capacities, such as communal dancing, storytelling, and theorizing, whose emergence made this religious development possible. Deploying the latest findings in biology, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology, he traces the expansion of these cultural capacities from the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (roughly, the first millennium BCE), when individuals and groups in the Old World challenged the norms and beliefs of class societies ruled by kings and aristocracies. These religious prophets and renouncers never succeeded in founding their alternative utopias, but they left a heritage of criticism that would not be quenched. Bellah’s treatment of the four great civilizations of the Axial Age—in ancient Israel, Greece, China, and India—shows all existing religions, both prophetic and mystic, to be rooted in the evolutionary story he tells. Religion in Human Evolution answers the call for a critical history of religion grounded in the full range of human constraints and possibilities.
SOME LATE SUMMER 2011 BOOKS
In the Garden of Beasts
Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
By Erik Larson
May 2011. Crown
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. FDR asked several others to be the diplomat to Berlin. They declined the offer. Dodd, a Chicago professorr, accepted. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha.
At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.
But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. Dodd, a Jeffersonian liberal, URGE HITLER to stop the Jew hatred. It would be better if he ADOPTED mild anti-Semitism, similar to America's version of discrimination
As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.
PORTRAIT OF A SPY
A Suspense Thriller Mystery Novel
By Daniel Silva
July 19, 2011, Harper
Gabriel Allon is a spy, assassin, artist, angel of vengeance, and an international operative who will stop at nothing to see justice done. Sometimes he must journey far in search of evil. And sometimes evil comes to him. For Gabriel and his wife, Chiara, it was supposed to be the start of a pleasant weekend in London — a visit to a gallery in St. James’s to authenticate a newly discovered painting by Titian, followed by a quiet lunch. But a pair of deadly bombings in Paris and Copenhagen has already marred this autumn day. And while walking toward Covent Garden, Gabriel notices a man he believes is about to carry out a third attack. Before Gabriel can draw his weapon, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as the nightmare unfolds.
Haunted by his failure to stop the massacre of innocents, Gabriel returns to his isolated cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington and he is drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted “a beautiful and seductive tongue.” A gifted deceiver, who was once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks.
Gabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death from the inside, a gambit fraught with risk, both personal and professional. To succeed, Gabriel must reach into his violent past. A woman waits there—a reclusive heiress and art collector who can traverse the murky divide between Islam and the West. She is the daughter of an old enemy, a woman joined to Gabriel by a trail of blood
Set against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence, Portrait of a Spy moves swiftly from the corridors of power in Washington to the glamorous auction houses of New York and London to the unforgiving landscape of the Saudi desert. Featuring a climax that will leave readers haunted long after they turn the final page, this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil—and Daniel Silva’s most extraordinary novel to date.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt
(Movie Tie-in paperback edition)
Tatiana de Rosnay
July 5, 2011, St Martin’s Griffin
PW Starred Review. De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.
Click the cover to read more, or to read an excerpt
Morality for Muggles
Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter
By Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg
August 2011. KTAV
Whether you are a student of religious learning, a fan of Harry Potter or just someone who likes to consider the important questions of life this book is for you! Moshe Rosenberg, a rabbi and educator, uses Jewish tradition and Harry Potter as the twin prisms through which to examine everything from friendship to free choice, prejudice to prophecy and rule-breaking to repentance. Along the way he demonstrates how popular literature like Harry Potter can be used to teach timeless, ethical concerns, from coping with loss to affirming human dignity in ourselves and others.
Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg is the spiritual leader of Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, New York, and a Judaic Studies educator at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York. His Harry Potter Club at SAR was featured in the New York Times. He lives in Queens with his wife Dina and their seven, count ‘em, 7 muggle children.
BY AMY WALDMAN
August 2011. Farrar Straus Giroux
Don't you love the title? Submission... as in submitting to Islam. Submission as in submitting a design. Submission as in defying or submitting to public pressure
Remember when Amy Lin was selected as the designer of the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington DC? Keep that in mind
Claire Harwell hasn’t settled into grief; events haven’t let her. Cool, eloquent, raising two fatherless children, Claire has emerged as the most visible of the widows who became a potent political force in the aftermath of the catastrophe. She longs for her husband, but she has found her mission: she sits on a jury charged with selecting a fitting memorial for the victims of the attack. Of the thousands of anonymous submissions that she and her fellow jurors examine, one transfixes Claire: a garden on whose walls the names of the dead are inscribed. But when the winning envelope is opened, they find the designer is Mohammad Khan—Mo—an enigmatic Muslim-American who, it seems, feels no need to represent anyone’s beliefs except his own. When the design and its creator are leaked, a media firestorm erupts, and Claire finds herself trying to balance principles against emotions amid escalating tensions about the place of Islam in America.
A remarkably bold and ambitious debut, The Submission is peopled with journalists, activists, mourners, and bureaucrats who struggle for advantage and fight for their ideals. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman’s cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure individual lives from their own points of view. A striking portrait of a city—and a country—fractured by old hatreds and new struggles, The Submission is a major novel by an important new talent.
PS said: “plausible.. tight... Waldman keenly focuses on political and social variables, including an opportunistic governor... Mo refuses to demean himself by explaining the source of his design, seen by many as an Islamic martyr's paradise.... Waldman addresses with a refreshing frankness throny moral questions and ethical ironies without resorting to hyperbole”
Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of The New York Times and a national correspondent for The Atlantic. She was born in Los Angeles, studied English at Yale, and now lives in Brooklyn.
The Gift of Rest
Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath
By Senator Joe Lieberman and David Klinghoffer
August 2011 Howard Books
From the man who had three bris’s and then man who ran for VP in the USA comes a book on the Sabbath
The Sabbath is a gift that Senator Joe Lieberman, as an observant Jew, received from his parents who, in turn, received it from their parents, who received it from generations of Jews before them. According to ancient tradition, the line of transmission extends back to Moses at Mt. Sinai, who received the Sabbath as the fourth of the Ten Commandments. In this book, Lieberman will offer the gift of Sabbath observance—a gift that has anchored, ordered, and inspired his life—to readers of all faiths.
In the past century, the Sabbath has fallen on hard times. Few cities have blue laws which prohibit retail shopping on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is thought of as just another day or as a time to squeeze in some extra errands or recreation that you may have missed during the workweek.
The weekend passes in a blur of often meaningless activity. Combining personal and political memoir with history and broadly informed religious reflection, this book is a practical how-to guide, with simple suggestions for introducing the Sabbath into your own life. It will be a very personal book, yet also one animated by reflections on history and larger social trends. It will also include profound reflections of both classical and modern Jewish sages, from the Talmud and the ancient Jewish prayer book, the Siddur, to Maimonides, to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.
“This charming, personal, and informative book by the popular Senator Joe Lieberman ‘is my love song to the Shabbat,’ the Jewish Sabbath, and what it can mean for non-Jews as well. This discovery and rediscovery of the Shabbat offers an intimate glimpse into the mind and heart of a decent and thoughtful person, written in non-technical prose, and which cannot fail to inspire a sensitive reader. Read it and cherish it. It will add a new dimension to your life.” —Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University, Rosh Hayeshiva (Head) of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
“Senator Lieberman’s The Gift of Rest is itself a gift of faith. In these few pages, Senator Lieberman reminds us that the God-given day of rest—whether we call it Sabbath or Sunday—should be honored by all believers. As Pope John Paul II taught: we cannot work with God all week, if we do not rest with God on His Sabbath! Senator Lieberman’s reflections help each of us to remember just how to rest in God’s presence on His day.”
—Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“What a beautiful book about a beautiful concept—a day of rest as a gift to humanity. Senator Lieberman’s account of the Sabbath brought back fond memories of my own past while inspiring me to try to return to the values embodied in the Sabbath.” —Attorney Alan Dershowitz
This Beautiful Life
By Helen Schulman
August 2011 Harper
When the Bergamots move from a comfortable upstate college town to New York City, they’re not quite sure how they’ll adapt—or what to make of the strange new world of well-to-do Manhattan (the Upper West Side). Soon, though, Richard is consumed by his executive role at a large New York university, and Lizzie, slightly nervous and Jewish, who has traded in her Art History academic career to oversee the lives of their children, is hectically ferrying young Coco (whom they adopted from China) around town.
Fifteen-year-old Jake is gratefully taken into the fold by a group of friends at Wildwood (in Riverdale), an elite private school.
But the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when Jake wakes up one morning after an unsupervised party and finds an email in his in-box from an eighth-grade admirer whom he had rejected at the party. He was drunk and passed out, and she wanted to prove that she was old enough for sex. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, stunned, maybe a little proud, and scared—a jumble of adolescent emotion—he forwards the video to a friend, who then forwards it to a friend. Within hours, it’s gone viral, all over the school, the city, the world. Lizzie will be seen as a bad mother, her husband will have his career at a Columbia-like university affected, and the kids will have their reputations ruined.
The ensuing scandal threatens to shatter the Bergamots’ sense of security and identity, and, ultimately, their happiness. They are a good family faced with bad choices, and how they choose to react, individually and at one another’s behest, places everything they hold dear in jeopardy.
This Beautiful Life is a devastating exploration of the blurring boundaries of privacy and the fragility of self, a clear-eyed portrait of modern life that will have readers debating their assumptions about family, morality, and the sacrifices and choices we make in the name of love.
By Tom Perrotta
August 2011 St Martin’s
What if — whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? The Jews, gays, Muslims, Hindus, and others are all taken to Heaven.
Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?
That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.
Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.
What might take all Jews off to Heaven is Heart Disease… and so:
Lose the Wheat,
Lose the Weight,
and Find Your Path Back to Health
By William Davis MD
August 2011 Rodale Press
A renowned cardiologist explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems. Every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges that preventive cardiologist William Davis calls “wheat bellies.” According to Davis, that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter: It’s due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.
After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic — and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.
Informed by cutting-edge science and nutrition, along with case studies from men and women who have experienced life-changing transformations in their health after waving goodbye to wheat, Wheat Belly is an illuminating look at what is truly making Americans sick and an action plan to clear our plates of this seemingly benign ingredient.
William Davis, MD, is a preventive cardiologist whose unique approach to diet allows him to advocate reversal, not just prevention, of heart disease. He is the founder of the TrackYourPlaque.com program. He lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and he is the father of tennis pro, Lauren Davis.
3,000 YEARS OF BATTLES IN THE HOLY LAND
BY GARY RASHBA
August 2011 Casemate Military
If I had a long vacation and cash money, I would take a trip to Israel and stand on a hilltop over the plains and ask a military historian to give me a tour of some the ancient battlegrounds. I don’t have the tome or money. I can buy this book instead.
Today's Arab-Israeli conflict, ever-present in the news, is merely the latest iteration of an unending history of violence in the Holy Land-a region that is unsurpassed as witness to a kaleidoscopic military history involving forces from across the world and throughout the millennia.
Rashba’s book describes 3,000 years of war in the Holy Land with the unique approach of focusing on pivotal battles or campaigns, beginning with the Israelites' capture of Jericho and ending with Israel's last full-fledged assault against Lebanon. Its 17 chapters stop along the way to examine key battles fought by the Philistines, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, and Mamluks, the latter clash, at Ayn Jalut, comprising the first time the Mongols suffered a decisive defeat.
The modern era saw the rise of the Ottomans, and an incursion by Napoleon who only found bloody stalemate outside the walls of Akko (Acre). The Holy Land became a battlefield again in World War I when the British fought the Turks. The nation of Israel was forged in conflict during its 1948 War of Independence, and subsequently found itself in desperate combat, often against great odds, in 1956 and 1967, and then it was surprised by a massive two-pronged assault in 1973. By focusing on the climax of each conflict, while carefully setting each stage, Holy Wars allows the reader to examine an extraordinary breadth of military history, glimpsing in one volume the evolution of warfare over the centuries as well as the enduring status of the Holy Land as a battleground.
Chaim Herzog would be proud of this book. GARY L. RASHBA , the author of more than 30 articles on defense, aerospace and international topics, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 (go Quakers) and currently lives in Israel.
Rashba became interested in military history while serving in the Israel Defense Forces. He was the only Anglo Saxon (American) in a unit comprised nearly exclusively of Russian immigrants. He began jotting down anecdotes, and these came together into an article. While searching for a publisher, hew was invited to write an article about one of the battles Israel had fought. He wrote more and more, and they became a book. Gary’s book covers such a broad swath of history, from the Bible up through modern times, including the less covered 1300 years comprising the Arab, Mamluk, and Ottoman periods. With such a wide perspective, the book shows how despite all the years, little has changed: many tactics and strategies remain the same, transcending time. And it also reminds us that the Holy Land has been the scene of conflict for millennia, with today’s Arab-Israeli dispute just the latest round.
Where You Left Me
By Jennifer Gardner Trulson
August 2011 Gallery Books
In this hard-hitting memoir, a wife and mother stricken by tragedy after losing her husband at the World Trade Center gradually regains her ability to love. She is on the board of the JCC in Manhattan
The author, a former attorney for The NYT, was living with their two small children on Central Park West in Manhattan, Trulson (she re-married in 2005) was shuttling her five-year-old son to his first day of school on the morning of September 11. Her husband was already in his office at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the North Tower, where he died in the attacks. (His voice was identified on a 911 tape later sent to Trulson by the mayor’s office, but she never listened to it.) The brokerage firm lost 658 employees that day, the hardest hit of any single company. The closest friends who supported Trulson in her grief were her husband’s professional colleagues, who dedicated a sports center at Douglas’s alma mater, Haverford College. Trulson’s period of “bottomless fury and despair” was exacerbated by the ensuing media circus as she made the rounds of memorial speeches. Ten months later, Trulson became involved with another man, which jars the reader, but, in the end, her narrative achieves a balance between grief and life-affirming determination."
Sleeping with the Enemy
Coco Chanel's Secret War
By Hal Vaughan
August 2011. Knopf
CAN YOU BUY A CHANEL AFTER THIS BOOK? Let’s ask Isaac Mizrahi? If a brand and style are discovered to be associated with a murky history, what do you do? Let’s discuss.
In 1998, John Updike wrote in The New Yorker that “all the available evidence points to Chanel’s total indifference to the fate of her Jewish neighbors in Paris – or indeed the lesser deprivations and humiliations suffered by the vast majority of Parisians.”
At the age of 58, she was happy with her German lover and cared nothing of those in the Jewish Quarter, a 15 minute walk from her perch at The Ritz.
No one mentions how she used the German Aryanization laws to gain control if Les Parfum Chanel (No. 5) and Societe de Parfums Chanel from the Jewish Wertheimers. This book does, however.
Coco Chanel created the look of the modern woman and was the high priestess of couture. She believed in simplicity, and elegance, and freed women from the tyranny of fashion. She inspired women to take off their bone corsets and cut their hair. She used ordinary jersey as couture fabric, elevated the waistline, and created bell-bottom trousers, trench coats, and turtleneck sweaters.
In the 1920s, when Chanel employed more than two thousand people in her workrooms, she had amassed a personal fortune of $15 million and went on to create an empire. Jean Cocteau once said of Chanel that she had the head of “a little black swan.” And, added Colette, “the heart of a little black bull.”
At the start of World War II, Chanel closed down her couture house and went across the street to live at the Hôtel Ritz. Picasso, her friend, called her “one of the most sensible women in Europe.” She remained at the Ritz for the duration of the war, and after, went on to Switzerland. But, Chanel’s wartime life, from 1941 to 1945 and then on to 1954 has been shrouded in vagueness and rumor, mystery and myth. Neither Chanel nor her many biographers have ever told the full story of these years.
Now Hal Vaughan, in this explosive narrative—part suspense thriller, part wartime portrait—fully pieces together the hidden years of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s life, from the Nazi occupation of Paris to the aftermath of Vichy and World War II. Vaughan reveals the truth of Chanel’s long-whispered collaboration with Hitler’s high-ranking officials in occupied Paris from 1940 to 1944. He writes in detail of her decades-long affair with Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, “Spatz” (“sparrow” in English), described in most Chanel biographies as being an innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe—a loyal German soldier and diplomat serving his mother country and not a member of the Nazi party. In Vaughan’s absorbing, meticulously researched book, Dincklage is revealed to have been a Nazi master spy and German military intelligence agent who ran a spy ring in the Mediterranean and in Paris and reported directly to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, right hand to Hitler.
The book pieces together how Coco Chanel became a German intelligence operative; how and why she was enlisted in a number of spy missions; how she escaped arrest in France after the war, despite her activities being known to the Gaullist intelligence network; how she fled to Switzerland for a nine-year exile with her lover Dincklage. And how, despite the French court’s opening a case concerning Chanel’s espionage activities during the war, she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and triumphantly resurrect and reinvent herself—and rebuild what has become the iconic House of Chanel.
EMPEROR OF LIES
BY STEVE SEM-SANDBERG
August 2011. Farrar Straus Giroux
Winner of the August Prize, Sweden’s most important literary award
In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second-largest Jewish ghetto, in the Polish city of Lódz. The leader they appointed was Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman and orphanage director—and the elusive, authoritarian power sustaining the ghetto’s very existence.
A haunting, profoundly challenging NOVEL, The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule over a quarter-million Jews for the next four and a half years. Driven by a titanic ambition, he sought to transform the ghetto into a productive industrial complex and strove to make it—and himself—indispensable to the Nazi regime.
These compromises would have extraordinary consequences not only for Rumkowski but for everyone living in the ghetto. Drawing on the detailed records of life in Lódz, Steve Sem-Sandberg, in a masterful feat of literary imagination and empathy, captures the full panorama of human resilience and probes deeply into the nature of evil.
Through the dramatic narrative, he asks the most difficult questions: Was Rumkowski a ruthless opportunist, an accessory to the Nazi regime motivated by a lust for power? Or was he a pragmatist who managed to save Jewish lives through his collaboration policies? How did the inhabitants of the ghetto survive in such extreme circumstances?
A critically acclaimed breakout bestseller in Sweden, The Emperor of Lies introduces a writer of great significance to American readers. The archives detail daily life in the Lodz ghetto, under the reign of Rumkowki, but it takes a writer with Sem-Sandberg’s singular talent to help us understand the truth of this chilling history.
You Don’t Have to Keep Kosher to Like this book
THE KOSHER CARNIVORE
The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book
By June Feiss Hersh
August 2011, St Martin’s
A meat-only kosher cookbook, with 120 recipes designed to appeal to cooks of all faiths who are turning to kosher meat for superior flavor and results.
Experienced home cooks have long praised the virtues of kosher meat, prized for high quality and humane and well-supervised raising, butchering, and trimming. The innovative recipes in The Kosher Carnivore will delight families who keep kosher as a fresh and modern alternative to traditional kosher preparations and will appeal to a broader group as well—including the lactose-intolerant--with the author’s terrific mixture of classic, elegantly ethnic and just-a-little-bit-fashionable entries, such as:
In Beef: Classic Pot Roast, Grilled Steak Chimichurri, Slow-day BBQ Brisket
In Veal and Lamb: Veal Meatballs, Grilled Lamb Riblets, Lamb Sliders
In Chicken: Simple Roast Chicken, Simpler Roast Chicken, Simplest Roast Chicken, Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders, Moroccan Chicken. Chicken with Prunes Tsimmes, Chicken in Red Wine Sauce, Peach and Ginger-Glazed Chicken
In Turkey and Duck: Country-style Turkey Meatloaf, Oven-roasted Spicy Turkey Sausage, Pan-seared Duck Breasts with Figs and Madiera
In Tur Duck en…. There is none
In Soup and Stock: Creamy?? Mushroom Soup, Hungarian Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey, Beef & Barley Soup
The Kosher Carnivore also features around forty recipes for side dishes, creatively reinventing standards such as Creamed Spinach (without the butter or cream), condiments and sauces. It also provides instructions on how to grill, roast, braise, stew, pan-seer — and even fry - perfect crispy chicken without a buttermilk soak along with tips from expert butchers and chefs across the country. For example, for Skewered chicken thighs, the advice is what to tell your butcher.
Click the book cover to read more.
ALL THESE VOWS
Edited by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD
August 2011, Jewish Lights
People who attend no other services go out of their way to be present on Yom Kippur eve just to hear Kol Nidre chanted. Yet the prayer is in medieval Aramaic, which no one understands, and may not even have a translation supplied, since the prayer's content defies moral logic. Kol Nidre is a blanket request that God hold us guiltless for vows we make and do not honor! Judaism demands, however, just the reverse. We must honor promises we make. How then did this prayer come into being? Why was it retained? How did it attract the most haunting chant in all of Jewish tradition? All These Vows--Kol Nidre examines the prayer's theology, authorship and history through a set of lively essays, all written in accessible language by over thirty contributors who span three continents and all major Jewish denominations. They are men and women, scholars and rabbis, artists and poets. Introductory essays trace the actual history of the prayer and attempts through the ages to emend it, downplay it and even do away with it--all in vain. Kol Nidre remains despite them all, an annual liturgical highlight that is regularly attended even by Jews who disbelieve everything the prayer says.
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SWEET LIKE SUGAR
By Wayne Hoffman
August 2011. Kensington paperback
In Yiddish, there is a word for it: bashert - the person you are fated to meet. Twenty something Benji Steiner views the concept with skepticism. But the elderly rabbi who stumbles into Benji's office one day has no such doubts. Jacob Zuckerman's late wife, Sophie, was his bashert. And now that she's gone, Rabbi Zuckerman grapples with overwhelming grief and loneliness. Touched by the rabbi's plight, Benji becomes his helper - driving him home after work, sitting in his living room listening to stories. Their friendship baffles everyone, especially Benji's sharp-tongued, modestly observant mother. But Benji is rediscovering something he didn't know he'd lost. Yet the test of friendship, and of both men's faith, lies in the difficult truths they come to share. With each revelation, Benji learns what it means not just to be Jewish, but to be fully human - imperfect, striving, and searching for the pieces of ourselves that come only through another's acceptance
Includes a great list of questions in the back for Reading Groups to ponder
The Mitzvah Project Book
Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah
and Your Life
By Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman
August 2011 Jewish Lights
More and more families, teens and pre-teens are searching for meaningful and fun mitzvah projects as a growing number of synagogues embrace Bar/Bat Mitzvah service projects and Mitzvah Day.
This inspiring book is packed with ideas to help boys and girls connect something they love to a mitzvah project or tikkun olam initiative they can be passionate about. It is filled with information, ideas and activities to spark young imaginations, as well as a planning guide to get organized and off to a good start.
To further inspire their actions, kids will love reading stories from young people around the country who have completed rewarding projects in the following categories:
Creativity and Compassion -- Arts & Crafts * Clothes & Fashion * Computers & Technology * Food & Cooking * Movies & Drama * Reading & Writing Putting Mitzvot in Motion--Animals * Camp * Fitness * Health * Music & Dance * Sports Your World, Our World--Environment * Family * Friends, Neighbors & Your Community * Global Community * Israel * Your Jewish Heritage
Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman are co-authors of the Children's Choice Award winner See What You Can Be: Explore Careers That Could Be for You! Preface and Forewords by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of the bestseller Putting God on the Guest List and Rabbi Sharon Brous
Discovering Jewish Meditation
Instruction & Guidance for Learning an Ancient Spiritual Practice
By Nan Fink Gefen
August 2011 Jewish Lights
From Publishers Weekly: Gefen, cofounder of Tikkun magazine and codirector of Chochmat HaLev, a Jewish meditation center in Berkeley, Calif., declares that although we may think that meditation belongs to the Buddhists, it is authentically Jewish. Indeed, Gefen finds references to meditation in Genesis (when Jacob spent time alone before his reconciliation with Esau, for example) and the Psalms. By the Middle Ages, Jewish mediation had "gone underground," though it was practiced by some Kabbalists and later claimed by the Hasidim. But readers don't need to become black-hatted mystics to take advantage of the tradition: this book encourages Jews of all persuasions to give meditation a shot. Gefen maintains a strict view of what is, and is not, meditation. In prayer, the goal is to communicate directly with God, whereas meditation attempts "to move into a spiritually open state, and then we experience whatever is there. This may include directly sensing God's presence. Or, it may not." Gefen teaches 13 basic meditations, from the Hineni meditation to a thankfulness meditation. This book is a worthwhile addition to the Jewish library, but it will never replace Aryeh Kaplan's Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide (reprinted in 1995) as the essential reading on the subject
How Vasco da Gama's Epic Voyages Turned the Tide
in a Centuries-Old Clash of Civilizations
By Nigel Cliff
September 2011 HarperCollins
A sweeping historical epic and a radical new interpretation of Vasco da Gama’s groundbreaking voyages, seen as a turning point in the struggle between Christianity and Islam
In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history. The little ships were pushed beyond their limits, and their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, their greatest enemy was neither nature nor even the sheer dread of venturing into unknown worlds that existed on maps populated by coiled, toothy sea monsters. With bloodred Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.
An epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused and often comical collisions between cultures encountering one another for the first time; Holy War also offers a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history. Identifying Vasco da Gama’s arrival in the East as a turning point in the centuries-old struggle between Islam and Christianity—one that continues to shape our world—Holy War reveals the unexpected truth that both Vasco da Gama and his archrival, Christopher Columbus, set sail with the clear purpose of launching a Crusade whose objective was to reach the Indies; seize control of its markets in spices, silks, and precious gems from Muslim traders; and claim for Portugal or Spain, respectively, all the territories they discovered. Vasco da Gama triumphed in his mission and drew a dividing line between the Muslim and Christian eras of history—what we in the West call the medieval and the modern ages. Now that the world is once again tipping back East, Holy War offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.
Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy
Edited by Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss
September 2011 Hyperion
In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, for the first time, they can be heard and read in this deluxe, illustrated book and 8-CD set.
Shortly after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, with a nation deep in mourning and the world looking on in stunned disbelief, Jacqueline Kennedy found the strength to set aside her own personal grief for the sake of posterity and begin the task of documenting and preserving her husband's legacy.
In January of 1964, she and Robert F. Kennedy approved a planned oral-history project that would capture their first-hand accounts of the late President as well as the recollections of those closest to him throughout his extraordinary political career. For the rest of her life, the famously private Jacqueline Kennedy steadfastly refused to discuss her memories of those years, but beginning that March of 1964, she fulfilled her obligation to future generations of Americans by sitting down with historian and Kennedy advisor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and recording an astonishingly detailed and unvarnished account of her experiences and impressions as the wife and confidante of John F. Kennedy.
The tapes of those sessions were then sealed and later deposited in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum upon its completion, in accordance with Mrs. Kennedy's wishes.
The resulting eight and a half hours of material comprises a unique and compelling record of a tumultuous era, providing fresh insights on the many significant people and events that shaped JFK's presidency but also shedding new light on the man behind the momentous decisions. Here are JFK's unscripted opinions on a host of revealing subjects, including his thoughts and feelings about his brothers Robert and Ted, and his take on world leaders past and present, giving us perhaps the most informed, genuine, and immediate portrait of John Fitzgerald Kennedy we shall ever have. Mrs. Kennedy's urbane perspective, her candor, and her flashes of wit also give us our clearest glimpse into the active mind of a remarkable First Lady.
In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy's Inauguration, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are now releasing these restored recordings on CDs with accompanying transcripts.
REMEMBER… these recording were made in 1964, when kennedy was 34, and in a state of extreme grief -- when the culture and liberal thought were different than today. The Kennedy in these interviews are not like the “Jackie O” she later became in Greece and in Manhattan. Mrs. Kennedy might have been intentionally projecting the image expected of women at the time. For example, she says how she got all her opinions from her husband, or how she admired Joseph Kennedy for his discipline.
She delivers tart commentary on former presidents, heads of state, her husband’s aides, powerful women, women reporters, and Rose Kennedy. She says that Charles DeGaulle, the French president, is an egomaniac. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is “a phony” whom electronic eavesdropping has found arranging encounters with women. Indira Gandhi, the future prime minister of India, is “a real prune — bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.” The White House social secretary, Letitia Baldrige, Mrs. Kennedy tells Mr. Schlesinger, loved to pick up the phone and say things like “Send all the White House china on the plane to Costa Rica” or tell them they had to fly string beans in to a state dinner. She quotes Mr. Kennedy saying of Lyndon B. Johnson, his vice president, “Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?” And Mr. Kennedy on Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Charlatan is an unfair word,” but “he did an awful lot for effect.” Kennedy suggests that “violently liberal women in politics” preferred Adlai Stevenson, the former Democratic presidential nominee, to Mr. Kennedy because they “were scared of sex.” Of Madame Nhu, the sister-in-law of the president of South Vietnam, and Clare Boothe Luce, a former member of Congress, she tells Mr. Schlesinger, in a stage whisper, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were lesbians.” She calls André Malraux, the French novelist, “the most fascinating man I’ve ever talked to.” She says she was impressed above all by the Colombian president, Alberto Lleras Camargo, whom she finds “Nordic in his sadness.” Of Sec of State Dean Rusk, she says he is apathetic. Kennedy presents herself as adoring of her late husband, eager for JFK’s approval and deeply moved by him. There is no talk of his extramarital affairs or secret struggle with Addison’s disease, though she does speak in detail about his back pain and the 1954 back surgery that almost killed him. She remembers with amusement how he would change into pajamas for his 45-minute afternoon nap in the White House. She lets slip a reference to a “civilized side of Jack” and “sort of a crude side,” but she clarifies: “Not that Jack had the crude side.” She refers to the time he wept during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
AN IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ DURING ARAB SPRING WHEN DISCUSSING LIBYA, SYRIA AND OTHER PLACES
The Dictator's Handbook
Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
and Alastair Smith
September 2011 PublicAffairs
For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don’t care about the “national interest”—or even their subjects—unless they have to.
This CLEVER and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the Julius Silver Professor of Politics and director of the Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy at New York University. Alastair Smith is professor of politics at New York University.
BAD FOR THE JEWS
JEWS IN THE NEWS WHO EMBARASS THE TRIBE
BY SCOTT SHERMAN
Summer 2011 PublicAffairs
Sherman is a writer for the Colbert Report.
Scott Sherman has taken it upon himself to compile a list of 50 Oy vey-inducing members of the tribe—from politics, entertainment and white collar crime—who make it tougher than it already is to be a Jew these days. Notables include:
Bernie Madoff: Where to begin? Life is hard enough without having to be concerned that your esteemed brethren are really sleeper-schmucks lying in wait, biding their time for the perfect moment to completely ruin your life.
Laura Schlessinger: Referred to herself in a Los Angeles Times Magazine profile as “a prophet.” Let’s be nice and call that a stretch. (I wonder if he mentions how she used to pose nude
Eliot Spitzer: Oh if only we could return to the days when Jewish mothers could call their little aspiring politicians 'The Next Eliot Spitzer!' without it sounding absolutely disgusting.
Barbra Streisand: Those imitating her shtick can't be tuned out because, much to our chagrin, they live with us. Think of all the poor young Jews who had to go to school unwashed because their sister's shower-based rendition of "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" took forever to complete.
Judge Judy: Who thought it was a good idea to give a Jewish grandmother a television show in which her opinions are legally binding? Releasing the wrath of bubbie onto the world is a cruel, cruel thing to do.
Leonard Nimoy: A Jew playing a pointy-eared half-alien? Everybody thinks we’re strange and foreign enough as it is! .
also: Sergey Brin and Larry page; Patti Stanger; David Blane; gene Simmons of Kiss; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach; Jim Cramer of CNBC; Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook; Philip Roth; Jack Abramoff; Alan greenspan; Eliot Spitzer; Lloyd Blankfein; Solomon Dwek and all those people who were arrested in NY and NJ; Phil Spector and his hair; Attorney Orly Taitz, DDS (Oh, god I did not know this Birther was Jewish); Jerry Springer; Monica Lewinsky; Ron Jeremy; Bar Refaeli the model; Howard Stern; and more
WHAT DOES A JEW WANT?
On Binationalism and Other Specters
Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture
By Udi Aloni with Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler
September 27, 2011 Columbia University Press
In the hopes of promoting justice, peace, and solidarity for and with the Palestinian people, Udi Aloni joins with Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler to confront the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their bold question: Will a new generation of Israelis and Palestinians dare to walk together toward a joint Israel-Palestine? Through a collage of meditation, interview, diary, and essay, Aloni and his interlocutors present a personal, intellectual, and altogether provocative account rich with the insights of philosophy and critical theory. They ultimately foresee the emergence of a binational Israeli-Palestinian state, incorporating the work of Walter Benjamin, Edward Said, and Jewish theology to recast the conflict in secular theological terms.
The Anatomy of Israel's Survival
By Hirsh Goodman, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University (Bronfman Program on Information Strategy.)
September 2011 PublicAffairs
The question “Can Israel survive?” has echoed loud for Israelis—and Jews, their supporters and adversaries worldwide—since the Holocaust. The recent upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond have raised it anew. Israeli journalist and security analyst Hirsh Goodman set out to answer it, through rigorous factual assessment of each of the challenges his country faces, and by consulting experts and participants on all sides of every complex issue. But what he learned was that this once ‘essential question’ has become a dangerous distraction. In this provocative and deeply informed book, Goodman shares his clarifying analyses both of recent political events and of Israel’s strategic position. He shows how the country’s obsession with dangers posed by outside forces has obscured the harder issues facing it from within ever since its leaders disregarded Ben Gurion’s advice to leave the territories captured during the Six Day War. By yoking itself to the demographic timebomb of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel propelled itself towards an invidious choice: democracy or Jewish identity. Now, Goodman argues, Israel’s survival is jeopardized more by the competence of its leaders and fissures in its social and political system than by any outside threat—even the apocalyptic-sounding ones from Iran.
A High Price
The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism
By Daniel Byman, Professor - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution
Summer 2011, Oxford University Press
In the sixty-plus years of the Jewish state's existence, Israeli governments have exhausted almost every option in defending their country against terror attacks. Israel has survived and even thrived--but both its citizens and its Arab neighbors have paid dearly.
In “A High Price,” Daniel Byman breaks down the dual myths of Israeli omnipotence and--conversely--ineptitude in fighting terror, offering instead a nuanced, definitive historical account of the state's bold but often failed efforts to fight terrorist groups. The product of painstaking research and countless interviews, the book chronicles different periods of Israeli counterterrorism. Beginning with the violent border disputes that emerged after Israel's founding in 1948, Byman charts the rise of Yasir Arafat's Fatah and leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--organizations that ushered in the era of international terrorism epitomized by the 1972 hostage-taking at the Munich Olympics. Byman follows how Israel fought these groups and new ones, such as Hamas, in the decades that follow, with particular attention to the grinding and painful struggle during the second intifada. Israel's debacles in Lebanon against groups like the Lebanese Hizballah are also examined in-depth, as is the country's problematic response to Jewish terrorist groups that have struck at Arabs and Israelis seeking peace.
In surveying Israel's response to terror, the author points to the coups of shadowy Israeli intelligence services, the much-emulated use of defensive measures such as sky marshals on airplanes, and the role of controversial techniques such as targeted killings and the security barrier that separates Israel from Palestinian areas. Equally instructive are the shortcomings that have undermined Israel's counterterrorism goals, including a disregard for long-term planning and a failure to recognize the long-term political repercussions of counterterrorism tactics.
Israel is often a laboratory: new terrorist techniques are often used against it first, and Israel in turn develops innovative countermeasures that other states copy. A High Price expertly explains how Israel's successes and failures can serve to inform all countries fighting terrorism today.
Need more information?
Byman’s book opens in 1954. Palestinians attack and kill a busload of Jewish Israeli vacationers at Scorpion’s Pass. The killers escape. Some in the press say that Israel gets what it deserves. The Israeli opposition leaders and others call for retaliation against the government that is shielding the Palestinian terrorists. The Labor ruling party worries about the consequences of any unilateral action. No retaliation occurs; and then more attacks happen. This was 1954, but it could be from the attacks over the next five decades. Byman tells how the 1976 Entebbe raid provided the myth of Israeli brilliance or execution, and the mistakes reinforced the myth of Israeli bungling. But what Byman does is cut through al lthe muths, systematically, to show the reality of successes and failures, the brilliance, yet the lack of a focused planned strategy. The land of milk and honey is a land of triumphs and errors and missed opportunities for propaganda and public relations. The errors led to increased radicalization, hurt delicate alliances, and allowed the military and political leaderships to pursue opposite goals. I enjoyed his blunt analyses. He backs his opinions with solid political theory (Max Weber’s “logic of responsibility”), and he provides the inside stories (Sharon and Allon opposed the security wall; the slow construction of the wall was on purpose and not due to the courts)
Byman’s book is segmented as follows: Section 1: The Early Years (1948 -1956); 1956-1970’s (The Rise of the PLO); and the 1970s-1993 (Lebanon); Section 2: Oslo (1993-1996); the Netanyahu Period (1996-1999); Hamas (1993-2000); The Second Intifada (2000); a Million Bullets (2000); and The 9/11 Ceasefire That Wasn’t A Ceasefire (2001-2002); The Battle for Jenin and Operation Defensive Shield (2002); The West Bank Occupation (2003 – present); The Triumph of Hamas (2005-2008); and the War Against Hamas (2009-2009). Section 3 consists of The Birth of A Monster: Hizballah’s Creation (1982-1985); The Limited War on Hizballah (1985-2001); The False Promise of Normalcy (2000-2006); and Hizballah Returns (2006). Section 4 concerns Jewish Terrorism: The Enemy Within (1967-2000) and Settler Violence (2000-2009). And Section 5 concludes with Findings and Conclusions, interrogation dilemmas, targeted killings, building the security barrier, reorganizing the government and its agencies for counter terrorism, the fading hopes for peace, what Israel can teach the world, and what Israel can learn from the world.
MACHU MY PICCHU
Searching for Sex, Sanity, and a Soul Mate in South America
By Iris Bahr
September 2011 GPP Globe Pequot Press skirt!
You probably recall Iris’ first book, DORK WHORE, in which we find her at age 21, freshly released from the Israeli Army, and ready to trek through Southeast Asia and lose her virginity for real. It is hilarious. She was a bitch to travel with, but what Israeli isn’t (just kidding). It was to die for. Iris (eeee-ris) went on to star in TV shows, write, perform, explode, win an award for her solo show, DAI (enough, as in DAIyenu), develop characters, make short films, and more. She also headed to South America.
In “Machu My Picchu,” she finds herself in even more foreign territory: Brown University, where she desperately attempts to fit in among frat boys, Jordanian royalty, vegan hippies, coke heads, and an Ecuadorian guy with a penchant for disturbingly tight jeans. Feeling more alienated than ever, Iris decides to embark on another backpacking adventure, this time through Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia (I wonder if she saw Cabbas perform). Between love affairs with locals, clashes with travel companions, and near-death experiences, Iris discovers her ability to feel lost no matter where she goes. At Macchu Picchu, with Yoram and Ziv, she tries to imagine that the four rocks with grass growing out of them was once a lavish Inca bar mitzvah banquet hall. Doesn’t work. Then next best thing to do, short of having an epiphany at the wonder of the world, is to get high and show off your boobs to the crowd.
She struggles to find that elusive combination of healthy love, great mind blowing, earth shattering sex, and peace of mind, and she finally learns to embrace the joys of travel and the search. The zany humor of Amy Sedaris meets the neurotic self-awareness of Woody Allen in this invigorating mix of hair-raising adventure, poignant reflection, and bawdy humor—it’s one hell of a wild ride.
WORLD WAR Z
An Oral History of the Zombie War
By Max Brooks
September 2011 Paperback edition Three Rivers Press
Yes, he is the funny son of Mel Brooks.
Publishers Weekly writes: Brooks, the author of the determinedly straight-faced parody The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), returns in all seriousness to the zombie theme for his second outing, a future history in the style of Theodore Judson's Fitzpatrick's War. Brooks tells the story of the world's desperate battle against the zombie threat with a series of first-person accounts "as told to the author" by various characters around the world. A Chinese doctor encounters one of the earliest zombie cases at a time when the Chinese government is ruthlessly suppressing any information about the outbreak that will soon spread across the globe. [note – only Israel starts a quarantine against the zombies]
The tale then follows the outbreak via testimony of smugglers, intelligence officials, military personnel and many others who struggle to defeat the zombie menace. Despite its implausible premise and choppy delivery, the novel is surprisingly hard to put down. The subtle, and not so subtle, jabs at various contemporary politicians and policies are an added bonus
Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma
(Gender and Culture Series)
By Barbara Will, Dartmouth
Fall 2011 Columbia University Press
Brilliant and fascinating.... This exceptional study provides new insights into previously hidden corners of Stein's life.
In 1941, the Jewish American writer and avant-garde icon Gertrude Stein embarked on one of the strangest intellectual projects of her life: translating for an American audience the speeches of Marshal Philippe Pétain, head of state for the collaborationist Vichy government. From 1941 to 1943, Stein translated thirty-two of Pétain's speeches, in which he outlined the Vichy policy barring Jews and other "foreign elements" from the public sphere while calling for France to reconcile with Nazi occupiers.
Unlikely Collaboration pursues troubling questions: Why and under what circumstances would Stein undertake this project? The answers lie in Stein's link to the man at the core of this controversy: Bernard Faÿ, Stein's apparent Vichy protector. Faÿ was director of the Bibliothèque Nationale during the Vichy regime and overseer of the repression of French freemasons. He convinced Pétain to keep Stein undisturbed during the war and, in turn, encouraged her to translate Pétain for American audiences. Yet Faÿ's protection was not coercive. Stein described the thinker as her chief intellectual companion during her final years.
The author outlines the formative powers of this relationship, noting possible affinities between Stein and Faÿ's political and aesthetic ideals, especially their reflection in Stein's writing from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Will treats their interaction as a case study of intellectual life during wartime France and an indication of America's place in the Vichy imagination. Her book forces a reconsideration of modernism and fascism, asking what led so many within the avant-garde toward fascist and collaborationist thought. Touching off a potential powder keg of critical dispute, Will replays a collaboration that proves essential to understanding fascism and the remaking of modern Europe.
OCTOBER 2011 BOOKS
SCENES FROM VILLAGE LIFE
By Amos Oz, Translated by Nicholas de Lange
October 2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A portrait of a fictional village, by one of the world’s most admired writers, Amos Oz, 71. In the village of Tel Ilan, something is off kilter. An elderly man complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging under his house at night. Could it be his tenant, a young Arab? But then the tenant hears the mysterious digging sounds, too. The mayor receives a note from his wife: "Don’t worry about me." He looks all over; no sign of her. The veneer of new wealth around the village — gourmet restaurants and art galleries, a winery — cannot conceal abandoned outbuildings, disused air raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped.
Amos Oz’s novel-in-stories is a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life. Scenes from Village Life is a parable for Israel, and for all of us.
PW writes: There's something rotten in Tel Ilan, Israel, and in each of these eight finely wrought pieces of Oz's novel-in-stories, he skillfully delineates the looming forces threatening to fissure the serenity of this idyllic village. Founded 100 years before, the "pioneer village" has changed from a farming community of vineyards and almond trees into a place of boutiques and art galleries. In the first story, "Heirs," a stranger appears at the home of Arieh Zelnik claiming to be a relative who wants to convert the family land into a "health farm" for paying customers; while in "Singing," a Friday night communal choral group intent on the Sabbath is oblivious to the rumble of air force planes returning from bombing "enemy targets." Most chilling is "Digging," in which a young Arab student writing a book comparing Jewish and Arab village life comes to stay in a back shed belonging to the widow Rachel Franco, whose aged, bitter father, a former Member of the Knesset, becomes obsessed with digging sounds he hears at night.
Is the Arab digging for some proof that the land really belongs to him? wonders the old man, who mourns the days when "there was still some fleeting affection between people." Oz (Rhyming Life and Death) writes characterizations that are subtle but surgically precise, rendering this work a powerfully understated treatment of an uneasy Israeli conscience.
Claire Messud, in The New York Times, wrote: these linked stories prove achingly melancholy, a cumulative vision of anomie and isolation in an apparently cozy Israeli village… Tel Ilan is a place of supposed community and mutual support in which each soul struggles privately with longing and disappointment. … It is like a symphony, its movement more impressive together than in isolation,
When I think of the pleasure of reading Amoz OZ, I am reminded of the pleasure from the poetry of translator and poet Dan Bellm:
A book of midrash
BY DAN BELLM
Dan Bellm's third book of poems takes as its starting point the Jewish practice of studying weekly portions of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, in an annual cycle. Working in the midrashic tradition--imaginatively explaining or expanding a Biblical text, often well beyond its literal meaning--the poems offer meditations on faith, doubt, yearning, family ties, love and loss, and the age-old roots of modern-day war. In Practice, we see a poet of extraordinary range and formal versatility, whose sonnets, villanelles, prose poems, and lyric inventions engage both the imagination and the heart. These poems are at once accessible and complex, deeply personal and profoundly universal.
In this poem, Daniel prepares to light a yahrzeit candle on the 7th anniversary of his father’s passing
Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts. Deuteronomy 15:1
How simple it ought to be, to practice compassion
on someone gone, even love him, long as he’s not
right there in front of me, for I turned to address him,
as I do, and saw that no one’s lived in that spot
for quite some time. O turner-away of prayer—
not much of a God, but he was never meant to be.
For the seventh time I light him a candle; an entire
evening and morning it burns; not a light to see
by, more a reminder of light, a remainder, in a glass
with a prayer on the label and a bar code from the store.
How can he go on? He can’t. Then let him pass
away; he gave what light he could. What more
will I claim, what debt of grace he doesn’t owe?
If I forgive him, he is free to go.
by Dan Bellm
You must prepare to carry nothing
where you walk,
a God who cannot be seen,
a name you cannot speak—
the most precious of what you have,
and build me something heavy you can carry,
heavy as you want.
I will be weightless in it,
an idea, a promise,
among you, within you—
I will be unbearable. You can bear it.
Over and over you will pick it up
and set it down,
and as you wander
you will lose what you brought forth,
the ark will collapse in your hands,
the stones of the law will break.
Then you will carry me in your minds,
in your mouths—
unbearable as you want. You can bear it.
Terumah, Exodus 25:1–27:1
A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus
By Art Spiegelman
October 2011 Pantheon
Watch the video at here.
In the pages of MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize–winning Maus, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago. Spiegelman probes the questions that Maus most often evokes—Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics?—and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
MetaMaus includes a bonus DVD that provides a digitized reference copy of The Complete Maus linked to a deep archive of audio interviews with his survivor father, historical documents, and a wealth of Spiegelman’s private notebooks and sketches.
Compelling and intimate, MetaMaus is poised to become a classic in its own right.
David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic, writes that Art Spiegelman, at 63, said that, "I'm blessed and cursed by this thing I made that obviously looms large for me and for others, but the result is that I can't do this thing that seems quite easy but that I just can't do, which is: 'That's that, and now I'm working on a new thing, and it's a whole other thing.' I just can't get out of its gravitational field." Spiegelman's latest book is a case in point: "MetaMaus" (Pantheon: 302 pp., $35), a lavish deconstruction of his magnum opus, positioned as a 25th-anniversary commemoration, although that's just a convenient peg. More apropos is his sense of reckoning with the legacy of "Maus." "For the most part," Spiegelman says, "I've been trying to outrun it, and it hasn't worked very well. So this seemed like: OK, if you can't outrun it, just stare the damned beast down." At the heart of the project are three long conversations he pieced together with Hillary Chute, a former graduate student who teaches at the University of Chicago. ("Everything takes me so long," Spiegelman laments.) Built around the central questions of his post-"Maus" existence — Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? — "MetaMaus" can be read as a last interview, an attempt to answer all the questions and render further discussion moot. "I didn't predict this for myself," Spiegelman admits, firing up another cigarette. "I thought 'Maus' was going to take two years and I'd move on with my life. But it's an ongoing wrestling match. Basically 'Breakdowns' " — the 2008 collection that recontextualized his early work, including the first three-page "Maus" strip, from 1972 — "and 'MetaMaus' are the great retrospections, the period of my life I'm still swimming out of. Then I get to find out if there's any other stuff in my pockets to make bets with."… The book features hundreds of images, by Spiegelman and others; there are charts, page breakdowns, fascinating discussions of structure — but even more, the sense that the work itself was anything but inevitable, that it was an epic struggle to produce. In a section called "Family Album," Spiegelman's wife, New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly, describes his state during the 13 years, from 1978 to 1991, that he worked on "Maus": "Whenever he stalled or despaired," she recalls, "which was erratic throughout, but inevitable every time he finished a chapter, it was painful to see him deeply depressed, and just as tough when he dove back into it." (read more at the LA Times)
A Jewish Calendar of Festive Foods
By Jane Portnoy and Robin Reikes
Commentary by Marshall Portnoy
October 2011 Janelle
Each observance on the Jewish calendar is celebrated with a full menu of treasured recipes in this new approach to a holiday cookbook. Organized in sequence, the menus are suitable for all skill levels, from novice cooks making a Seder for the first time to accomplished chefs looking for new meals for a Yom Kippur Break the Fast. Traditional foods such as schnecken and matzah balls are balanced by modern culinary creations that are sure to become new favorites. A calendar commentary runs throughout the year, explaining the meanings and traditions behind each holiday, including a special chapter devoted entirely to Thanksgiving. Illustrations of a Shtetl family accent the book with charm and nostalgia, while an appendix with notes on dietary laws rounds out the collection.
The pages are also color coded for each holiday period chapter. For TISHRI, the recipes include items for Rosh Hashanah (1-2), Yom Kippur (10), and Sukkot and Simchat Torah (15-22/23). Items range from Chopped Liver to a BBQ Brisket, and from Schnecken and Coconut pound Cake to Eggplant Bake and Rick's Noodle Kugel. Her tuna Salad for Sukkot includes pickle relish and lemon juice; the pumpkin cranberry bread uses pumpkin puree (not pie filling); and the artichoke quiche includes cheddar cheese. For Cheshvan there are 7 recipes for Shabbat, including one for Kentucky Cumberland Chicken and a Rice and Noodle Kugel (uses a cup ofrice, onion soup mix, mushrooms and noodles); and 10 recipes for American Thanksgiving. Chapter 3 for Kislev and Tevet has recipes for the first and the final days of Chanukah, including latkas, cucumber salad; rib roast beef. For Tub'Shevat there are six recipes, including an heirloom marble cake, carrot ring, and coconut panko fried fish with pineapple salsa. For Adar and Purim, there are 4 recipes, including ones for Coq Au Vin; poppy seed ring cookies; and hamantaschen. Eleven recipes are provided for Nisan and Passover; and six are listed for Iyar (Lag B'Omer, Independence Day, Remembrance Day, and Jerusalem Day). Sivan and Shavuot's chapter (can be for a bris also) has recipes for cheese blintzes, poached salmon, and cheesecake. The final chapter includes the months of Tammuz, av, and Elul. It includes very simple reciipes for sliced fish, cornpudding, and heirloom tomato salad.
Jane Portnoy is a practicing eye physician and surgeon at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania (You may recall her article on Pupillary Afferent Defect in Amblyopia). Marshall Portnoy is the cantor of Main Line Reform Temple and was awarded a doctor of music from JTS. He is the coauthor of The Art of Torah Cantillation. Robin Reikes is a freelance artist and art educator who has conducted workshops on such topics as Hebrew illuminations and the role of Jewish writers and illustrators in the comic book and graphic novel. Tidbit: Dr. Portnoy went to Louisville for Med School, and Ms. Reikes lives in Louisville.
The Torah Revolution
Fourteen Truths That Changed the World
By Rabbi Reuven Hammer, Ph.d
October 2011 Jewish Lights
The Torah is the foundation stone of Jewish existence. Embedded within these teachings of Moses are core concepts that radically transformed the important religious insights of the patriarchs into a dynamic new religion that would go on to influence the world. This religion of Israel yielded a new way of understanding God and the meaning of the human life. Some of these concepts have never been fully realized, some have gone unrecognized, and many are obscured under so many layers of interpretation that the original vision is difficult to discern.
In this accessible look at these revolutionary teachings of Moses, Dr. Reuven Hammer presents fourteen radical ideas found in Torah, explains their original intentions, and shows how understanding these "truths" can help you better understand the narrative and laws of Judaism. Dr. Hammer shows you that when taken together, these value concepts present a picture of the world and human life that is surprisingly modern and relevant: humanity is one as God is one; human beings are responsible for their actions and have the choice to do good or evil; poverty, deprivation, slavery and hatred are evils that must be eradicated. He shows how a society based on these principles would revolutionize civilization and lead toward a more perfect world for humankind.
Rabbi Reuven Hammer, PhD, was named one of the "Forward 50"--a list of the most influential members of the American Jewish community--is a former president of the International Rabbinical Assembly.A prolific writer, he is the author of many books, including Entering the High Holy Days, a winner of the National Jewish Book Award.
Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith and Ethics
The Book of Knowledge and the Thirteen Principles of Faith
Annotated and Explained
Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD
October 2011 Jewish Lights
Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) is Jewish history's greatest exponent of a rational, philosophically based Judaism. He opened his classic code of Jewish Law, the Mishneh Torah, with the "Book of Knowledge," providing the essential teachings of Jewish faith and ethics. His "Thirteen Principles of Faith," included in his commentary on the Mishnah, have become cornerstones in Jewish theology.
In this book, Rabbi Marc Angel provides a lucid English translation of Maimonides' key teachings on Jewish faith and ethics, as well as an informative commentary that brings his wisdom to life. Readers will confront Maimonides' views on the nature of God, providence, prophecy, free will, human nature, repentance-- and more.
The teachings of Maimonides continue to have profound relevance to those seeking an intellectually vibrant understanding of Judaism. Although deeply rooted in Jewish sources, the writings of Maimonides provide spiritual insights for people of all backgrounds.
Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD, is founder and director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org). Rabbi emeritus of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York City, he is author and editor of twenty-nine books, including Maimonides, Spinoza and Us:Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism and Foundations of Sephardic Spirituality: The Inner Life of Jews of the Ottoman Empire (both Jewish Lights), both finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.
BY MARTIN FLETCHER (NBC’s bureau chief in Tel Aviv)
October 2011 Thomas Dunne Macmillan
Winner of a Jewish National Book Award for his previous book, Walking Israel, NBC’s Martin Fletcher uses meticulous research and his own family’s history in this stunning novel. Dramatizing explosive events in London and Palestine in the years directly following World War II, The List follows the lives of Edith and Georg, Austrian refugees who are expecting their first baby in a world unfriendly to Jews. Anti-Semitism sweeps across the streets of London even as the world learns of the atrocities of the Holocaust. As Edith and Georg desperately search for surviving family members, they struggle to stay afloat in a world riddled with terrorism, assassination attempts, and fear.
N O W I N P A P E R B A C K
THE TENTH SONG
BY NAOMI RAGEN
Paperback release in October 2011, Griffin
Abigail Samuels has arrived. Her husband has a successful accounting firm, and her daughter, Kayla, a Harvard law student, is engaged to a fellow student. They are pillars of the Orthodox Jewish community in a Boston suburb until their world suddenly falls apart. When a story saying that her husband is funding terrorists appears on the Internet, Abigail’s friends vanish. Her daughter runs off to a desert commune in Israel to study with a charismatic Kabbalist, and Abigail rushes to rescue her. While in Israel, both women start to question their previous life paths and begin journeys of self-discovery. Ragen’s novel mixes current events, Jewish values, a little romance, and a touch of feminism. It will appeal to those interested in contemporary Jewish issues and to fans of women’s fiction
BY MARK KURLANSKY
October 2011. Walker Young Adult
This is not a YA YA novel (For a Young Adult by a Young Adult), instead it is a YA novel by the author of SALT, COD, and other explorations
Growing up in the years following World War II, Joel Bloom and his friends dreamed of either fighting in the military or leading the Dodgers to the World Series. But when Joel turns eighteen, the Vietnam War is in full swing, and the sides of war he learned about as a child are not nearly as clear. Old enough to be drafted, Joel loves his country but knows he cannot fight in an unjust war. After trying and failing to be a Conscientious Objector, he must decide whether to serve in Vietnam or leave for Canada-a decision that would help him avoid the violence of war but force him to leave behind those he loves and turn his back on everything he was brought up to believe. In an insightful and compelling novel from bestselling nonfiction writer Mark Kurlansky comes an exploration of one teen's struggle to understand himself amid the harsh realities of life during wartime.
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WE MEANT WELL
How I Helped Lose the Battle for
the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
By Peter Van Buren
Fall 2011. Metropolitan Books
Peter Van Buren has been a career foreign service officer in the US State Department for over two decades. He served in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK, and Hong Kong and speaks Japanese, Chinese, and some Korean. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. A child was in college and the State Department was offering bonus money and special career “golden tickets” to those people who volunteered for service in Iraq and got their Iraw merit badge. So, Van Buren raised his hand and he was sent to a posting in Iraq. This is his account, from his point of view, of the US’s blundered efforts to rebuild Iraq. It is a damning account of incompetence and the lack of skills. He writes that most staffers were unskilled and poorly trained. People were hired at high salaries with no or few interviews. A gym teacher became a women’s empowerment programmer and local yokels became senior advisors on governance.
Personally, I took the FSO exam and went on the interviews in DC and did not pass, but those I know who work in postings worldwide are well educated, skilled, and committed; so I personally find this book a little hard to believe. I find it hard to understand how a person with 21 years of experience worldwide was not empowered to make changes
Nevertheless, Peter Van Buren writes that in Iraq, US funds were spent to make a sports mural in Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhood to promote reconciliation through art; and millions were spent to build a milk factory that is probably vacant and cannot get its milk to market (kind of hard to store milk without refrigeration; was it necessary to increase milk production if supply and demand was already well balanced and pricing was good)? Was it well advised to have pastry training classes for women to get them to open cafés on bombed-out streets that lacked water, sewage, and power? Laura Bush cut the ribbon on a $171 million hospital that has never served a patient. A prison was built for $40 million and it never opened. Fallujah got a $104 million sewer system that failed. Was it smart to give handouts to people who then were made to feel belittled?
Van Buren tells of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions and US tax funds.
He details how, for a year, he led a State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) on its Don Quixote like tilting at windmills mission, was filled with pointless projects, bureaucratic fumblings, overwhelmed soldiers, and oblivious administrators
He says the government should have figured out how to provide basic municipal services and pick up the trash before embarking on huge million dollar programs.
Writing in the blog of Foreign Policy Magazine, Van Buren says that after someone at State read his blog he was scrutinized, and he was interviewed by “Diplomatic Security” and accused of disclosing classified information. He was told by Human Resources he might lose his job and his security clearances. A Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs wrote, Metropolitan Books and accused Van Buren of writing of new security violations that had apparently escaped the sharp eyes at Diplomatic Security, and demanded redactions (one requested redaction was a quote from the film Black Hawk Down, and another from George Tenet's memoirs)
If true, then he indicts himself and his colleagues as inept.
If the training sucked for Iran, I do not understand why a FSO with 21 years of experience could not pick up books and articles himself and train himself or set up additional training for the team he led.
If not so true, then you can be appalled and shocked and irritated.
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Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy
Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform
By Paul R. Pillar (Georgetown W A Walsh School of Foreign Service)
Fall 2011. Columbia University Press
A career of nearly three decades with the CIA and the National Intelligence Council showed Paul R. Pillar that intelligence reforms, especially measures enacted since 9/11, can be deeply misguided. They often miss the sources that underwrite failed policy and misperceive our ability to read outside influences. They also misconceive the intelligence-policy relationship and promote changes that weaken intelligence-gathering operations.
In this book, Pillar confronts the intelligence myths Americans have come to rely on to explain national tragedies, including the belief that intelligence drives major national security decisions and can be fixed to avoid future failures. Pillar believes these assumptions waste critical resources and create harmful policies, diverting attention away from smarter reform, and they keep Americans from recognizing the limits of obtainable knowledge.
Pillar revisits U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War and highlights the small role intelligence played in those decisions, and he demonstrates the negligible effect that America's most notorious intelligence failures had on U.S. policy and interests. He then reviews in detail the events of 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, condemning the 9/11 commission and the George W. Bush administration for their portrayals of the role of intelligence. Pillar offers an original approach to better informing U.S. policy, which involves insulating intelligence management from politicization and reducing the politically appointed layer in the executive branch to combat slanted perceptions of foreign threats. Pillar concludes with principles for adapting foreign policy to inevitable uncertainties.
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Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President
By Ron Suskind
Fall 2011. Harper
The hidden history of Wall Street and the White House comes down to a single, powerful, quintessentially American concept: confidence. Both centers of power, tapping brazen innovations over the past three decades, learned how to manufacture it.
Until August 2007, when that confidence finally began to crumble.
In this gripping and brilliantly reported book, Ron Suskind tells the story of what happened next, as Wall Street struggled to save itself while a man with little experience and soaring rhetoric emerged from obscurity to usher in “a new era of responsibility.” It is a story that follows the journey of Barack Obama, who rose as the country fell, and offers the first full portrait of his tumultuous presidency.
Wall Street found that straying from long-standing principles of transparency, accountability, and fair dealing opened a path to stunning profits. Obama’s determination to reverse that trend was essential to his ascendance, especially when Wall Street collapsed during the fall of an election year and the two candidates could audition for the presidency by responding to a national crisis. But as he stood on the stage in Grant Park, a shudder went through Barack Obama. He would now have to command Washington, tame New York, and rescue the economy in the first real management job of his life.
The new president surrounded himself with a team of seasoned players—like Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, and Tim Geithner—who had served a different president in a different time. As the nation’s crises deepened, Obama’s deputies often ignored the president’s decisions—“to protect him from himself”—while they fought to seize control of a rudderless White House. Bitter disputes—between men and women, policy and politics—ruled the day. The result was an administration that found itself overtaken by events as, year to year, Obama struggled to grow into the world’s toughest job and, in desperation, take control of his own administration.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ron Suskind introduces readers to an ensemble cast, from the titans of high finance to a new generation of reformers, from petulant congressmen and acerbic lobbyists to a tight circle of White House advisers—and, ultimately, to the president himself, as you’ve never before seen him. Based on hundreds of interviews and filled with piercing insights and startling disclosures, Confidence Men brings into focus the collusion and conflict between the nation’s two capitals—New York and Washington, one of private gain, the other of public purpose—in defining confidence and, thereby, charting America’s future.
A day before the book’s Sept. 20 release, top Obama administration officials assembled at a news briefing and took turns at preemptive denunciation. When asked about Suskind’s contention that he’d dragged his feet in implementing a directive from President Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that “the reality I lived, we all lived together, bears no relation to the sad little stories I heard reported from that book.” White House press secretary Jay Carney alleged that “one passage seems to be lifted almost entirely from Wikipedia.” Claiming that the book was riddled with factual errors, Carney said he’d “caution anyone to assume that if you can’t get those things right, that you suddenly get the broader analysis right. That analysis is wrong.” Former officials, as always, felt even less constraint. Onetime economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers said his quote in the book about being “home alone” without adult supervision at the White House combined “fiction, distortion, and words taken out of context.” Former communications director Anita Dunn, quoted as saying that the White House was a hostile workplace for women, claimed she’d told Suskind “point blank” the opposite. Christina Romer, who also served as an economic adviser to the president, said she “can’t imagine” having said that she felt like “a piece of meat” after being excluded by Summers from a meeting, as Suskind chronicled.
But the White House’s specific, forceful and seemingly coordinated offensive — the kind of effort the Obama operation can seldom muster, especially if you trust the reporting in “Confidence Men” — also reflected its mastery of a Washington law: The media has little time to scour these big, important Washington books, at least before deadline. ERGO... The White House had a coordinated attack to lesson the details put forward in this book. Gives you all the more reason to read it
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STORIES WITHOUT WORDS
BY BEATRICE RODRIGUEZ
Enchanted Lion Books for Children
A seafaring adventure! A storm! Giant turtles! Glowing slugs! A tale of excitement and surprise,Rooster's Revenge, which follows both the acclaimed 2010 book, The Chicken Thief, and Fox and Hen Together is sure to delight.
Together with Bear and Rabbit, the disappointed Rooster is making his way home over the sea when a terrific storm hits. After running aground in the storm, the trio finds themselves in a strange cave. Rooster notices a mysterious glowing ball. What kind of a ball is it? Will it lead them to safety or to more trouble? And will the friends ever find their way home? This richly funny illustrated offering from Béatrice Rodriguez is full of enchantment. It's also a surprising guide to mending a broken heart.
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THE BEST OF THE REJECTION COLLECTION
293 CARTOONS THAT WERE TOO DUMB, TOO DARK, OR TOO NAUGHTY FOR THE NEW YORKER
Rescued and compiled by Matthew Diffee
October 2011, Workman
Matthew has had over 200 cartoons published in The New Yorker. He reached out to other cartoonists and rescued these cartoon that never saw the light of day. They are the best of the worst, but these worst of better than some of the best. For example, for Bring Your Daughter To Work Day... there are cartoons about the stripper and the death row prison guard who brought their daughter to work. You will be amused.
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GREAT TO READ BEFORE THE HIGH HOLIDAYS
Elizabeth and Hazel
Two Women of Little Rock
By David Margolick
October 2011 YALE
The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation—in Little Rock and throughout the South—and an epic moment in the civil rights movement.
In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel’s long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they
progress from apology
to reconciliation and,
amazingly, to friendship.
This friendship foundered, then collapsed—perhaps inevitably—over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures.
At first Hazel was reluctant to speak with Margolick. Why? The Black – Jewish historic alliance. She thought they would gang up on her. But after his brief piece in Vanity Fair 4 yrs ago that she opened up to him...
Revolution as a Way of Life
Jewish Lives Series
By Vivian Gornick
October 2011 YALE
Emma Goldman is the story of a modern radical who took seriously the idea that inner liberation is the first business of social revolution. Her politics, from beginning to end, was based on resistance to that which thwarted the free development of the inner self. The right to stay alive in one’s senses, to enjoy freedom of thought and speech, to reject the arbitrary use of power—these were key demands in the many public protest movements she helped mount. Anarchist par excellence, Goldman is one of the memorable political figures of our time, not because of her gift for theory or analysis or even strategy, but because some extraordinary force of life in her burned, without rest or respite, on behalf of human integrity—and she was able to make the thousands of people who, for decades on end, flocked to her lectures, feel intimately connected to the pain inherent in the abuse of that integrity. To hear Emma describe, in language as magnetic as it was illuminating, what the boot felt like on the neck, was to experience the mythic quality of organized oppression. As the women and men in her audience listened to her, the homeliness of their own small lives became invested with a sense of drama that acted as a catalyst for the wild, vagrant hope that things need not always be as they were. All you had to do, she promised, was resist. In time, she herself would become a world-famous symbol for the spirit of resistance to the power of institutional authority over the lone individual. In Emma Goldman, Vivian Gornick draws a surpassingly intimate and insightful portrait of a woman of heroic proportions whose performance on the stage of history did what Tolstoy said a work of art should do: it made people love life more.
A Revolutionary's Life
Jewish Lives Series
By Joshua Rubenstein
October 2011 YALE
Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in southern Ukraine, Trotsky was both a world-class intellectual and a man capable of the most narrow-minded ideological dogmatism. He was an effective military strategist and an adept diplomat, who staked the fate of the Bolshevik revolution on the meager foundation of a Europe-wide Communist upheaval. He was a master politician who played his cards badly in the momentous struggle for power against Stalin in the 1920s. And he was an assimilated, indifferent Jew who was among the first to foresee that Hitler’s triumph would mean disaster for his fellow European Jews, and that Stalin would attempt to forge an alliance with Hitler if Soviet overtures to the Western democracies failed. Here, Trotsky emerges as a brilliant and brilliantly flawed man. Rubenstein offers us a Trotsky who is mentally acute and impatient with others, one of the finest students of contemporary politics who refused to engage in the nitty-gritty of party organization in the 1920s, when Stalin was maneuvering, inexorably, toward Trotsky’s own political oblivion. As Joshua Rubenstein writes in his preface, “Leon Trotsky haunts our historical memory. A preeminent revolutionary figure and a masterful writer, Trotsky led an upheaval that helped to define the contours of twentieth-century politics.” In this lucid and judicious evocation of Trotsky’s life, Joshua Rubenstein gives us an interpretation for the twenty-first century. .
TEN POPES THE SHOOK THE WORLD
By Eamon Duffy
October 2011 YALE
Catholic popes have been powerful spiritual leaders for nearly two millennia, but their influence is not confined exclusively to Church matters. Many popes have played a central role in the history of Europe and the wider world, not only shouldering the spiritual burdens of their office but also contending with the political crises of their times. In an acclaimed series of BBC radio broadcasts, Eamon Duffy enthralled listeners with vivid stories of the ten popes he judges "the most influential in history." With this book, readers may now also enjoy Duffy's portraits of ten exceptional men who shook the world.
The book begins with St. Peter, the Rock upon whom the Catholic Church was built, and follows with Leo the Great (fifth century), Gregory the Great (sixth century), Gregory VII (eleventh century), Innocent III (thirteenth century), Paul III (sixteenth century), and Pius IX (nineteenth century). Among twentieth-century popes, Duffy examines the lives and contributions of Pius XII, who was elected on the eve of the Second World War, the kindly John XXIII, who captured the world's imagination, and John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 450 years. Each of these ten, Duffy shows, was an extraordinary individual who helped shape the world we know today.
The Better Angels of Our Nature
By Steven Pinker
October 2011 VIKING
The author of The New York Times bestseller The Stuff of Thought offers a controversial history of violence. Pinker, celebrated Harvard psychology professor, argues that we currently enjoy the least violent age in human history. We don’t perceive this because we overemphasize the scale of recent events. Agincourt seems less representative of its time than 9/11 does of ours because we’re so much closer to the latter. We also respond to dramatic stimuli - our blood-soaked news cycle forces us to continuously witness violence. It’s bad out there, we proclaim, and getting worse. Quite the contrary, Pinker argues, “[i]t’s a good time in history to be a potential victim.’’ Pinker writes that as Europe became more urban and cosmopolitan, it got safer. It was a civilizing process, just as the late Norbert Elias, a German Jewish sociologist wrote. Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened? This cavalier attitude creeps into Pinker’s marquee argument: that the number of war deaths has consistently decreased. World War II is the most lethal single event in human history, killing 55 million people over six years. Rather than flatly admit that this poses an obstacle to his theory, Pinker engages in creative accounting. He argues that when adjusted for a kind of macabre inflation the war was only the ninth most deadly. What killed more people? Well, the Mongol Conquests says Pinker. Over more than a century, the Mongols only killed 40 million (which isn’t truly monstrous), but Pinker adjusts these numbers to equal the same percentage of the population as were living in the mid-20th century, claiming that the Mongols would have claimed 278 million lives. The 20th century poses a problem for Pinker as it contains “horrifically unlucky samples from a statistical distribution.’’ Indeed. This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike.
The 2012 MOON ALMANAC
BY KIM LONG
Jews follow the moon.
Why not follow its phases with thie unique product?
We humans have been watching the moon for nearly as long as we’ve left a written record. Year after year, generation after generation, we watch, compelled and intrigued, as our nearest celestial companion makes its cyclical trek through the sky above. Now The Moon Almanac 2012 connects us to the moon more closely than ever.
Here are exact times of full, new, and first- and last-quarter moons for all American time zones, plus detailed information on 2012’s rare blue moon, lunar and solar eclipses, brightest moons of the year, hours of moonlight each day, a moon rise/set horizon locator, prime viewing times for the moon in proximity to planets and major stars, days and times for apogees and perigees, and lunar-based holidays. Names of the full moons and moon trivia, plus information on gardening, fishing, and hunting by the moon, will have those who look to the moon for its light, power, and inspiration consulting The 2012 Moon Almanac—and its bonus calendar card—day after day all through the year
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THE NEW YORK TIMES ANNUAL 2012
Edited by William McDonald
Some of the best obituaries that appeared in the New York Times from August 2010 to August 2011.
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THE BLOOD LIE
BY SHIRLEY REVA VERNICK
October 2011 Cinco Puentos Press
September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline. And if she isn't on his mind, then he's thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic. Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop town—he doesn't want to be stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice. Blood Lie was inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.
My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner
A Family Memoir
By Meir Shalev
Translated from Hebrew by Evan Fallenberg
October 2011 Schocken
Hadavar Haya Kakha
Escapist pastoral. Shalev recreates a time through his memoir when people lived in villages, were homogenous and related, and there were none of those problems like they have in Israel today.
A few year’s ago, Meir Shalev went to a speaking engagement in a Jezreel Valley moshav, sort of like, let’s say, Nahalal, to commemorate the reconstruction of a Haganah arms cache that was made to look like a manure cesspool. Many top, old, manly Palmach and other military leaders were in attendance. The problem is that right before the speaking engagement, two of Shalev’s nieces painted his toenails red. Wearing sandals, his toes became the talk to the party. Some remarked, of course Shalev is crazy, he takes after his insane grandmother… and so begins this ligthearted memoir of family ties, over-the-top housekeeping, and the sport of storytelling in the village of Meir Shalev’s birth, where his unforgettable Grandma Tonia lived in a constant state of battle with the family’s biggest enemy in their adoptive land: dirt.
He uses the words, Hadavar Haya Kakha, "It Was Like This," in honor of the sentence with which his Grandma Tonya began every story she told. In his family, people still use this term when discussing important issues. Memory and fantasy-imagination are the same thing in his family.
Meir Shalev’s grandmother Tonia, who came to Palestine by boat from the Ukraine, Russia in 1923, was never seen without a cleaning rag over her shoulder. She received visitors outdoors. She allowed only the most privileged guests to enter her spotless house. Hilarious and touching, Tonia and her regulations come richly to life in a narrative that circles around the arrival into their dusty agricultural midst of the big shiny American sweeper sent as a gift by Uncle Yeshayahu (he who had shockingly emigrated to the sinful capitalist heaven of Los Angeles, to make the Southern California desert bloom). The fate of the “svieeperrr” — hidden away for decades in a spotless closed-off bathroom after its initial
Use — is a family mystery that Shalev determines to solve in this charming memoir of the obsessive but loving Tonia, the pioneers who gave his childhood its spirit of wonder, and the grit and humor of people
building ever- new lives.
Essentially, his grandmother had OCD and was obsessed with cleanliness. She wiped smudges from doorknobs. Actually there were rags on doorknobs so you would not leave fingerprints on them. Once, Meir was given permission to take a chair out of the room in which the chairs used during Pesach were stored. His grandmother warned him not to "kratzratz the wall," (Taken from the Yiddish kratzen, which means 'to scratch,')
MEIR SHALEV is one of Israel’s most celebrated novelists. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and have been best sellers in Israel, Holland, and Germany. Honors he has received include the 2006 Brenner Prize, one of Israel’s top literary awards,for A Pigeon and a Boy. A columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Shalev lives in Jerusalem and in the north of Israel.
Until the Dawn's Light
By Aharon Appelfeld and Translated by Jeffrey M. Green
October 11, 2011 Schocken
Hebrew Title: Ad Sheya'aleh Amud HaShachar (in 1995)
From the award- winning, internationally acclaimed writer: a Jewish woman marries a gentile laborer in turn-of-the-century Austria, with disastrous results. A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca— even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And
when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca drops out of school, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind. Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong. Told in a series of flashbacks as Blanca and her son flee from their town with the police in hot pursuit, the tragic story of Blanca’s life with Adolf recalls a time and place that are no more, but that powerfully reverberate in collective memory.
AHARON APPELFELD is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Iron Tracks (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and The Story of a Life (winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger). He lives in Jerusalem
The Music Libel Against the Jews
Vocal Fictions of Noise and Harmony
By Ruth HaCohen (Hebrew University)
October 2011 YALE
This deeply imaginative and wide-ranging book shows how, since the first centuries of the Christian era, gentiles have associated Jews with noise. Ruth HaCohen focuses her study on a “musical libel"—a variation on the Passion story that recurs in various forms and cultures in which an innocent Christian boy is killed by a Jew in order to silence his “harmonious musicality.” In paying close attention to how and where this libel surfaces, HaCohen covers a wide swath of western cultural history, showing how entrenched aesthetic-theological assumptions have persistently defined European culture and its internal moral and political orientations.
Ruth HaCohen combines in her comprehensive analysis the perspectives of musicology, literary criticism, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology, tracing the tensions between Jewish “noise" and idealized Christian “harmony” and their artistic manifestations from the high Middle Ages through Nazi Germany and beyond. She concludes her book with a passionate and moving argument for humanizing contemporary soundspaces.
Terrorists in Love
The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals
By Ken Ballen with Peter Bergen
October 2011 Free Press. Kenballen.com
No. This is not about Osama Bin Laden and whether or not he used Viagra. Yes. It is an unorthodox look at terrorists and terrorism. It is about the lives and loves and frustrations of violent extremists. This is the result of more than 100 interviews and five years of research. The author follows six Jihadis in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. What is the source of their characters, what are their inner hidden lives, what might have influenced them, what motivates them, what beliefs drove them to extremism, what turned SOME of them away from violence?
The author prosecuted major figures in organized crime, international narcotics, and one of the first cases in the United States involving illegal financing for Middle Eastern terrorists. Ballen served as Counsel to the House Iran-Contra Committee under Chairman Lee Hamilton, where he was a lead investigator questioning witnesses during the nationally televised hearings
The Other Schindlers
Why Some People Chose to Save Jews in the Holocaust
By Agnes Grunwald-Spier
Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert
October 2011 History Press
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.
The Story of Israel
From Theodor Herzl to the Roadmap for Peace
By Martin Gilbert
October 2011 Andre Deutsch
Just over 100 years ago, Theodor Herzl launched the Zionist Movement. They called for a Jewish State in their ancestral land, Palestine. Fifty years later, the State of Israel came into being. Israel was established so that Jews anywhere in the world could have a homeland of their own. After independence, that process began with the ingathering of three quarters of a million Jews from Arab lands. As Communism disintegrated, more than a million Jews emigrated from the Soviet Union. Despite war and terror, Israel has sought peace through both secret and public negotiations. These efforts continue to this day, despite two major Palestinian uprisings.
God vs. Gay?
The Religious Case for Equality
By Jay Michaelson
October 25, 2011 Beacon Press/Random House
Michaelson, an editor at Forward.com and founder of annual LGBT Jewish retreats, argues that the "God vs. gay" divide is a pernicious myth and that religious people should favor gay rights because of religion, not despite it. As both a gay rights activist and religion scholar, Michaelson is uniquely positioned to tackle the contentious "God vs. Gay" divide. The author underscores that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament both emphasize the importance of love, compassion, and equality. From this starting point, Michaelson offers a progressive take on gay rights--arguing that the moral principles in these texts favor acceptance of gays and lesbians, outweighing the handful of ambiguous verses so often cited by conservatives. In arguing that politically and spiritually the God/gay split must end, this book will stimulate a long-overdue dialogue on an urgent issue.
Jay Michaelson holds a JD from Yale and an MA in religious studies from Hebrew University, where he studied Judaism and Early Christianity. The founding director of Nehirim; in 2009, Michaelson was included on the "Forward 50" list of the fifty most influential Jewish leaders in America.
PW writes: “Michaelson, biblical scholar and founder of the Jewish GLBT organization Nehirim, makes the case that God-versus-gay is a lie. Not only is there no conflict between being gay and being religious, but also the core values of Judaism and Christianity demand that GLBT individuals be respected and welcomed. In the first and last thirds of the work, Michaelson explores those core values and anticipates the benefits of making religion less hostile to homosexuality. While well-reasoned, added depth and length would make his claims more persuasive. The central third of his book shows why the biblical verses commonly used to attack homosexuality should not be understood that way. Although this material has been more convincingly presented elsewhere, having it alongside the other two parts of the work underscores why gay-friendly scripture readings should be more compelling. The audience for the book remains unclear; sometimes Michaelson addresses GLBT individuals, sometimes allies, and sometimes opponents of legal equality. This scattering keeps the book from providing much concrete advice. As a salvo in the case for equality, however, it shows how to reframe the debate and stop seeing a chasm between God and gay.”
The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks
By Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham
October 2011 Princeton University Press
Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of amazing, fun-to-perform card tricks--and the profound mathematical ideas behind them--that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today's mathematical knowledge. For example, the Gilbreath principle--a fantastic effect where the cards remain in control despite being shuffled--is found to share an intimate connection with the Mandelbrot set. Other card tricks link to the mathematical secrets of combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, topology, the Riemann hypothesis, and even Fermat's last theorem.
Diaconis and Graham are mathematicians as well as skilled performers with decades of professional experience between them. In this book they share a wealth of conjuring lore, including some closely guarded secrets of legendary magicians. Magical Mathematics covers the mathematics of juggling and shows how the I Ching connects to the history of probability and magic tricks both old and new. It tells the stories--and reveals the best tricks--of the eccentric and brilliant inventors of mathematical magic. Magical Mathematics exposes old gambling secrets through the mathematics of shuffling cards, explains the classic street-gambling scam of three-card monte, traces the history of mathematical magic back to the thirteenth century and the oldest mathematical trick--and much more.
BY ALICE HOFFMAN
October 2011 Scribner
Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. It is her 23rd novel
The publisher writes that Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.
In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. (figuratively, not literally. I assume they all walked up on the same snake path)
Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death.
Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness.
Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier.
Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.
The lives of these four women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.
A JESUIT TRIES TO HORN IN ON HUMOR...HEY! Leave that to the Jewish People, and you stick with wine. But seriously, nuns are not humorless, and neither are priests and bishops.
Between Heaven and Mirth
Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
By James Martin, SJ
October 2011 HarperOne
A downcast spirit dries up the bones - Proverbs 17:22
From the Colbert Report’s “unofficial chaplain” James Martin, author of the New York Times bestselling Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, comes a revolutionary look at how lightness, humor, and laughter can change our lives and save our spirits. A twenty-first century priest, Martin is keenly insightful about the intersections between Catholic precepts and popular culture. In Between Heaven and Mirth, he uses scriptural passages, saints’ lives, the spiritual teachings of other traditions, and his own personal reflections to show us why even nuns need to put the “ha” back in “habit” — because healthy spirituality and a healthy sense of joy go hand-in-hand in the great plan for humankind.
Reverend Martin writes that Jesus of Nazareth (Jewish guy) has a good sense of humor and a sharp wit. The saints were filled with joy, and at times,funny. Some of the Bible's best known stories are humorous. (A good Samaritan and a donkey walk into a bar.... ; Do you know the one about the family that was looking for a hotel in Bethlehem...; You know the one about Sarah's laugh? And Yitzhak's humor?) He also uses his own experiences. Like the story of Rabbi Polish of Los Angeles. One Friday night, as the congregation sang L'cha dodi and turned to welcome the Sabbath Queen, in walked a disheveled bag lady as the doors opened. Was God playing a joke on the shul? No, Rabbi Polish said, God was helping out the rabbi to reinforce the humanity of all the congregants
Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine, and author of numerous books, including My Life with the Saints. In addition to sitting next to the head of MyJewishBooks.com in Accounting 1 class, Father Martin has appeared on/in The Colbert Report, Fresh Air, The O'Reilly Factor, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, and on the History Channel, BBC, and Vatican Radio. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988, Martin was an accountant and financial analyst with General Electric, until he volunteered one day with Mother Teresa....
A Hand's-On Guide to Stitching Spiritual Intention into Jewish Fabric Crafts
By Diana Drew and Robert Grayson
October 2011 Jewish Lights
This accessible guide for both novice and expert fabric crafters presents thirty handmade Jewish fabric craft projects from around the United States and Israel and the inspiring stories behind them. With projects for the home and the shul, for celebrating the Jewish holidays, and for various milestones in the Jewish life cycle--most fairly easy to make--the book weaves together stories of families, celebration and contemporary rituals surrounding these handmade fabric crafts. These pieces are destined to become treasured heirlooms to be passed from generation to generation.
Among the projects showcased in the book are:
* Quilted challah covers
* Matzah cover
* Knit seder plate
* Afikomen envelopes
* Torah mantles
* Tree of Life shulchan cover
* Biblical Purim hand puppets
* Healing and memorial quilts
* Wall hangings for various holidays
Professional Pastoral and Spiritual Care
A Practical Clergy and Chaplain's Handbook
Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts
Fall 2011 Jewish Lights
This is the first comprehensive resource for spiritual and pastoral care--a vital resource for clergy, seminarians, chaplains, pastoral counselors and caregivers of all faith traditions. It integrates the classic foundations of pastoral care with the latest approaches on spiritual care. It is specifically intended for professionals who work or spend time with congregants in acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities, rehabilitation centers and long-term care facilities.
Offering the latest theological perspectives and tools, along with basic theory and skills from the best pastoral and spiritual care texts, research and concepts, the contributors to this resource are experts in their fields, and include eight current or past presidents of the major chaplaincy organizations. Topics include:
* The Theology of Spiritual and Pastoral Care-- How do you create a theology to do spiritual/pastoral care?
* The Process of Spiritual and Pastoral Care--The general theory behind spiritual/pastoral care; caring reflective listening; aiding life review; chaplaining around end of life; conducting spiritual assessments; creating and implementing a pastoral plan; ethics.
* Spiritual/Pastoral Care with Special Populations and Their Needs--International cultures and immigrants, pediatrics, mental health, LGBT, disabled, palliative care with chronic illness, arrested and complicated grief.
* The Infrastructure of Spiritual and Pastoral Care--How to begin strategic planning, standards of care for all professional chaplains, quality assurance, quality improvement designing sacred spaces, cultural competencies.
The Dead Celebrity Cookbook
A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen
By Frank DeCaro
October 3, 2011 HCI
If you've ever fantasized about feasting on Frank Sinatra's Barbecued Lamb, lunching on Lucille Ball's "Chinese-y Thing," diving ever-so-neatly into Joan Crawford's Poached Salmon, or wrapping your lips around Rock Hudson's cannoli – and really, who hasn't? – hold on to your oven mitts!
In The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes by 150 Stars of Stage and Screen, Frank DeCaro—the flamboyantly funny Sirius XM radio personality best known for his six-and-a-half-year stint as the movie critic on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart—collects hundreds of recipes passed on from legendary stars of stage and screen, proving that before there were celebrity chefs, there were celebrities who fancied themselves chefs.
Their all-but-forgotten recipes—rescued from out-of-print cookbooks, musty biographies, vintage magazines, and dusty pamphlets—suggest a style of home entertaining ripe for reexamination if not revival, while reminding intrepid gourmands that, for better or worse, Hollywood doesn't make celebrities (or cooks) like it used to.
Elizabeth Taylor's Chicken with Avocado and Mushrooms
Farrah Fawcett's Sausage and Peppers
Liberace's Sticky Buns
Bette Davis's Red Flannel Hash
Bea Arthur's Good Morning Mushroom Tomato Toast
Dudley Moore's Crème Brûlée
Gypsy Rose Lee's Portuguese Fish Chowder
Andy Warhol's Ghoulish Goulash
Vincent Price's Pepper Steak
Lawrence Welk's Vegetable Croquettes
Jerry Orbach's Trifle
Totie Fields's Fruit Mellow
Sonny Bono's Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
And many others from breakfast to dessert.
Actually, the blurb above differs from the book I read. Here is my review
he first thing one notices is that each dead celebrity gets a short and sometimes cheeky bio, their birth and death years, and a page for their recipe(s). The second thing you may notice is that the author has organized the celebrities in a very funny and ingenious way: you have your talk show hosts (talk chews), your Star Trek characters, your character actors, the comedians, the sitcom stars, the rat packers, and more... much more. You really need this book if you plan to host an Oscars, Emmys or Mad Men viewing party. There is Jack Parr's clupp soup (I had never heard of clupp soup before), a caesar salad from Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson's whitefish w/ angel hair pasta, and Merv's stuffed "get a life" squash. Virginia Graham weighs in with coffee toffee pie. Batman guest stars get their own section with recipes from Eartha Kitt, Burgess Meredith, and Cesar Romero, just to name a few. Tammy Wynette, Peggy Lee, and Bobby Darin have nice meals; Lawrence Welk has a Lake Tahoe meatloaf, and Liberace has sticky buns.
Anne Bancroft's Che Cha Pasta is close to Bette Davis' Red Flannel Hash, Hepburn's brownies, and Joan Crawford's poached salmon. Edith Head has Chicken Casa Ladera, well dressed. Lucille Ball has six recipes, and James Coco has one: Stuffed Eggplant. Don Ho and Jack Lord give a tropical air to their foods, while Gene Roddenberry, deForest kelley and James Doohan reach for the stars. Are you surprised that Fred MacMurray of the MacMurray MTS method knows how to make a Flemish Pot Roast (did you expect Mac and Cheese?)? Sinatra, Martin, and Sammy have recipes, and Mister Eddie's father, Bill Bixby, has one, too. Truman Capote has fettuccine (did you expect breakfast near Tiffany's?) and Wayland Flower's has muffins that are not wooden. Andy Warhol has a recipe for stuffed cabbage, and it doesnt use Campbell's Tomato Soup. What is Charlton Heston doing with a Tuna Puff recipe? He is sandwiched in near Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter (no ape or chimp recipes). Bob Denver (not pot brownies) and Jim Backus are in there, as are Isabel Sanford and Mabel King. Paul Lynde has a Beef STew that could make it onto the Ed Sullivan show, and Buddy Hackett has chili. Rodney Dangerfield has a respectful chicken salad, and Sophie Tucker talks meatloaf. Fanny Brice makes a cake and Tote Field's does Mish Mosh. Jerry Orbach's pan friend steak is "fantasticks" and Gilda Radner provides a dutch apple cake. As for Bea Arthur, well you'll look that one up yourself. The list goes on and on and even if you never cook, the book is a fun and enlightening read.
Obama on the Couch
Inside the Mind of the President
by Justin A. Frank, MD
October 2011 FREE PRESS
In this follow-up to his bestseller “Bush on the Couch,” Dr. Frank analyzes the sometimes perplexing behavior of our current President, reaching conclusions that provide new ways of understanding Obama—certain to fascinate admirers and opponents alike. Even Barack Obama’s most fervent supporters must now face the reality that he hasn’t lived up to his idealistic campaign promises and concede that his performance as President has been marked by inconsistencies, frustrations, and disappointments. Why has there been such disconnect between Obama as candidate and as president? What drives his choices?
In Obama on the Couch, Dr. Frank—a highly respected, widely published expert on psychoanalysis and a practicing psychiatrist—uses applied psychoanalysis to illuminate aspects of Obama’s personality and behavior. He successfully employed this technique to explain and understand the behaviors of our previous president. Delving into the challenges of Obama’s past, especially his turbulent childhood, he illuminates the unconscious thought processes that influence the President’s behavior. Dr. Frank argues that some of Obama’s decisions—from his handling of health care reform to his selection and support of economic advisors—are motivated by inner forces and defenses that even the President himself doesn’t fully recognize. In particular, he focuses on the ways that Obama has undermined his and his party’s objectives by imposing his inner need for consensus upon the opposition, which has often resulted in weak or ineffective policies.
Intriguing and provocative, Obama on the Couch sheds light on a complicated man—his destructive tendencies and impressive strengths—drawing connections between past and present that can reframe recent history in revealing new ways, which may even help anticipate what Obama’s future—and the future of our nation—hold.
One question... is the cover rug supposed to be a vagina?
BLURB: “Dr. Justin Frank’s brilliant use of psychoanalytic categories to unravel the mystery and enigma of President Barack Obama should be read by every American. For years we have puzzled over how the president elected on a promise of ‘change we can believe in’ could have become the Democrat who capitulated to most Republican demands—while abandoning and denouncing his political base rather than fighting for the needs of the environment, the middle class, the poor, the immigrants, and the powerless. Obama on the Couch demonstrates why this pattern is for our president a necessary response to his own inner needs. Nuanced and measured, Dr. Frank’s book is a major contribution to contemporary political analysis.” - Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun magazine
PW writes: “Frank delves into Obama's youth--his reconciliation of his biracial identity, non-traditional upbringing, and travels--to paint a detailed portrait of a president who is charismatic, well-intentioned, and the ultimate consensus builder. The critical, though clearly liberal, Frank returns to key themes regarding race and Obama's relationship with his father, demonstrating how those factors have affected past policy decisions and will probably influence future ones, while also addressing the rise of the Tea Party, and his success in killing Osama Bin Laden. While the text becomes repetitive, it may satisfy readers curious about the psychology of their leadership”
BY SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE
October 2011 KNOPF
Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence.
How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women—kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores—who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient world of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia and Moshe Dayan.
Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime’s study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that many believe will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice—in heaven and on earth.
The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem
Palestinian Politics and the City since 1967
Routledge Studies on the Arab-Israeli Conflict
By Hillel Cohen, Hebrew University
This book examines Palestinian politics in Jerusalem since 1967, and in particular since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, focusing on the city’s decline as an Arab city and the identity crisis among the Jerusalemite Palestinians. Principally concerned with Palestinian politics and how they have evolved over time from the grass roots upwards, it covers issues such as the separation wall, military activity and terror, planning regulations, the joint Jewish-Arab struggle against the occupation, and efforts to remove Palestinians from the city.
Drawing upon conversations with hundreds of Palestinians – Islamists, nationalists, collaborationists, and a-political people – as well as upon military courts files and Palestinian writings, Hillel Cohen tells the story of the failure of the Palestinian struggle in Jerusalem in both its political and military dimensions. He points at the lack of leadership and at the identity crisis among Palestinian Jerusalemites which were created by Israeli policies (the separation wall, the closure of Palestinian institutions) and Palestinian faults (the exclusion of Jerusalem from the Palestinian Authority in Oslo Agreements, or the suicide attacks in the second Intifada).
Providing a broad overview of the contemporary situation and political relations both inside the Palestinian community and with the Israeli authorities, the book gives a unique insight into Palestinians' views, political behaviour, and daily life in Israel's capital. As such, it is an important addition to the literature on Palestinian politics, Jewish and Israeli studies, and Middle Eastern politics.
Seth Frantzman adds, “The Rise and Fall of Arab Jerusalem is an interesting and original study that is based on formidable research and also a deep knowledge of the people involved. Few if any other books on East Jerusalem examine the family and educational backgrounds of the Arab population and show such an understanding of the personal relationships between the individuals and events studied”
The Best Writing on Mathematics 2011
Edited by Mircea Pitici
November 2011 Princeton University Press
Mathematics instructor Pitici turns out a second volume of unexpectedly fascinating mathematical research, musings, and studies that explore subjects from art to medicine. Contributors include the expected cohort of mathematicians and mathematics professors, plus a smattering of representatives from other professions: English teacher, software engineer, sculptor, and creator of mechanical puzzles. Rather than filling pages with equations and obtuse proofs, the authors tackle subjects of interest to the mathematically-inclined, such as: the Rubik's cube and God's number; compressed sensing in magnetic resonance imaging; the prevalence of autism in the mathematically talented; and mathematics in the works of Escher. Topics in math education include advice to graduate students, improving mathematics comprehension via literacy, and nurturing the "yawp"--or creating a passion for mathematics. Several make the point that the purpose of learning mathematics isn't to recite tables or solve quadratic equations, but rather to learn the art of reasoning, which will help students succeed in any field. From a discussion of the utility of mathematics in stone and bronze sculptures to a study of computing and its interaction with the sciences to the use of algorithms in job markets, readers from many disciplines will find much to pique their interest.
WARRIORS OF GOD
Inside Hezbollah's Thirty-Year Struggle Against Israel
By Nicholas Blanford
October 2011 Random House
Hezbollah is the most powerful Islamist group operating in the Middle East today, and no other Western journalist has penetrated as deeply inside this secretive organization as Nicholas Blanford. Now Blanford has written the first comprehensive inside account of Hezbollah and its enduring struggle against Israel. Based on more than a decade and a half of reporting in Lebanon and conversations with Hezbollah’s determined fighters, Blanford reveals their ideology, motivations, and training, as well as new information on military tactics, weapons, and sophisticated electronic warfare and communications systems. Using exclusive sources and his own dogged investigative skills, Blanford traces Hezbollah’s extraordinary evolution—from a zealous group of raw fighters motivated by Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution into the most formidable non-state military organization in the world, whose charismatic leader vows to hasten Israel’s destruction. With dramatic eyewitness accounts, including Blanford’s own experiences of the battles, massacres, triumphs, and tragedies that have marked the conflict, the story follows the increasingly successful campaign of resistance that led to Israel’s historic withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Warriors of God shows how Hezbollah won hearts and minds with exhaustive social welfare programs and sophisticated propaganda skills. Blanford traces the group’s secret military build-up since 2000 and reveals the stunning scope of its underground network of tunnels and bunkers, becoming the only journalist to independently discover and explore them. With the Middle East fearful of another, even more destructive war between Lebanon and Israel, Blanford tenaciously pursues Hezbollah’s post-2006 battle plans in the Lebanese mountains, earning him newspaper scoops as well as a terrifying interrogation and a night in jail. Featuring sixteen years of probing interviews with Hezbollah’s leaders and fighters, Warriors of God is essential to understanding a key player in a region rocked by change and uncertainty.
Read an Excerpt in Foreign Policy Magazine -- CLICK HERE
HOW REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA BECAME A POST COLONIAL NATION
BY KARIANN AKEMI YOKOTA, Yale University
October 2011 Oxford University Press
I was attracted to this book, since it did not dawn on me that in 1776, Americans were British subjects and Anglophiles, and after the war, they had to become American, just as New Amsterdam'ians had to become New Yorkers, and how did Ottoman and other Jews become post colonial Israelis?
What can homespun cloth, stuffed birds, quince jelly, and ginseng reveal about the formation of early American national identity? In this wide-ranging and bold new interpretation of American history and its Founding Fathers, Kariann Akemi Yokota shows that political independence from Britain fueled anxieties among the Americans about their cultural inferiority and continuing dependence on the mother country.
Caught between their desire to emulate the mother country of Britain (American elites wanted Britishness) and an awareness that they lived an ocean away on the periphery of the known world, they went to great lengths to convince themselves and others of their refinement. Taking a transnational approach to American history, Yokota examines a wealth of evidence from geography, the decorative arts, intellectual history, science, and technology to underscore that the process of "unbecoming British" was not an easy one. Indeed, the new nation struggled to define itself economically, politically, and culturally in what could be called America's postcolonial period. Out of this confusion of hope and exploitation, insecurity and vision, a uniquely American identity emerged.
FEEDING THE DRAGON
A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes
By Mary Kate Tate and her brother Nate Tate
October 2011 Andrews McMeel
First of all.. whose parents name the Kate Tate and Nate Tate. No wonder they ran off to China.
Mary Kate and Nate, with rootsin Texas schools and some photo training at SVA in NYC, flew off to China and traveled, ate, hung out and blogged It is a recipe book for travel lovers, and a travel book for foodies. The pictures are great, the design is beautiful, the stories are authentic.. it is just brilliantly designed and executed in my opinion. The book is organized by area (Beijing, Hong King, Shanghai, Tibet, Fujian, etc). Each section is filled with insights and stories, and each recipe starts with a story and the items Chinese characters.
Some of the recipes are the following:
For Beijing: Hot and Sour Soup, but tofu replaces the pork; bread bun dessert, which explains why items are steamed in China and not oven baked; Peking Duck (of course); JiaZi Dumplings (family dumplings); Comfort Beef Noodle Soup; Jianbing Crepes (the egg mcMao’s of China); Hunan style Hong Shao Pork (Mao’s favorite); Stir Fry Potato and Peppers (Since Beijing is on the same latitude as Philadelphia, potatoes and peppers make you want a cheesesteak); and Mongolian Hot Pot. For Shanghai, the authors start with Shanghai cocktail of gin, champagne, lemon juice, green tea, rose water, milk, honey, and cucumber shavings. Some other recipes are Guotie Pot Stickers, fried noodles, ma la crawfish, soup dumplings, tea eggs, Yangzhou fried rice, youtiao fried dough sticks (uses powdered Alum), and a soy sauce chicken that uses soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, cinnamon, brown sugar, and onions.
In Fujian, the duo sample sha cha noodles; radish and baby corn quick pickles; Popiah Rolls a la Zhong Shon Street in Xiamen; a farmhouse ginger, onion, and tomato omelet that they tried in a Hakka village in Yongding; Ginger Steamed Fish; and Peanut Pork Chop Soup. Some items from Hong Kong are milk tea; congee; mango pudding; Coca Cola chicken wings; hot ginger lemon Coke; and Chicken Lettuce Cups. One stand out item from Macau is African Chicken. In Yunnan, they experience Dai Tomato Mint Salad in Jinghong, Dai Banana Lead Fish in Xishuangbanna; and Crossing The Bridge Noodle in Kunming (Mushrooms, chicken stock, mussels, calamari, seafood, rice wine, prosciutto, spinach and more). Xinjiang has lamb kabobs; Uigher Roast Chicken; Kashgar Onion Sald; Uigher Polo Carrot Salad; Laghman Noodles in Tomato Sauce; and a Tangy Chickpea Salad. Sichuan was hot. The authors include Sichuan recipes for green beans (hot); Bang Bang Chicken (cuz you pound it down with a bang stick); Fish Fragrant Eggplant; Kung Pao Chicken; and Dan Dan Noodles (cuz they were carried on ‘Dan’ poles). There are many other areas, many other recipes. It is truly one of the most enjoyable travel slash photography slash cookbooks I have experienced.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
By Daniel Kahneman
October 25, 2011 FS&G
Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields—including economics, medicine, and politics—but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book. In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.
Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University and a professor of public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work with Amos Tversky on decision-making. Daniel Kahneman was born in Tel Aviv in 1934, while his mother was visiting Palestine. He spent his childhood in Paris, France (his parents had emigrated from Lithuania in the early 1920s). They survived WW2 by hiding, and moved to the British Mandate for Palestine in early 1948. He graduated from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1954 and worked as a psychologist for the IDF before embarking on higher degrees and an academic career.
Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?
What It Means to Be Black Now
With a Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson
2011 Free Press
There is a grotesque anecdote from decades ago about how Jewish people would cross the street to avoid a black person. I suppose they feared Blackness. But “Who Is Afraid of Post Blackness” ?
There are 40 million black people in America and 40 million and one way to be Black. Touré, a journalist with a single name, tackles what it means to be Black in America today. Hé begins by examining the concept of “Post-Blackness,” a term that defines artists who are proud to be Black but don't want to be limited by identity politics and boxed in by race. He soon discovers that the desire to be rooted in but not constrained by Blackness is everywhere. In Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? hé argues that Blackness is infinite, that any identity imaginable is Black, and that all expressions of Blackness are legitimate.
Touré shares intimate stories of how race and racial expectations have shaped his life and explores how the concept of Post-Blackness functions in politics, society, psychology, art, culture, and more. 105 others contribute to the story, including Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Eric Dyson, Harold Ford Jr., Paul Mooney, David Paterson, Aaron McGruder, Soledad O'Brien, and many others. The publisher reports that Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness will change how we perceive race forever.
In a review of the book in The New York Times, Orlando Patterson wrotes that, “…Less metaphysical accounts of what constitutes post-black identity turn out to be nothing more than the shared experience of living with, and overcoming, lingering old-fashioned racism, of learning to ignore the white gaze, along with the added burden of disregarding the censoring black one. This sounds remarkably like a black version of what Alan Dershowitz calls “the Tsuris Theory of Jewish Survival,” in which assimilated American Jews desperately need external troubles and imagined enemies to maintain their identity. Touré is at his best in his finely delineated observations of the joys and dangers of post-blackness, whether it is being lived or being staged. He offers a wickedly funny account of a performance piece by the artist William Pope.L, some of whose “best-known projects are his crawls, where he dons a business suit and crawls on hands and knees through miles of Manhattan.” During one such performance, in Tompkins Square Park, an older black man accosts a white man who is videotaping Pope.L, thinking that the videographer is humiliating a homeless brother. “What are you doing showing black people like this?” Pope.L tries to explain: “I’m working. . . . I create symbolic acts.” There is generational bewilderment: “What is a symbolic act? Crawling up to the white man, or what?!”
Truth and Consequences
Life Inside the Madoff Family
By Laurie Sandell
October 31, 2011 Little Brown
Is it surprising that the book is released on Halloween?
Do you really believe they tried to kill themselves with an Ambien?
I highly doubt this is a “Greek Tragedy”… it was criminality
Here is the cover blurb from the publisher: In December 2008, the world watched as master financier Bernard L. Madoff was taken away from his posh Manhattan apartment in handcuffs, accused of swindling thousands of innocent victims—including friends and family—out of billions of dollars in the world’s largest Ponzi scheme. Madoff went to jail; he will spend the rest of his life there. But what happened to his devoted wife and sons? The people closest to him, the public reasoned, must have known the truth behind his astounding success. Had they been tricked, too? With unprecedented access to the surviving family members—wife Ruth, son Andrew and his fiancée Catherine Hooper—journalist Laurie Sandell reveals the personal details behind the headlines. How did Andrew and Mark, the sons who’d spent their lives believing in and building their own families around their father’s business first learn of the massive deception? How does a wife, who adored her husband since they were teenagers, begin to understand the ramifications of his actions? The Madoffs were a tight-knit—even claustrophobic—clan, sticking together through marriages, divorces, and illnesses. But the pressures of enduring the massive scandal push them to their breaking points, most of all son Mark, whose suicide is one of the many tragedies that grew in the wake of the scandal. Muzzled by lawyers, vilified by the media and roundly condemned by the public, the Madoffs have chosen to keep their silence—until now. Ultimately, theirs is one of the most riveting stories of our time: a modern-day Greek tragedy about money, power, lies, family, truth and consequences.
By Debbie Nathan
October 2011 Free Press
Before Sybil was published, there had been fewer than 200 known cases of MPD; within just a few years after, more than 40,000 people would be diagnosed with it.
Sybil, the book, sold millions of copies in 1973, mostly to women, at a t mie when more women were entering the workplace and being workers and homemakers simultaneously. The patient, “Sybil,” of the book and film (with Field and Woodward) was mentally ill for many years, craved love, and was highly susceptible to suggestion. The author of this book states that her physician craved a patient with Multiple Personality Disorder, even though it is extremely!!!! Rare. Her co-author wanted to write a best seller about a hot issue. All these forces came together in this multiple personality issue DECEPTION.
In Sybil Exposed, Yiddish translator and Texas journalist Debbie Nathan gives proof that the Sybil story was largely fabricated. The actual identity of Sybil (Shirley Mason) has been available for some years, as has the idea that the book might have been exaggerated. But in Sybil Exposed, Nathan reveals what really powered the legend: a trio of women—the willing patient, her ambitious shrink, and the imaginative journalist who spun their story into bestseller gold.
From horrendously irresponsible therapeutic practices — Sybil’s psychiatrist often brought an electroshock machine to Sybil’s apartment and climbed into bed with her while administering the treatment — to calculated business decisions (under an entity they named Sybil, Inc., the women signed a contract designating a three-way split of profits from the book and its spin-offs, including board games, tee shirts, and dolls), the story Nathan unfurls is full of over-the-top behavior. Sybil’s psychiatrist, driven by undisciplined idealism and galloping professional ambition, subjected the young woman to years of antipsychotics, psychedelics, uppers, and downers, including an untold number of injections with Pentothal, once known as “truth serum” but now widely recognized to provoke fantasies. It was during these “treatments” that Sybil produced rambling, garbled, and probably “false-memory”–based narratives of the hideous child abuse that her psychiatrist said caused her MPD. Sybil Exposed uses investigative journalism to tell a fascinating tale that reads like fiction but is fact. Nathan has followed an enormous trail of papers, records, photos, and tapes to unearth the lives and passions of these three women. The Sybil archive became available to the public only recently, and Nathan is the first person to have examined all of it and to provide proof that the story was an elaborate fraud—albeit one that the perpetrators may have half-believed.
Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin
Forty Years of Funny Stuff
By Calvin Trillin
Fall 2011 Random House
For at least forty years, Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels like Tepper Isn’t Going Out, in books chronicling his adventures as a happy eater, and in the column USA Today called “simply the funniest regular column in journalism.” He is a fan of Russ & Daughters for Aappetizing on East Houston Street, and I once saw him judge a latka contest at a synagogue. Now Trillin selects the best of his funny stuff and organizes it into topics like high finance (“My long-term investment strategy has been criticized as being entirely too dependent on Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes”) and the literary life (“The average shelf life of a book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.”)
In Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, the author deals with such subjects as the horrors of witnessing a voodoo economics ceremony and the mystery of how his mother managed for thirty years to feed her family nothing but leftovers (“We have a team of anthropologists in there now looking for the original meal”) and the true story behind the Shoe Bomber: “The one terrorist in England with a sense of humor, a man known as Khalid the Droll, had said to the cell, ‘I bet I can get them all to take off their shoes in airports.’ ” He remembers Sarah Palin with a poem called “On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok” and John Edwards with one called “Yes, I Know He’s a Mill Worker’s Son, but There’s Hollywood in That Hair.”
Why Trilling Matters
By Adam Kirsch
Fall 2011 Yale University Press
Lionel Trilling, regarded at the time of his death in 1975 as America’s preeminent literary critic, is today often seen as a relic of a vanished era. His was an age when literary criticism and ideas seemed to matter profoundly in the intellectual life of the country. In this eloquent book, Adam Kirsch shows that Trilling, far from being obsolete, is essential to understanding our current crisis of literary confidence—and to overcoming it.
By reading Trilling primarily as a writer and thinker, Kirsch demonstrates how Trilling’s original and moving work continues to provide an inspiring example of a mind creating itself through its encounters with texts. Why Trilling Matters introduces all of Trilling’s major writings and situates him in the intellectual landscape of his century, from Communism in the 1930s to neoconservatism in the 1970s. But Kirsch goes deeper, addressing today’s concerns about the decline of literature, reading, and even the book itself, and finds that Trilling has more to teach us now than ever before. As Kirsch writes, “Trilling’s essays are not exactly literary criticism” but, like all literature, “ends in themselves.”
Writing for the Jewish Book Council, Alan Cooper wrote. “As a boy in shul, [Trilling] had pondered not the prayers, but the Pirke Avoth, which he would later incorporate into his essay “Wordsworth and the Rabbis” (1950). As a young man he had leaned toward communism, but recoiled from its political excesses; he plumbed Freud, who appreciated poetry as a medium of thought, and learned that non-utopian civilization required a chastening of urges, at the price of discontent, which could be wrestled with in literature and life. As a literary critic it was not the liberal intellect that Trilling probed—this was evident all around him and surely embedded in the prevailing readership—but The Liberal Imagination (1950). What made Huck Finn shun ritual civility for the peace of the river, what made Wordsworth seek in nature a “wise passiveness,” what fascinated the weak-eyed Jewish Isaac Babel about Cossack brutality could make the reader question his own moral and political assumptions without reading lectures on politics. Trilling died eleven years after the political routing of Goldwater and five years before the ascendancy of Reagan, believing that conservatism was a lurking but humanely bankrupt alternative to the liberal spirit, but one that could rear its head as it had in Europe if liberals did not constantly challenge themselves. As for Trilling’s Jewishness, after it nearly cost him his appointment in the all-gentile Columbia University English department, he wore it openly though lightly. But his doctrinal faiths, both in Judaism and in Marxism, gave over to a humanistic faith, connecting Arnold and Freud, that saw this life as the only life; saw human aging not only as loss, but as fulfillment “[i]In the faith that looks through death” by “an eye / That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;” (Wordsworth, “The Immortality Ode,” reevaluated in The Liberal Imagination); saw in Keats’s letters, human life not as “a vale of tears” but as “a vale of soul making” that “school[s] an intelligence and makes it a soul” (“The Poet as Hero: Keats in His Letters”). For Keats’s soul read self, immortal only in what it leaves as a contribution to life on earth. Our age, flitting from likes to dislikes, has lost this spirit of criticism. That’s why Trilling matters. Adam Kirsch has brought him back to us with a balance that his subject would appreciate”
Suicide of a Superpower
Will America Survive to 2025
2011 Thomas Dunne
A Jewish book?
But in it, the one-time GOP Presidential candidate and columnist/pundit criticizes the “elites” who are destroying the character of the USA.
Elites is code.
Buchanan, who has written about the Death of the West, and the coming Reckoning, traces the disintegration of the USA to three historic changes:
America’s loss of her cradle faith, Christianity;
the moral, social, and cultural collapse that have followed from that loss;
and the slow death of the people who created and ruled the nation.
America was born a Western Christian republic, writes Buchanan, but is being transformed into a multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic stew of a nation that has no successful precedent in the history of the world.
How certain people are killing the country they profess to love, and the fate that awaits America if it does not turn around, is what Suicide of a Superpower is about.
Pulp and Paper
Iowa Short Fiction Award
By Josh Rolnick
October 2011 Iowa
“I glanced out the window as my train pulled into the station and saw the girl who killed my son.” So begins Josh Rolnick’s powerful debut collection of eight stories, which utilizes a richly focused narrative style accenting the unavoidable tragedies of life while revealing the grace and dignity with which people learn to deal with them. The stories—four set in New Jersey and four in New York—span the wide geographic tapestry of the area and demonstrate the interconnectedness of both the neighboring states and the residents who inhabit them.
In “Funnyboy,” a grief-stricken Levi Stern struggles to come to terms with the banality of his son’s accidental death at the hands of Missy Jones, high school cheerleader. In “Pulp and Paper,” two neighbors, Gail Denny and Avery Mayberry, attempt to escape a toxic spill resulting from a train derailment when a moment of compassion alters both their futures forever. “Innkeeping” features a teenager’s simmering resentment toward the burgeoning relationship between his widowed mother and a long-term hotel guest. “The Herald” introduces us to Dale, a devoted reporter on a small-town newspaper, desperately striving to break a big-time story to salvage his career and his ego. A teenager deals with the inconceivable results of his innocent act before an ice hockey game in “Big Lake.” And in “The Carousel,” a Coney Island carousel operator confronts the fading memories of a world that once overflowed with grandeur and promise. Throughout, Rolnick’s characters search for a firm footing while wrestling with life’s hardships, finding hope and redemption in the simple yet uncommon willingness to act.
Pulp and Paper captures lightning in a bottle, excavating the smallest steps people take to move beyond grief, heartbreak, and failure—conjuring the subtle, fragile moments when people are not yet whole, but no longer quite as broken.
In the King's Arms
By Sonia Taitz
October 2011 McWitty
Lily Taub is the brilliant, beautiful and headstrong American daughter of Holocaust survivors. Seeking relief from their traumatized world, Lily escapes to Oxford University, where she meets Julian Aiken — black sheep of an aristocratic English family. When Lily is invited to the family’s ancestral home over Christmas vacation, her deepening romance with young Julian is crossed by a shocking accident that affects them all. Julian must face the harsh disapproval of his anti-Semitic family, who consider Lily a destructive force, not only in Julian’s life, but to their own sense of order. In the King's Arms is a lyrical, literary novel about the healing possibility of love.
Click the cover to learn more
The Muse of Ocean Parkway and Other Stories
(Many Voices Project)
By Jacob Lampart
October 2011 New Rivers Press
The Muse of Ocean Parkway and Other Stories explores difficulties Jews face while trying to balance their religious practices with the fast-paced, modern society of New York City. Their lives captured in moments of crisis, Jacob Lampart's protagonists range from an artist attempting to escape obscurity to a mother struggling to decide how to raise her adopted Chinese daughter. Polish born (but he came to Brooklyn at age 4) Jacob Lampart, 65, has lived in Israel since the 1980s, dividing his time annually between Jerusalem and Brooklyn, New York.
Not since The Magic Barrel have I read a short story collection that delivers such lacerating wit and tempered realism. Jacob Lampart's stories about New York literary life and the Jewish American experience awaken memories of early Philip Roth and forever Bernard Malamud." —C. Michael Curtis, fiction editor, The Atlantic
“…Most of Lampart’s stories include aspects of the rituals and laws of Orthodox Jews. In "New Stoned City," a thirty-year-old drug addict returns to New York for Passover with his mother. Lampart contrasts his physical being, “eyes red from a long sleepless night, skin crawling with imaginary bugs, his tongue a slab of raw liver” with his seventy-two-year-old mother who is “in the bloom of health...When she walks, she and her body are on excellent terms.” She is concerned with getting her house kosher enough for Pesach while her son is only concerned with how soon the Seder can be done with so he can get his next hit. The ending delivers a kind of accidental justice to both of them…” - Eleanor Ehrenkranz
NOVEMBER 2011 BOOKS
One Hundred Great Jewish Books
Three Millennia of Jewish Conversation
By Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, HUC JIR
November 2011 Bluebridge
Over many centuries, Judaism has consistently demonstrated a particular fondness for books and literacy, and this guide allows readers to listen in on the Jewish conversation across many centuries—from the Hebrew Bible and the rabbinic masterpieces to the pressing subjects of the early 21st century. It introduces great works of biography, spirituality, theology, poetry, fiction, history, and political theory. With a special focus on modern American Jewish life and the two core events of contemporary Jewish history—the Holocaust and the founding of the State of Israel—this overview guides readers to books espousing virtually all types of historic and modern Judaic expression. Each of the chronologically arranged entries examines one title within its historical context, provides information about the author, and gives a clear and focused summary of its content.
THE UNMAKING OF ISRAEL
BY Gershom Gorenberg
November 2011 Harper
Gorenberg is the author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount
Read an interview with the author at:
“Until I read The Unmaking of Israel, I didn’t think it could be possible to feel more despairing, and then more terribly hopeful, about Israel, a place that I began at last, under the spell of Gershom Gorenberg’s lucid and dispassionate yet intensely personal writing, to understand.” (Michael Chabon)
In this penetrating and provocative look at the state of contemporary Israel, acclaimed Israeli historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg reveals how the nation’s policies are undermining its democracy and existence as a Jewish state, and explains what must be done to bring it back from the brink. Refuting shrill defenses of Israel and equally strident attacks, Gorenberg shows that the Jewish state is, in fact, unique among countries born in the postcolonial era: It began as a parliamentary democracy and has remained one. An activist judiciary has established civil rights. Despite discrimination against its Arab minority, Israel has given a political voice to everyone within its borders.
Yet shortsighted policies, unintended consequences, and the refusal to heed warnings now threaten those accomplishments. By keeping the territories it occupied in the Six-Day War, Israel has crippled its democracy and the rule of law. The unholy ties between state, settlement, and synagogue have promoted a new brand of extremism, transforming Judaism from a humanistic to a militant faith. And the religious right is rapidly gaining power within the Israeli army, with possibly catastrophic consequences.
In order to save itself, Gorenberg argues, Israel must end the occupation, separate state from religion, and create a new civil Israeli identity that can be shared by Jews and Arabs. Based on groundbreaking historical research—including documents released through the author’s Israeli Supreme Court challenge to military secrecy—and on a quarter century of experience reporting in the region, The Unmaking of Israel is a brilliant, deeply personal critique by a progressive Israeli, and a plea for realizing the nation’s potential.
A Philosophical Novel
By Joshua Golding
November 2011 URIM
David Goldstein is a fairly typical Jewish American college student. All he really knows about his Jewish identity is that he's expected to marry a Jewish girl and that the State of Israel is important, but that's about it.
In his freshman year he develops a passionate interest not only in a beautiful and brainy non-Jewish student, but also in some of the major philosophical questions. Is the purpose of life just to seek pleasure? Is there an objectively good way to live one's life? He also likes a cigarette or two
In his sophomore year, as his romantic life takes several twists and turns, David delves into Judaism and the philosophy of religion. Is the belief in God rational or is it a matter of faith? If there is a God, why is there evil and suffering in the world? How do Jewish teachings differ from Eastern mystical religions? Why don't Jews accept Christianity? Soon, a disturbing personal event in his life propels him toward even deeper reflection.
In his junior year, a chance meeting draws him into the study of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. Finally, in his senior year, he charts his own path and comes to a conclusion that will shape his life forever.
David's four-year journey takes him through a series of conversations with rabbis and professors, bull sessions with friends, emails, phone calls, letters, journal entries, exams, term papers, lectures, and even a Talmud study session. Follow David on this philosophical, spiritual, and intensely personal quest as he learns about God and Judaism as well as a few other things along the way.
The author is a Professor of Philosophy in Kentucky. He is also a rabbi and graduate of Yeshivat Sulam Yaakov in Jerusalem. He is a past employee of the Universities of Haifa and Notre Dame.
A Train in Winter
An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France
By Caroline Moorehead
November 2011 HarperCollins
They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycÉe; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers. Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie. In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.
A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring
My Long Trip Home
A Family Memoir
By Mark Whitaker (Managing Editor, CNN Worldwide)
Fall 2011 Simon and Schuster
In a dramatic, moving work of historical reporting and personal discovery, Mark Whitaker, award-winning journalist, sets out to trace the story of what happened to his parents, a fascinating but star-crossed interracial couple, and arrives at a new understanding of the family dramas that shaped their lives—and his own.
His father, “Syl” Whitaker, was the charismatic grandson of slaves who grew up the child of black undertakers from Pittsburgh and went on to become a groundbreaking scholar of Africa.
His mother, Jeanne Theis, was a shy World War II refugee from France whose father, a Huguenot pastor, helped hide thousands of Jews from the Nazis and Vichy police. A film was made on his heroic acts
Jeanne and Syl met in the mid-1950s, when he was a college student and she was his professor, and they carried on a secret romance for more than a year before marrying and having two boys. Eventually they split in a bitter divorce that was followed by decades of unhappiness as his mother coped with self-recrimination and depression while trying to raise her interracial sons by herself as a single parent, and his father spiraled into an alcoholic descent that destroyed his once meteoric career.
Based on extensive interviews and documentary research as well as his own personal recollections and insights, My Long Trip Home is a reporter’s search for the factual and emotional truth about a complicated and compelling family, a successful adult’s exploration of how he rose from a turbulent childhood to a groundbreaking career, and, ultimately, a son’s haunting meditation on the nature of love, loss, identity, and forgiveness.
ENCOUNTERING JEWISH RUINS
IN POSTWAR GERMANY AND POLAND
BY MICHAEL MENG, Clemson Univ
November 2011 Harvard University Press
After the Holocaust, the empty, silent spaces of bombed-out synagogues, cemeteries, and Jewish districts were all that was left in many German and Polish cities with prewar histories rich in the sights and sounds of Jewish life. What happened to this scarred landscape after the war, and how have Germans, Poles, and Jews encountered these ruins over the past sixty years?
In the postwar period, city officials swept away many sites, despite protests from Jewish leaders. But in the late 1970s church groups, local residents, political dissidents, and tourists demanded the preservation of the few ruins still standing. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, this desire to preserve and restore has grown stronger. In one of the most striking and little-studied shifts in postwar European history, the traces of a long-neglected Jewish past have gradually been recovered, thanks to the rise of heritage tourism, nostalgia for ruins, international discussions about the Holocaust, and a pervasive longing for cosmopolitanism in a globalizing world.
Examining this transformation from both sides of the Iron Curtain, Michael Meng finds no divided memory along West-East lines, but rather a shared memory of tensions and paradoxes that crosses borders throughout Central Europe. His narrative reveals the changing dynamics of the local and the transnational, as Germans, Poles, Americans, and Israelis confront a built environment that is inevitably altered with the passage of time. Shattered Spaces exemplifies urban history at its best, uncovering a surprising and moving postwar story of broad contemporary interest.
The People of the Book
Philosemitism in England, From Cromwell to Churchill
By Gertrude Himmelfarb (CUNY, Professor Emeritus)
November 2011 Encounter
The history of Judaism has for too long been dominated by the theme of antisemitism, reducing Judaism to the recurrent saga of persecution and the struggle for survival. The history of philosemitism provides a corrective to that abysmal view, a reminder of the venerable religion and people that have been an inspiration for non-Jews as well as Jews.
There is a poetic justice – or historic justice – in the fact that England, the first country to expel the Jews in medieval times, has produced the richest literature of philosemitism in modern times.
From Cromwell supporting the readmission of the Jews in the 17th century, to Macaulay arguing for the admission of Jews as Members of Parliament in the 19th century, to Churchill urging the recognition of the state of Israel in the 20th, some of England's most eminent writers and statesmen have paid tribute to Jews and Judaism. Their speeches and writing are powerfully resonant today. As are novels by Walter Scott, Disraeli, and George Eliot, which anticipate Zionism well before the emergence of that movement and look forward to the state of Israel, not as a refuge for the persecuted, but as a "homeland" rooted in Jewish history.
A recent history of antisemitism in England regretfully observes that English philosemitism is "a past glory." This book may recall England – and not only England – to that past glory and inspire other countries to emulate it. It may also reaffirm Jews in their own faith and aspirations.
Jews and the Civil War
Edited by Adam Mendelsohn and Jonathan Sarna
Spring 2011 NYU Press
At least 8,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. A few served together in Jewish companies while most fought alongside Christian comrades. Yet even as they stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” on the front lines, they encountered unique challenges. In Jews and the Civil War, Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn assemble for the first time the foremost scholarship on Jews and the Civil War, little known even to specialists in the field. These accessible and far-ranging essays from top scholars are grouped into seven thematic sections—Jews and Slavery, Jews and Abolition, Rabbis and the March to War, Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War, The Home Front, Jews as a Class, and Aftermath—each with an introduction by the editors. Together they reappraise the impact of the war on Jews in the North and the South, offering a rich and fascinating portrait of the experience of Jewish soldiers and civilians from the home front to the battle front.
The Jewish Dark Continent
Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement
by Nathaniel Deutsch
November 2011 Harvard University Press
At the turn of the twentieth century, over forty percent of the world’s Jews lived within the Russian Empire, almost all in the Pale of Settlement. From the Baltic to the Black Sea, the Jews of the Pale created a distinctive way of life little known beyond its borders. This led the historian Simon Dubnow to label the territory a Jewish “Dark Continent.”
Just before World War I, a socialist revolutionary and aspiring ethnographer named An-sky pledged to explore the Pale. He dreamed of leading an ethnographic expedition that would produce an archive—what he called an Oral Torah of the common people rather than the rabbinic elite—which would preserve Jewish traditions and transform them into the seeds of a modern Jewish culture. Between 1912 and 1914, An-sky and his team collected jokes, recorded songs, took thousands of photographs, and created a massive ethnographic questionnaire. Consisting of 2,087 questions in Yiddish—exploring the gamut of Jewish folk beliefs and traditions, from everyday activities to spiritual exercises to marital intimacies—the Jewish Ethnographic Program constitutes an invaluable portrait of Eastern European Jewish life on the brink of destruction.
Nathaniel Deutsch offers the first complete translation of the questionnaire, as well as the riveting story of An-sky’s almost messianic efforts to create a Jewish ethnography in an era of revolutionary change. An-sky’s project was halted by World War I, and within a few years the Pale of Settlement would no longer exist. These survey questions revive and reveal shtetl life in all its wonder and complexity..
A MUSIC CD
By 3 COHENS
Fall 2011 (Anzic)
The NYT writes, “The title of the new album by the 3 Cohens carries two meanings, one literal and obvious and the other more metaphorical (but still pretty obvious). “Family,” also the name of one of the album’s more reflective tunes, refers to the bonds of siblinghood between the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, the trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen. The word also applies broadly to a constituency: the family of jazz, as it were. That might even be the connotation that matters most. On their previous two albums, the Cohens put a primary emphasis on front-line intuition, often casting their lines in tight, tangled counterpoint. (One of those albums was meaningfully titled “Braid.”) They haven’t abandoned this device: it crops up in stretches of “Shufla De Shufla,” a swaggering opener by Avishai, and “Rhapsody in Blake,” a carbonated swinger by Yuval. But the seamlessness of the interplay is no longer a point to be proven for this band; “Family” concerns itself more avidly with jazz’s customs and canon. It’s meant for anyone who appreciates bright and buoyant solos over percolating rhythm. (The rhythm section is superb: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums.) But the album feels aimed especially at those who understand its context — who recognize “Rhapsody in Blake,” for instance, as a boppish embroidery of the jazz standard “I Hear a Rhapsody.” …
11/22/63: A Novel
By Stephen King
Fall 2011 (Scribner)
SOME SAY IT IS KING’S BEST
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.
Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.
Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best.
War & Love, Love & War
New and Selected Poems
By Aharon Shabtai. Translated by Peter Cole
New Directions reprint
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.
A rich, far-ranging, powerful selection of a lifetime’s work by the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, “one of the most exciting writers working in Hebrew today” (Ha’aretz).
“one of the most exciting poets writing anywhere, and certainly the most audacious.”
THE UNTRIVIAL PURSUIT
BY JOSEPH EPSTEIN
November 2011 Houghton Mifflin
A dishy, incisive exploration of gossip — from celebrity rumors to literary romans à clef, personal sniping to political slander — by one our “great essayists” (David Brooks)
To his successful examinations of some of the most powerful forces in modern life — envy, ambition, snobbery, friendship — the keen observer and critic Joseph Epstein now adds Gossip. No trivial matter, despite its reputation, gossip, he argues, is an eternal and necessary human enterprise. Proving that he himself is a master of the art, Epstein serves up delightful mini-biographies of the Great Gossips of the Western World along with many choice bits from his own experience. He also makes a powerful case that gossip has morphed from its old-fashioned best — clever, mocking, a great private pleasure — to a corrosive new-school version, thanks to the reach of the mass media and the Internet. Gossip has invaded and changed for the worse politics and journalism, causing unsubstantiated information to be presented as fact. Contemporary gossip claims to reveal truth, but as Epstein shows, it’s our belief in truth that gossip today threatens to undermine and destroy.
Written in his trademark erudite and witty style, Gossip captures the complexity of this immensely entertaining subject.
HAMLET’S ARAB JOURNEY
Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s ghost
By Margaret Litvin, Boston University
Fall 2011 Princeton University Press
For the past five decades, Arab intellectuals have seen themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet: their times "out of joint," their political hopes frustrated by a corrupt older generation. Hamlet's Arab Journey traces the uses of Hamlet in Arabic theatre and political rhetoric, and asks how Shakespeare's play developed into a musical with a happy ending in 1901 and grew to become the most obsessively quoted literary work in Arab politics today. Explaining the Arab Hamlet tradition, Margaret Litvin also illuminates the "to be or not to be" politics that have turned Shakespeare's tragedy into the essential Arab political text, cited by Arab liberals, nationalists, and Islamists alike. On the Arab stage, Hamlet has been an operetta hero, a firebrand revolutionary, and a muzzled dissident. Analyzing productions from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait, Litvin follows the distinct phases of Hamlet's naturalization as an Arab. Her fine-grained theatre history uses personal interviews as well as scripts and videos, reviews, and detailed comparisons with French and Russian Hamlets. The result shows Arab theatre in a new light. Litvin identifies the French source of the earliest Arabic Hamlet, shows the outsize influence of Soviet and East European Shakespeare, and explores the deep cultural link between Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and the ghost of Hamlet's father. Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, Hamlet's Arab Journey represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.
JEWISH MYSTICISM AND KABBALAH
NEW INSIGHTS AND SCHOLARSHIP
Edited by Frederick Greenspahn
November 2011 NYU Press
Over the past generation, scholars have devoted increasing attention to the diverse forms that Jewish mysticism has taken both in the past and today: what was once called “nonsense” by Jewish scholars has generated important research and attention both within the academy and beyond, as demonstrated by the popular fascination with figures such as Madonna and Demi Moore and the growing interest in spirituality.
In Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, leading experts introduce the history of this scholarship as well as the most recent insights and debates that currently animate the field in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. From mystical outpourings in ancient Palestine to the Kabbalah Centre, and from attitudes towards gender to mystical contributions to Jewish messianic movements, this volume explores the various expressions of Jewish mysticism from antiquity to the present day in an engaging style appropriate for students and non-specialists alike.
The Jewish Annotated New Testament
Edited By Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler
November 2011, Oxford
Although major New Testament figures--Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene--were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew--until now.
In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt) and Marc Z. Brettler (Brandeis) put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences. And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years.
An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation. They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament's meaning and significance. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics--Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others--bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and "original sin."
For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.
The Unknown Stories Behind Familiar Legal Expressions
Yale Law Library Series in Legal History and Reference
By James E. Clapp, Elizabeth G. Thornburg, Marc Galanter, Fred R. Shapiro
November 2011 YALE
Know a Jewish lawyer?
Understand their words when they speak in conversation or meetings
Law-related words and phrases abound in our everyday language, often without our being aware of their origins or their particular legal significance: boilerplate, jailbait, pound of flesh, rainmaker, the third degree.
This insightful and entertaining book reveals the unknown stories behind familiar legal expressions that come from sources as diverse as Shakespeare, vaudeville, and Dr. Seuss. Separate entries for each expression follow no prescribed formula but instead focus on the most interesting, enlightening, and surprising aspects of the words and their evolution. Popular myths and misunderstandings are explored and exploded, and the entries are augmented with historical images and humorous sidebars.
Lively and unexpected, Lawtalk will draw a diverse array of readers with its abundance of linguistic, legal, historical, and cultural information. Those readers should be forewarned: upon finishing one entry, there is an irresistible temptation to turn to another, and yet another
The Last Testament
By God with David Javerbaum
November 2011 Simon and Schuster
Over the course of his long and distinguished career, god has literally seen it all. And not just seen. In fact, the multi-talented deity has played a pivotal role in many major events, including the Creation of the universe, the entirety of world history, the life of every human being who has ever lived, and the successful transitioning of American Idol into the post–Simon Cowell era.
Now, as the earth he has godded so magnificently draws to a Mayan-induced close, God breaks his 1,400-year literary silence with his final masterpiece, The Last Testament. As dictated to his mortal amanuensis, 11-time Emmy Award–winning comedy writer David Javerbaum, God looks back with unprecedented candor on his time in the public sector. He takes us behind the scenes of Genesis, setting the record (un)straight on the real first couple, Adam and Steve, and challenging long-held notions about the viability of containing a phylogenetically complete double bestiary within a 450,000-cubic-cubit watercraft. For the first time, he breaks his silence on Jesus Christ, shedding light on a father-son relationship as heartwarming as Will and Jaden Smith’s. And he reveals his true feelings about his third great faith, Islam, WHICH ARE NOTHING BUT POSITIVE AND RESPECTFUL.
On Celebrities: They are my Chosen people. So Are The Jews, but there is a lot of overlap.
ISRAEL VS. IRAN
THE SHADOW WAR
By Yaakov Katz and Yoaz Hendel
November 2011 Potomac Books
Few armed forces or espionage services in the world attract as much interest and admiration as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Mossad intelligence agency. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel has been preparing for possibly the most complex and dramatic challenge it has faced in sixty years—a nuclear-armed Iran. Israel vs. Iran outlines the choices Israel must face: launch a military strike, which could lead to an all-out regional war, or tacitly accept a nuclear Iran, which would lead to a new balance of power in the Middle East. In 2011, Israel appears closer than ever to making a decision. Drawing on in-depth research and invaluable access to the Israeli defense establishment, Yaakov Katz and Yoaz Hendel describe behind-the-scenes Israeli strategic military deliberations and decisions. They outline the IDF’s postwar rehabilitation and the way its fighting units have returned to basic conventional military training. They also review how the Iranian threat is perceived and the variety of strategic options to confront it.
Yaakov Katz is the military correspondent and senior defense analyst for the Jerusalem Post and the Israel correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly. Dr. Yoaz Hendel is a military historian and lecturer at Bar Ilan University and a research fellow at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. A columnist on strategic and military affairs for Yediot Ahronot, he is also the military commentator for the Makor Rishon newspaper and a talk show host for Israel’s Army Radio.
A story in the book sure to make the news is how Israeli agents allegedly tracked a Syrian official carrying nuclear secrets to London where they broke into his hotel room and stole the plans in 2006. The original plan was assassinate him. The operation involved at least 10 undercover agents and led directly to a controversial bombing raid into Syrian territory that destroyed a nuclear reactor that was under construction. It closely mirrored the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh of Hamas in Dubai last year using agents disguised as tennis players. When the computer material was examined at Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv, officials found photographs and blueprints for a plutonium reactor at Al Kibar near Deir el-Zor, a remote desert town 80 miles from Syria's border with Iraq. According to one source quoted in the book, the discovery saved the life of the official, who would otherwise have been killed in Britain, causing a major diplomatic incident. In August 2007 Israel apparently sent a special forces team into Syria to collect soil samples near the reactor, then at around 1am on September 5 2007 Israeli fighter bombers attacked the facility in a raid into Syrian airspace that destroyed the plant.
A TRAIN IN WINTER
An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship,
and Resistance in Occupied France
By Caroline Moorehead
November 2011 Harper
Moorehead reconstructs the story of 230 women, aged 15 to 68, who were hunted down by Nazis and sent to Auschwitz and then to Rzvensbruck. They were the only group of female Resistance members to be sent to death camps during the four years of German occupation. Most were strangers, but they banded together against a common enemy in order to survive. Only 49 survived. Moorehead first learned of these women when she read a book by one of the survivors, the French poet Charlotte Delbo. Her research led to the discovery of a trove of papers that docemnted the collaboration of the French police with the Gestapo.
Obama and the Middle East
By Fawaz Gerges
November 2011 Palgrave Macmillan
During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to distance the United States from the neoconservative foreign policy legacy of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and usher in a new era of a global, interconnected world. More than two years have passed since his inauguration, and the reality of President Obama's approach is in stark contrast to the ebullient and optimistic image that he originally built up. In fact, Obama is not committed to redefining U.S. foreign policy in a transformational way, but calibrating and correcting the Bush policies, and reclaiming the neorealist approach that defined America's foreign policy since WWII. Taking stock of Obama's first year in the White House, this book places his engagement in the Middle East within the broader context of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 and examines key areas that have posed a challenge to his administration. Middle East expert Fawaz Gerges highlights the administration's widening credibility gap and lack of resolve and political will to directly confront policy challenges head-on, and offer essential strategic recommendations for advancing U.S. relations with the Muslim World.
Gerges is a Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East and is the Director of the Middle East Centre at LSE.
Philanthropy in America
By Olivier Zunz
November 2011 Princeton University Press
American philanthropy today expands knowledge, champions social movements, defines active citizenship, influences policymaking, and addresses humanitarian crises. How did philanthropy become such a powerful and integral force in American society? Philanthropy in America is the first book to explore in depth the twentieth-century growth of this unique phenomenon. Ranging from the influential large-scale foundations established by tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and the mass mobilization of small donors by the Red Cross and March of Dimes, to the recent social advocacy of individuals like Bill Gates and George Soros, respected historian Olivier Zunz chronicles the tight connections between private giving and public affairs, and shows how this union has enlarged democracy and shaped history.
Zunz looks at the ways in which American philanthropy emerged not as charity work, but as an open and sometimes controversial means to foster independent investigation, problem solving, and the greater good. Andrew Carnegie supported science research and higher education, catapulting these fields to a prominent position on the world stage. In the 1950s, Howard Pew deliberately funded the young Billy Graham to counter liberal philanthropies, prefiguring the culture wars and increased philanthropic support for religious causes. And in the 1960s, the Ford Foundation supported civil rights through education, voter registration drives, and community action programs. Zunz argues that American giving allowed the country to export its ideals abroad after World War II, and he examines the federal tax policies that unified the diverse nonprofit sector.
Demonstrating that America has cultivated and relied on philanthropy more than any other country, Philanthropy in America examines how giving for the betterment of all became embedded in the fabric of the nation's civic democracy.
How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire, and Change Your Life
By Linda Cohen
October 2011 SEAL
When her father passed away in 2006, Linda Cohen’s busy life as a mother, wife, and entrepreneur came to a screeching halt. She took a spiritual sabbatical to work through her grief, and she came out of it resolved to embark upon a project: perform one thousand acts of kindness—mitzvahs—to honor her father’s memory. 1,000 Mitzvahs shares Cohen’s two-and-a-half-year journey from sorrow to inspiration through simple daily acts of kindness. She presents each mitzvah as a short vignette, and the myriad forms they take—from helping the elderly to donating to good causes to baking and collecting food for others—highlight the many ways in which one person can touch the lives of others. As she pursues her quest, Cohen finds that her life is improved by these small acts—that every time she goes out of her way to do something good for someone else, she enhances her own well-being.
More than a touching story of a daughter’s love for her father, 1,000 Mitzvahs is a testament to the transformational power of kindness, and a call to arms for those who would like to follow in Cohen’s footsteps with their own mitzvahs—no matter how large or how small...
THE GOLEM'S LATKES
BY ERIC KIMMEL AND AARON JASINSKI
OCTOBER 2011 Cavendish
Ages 5 – 8
Hanukkah begins December 20, 2011
Well. It is a Kimmel book, so it must be good. A Golem makes so many latkes that they take over the town. On the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Judah has too much to do and too little time to do it. Before the rabbi leaves to visit the emperor, he tell his maid, Basha, that she can ask the Golem to do some household tasks. She has the Golem make latkas, and she goes out to visit a friend. She forgets the time, and now, hours later, latkas are pouring out of the house of the rabbi. Everyone is running for safety. Can Rabbi Judah figure out a way to save the town?
SNEAKER COLORING BOOK
BY Henrik Klingel and Daniel Jarosch
Laurence King Publishing
A coloring book for grown-ups, The Sneaker Coloring Book is a collection of 100 black and white line drawings of popular sneaker designs, shown in side view, to color, alter, or customize. The models featured are 100 of the most popular designs from 1916 to the present day from 18 major brands including Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Nike, Onitsuka Tiger, Puma, Reebok, and Vans. Brand, model name, launch date, and category are listed for each sneaker. The drawings are printed on high-quality drawing paper and the pages are perforated so that a drawing can be removed once completed. Taking a fun and highly original approach to sneaker culture, the book will appeal to anyone who likes to color and customize their sneakers, to fashion and footwear designers, illustrators, graphic designers and, above all, to the sneaker fanatics who want to own every book about their favorite subject.
100 IDEAS THAT CHANGED ARCHITECTURE
BY RICHARD WESTON
Laurence King Publishing
This inspiring book chronicles the most influential ideas that have shaped architecture. Entertainingly written by an expert on architecture, it provides a concise history of the subject, and offers a fascinating resource to dip into for the general reader. Starting with the basic building 'components' of door, window, column and beam and the Classical orders, it then goes on to explore historical movements such as the Picturesque and Beaux-Arts, innovative materials such as steel and reinforced concrete, technical innovations, such as the lift and electric lighting, through to modern movements such as Universal Design and Deconstruction. Arranged in a broadly chronological order, the ideas are presented through fascinating text and arresting visuals, 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture explores when each idea first evolved and the subsequent impact it has had up to the present day.
100 IDEAS THAT CHANGED FASHION
BY Harriet Worsley
Laurence King Publishing
100 Ideas that Changed Fashion chronicles the most influential fashion ideas through which womenswear has evolved. Charting the movements, developments and ideas that transformed the way women dress, the book gives a unique perspective on the history of twentieth-century fashion. But rather than just documenting these changes in fashion, it crucially explains why they happened. From the invention of the bias cut and the stiletto heel to the designers who changed the way we think about clothes, the book will be entertaining, intelligent and a visual feast.
HANUKKAH OH HANUKKAH !
BY OLGA IVANOV and ALEKSEY IVANOV
OCTOBER 2011 Cavendish
Ages 5 – 8
Music CD included
A family gather to celebrate Hanukkah and they follow the lyrics in the song . There is dancing, spinning, and eating
MANY DAYS, ONE SHABBAT
by Fran Manuskin
OCTOBER 2011 Cavendish
Ages 5 – 8
Many slices from a family sharing a challah
Lots to prepare before during and after.
an updated novel
BY SETH RUDETSKY
October 2011 Vantage Point
An updated novel by Seth Rudetsky, writer, singer, actor, dova, comedian, and the host of several shows and XM/Sirius' Broadway channel. As for the nove: It’s been said (actually, it’s been sung), that when a Broadway baby says goodnight, it’s early in the morning. But what about those Broadway nights? The thrill of being on stage, the adulation, the applause, the stage door fanatics… Stephen Sherrin has no such life. Sure, he dallies on the Great White Way, but when he does have a job it’s beneath the stage, subbing in the orchestra pit. Other parts of his life are the pits, too—including his love life. Why does he always date men who already have boyfriends? But now Stephen has been given the chance of a lifetime: to be the music director on a brand-new, Broadway-bound show. He couldn’t be happier. Trouble is, Stephen doesn’t do happiness well.
Two Families, Four Generations,
and the Story of America's Influence in the Middle East
By Brian Vandemark
OCTOBER 2011 Prometheus
The story of the efforts of Blisses and Dodges to build the American University of Beirut with alternating audacity, arrogance, generosity, paternalism, and vision, the author sees an allegory for the larger history of the U.S. in the Middle East.
EINSTEIN ON THE ROAD
By Josef Eisinger
Fall 2011 Prometheus
Foreword by Walter Gratzer, Professor Emeritus, King's College, London
Preface by Peter Lax, Professor Emeritus, Courant Institute, NYU
At the height of his fame, Albert Einstein traveled throughout the world, from Japan to South America and many places in between.
During these voyages, between 1922 and 1933, he was in the habit of keeping travel diaries in which he recorded his impressions of people and events, as well as his musings on everything from music and politics to quantum mechanics and psychoanalysis. These fascinating records, which have never been published in their entirety, are the basis for Einstein on the Road, an engaging personal portrait of Einstein the man. Professor Emeritus Josef Eisinger (Mount Sinai Medical School, Structural and Chemical Biology) has read these travel journals and has created a vivid and entertaining narrative that brings Einstein's voice to the fore.
During Einstein's travels, he met with royalty, presidents, movie stars, and artists — Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Fritz Kreisler, Sinclair Lewis, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Erwin Schrodinger, Edwin Hubble, and more. He took a slow boat to Japan in 1922, and he was welcomed with enormous enthusiasm, and steals the
show at an imperial reception. He and Elsa visit and explore many Japanese cities, as well as Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barcelona, Madrid, and Jerusalem, where Einstein cogitates on Zionism and sees it in action.
In 1931, the couple spends eight weeks in Pasadena, where Einstein enjoys fruitful interactions with scientists at Caltech and the Mount Wilson observatory. This portion of the diaries contains illuminating observations about America, science, and the Hollywood celebrities he encounters. He returns to Caltech two more times, and enjoys two extended visits to Oxford University. Back at home in Berlin, his diary shows his deep involvement with the academic, social, and cultural life of the German capital, and with the politics of the Weimar Republic. He discusses books, dinner parties, plays, concerts, and sailing, but his greatest passion, apart from physics, is music; he is never happier than when playing chamber music, preferably Mozart—and he does so at every opportunity.
A lifelong pacifist, he watches the rise of the Nazis with anxiety, and when Hitler gains control in 1933, he renounces pacifism and searches for a place of refuge.
He finds it in Princeton, New Jersey, where he joins the newly created Institute for Advanced Study and becomes an American, never more to roam. Filled with memorable vignettes, this singular book provides a window into the thoughts and opinions of the twentieth century's most celebrated scientist and allows us to share in his exhilarating experiences.
The Prague Cemetery
By Umberto Eco
November 2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The highly anticipated, controversial novel, sold in more than forty countries.
Nineteenth-century Europe—from Turin to Prague to Paris—abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created its most infamous document? Eco takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events. Eco at his most exciting, a book immediately hailed as a masterpiece.
NOVEMBER 2011 BOOKS
The Life of a Leader
A biography by Gilad Sharon
November 2011, Harper
From the son and intimate confidant of former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon comes a look at the life and work of one of Israel’s leaders. From Ariel Sharon’s life as a teenaged soldier to his service in Israeli government, Sharon drove for security. His son, Gilad, a columnist for Yediot Ahronot in Israel, writes that his father changed the Israel Defense Forces and established the anti-terror commando Unit 101. His leadership during the Six-Day and Yom Kippur wars made him a national hero and propelled him into the political arena. As terror grew throughout the Middle East at the end of the twentieth century, Sharon’s commitment to protect and bring peace to his people underscored his election to prime minister in 2001. But within months of taking office, the 9/11 attacks shook the Western world—thrusting the controversial statesman into the center of international affairs. Gilad Sharon writes that his father has walked a fine line between waging war on Israel’s enemies and accommodating demanding allies, a balancing act that is often subject to public misperception.
Gilad writes that he recommended the pullout from Gaza. He also does not have kind words for their political rival, Binyamin Netanyahu. Gilad provides information on the events after Sharon’s stroke, stating that doctors advised that the family allow Sharon to die. They disagreed, and requested that their father be kept alive (feeding tube, etc). He remains in a coma.
As Ethan Bronner wrote in the NYT, “The book asserts that doctors and nurses urged the family to let Mr. Sharon die after his stroke in January 2006 because, as it paraphrases one doctor as saying, “Based on the CT scan, the game was over.” The Sharon brothers would not hear of it and insisted on an operation and other efforts to keep their father alive. ‘I told them about a dream I had had many years ago,’ Mr. Sharon recounts in the book, speaking of his discussions with the medical staff of Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. ‘In that dream I was with my father in the hospital. He was lying in bed, surrounded by medical staff, and they had all either given up or lost hope and were about to leave, and my father didn’t say a thing, but he stared at me with this look, with those green-gray eyes of his, and I knew I would never give up, and that I simply would not leave him. This was a dream I had when my father was healthy and strong and the scenario was completely divorced from reality. I did not tell a soul about the dream at the time, but now I shared it with them and my fear that it was happening now and that I would never be able to forgive myself if we did not fight to the end.’”
“While it has long been assumed in Israel that Mr. Sharon was kept alive due to his sons’ insistence, the book offers the first public acknowledgment and detail of the decision. Mr. Sharon was widowed twice, and his sons are in charge of his farm and his care. Gilad Sharon adds in the book that while he insisted on not letting his father die more out of instinct and sentiment, it turned out he also had medicine on his side: the CT scan had been misread. Doctors acknowledged after the operation that his father was healthier than they had realized, according to Mr. Sharon.”
Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister in 2001 and was at the height of his power when he had the stroke. Having spent his career as a hawk and a champion of the settler movement — amply documented in the new biography — he shocked his political base by removing Israeli settlers and soldiers from Gaza only months earlier, in the summer of 2005. He then left his political home in the rightist Likud party and established the centrist party, Kadima.
As prime minister, Ariel Sharon built a fence to separate Israel from the West Bank’s suicide bombers; and he isolated Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters; (as they say, Nixon could go to China, and Sharon could leave Gaza… but I thought Sharon was, in private meetings, actually against the security wall in private meetings... )
Sharon kept a meticulous personal record of events and of the discussions he had with world leaders, including George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, King Abdullah, Kofi Annan, Gerhard Schroeder, Jacques Chirac, Hosni Mubarak, Mahmoud Abbas, and others. But what the public knew of these interactions often differed dramatically from what went on in private. Gilad Sharon has combed through his father’s vast archive—conversations, personal notes, diaries, daybooks, military directives, correspondence, and thousands of other documents—to offer a rare, intimate, and compelling look at one man’s evolution into one of the world’s most powerful and influential figures.
A Political Life
By Shimon Peres (former President of State of Israel) with David Landau (former Editor in Chief, Haaretz)
Fall 2011, Schocken nextbook Jewish Encounters
PW writes, “Shimon Peres, the president (and former prime minister) of Israel, provides an intriguing and intimate political biography of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and Peres’s erstwhile mentor. Readers will enjoy Peres’s analysis of his relationship with Ben-Gurion and will find his humility appealing. And his emotional admissions elevate this book above a standard biography”
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
(And Other Concerns)
By Mindy Kaling
November 2011 Crown
Not Jewish, but Jewish enough
Comedy's fastest-rising star takes to the page in a book of essays, personal anecdotes, and impassioned pleas. Multi-hyphenate Mindy Kaling is an Emmy-nominated writer, the actress famous for playing the beloved Kelly Kapoor on The Office, and the author of one of Twitter's most popular and quoted feeds. She is a keen and witty observer of life, romance, and pop culture, whom the New York Times recently called "an entirely original and of-the-moment" performer and Entertainment Weekly deemed “one of the ten funniest actresses in Hollywood.” Kaling grew up in an Indian American household in Cambridge Mass 01238 and attended Dartmouth where she was a comedy writer and star. She and a friend wrote a play based on the attraction and friendship between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, with Klaing playing Affleck. This launched her career nationally.
In “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?,” Mindy shares her observations, fears, and opinions about a wide-ranging list of the topics she thinks about the most: from her favorite types of guys (including Sherlock Holmes, NBA players, Aaron Sorkin characters, and 19th-century fictional hunks) to life in the Office writers' room to her leisure pursuit of dieting (“I don’t travel, speak other languages, do crafts, or enjoy sports, but I love reading about new diets”) and how much she loves romantic comedies. Chapters/observations are short and quick and easy to read. She tells readers not to peak in high school. No one cares what you did in HS, and if you always talk about it, you are a loser. She counsels guys to always defends the siblings and parents of girlfriends, even if they are nuts. She has interesting observations on one night stands, and also lays out the righs and responsibilities of best friends (BFF can borrow clothes, can sleep in the same bed, be honest about the way you look, ditch you with no reason, will care about your kid(s) if you die, will nurse yo uback to death if you havent died, will try to like your bf five times, and a bff should stock your favorite feminine hygiene product at their house. Loaded with personal stories and laugh-out-loud philosophies, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a must-read by one of the most original comedic voices working today.
Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul
A Summer on the Lower East Side
By Professor Jonathan Boyarin
November 2011, Oxford Univ and Fordham Univ Press
In these pages Jonathan Boyarin invites us to share the intimate life of the stanton street shul, one of the last remaining jewish congregations on new york's historic lower east side. This narrow building, wedged into a lot designed for an old-law tenement, is full of clamorous voices--the generations of the dead, who somehow contrive to make their presence known, and the newer generation, keeping the building and its memories alive and making themselves Jews in the process. Through the eyes of Boyarin, at once a member of the congregation and a bemused anthropologist, the book follows this congregation of "year-round Jews" through the course of a summer when its future must once again be decided. The Lower East Side, famous as the jumping-off point for millions of Jewish and other immigrants to America, has recently become the hip playground of twentysomething "immigrants" to the city from elsewhere in America and from overseas. Few imagine that Jewish life there has stubbornly continued through this history of decline and regeneration. Coming inside with Boyarin, we see the congregation's life as a combination of quiet heroism, ironic humor, disputes for the sake of Heaven and perhaps otherwise, and--above all--the ongoing search for ways to connect with Jewish ancestors while remaining true to oneself in the present. Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul illustrates in poignant and humorous ways the changes in a historic neighborhood facing the challenges of gentrification. It offers readers with no prior knowledge of Judaism and synagogue life a portrait that is at once intimate and intelligible. Most important, perhaps, it shows the congregation's members to be anything but a monochromatic set of uniform "believers" but rather a gathering of vibrant, imperfect, indisputably down-to-earth individuals coming together to make a community.
In this book, he returns to his first discipline, anthropology, to present a "native ethnography" of the New York congregation in which he has studied and worshipped for a quarter century. The book provides an introduction to Orthodox Jewish practice; it is written in an appealing, personal voice, which the author and his agent (the former owner/manger of Cody's Books in Berkeley) have worked to make accessible to a general audience
The Greatest Grid
The Master Plan of New York
Museum of the City of New York
Hilary Ballon, Deputy Cice Chanc. NYU-Abu Dhabi
November 2011 Columbia University Press
Laying out Manhattan's street grid and providing a rationale for the growth of New York was the city's first great civic enterprise, not to mention a brazenly ambitious project and major milestone in the history of city planning. The grid created the physical conditions for business and society to flourish and embodied the drive and discipline for which the city would come to be known. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York celebrating the bicentennial of the Commissioners' 1811 Plan of Manhattan, this volume does more than memorialize such a visionary effort, it serves as an enduring reference full of rare images and information.
The Greatest Grid shares the history of the Commissioners' plan, incorporating archival photos and illustrations, primary documents and testimony, and magnificent maps with essential analysis. The text, written by leading historians of New York City, follows the grid's initial design, implementation, and evolution, and then speaks to its enduring influence. A foldout map, accompanied by explanatory notes, reproduces the Commissioners' original plan, and additional maps and prints chart the city's pre-1811 irregular growth patterns and local precedent for the grid's design. Constituting the first sustained examination of this subject, this text describes the social, political, and intellectual figures who were instrumental in remaking early New York, not in the image of old Europe but as a reflection of other American cities and a distinct New World sensibility. The grid reaffirmed old hierarchies while creating new opportunities for power and advancement, giving rise to the multicultural, highly networked landscape New Yorkers thrive in today.
* New York’s grid plan was to first to eliminate named streets altogether (the names came later). The rationality behind Manhattan’s street numbering system—Cartesian analytical geometry—also underpins early modern conceptions of space more generally.
* The key to the greatness of the grid is variety. It is not made up of evenly spaced, similarly sized blocks. The blocks, which are all 200 feet wide (north to south), vary in length (east to west) from less than 250 feet to more than 900 feet. Most east-west streets are 60 feet wide. However, seventeen of them are 100 feet wide. Most, but not all north-south avenues are 100 feet wide. Madison and Lexington Avenues (each 80 feet wide) were introduced after the 1811 plan to accommodate additional traffic.
* The original surveyors were regularly obstructed, attacked, and sued for damages for cutting branches to complete their work.
* The 1811 commissioners who laid out the grid had assumed that it would take several centuries for urban growth to reach above 155th Street.
* To early visitors, the grid was disorienting; the streets looked alike and offered no landmarks or mnemonic devices to distinguish one from the next.
* In 1807, the assessed value of New York City real estate was $25 million. In 1887 the assessed value reached $1.255 billion.
* As the city opened, built, and paved streets through the East Side, it broke up the old country estates owned by prosperous New York families: the Beekmans, Schermerhorns, Lenoxes, and Rhinelanders. Some heirs unsuccessfully tried to hold the city at bay and maintain the integrity of their ancestral land, while others, such as James Beekman, divided their property into lots and increased their family’s wealth in the real estate market.
* In the 1840s Park Avenue consisted of squatter homes; in the 1860s breweries and factories dominated what was then 4th Avenue
* The term gridlock made its first appearance in public discourse in the New York Times during the crippling 1980 transit strike.
Armies of Heaven
The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse
By Jay Rubenstein, (MacArthur Fellow)
November 2011 Basic
At Moson, the river Danube ran red with blood. At Antioch, the Crusaders— their saddles freshly decorated with sawed-off heads—indiscriminately clogged the streets with the bodies of eastern Christians and Turks. At Ma’arra, they cooked children on spits and ate them. By the time the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, their quest—and their violence— had become distinctly otherworldly: blood literally ran shin-deep through the streets as the Crusaders overran the sacred city. Beginning in 1095 and culminating four bloody years later, the First Crusade represented a new kind of warfare: holy, unrestrained, and apocalyptic. In Armies of Heaven, medieval historian Jay Rubenstein tells the story of this cataclysmic event through the eyes of those who witnessed it, emphasizing the fundamental role that apocalyptic thought played in motivating the Crusaders. A thrilling work of military and religious history, Armies of Heaven will revolutionize our understanding of the Crusades.
The Meaning of the Bible
What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us
By Professors Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine
November 2011 HarperOne
In this lively and fresh introduction to the scriptures of ancient Israel (what Christians call the Old Testament and Jews call the Tanakh), two of America’s and Vanderbilt’s preeminent biblical scholars combine their passion and expertise to examine not just WHAT the Bible says but what it MEANS. Through their eyes we see the Bible’s literary brilliance, moral profundity, historical settings, and implications for our faiths and our future.
Passed down for generations, compiled between 500 and 100 BCE, and then finalized, the various accounts in the Hebrew Bible took shape under a variety of cultures. Drawing on their extensive biblical scholarship, Knight and Levine explore this diverse history and equip us with the critical tools necessary to understand what the ancient texts originally meant. With long experience in teaching candidates for the ministry as well as undergraduate and graduate students, they also explore the possible meanings the texts hold today for churches, synagogues, and anyone interested in the Bible’s legacy.
Knight and Levine begin with the broader biblical story—its historical context, literary artistry, and geographical setting. They then turn to the major biblical themes with which modern readers continue to wrestle: law and justice, human evil and God’s response, belief and practice, chaos and creation, war and peace, gender and sexuality, politics and economics, practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision. For each topic, they provide both general overviews and specific analyses of select biblical passages, explaining how and why their approaches reveal new insights and offering various strategies for informed interpretation. Throughout, Knight and Levine inspire us to ask new questions and develop a deeper understanding of one of the greatest collections of literature known to humankind—as illuminating today as it was two thousand years ago.
Religion Gone Astray
What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith
By Reverend Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman
November 2011 SkyLights
Virtually everyone acknowledges difficulty with some aspect of their own religious tradition, even if they are wholly devoted to their faith identity. These vulnerabilities can inhibit meaningful personal engagement with a faith tradition but they can also feed misunderstanding between religious institutions and undermine any hope of authentic interfaith dialogue. Expanding on the conversation started with their very successful first book, the Interfaith Amigos--a pastor, a rabbi and an imam--probe more deeply into the problem aspects of our religious institutions to provide a profound understanding of the nature of what divides us. They identify four common problem areas in the Abrahamic faiths--exclusivity, violence, inequality of men and women, and homophobia--and their origins. They explore the ways critics use these beliefs as divisive weapons. And they present the ways we can use these vulnerabilities to open the doors for more profound personal relationships, collaboration required to address our common issues, and true interfaith healing. Rabbi Falcon serves Congregation Makor Ohr in LA and in Seattle. He is a graduate of HUC, and you can visit his website at http://www.rabbitedfalcon.com/
Good Living Street
Portrait of a Patron Family
By Tim Bonyhady
November 2011 Pantheon
Not since the publication of Carl Schorske’s Fin-De-Siècle Vienna has a book so brilliantly given us a close-up portrait of turn-of-the-century Vienna, as seen through the lives of an eminent family, the Gallias, among the city’s great patrons of the early twentieth century: their upper-class life; their rarefied collections of art and design; their religious life; and their daring flight from the Nazi Anschluss. Tim Bonyhady, great-grandson of the Gallias, tells the story of the family’s middle-class prosperity from the provinces of Central Europe where they grew up to their arrival in Vienna, following the emperor’s proclamation that Jews had freedom of movement and residence, and shows how for the next two decades, the Vienna that became theirs was at the center of art, music, and ideas in all of Europe. We see the amassing of the Gallias’ rarefied collections of art; their cosmopolitan society; and how, as Kristallnacht was raging, the family escaped to Australia and took with them the best private collection intact of modernist art and design. An extraordinary portrait of a time and place.
Cool, Calm & Contentious
By Merrill Markoe
November 2011 Random House
Merrill Markoe is the sister of Dr. Glenn Markoe, the Curator of Classical and Near Eastern Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum (a specialist in Petra, Phoenicia, and archaic Greece) Although sister Merrill also graduated from Berkeley and taught briefly at USC, she became a ccomedy writer and not a curator. In her collection of personal humorous essays (think Thurber, SJ Perelman, etc), Markoe reveals the secret formula for comedy: Start out with a difficult mother, develop some classic teenage insecurities, add a few relationships with narcissistic men, toss in an unruly pack of selfish dogs, finish it off with the kind of crystalline perspective that only comes from years of navigating a roiling sea of unpleasant and unappeasable people, and—voilà!—you’re funny! She is the award winning co-founder and head writer for the David Letterman late night talk shows. She has written for magazines, staged plays, sitcoms, grocery lists, and more.
In Cool, Calm & Contentious, Markoe also reveals something more: herself. This is by far her most personal, affecting collection yet—honest, unapologetic, often painful, but always shot through with the bracing, wicked sense of humor that has made her such a beloved and incisive observer of life, both human and canine. In Cool, Calm & Contentious, she goes there: from the anal-retentive father who once spent ten minutes lecturing Markoe’s forty-year-old, Ph.D.-wielding brother on how to fold a napkin, to the eternally aggrieved mother who took pleasure in being unpleasant to waiters and spent most of her life, Markoe says, in “varying degrees of pissed off”; from the way she surrendered her virginity as a freshman in college (to her, it was “something to be gotten rid of quickly, then never discussed again, like body odor”), to why, later in life, she ultimately came to find dogs so much more appealing than humans, Markoe holds nothing back. It’s all here, in all its messy, poignant glory, and told the way only Merril Markoe knows how—with honesty, wit, and bite.
She also discusses her past boyfriend, Bobby. Bobby is actually David Letterman. Her great line after Letterman was accused of an extra marital affair and was being blackmailed about it, was “As you can imagine, this is a very emotional moment for me, because Dave promised me many times that I was the only woman he would ever cheat on.”
Witches, Wife Beaters, and Whores
Common Law and Common Folk in Early America
By Professor Elaine Forman Crane (Fordham)
November 2011 Cornell
The early American legal system permeated the lives of colonists and reflected their sense of what was right and wrong, honorable and dishonorable, moral and immoral. In a compelling book full of the extraordinary stories of ordinary people, Elaine Forman Crane reveals the ways in which early Americans clashed with or conformed to the social norms established by the law. As trials throughout the country reveal, alleged malefactors such as witches, wife beaters, and whores, as well as debtors, rapists, and fornicators, were as much a part of the social landscape as farmers, merchants, and ministers. Ordinary people "made" law by establishing and enforcing informal rules of conduct. Codified by a handshake or over a mug of ale, such agreements became custom and custom became "law." Furthermore, by submitting to formal laws initiated from above, common folk legitimized a government that depended on popular consent to rule with authority.
In this book we meet Marretie Joris, a New Amsterdam entrepreneur who sues Gabriel de Haes for calling her a whore; peer cautiously at Christian Stevenson, a Bermudian witch as bad "as any in the world;" and learn that Hannah Dyre feared to be alone with her husband-and subsequently died after a beating. We travel with Comfort Taylor as she crosses Narragansett Bay with Cuff, an enslaved ferry captain, whom she accuses of attempted rape, and watch as Samuel Banister pulls the trigger of a gun that kills the sheriff's deputy who tried to evict Banister from his home. And finally, we consider the promiscuous Marylanders Thomas Harris and Ann Goldsborough, who parented four illegitimate children, ran afoul of inheritance laws, and resolved matters only with the assistance of a ghost. Through the six trials she skillfully reconstructs here, Crane offers a surprising new look at how early American society defined and punished aberrant behavior, even as it defined itself through
IS THIS CONSIDERED FICTION OR NON FICTION? OR JUST MEMOIR? LET’S GO WITH MEMOIR…
The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption
From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist
By Jack Abramoff
November 2011 WND
Cover blurb: The name Jack Abramoff is synonymous with Washington scandal, but the fascinating facts of his case are either largely unknown or wildly misunderstood. His memoir will serve as a corrective - an engrossing, informative work of political nonfiction that is also a gripping real-life thriller. The biggest surprise twist comes in the form of Abramoff himself, a smart, funny, charming, clear-eyed narrator who confounds every expectation of the media's villainous portrait. He's a perfect bundle of contradictions: an Orthodox Jew and upstanding family man with a staunch moral streak, caught in multiple scandals of bribery and corruption with an undercurrent of murder. Abramoff represented Indian tribes whose lucrative casinos were constantly under threat from proposed changes in law; though he charged the tribes many millions, he saved them billions by ensuring votes to support the livelihoods of their reservations. Much of Jack's share was funneled not into his own coffers, but to charities. Abramoff on the front pages could not be further from the Jack Abramoff who's ready to tell his honest and compelling story.
LA TIMES: Early in 1998, Jack Abramoff was in Imelda Marcos’s condominium in Manila, advising the former first lady of the Philippines on how to overturn a Supreme Court order that she go to prison for graft. His proposal: She should promise the country’s leaders that she would not run for election, loan half of an alleged slush fund to the ruling party and threaten a public relations campaign in which Abramoff, as her lobbyist, would “destroy” the government’s reputation. The plot was classic Abramoff, involving the trademark elements of his Washington lobbying: a transfer of money, a promise of political support and a threat of harm to those who stood in his clients’ way. It worked in Manila, he writes in his new memoir, “Capitol Punishment.” (He notes in the book that Marcos called the plan “brilliant.”) It’s not every day that a veteran Washington insider — one who, at the zenith of his career, was the city’s highest-paid lobbyist — writes a 300-page account of his political triumphs, serial lawbreaking and unethical conduct, all of which ended in his imprisonment for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy. Abramoff’s status as perhaps the premier modern symbol of Washington’s corruption by monied interests makes his reflections on the events surrounding his disgrace especially tantalizing.
BY SUSAN DAITCH
Fall 2011 City Lights
A novel based on the Dreyfuss Affair in France
One of the most sensational incidents in the history of France, the Dreyfus Affair was a landmark case involving treason and antisemitism. Here is a novel about tangential players far from the trial's main stage: petty forgers, cross-dressers and lovers, actors in an early silent film by Georges Méliès that documents the trial, and a film restorer who's trying to save that crumbling movie nearly a hundred years later — all of them caught in a web of intrigue, menace and betrayal that reaches through space and time.
"This erudite page-turner takes us from late 19th-century France to the film studios of the great Georges Méliès to the tribulations of a film restorer who finds herself caught up in political intrigue, a century after the famous Affaire Dreyfus. As in her celebrated L.C., she constructs a compelling dialogue with an earlier century that shifts our perspective on our own time." —Susan Bernofsky, author of Foreign Words
Love and Shame and Love
A Novel by Peter Orner
November 2011 Little Brown and Company
Alexander Popper can't stop remembering. Four years old when his father tossed him into Lake Michigan, he was told, Sink or swim, kid. In his mind, he's still bobbing in that frigid water. The rest of this novel's vivid cast of characters also struggle to remain afloat: Popper's mother, stymied by an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the relentless energy of Chicago; his brother, Leo, shadow boss of the family, retreats into books; paternal grandparents, Seymour and Bernice, once high fliers, now mourn for long lost days; his father, a lawyer and would-be politician obsessed with his own success, fails to see that the family is falling apart; and his college girlfriend, the fiercely independent Kat, wrestles with impossible choices.
Covering four generations of the Popper family, Peter Orner illuminates the countless ways that love both makes us whole and completely unravels us. A comic and sorrowful tapestry of memory of connection and disconnection, Love and Shame and Love explores the universals with stunning originality and wisdom.
The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur
The RAV’s SIDDUR
A Hebrew/English Prayer Book with Commentary
by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Edits / Intro by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Koren Publishers in Jerusalem
November 2011 Koren
The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur is the first complete prayer book with commentary by the seminal scholar and leader, The Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The Siddur presents Rabbi Soloveitchiks exceptional insights on prayer, which have been adapted from his writings, public lectures, and classes. It is complemented by an elegant presentation in the renowned tradition of Koren Publishers Jerusalem, and an eloquent English translation and introduction by the esteemed Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. Published in cooperation with the Orthodox Union.
Hundreds of insights collected from the Rav's writings, recorded lectures and students' notes, some appearing in print here for the first time.
Hanhagot - Lists and explanations of the Rav's practices during prayer
Translation - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' acclaimed translation of the tefillot
Reshimot - Summaries of shiurim (lectures) given by the Rav on various halakhic aspects of the tefillot and related themes
Typesetting - Koren's clear and aesthetically pleasing fonts and intuitive layout
Includes: Introductory Essays by Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's discussion of prayer in the teachings of the Rav; and Rabbi Menachem Genack's exploration of major themes in the Rav's views on prayer
A Convenient Hatred
The History of Antisemitism
By Phyllis Goldstein and Foreword by Sir Harold Evans
A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of a society, make distinctions between "us" and "them," right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.
She writes, “The history of antisemitism makes it clear that hatreds are not ideologies; they are not sets of beliefs but collections of often contradictory lies that play to our deepest fears and anxieties. And hatreds always evolve to reflect the times. When religion was the dominant force in society, antisemitism was almost always discussed in religious terms. By the late 1700s, many Europeans claimed they were living in a new age -- the Age of the Enlightenment. Philosopher Immanuel Kant described the leaders of this new age as those who dared to "reject the authority of tradition, and to think and inquire." Modern science grew out of that daring. So did the idea that "all men are created equal…. The "enlightened" could exclude one group from another only by demonstrating a "natural difference." In other words, discrimination had to be justified by "scientific" evidence showing that human nature differs according to age, gender, and "race." Until the 1700s, the word race was widely used to refer to a people, a tribe, or a nation. By the end of the century, it described a distinct group of human beings with inherited physical traits and moral qualities that set them apart from other "races." Increasingly, opposition to Jews was linked to their "race."…. …History matters. Elie Wiesel once wrote that "Although we today are not responsible for the injustices of the past, we are responsible for the way we remember the past and what we do with that past." Only through the process of facing history and ourselves can we hope to stop the hatred and prevent further violence.”
The Unquiet American
Richard Holbrooke in the World
By Derek Chollet and Samantha Power
December 2011 Publicaffairs
Richard Holbrooke, who died in December 2010, was a pivotal player in U.S. diplomacy for more than forty years. Most recently special envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan under President Obama, Holbrooke also served as assistant secretary of state for both Asia and Europe, and as ambassador to both Germany and the United Nations. He had a key role in brokering a peace agreement among warring factions in Bosnia that led to the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995. Widely regarded to possess one of the most penetrating minds of any modern diplomat of any nation, Holbrooke was also well known for his outsized personality, and his capacity to charm and offend in equally colossal measures. In this book, the friends and colleagues who knew him best survey his accomplishments as a diplomat, activist, and author. Excerpts from Holbrooke’s own writings further illuminate each significant period of his career. The Unquiet American is both a tribute to an exceptional public servant and a backstage history of the last half-century of American foreign policy.
DECEMBER 2011 BOOKS
Man Seeks God
My Flirtations with the Divine
By Eric Weiner
December 2011 Hachette
After a health scare leaves him reeling, Eric Weiner-an atheist by default-sets out on a worldwide search for an experience of the divine. Propelled by the confrontation with his own mortality and questions about the best way to raise his daughter, Weiner travels to Nepal, where he meditates with Tibetan lamas and a guy named Wayne; to Turkey, where he whirls (poorly) with Sufi dervishes; to China where he attempts to unblock his chi; to Israel where he studies Kabbalah, sans Madonna; and to Las Vegas, where he has a close encounter with Raelians (followers of the world's largest UFO-based religion). Weiner's journey takes place at a time when more Americans than ever-nearly one in three-are choosing a new faith. At each stop along the way, Weiner tackles our most pressing spiritual questions: Where do we come from? What happens when we die? How should we live our lives? Why do socks abscond? With his trademark wit and warmth, Weiner leaves no stone unturned.
Fly Fishing--The Sacred Art
Casting a Fly, a Spiritual Practice
By Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer and Rev Michael Attas MD
December 2011 Jewish Lights
We go fly fishing to catch fish, to experience the rush of adrenaline when a trout rises to the surface, grabs the fly, and the line goes taut. But the fly line is more than a way to connect human beings to fish. Each cast of the fly line connects us to nature, to others and to the Divine Presence.
In this unique exploration of fly fishing as a spiritual practice, a rabbi and an Episcopal priest illuminate what each step on a fly-fishing trip has to teach us about reflection, awe and wonder of the natural world, the benefits of solitude, the blessing of community and the search for the Divine. Tapping the wisdom in the Christian and Jewish traditions, they outline seven steps of a typical fly-fishing trip and the lessons found within: The Off-Season and Fly Tying: Anticipation and Preparation; The Drive to the River: Unplugging from the World; Wading into the Stream: Finding Our Place in Nature; Fly Casting: Searching for God at the End of the Line; Setting the Hook: Life and Death on the Stream; The Drive Home: Contemplation and Reflection, "It Was This Big": Sharing Our Stories
Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer is creator of The Fly Fishing Rabbi: A Blog about Trout,God and Religion, and a contributor to Trout magazine and Reform Judaism magazine. He is the spiritual leader of Temple Shearith Israel in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Rev. Michael Attas, MD, an avid fly fisher for over forty years, is assisting priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, a practicing cardiologist, professor of medical humanities at Baylor University and columnist for the Waco Tribune Herald. During the summer months, he works as a volunteer fly-fishing guide in Colorado.
BY MICHAEL ROSEN
September 2011. Candlewick Press
A master of POP UP books releases this one for Chanukkah
Open this beautiful gift book and follow the Festival of Lights through place and time — from Herod’s temple to a shtetl in Russia; from a refugee ship bound for the New World to an Israeli kibbutz. Inspired by Michael J. Rosen’s reverent poem, Robert Sabuda’s striking pop-ups depict each night’s menorah in a different scene, using imagery such as desert tents, pushcart lanterns, olive trees, and a final panorama of skyscrapers. Sure to be a treasured family heirloom, this stunning collaboration showcases the spirit and resilience of a people in search of home. Rosen resides in Ohio.
The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah
By Bill Berlin, Susan Isakoff Berlin and Peter Welling
From School Library Journal: Grades 2-4
There's a lot to kvetch about in this tale that clearly takes its inspiration from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Random, 1957). Although the authors have made a valiant effort to mimic the structure, rhyming patterns, and message of the classic, the story focuses too intently on the kvetch and not enough on the holiday. This kvetch has an irrational fear of the Hanukkah lights. “He would dream of menorahs with their candles so bright/And awaken in terror, dripping in fright.” Thus he decides to “gain control” of his fear by stealing the thing he dreads: the menorah. That's when three children appear to explain the meaning of Hanukkah. “The lights and the gifts show our dedication/To the strength and faith of our ancient nation.” Lights, certainly. But gifts? On a brighter note, the colorful cartoon illustrations add some humor and raise the spirit of this otherwise mediocre offering. Unfortunately, by spending so much time on the inner life of the kvetch, this book misses the point that it seeks to make.
The Hanukkah Trike
By Michelle Edwards, Kathryn Mitter
Ages 4-8, Albert Whitman
From Booklist: Young Gabi Greenberg loves everything about Hanukkah—lighting menorah candles, eating potato pancakes, and listening to stories about the Maccabees and their struggles. She is also pleased to receive a tricycle as a present (and dubs it Hanukkah, in honor of the occasion), but a nasty fall on her first outing leaves her feeling insecure. Mom helps her to clean up and reminds her about the Maccabees’ own fears; finally, Gabi summons her courage and rides again—this time with success. Edwards’ simple story introduces basic holiday history and traditions, emphasizing the Maccabees’ heroism and how this value can be applied in contemporary situations. Mitter’s gentle, acrylic illustrations portray a loving family, focused on Gabi’s wants and needs. Although the story will be overly didactic for some, it will be a welcome addition to religious school collections. Public libraries with high demand for character-education resources will also find this a useful introduction to the concept of perseverance.
How Mirka Got Her Sword
By Barry Deutsch
From Booklist- Set in a well-realized contemporary Orthodox Jewish community, this sweet and engaging tale of 11-year-old Mirka’s thirst for a dragon-slaying adventure unfolds in well-integrated images and text. Mirka’s family includes a stepmother who is strict but not evil, a marriage-obsessed older sister, and a little brother for whom Mirka alternately takes responsibility and finds unwontedly cumbersome. Deutsch creates authentic characters spiced with just enough fantasy to surprise: the members of the community use Yiddish and Hebrew expressions, which are translated as they appear in the text, and the arrival of a talking pig in the village presents a challenge for Mirka, as pig and girl compete to outmaneuver each other in arguments as well as actions. And then there’s the space alien who challenges Mirka to knit for her life. Details of Orthodox daily life are well blended into the art and given just the right touches of explanation to keep readers on track. Mirka is a spunky, emotionally realistic, and fun heroine for her peers to discover. Grades 3-6
Kishka for Koppel
By Aubrey Davis and Sheldon Cohen
Ages 4 – 8
In this fresh take on a classic tale, a magic meat grinder helps a poor Jewish couple learn a little gratitude after the three wishes it grants them go awry. A cautionary story that questions today's consumerism and excessiveness, Kishka for Koppel, like the best folktales, can help children and adults alike to look both beyond and within.
Koppel plunked the meat grinder down on the table.
"Tell her what you told me," he said.
Yetta rolled her eyes. "Oy vey, he's talking to a meat grinder."
"Tell her!" shouted Koppel.
The meat grinder was silent.
"Does it know any chicken jokes?" Yetta giggled. "It sings 'My Yiddishe Mama' maybe?"
The Golem's Latkes
By Eric A. Kimmel and Aaron Jasinski
Ages 4 – 8
On the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Judah has too much to do and too little time to do it. Before the rabbi leaves to visit the emperor, he tells his housemaid Basha that she can ask the golem to help. While the golem makes latkes, Basha decides to visit a friend. Basha is having so much fun with her friend, she doesn't realize that latkes are pouring out of the rabbi's house, sending people running! Will Rabbi Judah come up with a solution to control the golem before it's too late? Illustrated with lively acrylic on wood, the book includes an Author's Note about the tale's origins.
Why We Broke Up
By Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
December 2011. Little, Brown
Young Adult (or adults)
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
DANIEL HANDLER eats latkas and writes under the name of Lemony Snicket for some books. He was dumped at least three times in high school. MAIRA KALMAN has her emotional-heart broken in high school by a boy who looked like Bob Dylan (the young Bob Dylan, not the old version).
WE ARE BROTHERS
(Beck’s trip to Israel – A Coffeetable book)
BY GLENN BECK
December 2011 Mercury Ink
Glenn Beck writes, “I went to Israel not as a tourist, but as a seeker. I went to seek an example of courage in the face of unspeakable evil. I went because I knew that Israel is a place where the largest daily struggle is just to live normally without fear, without rockets, without terror. In Israel, you see what it really means to choose life, to choose goodness, to choose to follow the light against incredible odds.
That's why the title of this book is WE ARE BROTHERS; Every free man and woman on the planet today is a brother or a sister of Israel; it's a single family of freedom and life. Israel, and all that she stands for, has a place in all of our lives. Evil is not based on geography and cannot be contained by borders or religion. Moral choices come at us every day. No one is perfect. But some of us have set a wise and noble example for making moral choices and we must learn from them. I came to Israel because I wanted to learn from her example of courage in building a prosperous and joyous nation in a tiny strip of land surrounded by enemies. Because, in this world, at this time, our future a future of freedom, prosperity and life itself can never be taken for granted. Unless we are willing to do the hard work of choosing right over wrong, no matter the consequences, we are assured nothing but the fact that, when put to the test, man s depravity knows no bounds. It's time for all of us to decide which side we are on; to know what we really stand for and what we believe in before we are put to the ultimate test. I know where I stand: with freedom, with goodness, with courage. I stand with Israel. I hope you will join me.”
Click the cover above to read more about the book
The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the Nation
As the 2012 presidential campaign begins, Almost President profiles a dozen men who have run for the American presidency and lost—but who, even in defeat, have had a greater impact on American history than many of those who have served as president. Scott Farris tells us the stories of legendary figures from Henry Clay to Stephen Douglas, William Jennings Bryan to Thomas Dewey. He also includes mini-profiles on every major candidate nominated for president who never reached the White House but who helped ensure the success of American democracy. Farris explains how Barry Goldwater achieved the party realignment that had eluded FDR, how George McGovern paved the way for Barack Obama, and how Ross Perot changed the way all presidential candidates campaign. There is Al Smith, the first Catholic nominee for president; and Adlai Stevenson, the candidate of the “eggheads” who remains the beau ideal of a liberal statesman. Others covered by this book include Al Gore, John Kerry, and John McCain. The mini profiles also include evocative portraits of such men as John C. Fremont, the first Republican Party presidential candidate; and General Winfield Scott, whose loss helped guarantee the Union victory in the Civil War.
Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology
By Andrei A. Orlov
December 2011, State University of New York Press
Dark Mirrors is a wide-ranging study of two central figures in early Jewish demonology--the fallen angels Azazel and Satanael. Andrei A. Orlov, an Assoicate Professor at Marquette, explores the mediating role of these paradigmatic celestial rebels in the development of Jewish demonological traditions from Second Temple apocalypticism to later Jewish mysticism, such as that of the Hekhalot and Shi`ur Qomah materials. Throughout, Orlov makes use of Jewish pseudepigraphical materials in Slavonic that are not widely known. Orlov traces the origins of Azazel and Satanael to different and competing mythologies of evil, one to the Fall in the Garden of Eden, the other to the revolt of angels in the antediluvian period. Although Azazel and Satanael are initially representatives of rival etiologies of corruption, in later Jewish and Christian demonological lore each is able to enter the other's stories in new conceptual capacities. Dark Mirrors also examines the symmetrical patterns of early Jewish demonology that are often manifested in these fallen angels' imitation of the attributes of various heavenly beings, including principal angels and even God himself.
The Magic Room
A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters
By Jeffrey Zaslow
December 2011, Gotham Books
Jeffrey Zaslow, takes us to a multi- generational family owned small-town bridal shop to explore the emotional lives of women in the 21st century. You may not have heard of Fowler, Michigan, much less Becker's Bridal. But for the thousands of women who have stepped inside, Becker's is the site of some of the most important moments of their lives-moments that speak to us all. Housed in a former bank, the boutique owners transformed the vault into a "magic room," with soft church lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that make lifelong dreams come true.
Illuminating the poignant aspects of a woman's journey to the altar, The Magic Room tells the stories of memorable women on the brink of commitment. Run by the same family for years, for four generations, Becker's has witnessed transformations in how America views the institution of marriage; some of the shop's clientele are becoming stepmothers, or starting married life for a second time. Think of it. Fowler has 1100 residents and 2500 wedding dresses in stock at the store. In The Girls from Ames, beloved author Jeffrey Zaslow used friendships to explore the emotional lives of women. In The Magic Room, he turns his perceptive eye to weddings and weaves together secrets, memories and family tales to explore the hopes and dreams we have for our daughters.
Jeffrey Zaslow is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Girls from Ames and coauthor of Highest Duty, with Chesley Sullenberger, as well as The Last Lecture, with Randy Pausch. He is currently work with Rep. Giffors and her astronaut husband on Giffords autobiography/memoir.
BY AYAD AKHTAR
January 2012, Little Brown
Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother's beautiful, brilliant, and soulfully devout friend is a family legend. When he learns that Mina is leaving Pakistan to live with the Shahs in America, Hayat is thrilled. Hayat's father is less enthusiastic. He left the fundamentalist world behind with reason. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty and power of the Quran, it will utterly transform the boy. Mina's real magic may be that the Shah household, always contentious and sad, becomes a happy one. It an interesting twist, Hayat, a pretween stays home from school on Yom Kippur. Is he Jewish? Or are Muslims akin to Jews, asks his school techer. No, it is because his mother keeps him home from school since she has a great affection for Jews and Judaism. So, when Mina finds her own path to happiness blocked, the ember of jealousy in Hayat's heart is enflamed by the community's anti-Semitism, and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.
Ayad Akhtar is an American-born, first generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee. He holds degrees in Theater from Brown University and in Directing from the Columbia University, where he won multiple awards for his work. American Dervish is his first novel. Maybe it will be a film and win a Spirit Award??
PW adds: “Poor Hayat Shah: his father drinks and sleeps around; his mother constantly tells him how awful Muslim men are (especially his father, with his “white prostitutes”); he doesn’t seem to have any friends; and he’s in love with his mother’s best friend, the beautiful Mina who’s his mother’s age and something of an aunt to him. Unlike his parents, Mina, who came to Milwaukee from a bad marriage in Pakistan, is devout, which makes sexual stirrings and the Qur’an go hand in hand for the young Hayat (aside from a framing device, the story mostly takes place when he’s between 10 and 12). His rival for Mina’s love isn’t just a grown man, he’s Jewish, so along with the roil of conflicting ideas about gender, sexuality, and Islamic constraint vs. Western looseness, first-time novelist Akhtar also takes on anti-Semitism. Though set well before 9/11, the book is clearly affected by it, with Akhtar determined to traffic in big themes and illustrate the range of Muslim thought and practice. This would be fine if the book didn’t so often feel contrived, stocked with caricatures rather than people. Ultimately, Akhtar’s debut reads like a melodramatic YA novel, not because of the age of its narrator but because of the abundance of lessons to be learned.”
Masking and Unmasking Ourselves
Interpreting Biblical Texts on Clothing & Identity
Dr. Norman J. Cohen
January 2012 Jewish Lights
Whatever the context in which it is worn, our clothing is often our most powerful form of communication. As in any great literature, the language of putting on and taking off clothing in the Bible--especially the narratives that turn on the symbolic use of clothes--can provide us with a sense of the overarching worldview of the biblical writers. Yet, by immersing ourselves in the symbolic language and stories of the Bible, we can also gain insight into ourselves and our own lives.
In this engaging look at interpretations of clothing in the Bible, renowned Torah scholar and midrashist Norman Cohen presents ten paradigmatic Bible stories that involve clothing in an essential way, as a means of learning about the text, its characters and their interactions. But he also shows us how these stories help us confront our own life dramas, our own stories. In doing so, he presents Torah as a mirror, reflecting back to us our own personalities, ambivalences, struggles and potential for growth. By helping us uncover the "garments of Torah," Cohen shows us how to shed our own layers of insulation to reveal our authentic selves.
Dr. Norman J. Cohen, renowned for his expertise in Torah study and midrash, lectures frequently to audiences of many faiths. He is a rabbi, former provost of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and professor of midrash. He is the author of Self, Struggle & Change: Family Conflict Stories in Genesis and Their Healing Insights for Our Lives; Moses and the Journey to Leadership: Timeless Lessons of Effective Management from the Bible and Today's Leaders
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (rhymes with Rokeach)
January 2012 Gefen
You’ve seen him on tv, You’ve seen him on the book circuit, you heard him shouting at Libyans in NJ, you saw him years ago at Oxford, and you’ve seen him with his buddy, the late Michael Jackson. Now he is taking a look at another savior, Rabbi Jesus.
Kosher Jesus is a project of more than six years research and writing. The book seeks to offer to Jews and Christians Boteach’s “real story” of Jesus, a wholly observant, Pharisaic Rabbi who fought Roman paganism and oppression and was killed for it.
The book asserts that Jesus never claimed divinity and not only did not abrogate the Torah but observed every letter of the Law. Boteach traces Jesus’ teachings back to Jewish sources; and he states that later writers of the Testaments stripped Jesus of his Jewishness.
A sampling: Jesus: (Matt 5:5) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37) The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Jesus: (Matt 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see G-d. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 24) Who shall ascend the mount of the Lord the pure-hearted.
Jesus: (Matt 5:39) But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Hebrew Bible: (Lamentations 3:30) Let him offer his cheek to him who smites him....
Jesus: (Matt 6:33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37:4) Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Jesus: (Matt 7:7) Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Hebrew Bible: (Jer 29:13) When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
Jesus: (Matt 7:23) Then I will declare to them, I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers. Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 6:9) Depart from me, all you workers of evil.
Boteach writes that this book is for all readers and for Jews who remain deeply uncomfortable with Jesus because of the Church s long history of anti-Semitism, the deification of Jesus, and the Jewish rejection of any Messiah who has not fulfilled the Messianic prophecies.
He adds that as Christians and Jews come together to love and support the majestic and humane State of Israel as a Jewish state, it is goodly that Christians rediscover the deep Jewishness and religious Jewish commitment of Jesus, while Jews reexamine a lost son who was murdered by a brutal Roman state who sought to impose Roman culture and rule upon a tiny yet stubborn nation who will never be severed from their eternal covenant with the G-d of Israel.
Nazis after Hitler
How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated
Justice and Truth
By Donald M. McKale, Prof Emeritus, Clemson
January 2012, Rowman and Littlefield
This deeply researched and informative book traces the biographies of thirty "typical" perpetrators of the Holocaust—some well known, some obscure—who survived World War II. Donald M. McKale reveals the shocking reality that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators were only rarely, if ever, tried or punished for their crimes, and nearly all alleged their innocence in Germany's extermination during the war of nearly six million European Jews. He highlights the bitter contrasts between the comfortable postwar lives of many war criminals with the enduring suffering of their victims.
The author shows how immediately after the war's end in 1945, Hitler's minions, whether the few placed on trial or the many living in freedom, carried on what amounted to a massive and relentless postwar ideological, even propaganda, campaign against Jews. To be sure, the perpetrators didn't challenge the fact that the Holocaust happened. But in the face of massive evidence showing their culpability, nearly all declared they had done nothing wrong, they had not known about the Jewish persecution until the war's end, and they had little or no responsibility or guilt for what had happened. But in making these and other claims denying their involvement in the Holocaust, they defended the Nazi atrocities and anti-Semitism. Nearly every fabrication of these war criminals found its way into the mythology of postwar Holocaust deniers, who have used, in one form or another, the numerous falsehoods of the perpetrators to buttress the deniers' biggest lie—that the Holocaust did not happen. The perpetrators, therefore, helped advance Holocaust denial without having denied the Holocaust happened.
Written in a compelling narrative style, this book is the first to provide an overview of the lives of Nazis who escaped justice. The author provides a unique and accessible synthesis of the massive research on the Holocaust and Nazi war criminals that will be invaluable for all readers interested in World War II.
Kafka's Jewish Languages
The Hidden Openness of Tradition
Haney Foundation Series
By David Suchoff Colby College
December 2011, Columbia
After Franz Kafka died in 1924, his novels and short stories were published in ways that downplayed both his roots in Prague and his engagement with Jewish tradition and language, so as to secure their place in the German literary canon. Now, nearly a century after Kafka began to create his fictions, Germany, Israel, and the Czech Republic lay claim to the writer's legacy. Kafka's Jewish Languages brings Kafka's stature as a specifically Jewish author into focus. David Suchoff explores the Yiddish and modern Hebrew that inspired Kafka's vision of tradition. Citing the Jewish sources crucial to the development of Kafka's style, the book demonstrates the intimate relationship between the author's Jewish modes of expression and the larger literary significance of his works. Suchoff shows how "The Judgment" evokes Yiddish as a language of comic curse and examines how Yiddish, African American, and culturally Zionist voices appear in the unfinished novel, Amerika. Reading The Trial Suchoff highlights the black humor Kafka learned from the Yiddish theater and he interprets The Castle in light of Kafka's involvement with the renewal of the Hebrew language. Finally, Suchoff uncovers the Yiddish and Hebrew meanings behind Kafka's "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse-Folk," and considers the recent law case in Tel Aviv over the possession of Kafka's missing manuscripts as a parable of the transnational meanings of his writing.
The Other Talmud
Unlocking the Secrets of "The Talmud of Israel for Judaism Today"
By Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams, PhD
January 2012 Jewish Lights
Today's Judaism is based on the Babylonian Talmud, the Bavli. All the law codes we have are based on this Talmud. But what if the other Talmud, the Yerushalmi-- the "Talmud of the Land of Israel"--had won? What would that mean for the practice of Judaism today?
This engaging look at the Judaism that might have been breaks open the Talmud of the Land of Israel, which is growing in popularity. It examines what the Yerushalmi is, how it differs from the Bavli, and how and why the Bavli is used today. It reveals how the Yerushalmi's vision of Jewish practice resembles today's liberal Judaism. You'll explore the many ways this Talmud would have influenced all aspects of Jewish life:
* What kind of mysticism would you practice?
* How would you meditate?
* How would holiday celebrations differ from those we have today?
* How would you pray?
* What would be your greatest virtues? Your most terrible sins?
* What kind of karma would you believe in?
Like Barry W. Holtz's Back to the Sources, The Other Talmud--The Yerushalmi provides a broad but accessible overview of all the essential aspects of the Talmud of Israel, equipping you for further study and exploration.
JEWS AND BOOZE
Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition
By Marni Davis, Phd
January 2012, NYU Press
If you can’t wait til 2012, you can read Professor Davis’ earlier paper on Jews and Whisky: at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_jewish_history/summary/v094/94.3.davis.html (No Whisky Amazons in the Tents of Israel": American Jews and the Gilded Age Temperance Movement (September 2008))
At the turn of the century, American Jews and prohibitionists viewed one another with growing suspicion. Jews believed that all Americans had the right to sell and consume alcohol, while prohibitionists insisted that alcohol commerce and consumption posed a threat to the nation’s morality and security. The two groups possessed incompatible visions of what it meant to be a productive and patriotic American--and in 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution made alcohol commerce illegal, Jews discovered that anti-Semitic sentiments had mixed with anti-alcohol ideology, threatening their reputation and their standing in American society.
In Jews and Booze, Marni Davis (teaches at Georgia State, doctorate from Emory) examines American Jews’ long and complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the years of the national prohibition movement’s rise and fall. Bringing to bear an extensive range of archival materials, Davis offers a novel perspective on a previously unstudied area of American Jewish economic activity--the making and selling of liquor, wine, and beer--and reveals that alcohol commerce played a crucial role in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the growth of Jewish communities in the United States. But prohibition’s triumph cast a pall on American Jews’ history in the alcohol trade, forcing them to revise, clarify, and defend their communal and civic identities, both to their fellow Americans and to themselves.
THE LIMITS oF SUCCESS
Jewish Lives Series
By SHULAMIT VOLKOV
January 2012, Yale
This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (1867–1922) tells of a man who—both thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewish—rose to leadership in the German War-Ministry Department during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic. His achievement was unprecedented—no Jew in Germany had ever attained such high political rank. But Rathenau’s success was marked by tragedy: within months he was assassinated by right-wing extremists seeking to destroy the newly formed Republic. Drawing on Rathenau’s papers and on a depth of knowledge of both modern German and German-Jewish history, Shulamit Volkov creates a finely drawn portrait of this complex man who struggled with his Jewish identity yet treasured his “otherness.” Volkov also places Rathenau in the dual context of Weimar Germany and of Berlin’s financial and intellectual elite. Above all, she illuminates the complex social and psychological milieu of German Jewry in the period before Hitler’s rise to power
A Life in Letters
By Joseph Roth
Translated by Michael Hofmann
January 2012, Norton
The monumentality of this biographical work further establishes Joseph Roth—with Kafka, Mann, and Musil—in the twentieth-century literary canon. Who would have thought that seventy-three years after Joseph Roth’s lonely death in Paris, new editions of his translations would be appearing regularly? Roth, a transcendent novelist who also produced some of the most breathtakingly lyrical journalism ever written, is now being discovered by a new generation. Nine years in the making, this life through letters provides us with our most extensive portrait of Roth’s calamitous life—his father’s madness, his wife’s schizophrenia, his parade of mistresses (each more exotic than the next), and his classic westward journey from a virtual Hapsburg shtetl to Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, and finally Paris. Containing 457 newly translated letters, along with eloquent introductions that richly frame Roth’s life, this book brilliantly evokes the crumbling specters of the Weimar Republic and 1930s France. Displaying Roth’s ceaselessly inventive powers, it finally charts his descent into despair at a time when “the word had died, [and] men bark like dogs.”
Conversations with Kafka
By the late Gustav Janouch (1903 – 1968)
Translated by Goronwy Rees, Francine Prose (Introduction), Maira Kalman (cover)
January 2012, New Directions
A literary gem – a portrait from life of Franz Kafka – now with an ardent preface by Francine Prose, avowed “fan of Janouch’s odd and beautiful book.”
Gustav Janouch met Franz Kafka, the celebrated author of The Metamorphosis, as a seventeen-year-old fledgling poet. As Francine Prose notes in her wonderful preface, “they fell into the habit of taking long strolls through the city, strolls on which Kafka seems to have said many amazing, incisive, literary, and per- things to his companion and interlocutor, the teenage Boswell of Prague. Crossing a windswept square, apropos of something or other, Kafka tells Janouch, ‘Life is infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one’s personal experience. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean.’”
They talk about writing (Kafka’s own, but also that of his favorite writers: Poe, Kleist, and Rimbaud, who “transforms vowels into colors”) as well as technology, film, crime, Darwinism, Chinese philosophy, carpentry, insomnia, street fights, Hindu scripture, art, suicide, and prayer. “Prayer,” Kafka notes, brings “its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one’s own existence.”
By Albert Goldbarth
January 2012, Graywolf Press
Golddbarth finds “pain” in a “piano”
The not-at-all-everyday new poetry collection by Albert Goldbarth, twice winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
I brought a book of many words
to an emptiness in my heart,
and I shook them out in there, to fill it.
In my time I wrote this very thing.
In your time you read it.
—from “What We Were Like”
Virtuoso poet Albert Goldbarth returns with a new collection that describes the wonders of everyday people—overprotective parents, online gamblers, newlyweds, Hercules, and Jesus. In Goldbarth’s poetry—expansive, wild, and hilarious—he argues that our ordinary failures, heroics, joy, and grief are worth giving voice to, giving thanks for. Everyday People is an extraordinary new book by a poet who “in thirty-five years of writing has amassed a body of work as substantial and intelligent as that of anyone in his generation” (William Doreski, The Harvard Review).
Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future
The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers
By John MacCormick with Foreword by Chris Bishop
January 2012, Princeton
Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease? This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more.
These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.
Launching a Successful Fashion Line
A Trendsetters Guide Launching a Successful Fashion Line
A Trendsetters Guide
By Ralinda Harvey
If only Isaac Mizrahi, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein had this book, they could have scored it big in fashion
This innovative book on setting up your own fashion business contains everything you need to know, from finances to websites, branding to pattern makers - this book has it all! It is written in a blog-post style, making it direct and straightforward in its message which will resonate with the modern reader. The book is remarkably comprehensive and is a great tool for either the fashion student or fashion enthusiast to assemble all the knowledge they need for setting up a successful business, whether it is an ebay store or a fashion boutique.
THE JEwISH GOSPELS
THE STORY OF THE JEWISH CHRIST
BY DANIEL BOYARIN (Berkeley)
January 2012, The New Press
In July 2008 a front-page story in the New York Times reported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that “some Christians will find it shocking—a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology.”
Guiding us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures, The Jewish Gospels makes the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. In Boyarin’s scrupulously illustrated account, the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus’s life. In the vein of Elaine Pagels’s The Gnostic Gospels, here is a brilliant new work that will break open some of our culture’s most cherished assumptions.
TOURS THAT BIND
DIASPORA, PILGRIMAGE, AND ISRAELI BIRTHRIGHT TOURISM
Now in Papaerback
By Shaul Kelner, Vanderbilt University
2012, NYU Press
Since 1999 hundreds of thousands of young American Jews have visited Israel on an all-expense-paid 10-day pilgrimage-tour known as Birthright Israel. The most elaborate of the state-supported homeland tours that are cropping up all over the world, this tour seeks to foster in the American Jewish diaspora a lifelong sense of attachment to Israel based on ethnic and political solidarity. Over a half-billion dollars (and counting) has been spent cultivating this attachment, and despite 9/11 and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict the tours are still going strong. Based on over seven years of first-hand observation in modern day Israel, Shaul Kelner provides an on-the-ground look at this hotly debated and widely emulated use of tourism to forge transnational ties. We ride the bus, attend speeches with the Prime Minister, hang out in the hotel bar, and get a fresh feel for young American Jewish identity and contemporary Israel. We see how tourism's dynamism coupled with the vibrant human agency of the individual tourists inevitably complicate tour leaders' efforts to rein tourism in and bring it under control. By looking at the broader meaning of tourism, Kelner brings to light the contradictions inherent in the tours and the ways that people understandtheir relationship to place both materially and symbolically. Rich in detail, engagingly written, and sensitive to the complexities of modern travel and modern diaspora Jewishness, Tours that Bind offers a new way of thinking about tourism as a way through which people develop understandings of place, society, and self.
SEPHARDIC JEWS IN AMERICA
A DISPORIC HISTORY
BY AVIVA BEN-UR, Umass Amherst
January 2012, NYU Press
Now in Paperback
A significant number of Sephardic Jews, who trace their remote origins to Spain and Portugal, immigrated to the United States from Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans from 1880 through the 1920s, joined by a smaller number of Mizrahi Jews arriving from Arab lands. Most Sephardim settled in New York, establishing the leading Judeo-Spanish community outside the Ottoman Empire. With their distinct languages, cultures, and rituals, Sephardim and Arab-speaking Mizrahim were not readily recognized as Jews by their Ashkenazic coreligionists. At the same time, they forged alliances outside Jewish circles with Hispanics and Arabs, with whom they shared significant cultural and linguistic ties. The failure among Ashkenazic Jews to acknowledge Sephardim and Mizrahim continues today. More often than not, these Jewish communities are simply absent from portrayals of American Jewry. Drawing on primary sources such as the Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) press, archival documents, and oral histories, Sephardic Jews in America offers the first book-length academic treatment of their history in the United States, from 1654 to the present, focusing on the age of mass immigration. Aviva Ben-Ur is Associate Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also serves as Adjunct Associate Professor in the History Department and the Department of Language, Literatures, and Cultures. She is the co-author of Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries of Suriname: Epitaphs and Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries and Synagogues of Suriname: Essays.
THE RESCUER’S PATH
A Novel BY PAULA FRIEDMAN
Paperback, Plainview Press
A HISTORY OF WOMEN AND INTERMARRIAGE IN AMERICA
BY KAREN R. McGINITY, Brandeis
2012, NYU Press
Now In Paperback
Over the last century, American Jews married outside their religion at increasing rates. By closely examining the intersection of intermarriage and gender across the twentieth century, Keren R. McGinity describes the lives of Jewish women who intermarried while placing their decisions in historical context. The first comprehensive history of these intermarried women, Still Jewish is a multigenerational study combining in-depth personal interviews and an astute analysis of how interfaith relationships and intermarriage were portrayed in the mass media, advice manuals, and religious community-generated literature.
Still Jewish dismantles assumptions that once a Jew intermarries, she becomes fully assimilated into the majority Christian population, religion, and culture. Rather than becoming "lost" to the Jewish community, women who intermarried later in the century were more likely to raise their children with strong ties to Judaism than women who intermarried earlier in the century. Bringing perennially controversial questions of Jewish identity, continuity, and survival to the forefront of the discussion, Still Jewish addresses topics of great resonance in the modern Jewish community and beyond.
ISLAM THROUGH WESTERN EYES
FROM THE CRUSADES TO THE WAR ON TERRORISM
BY JONATHAN LYONS
January 2012, Columbia
Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens to curb any prospect of East-West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford in a rapidly globalizing world.
The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Genesis, Part I
By Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Edited by Rabbi Shlomo Katz
January 2012, urim
The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach provides a glimpse into the unusual way in which the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach received and transmitted Torah. It also aids the reader in bridging Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the great composer/singer and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the great scholar/teacher. Those who sing his songs, but do not learn his Torah, only sing half a song. When Reb Shlomo speaks of Abraham and Sara, you are sure he is speaking about his own grandparents. When delving into the lives of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah, it is as if he is speaking of his own parents. The teachings in this book of commentary are not just meant to be read they are intended to be enjoyed and experienced as holy music. Ultimately, they are intended as a lesson in living a holy life. Wherever Reb Shlomo traveled in the world, he brought several suitcases of holy books with him. This book makes Reb Shlomo's teachings accessible to help us carry on our journey through life.
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We Are All Equally Far from Love
By Adania Shibli
Translated from the Arabic by Paul Starkey
January 2012, Interlink
A new award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of Touch. A young woman, asked at work to write a letter to an older man, does as she is told. So begins an enigmatic but passionate love affair conducted entirely in letters. A love affair? Maybe. Until his letters stop coming. Or... maybe the letters do not reach their intended recipient? Only the teenage Afaf, who works at the local post office, would know. Her favorite duty is to open the mail and inform her collaborator father of the contents until she finds a mysterious set of love letters, apparently returned to their sender. In the hands of Adania Shibli, the discovery of these letters makes for a wrenching meditation on lives lived ensnared within the dictates of others.
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By Shalom Auslander
The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: No one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son there. To begin again. To start anew. But it isn't quite working out that way. His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won't stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one he bought. And when, one night, Kugel discovers history - a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history - hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.
It is a novel inspired by Kafka, by Beckett, and by the Book of Job (biblical Job, not Steve Job(s)). Sometimes HOPE makes things worse. Things are bad, you pray, and they get worse. There is also a thread of Holocaust humor in the novel, its use by some people, and its misuse by others.
The critically acclaimed writer Shalom Auslander's debut novel is a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit. It is a comic and compelling story of the hopeless longing to be free of those pasts that haunt our every present.
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Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?
Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles
and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You
Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy
By William Poundstone
January 2012, Little Brown
FROM THE AUTHOR OF HOW WOULD YOU MOVE MOUNT FUJI (Microsoft interview questions)..
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO WORK AT GOOGLE? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more. ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO WORK AT GOOGLE? is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's job market.
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THE SCANDALOUS REJECTION OF MY HASIDIC ROOT
BY DEBORAH FELDMAN
February 2012, S&S
Deborah grew up in Williamsburg as a member of the Satmar Hasidic movement. At the age of 23, she left the community with her son. Her mother also left many years ago, but did not take Deborah with her. Deborah's mother grew up in England in a religious, but not Hasidic, family. She married a Satmar and came to America. Feldman writes that her father had a personality disorder and, after several years, her mother and father divorced. Deborah was placed with her paternal grandparents and sent to the matchmaker at 17. This is her story of life in Williamsburg and her rejection of its rules and expectations.
Married at age 17 to a man she had only met for thirty minutes, and denied a traditional education — sexual or otherwise — she was unable to consummate the relationship for an entire year. Her resultant debilitating anxiety went undiagnosed and was exacerbated by the public shame of having failed to serve her husband. In exceptional prose, Feldman recalls how stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to see an alternative way of life — one she knew she had to seize when, at the age of nineteen, she gave birth to a son and realized that more than just her own future was at stake.
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Too Big to Fail?
Too Big to Mail?
Too Big to Sail?
Or too big to know..
Too Big to Know
Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room
February 2012, Basic
We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.
Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker . . . if you know how. In Too Big to Know, Internet philosopher David Weinberger shows how business, science, education, and the government are learning to use networked knowledge to understand more than ever and to make smarter decisions than they could when they had to rely on mere books and experts. This groundbreaking book shakes the foundations of our concept of knowledge—from the role of facts to the value of books and the authority of experts—providing a compelling vision of the future of knowledge in a connected world.
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The Daily You
How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth
By Joseph Turow
Winter 2012, YALE
The Internet is often hyped as a means to enhanced consumer power: a hypercustomized media world where individuals exercise unprecedented control over what they see and do. That is the scenario media guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted in the 1990s, with his hypothetical online newspaper The Daily Me—and it is one we experience now in daily ways. But, as media expert Joseph Turow shows, the customized media environment we inhabit today reflects diminished consumer power. Not only ads and discounts but even news and entertainment are being customized by newly powerful media agencies on the basis of data we don’t know they are collecting and individualized profiles we don’t know we have. Little is known about this new industry: how is this data being collected and analyzed? And how are our profiles created and used? How do you know if you have been identified as a “target” or “waste” or placed in one of the industry’s finer-grained marketing niches? Are you, for example, a Socially Liberal Organic Eater, a Diabetic Individual in the Household, or Single City Struggler? And, if so, how does that affect what you see and do online? Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with industry insiders, this important book shows how advertisers have come to wield such power over individuals and media outlets—and what can be done to stop it.Click to read more
No One is Here Except All of Us
By Ramona Ausubel
February 2012, Riverhead
In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years- across oceans, deserts, and mountains-but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go. Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger who has washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. Destiny is unwritten. Time and history are forgotten. Jobs, husbands, a child, are reassigned. And for years, there is boundless hope. But the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, eventually overtaking it, and soon our narrator-the girl, grown into a young mother-must flee her village, move from one world to the next, to find her husband and save her children, and propel them toward a real and hopeful future. A beguiling, imaginative, inspiring story about the bigness of being alive as an individual, as a member of a tribe, and as a participant in history, No One Is Here Except All Of Us explores how we use storytelling to survive and shape our own truths. It marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.
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What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
By Nathan Englander
February 7, 2012, Knopf
Deeply felt and presses all the buttons you do not want pressed
These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction.
The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver’s masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark “Camp Sundown” vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. “Free Fruit for Young Widows” is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. “Sister Hills” chronicles the history of Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child. Marking a return to two of Englander’s classic themes, “Peep Show” and “How We Avenged the Blums” wrestle with sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity and peril.
And “Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother’s Side” is suffused with an intimacy and tenderness that break new ground for a writer who seems constantly to be expanding the parameters of what he can achieve in the short form.
Beautiful and courageous, funny and achingly sad, Englander’s work is a revelation.
Children of Wrath
By Paul Grossman
February 2012, St. Martin’s Press
Willi Kraus, the celebrated WWI and detective, returns in this prequel story about how he became the most famous Jewish Detective in Germany in the days of the Weimar Republic.
In Children of Wrath Willi Kraus tackles the case of the Kinderfresser, the vicious Child-Eater of Berlin. Turning the clock back two years from The Sleepwalkers, the story starts out in the fall of 1929, the last days of prosperity. Berlin is deep in the throes of a giddy rush to forget its troubled past. But the same day the stock market crashes in New York, the dark underside of the German capital flushes to the surface in the form of a burlap sack spewed by floodwaters from the city sewer system. When Willi is called to investigate and discovers the sack is full of children’s bones with teeth marks on them--and a bible with a single phrase circled in red: children of wrath--he fears he’s run into “something darker than he’s ever known.”
No Cheating, No Dying
I Had a Good Marriage.
Then I Tried To Make It Better.
By Elizabeth Weil
February 2012, Scribner
Liz and Dan did not have a perfect marriage. Who does? So what if he saws a pigs head off in the basement? SO what if she never mentioned her ex bf’s prior to the wedding? Their marriage was GOOD. Really Good. Then, ten years after the wedding, Liz tried to make it better. And her story of what happened was one of the most discussed stories after it appeared in the NYT Sunday magazine. What does a BETTER marriage mean anyway?
Written with charm and wit, No Cheating, No Dying investigates one of the most universal human institutions--marriage. Elizabeth Weil believes that you don’t get married in a white dress, in front of all your future in-laws and ex-boyfriends but gradually, over time, through all the road rage incidents and pre-colonoscopy enemas, good and bad dinners, and all the small moments you never expected to happen or much less endure.
In this book, Weil examines the major universal marriage issues — sex, money, mental health, in-laws, religion, children, fidelity (no cheating) — through bravely recounting her own hilarious, messy, and sometimes difficult relationship. She seeks out the advice of financial planners, psychoanalysts, therapists, household management consultants, priests, rabbis, and the United States government. How much should one give up? What is faithfulness? How much of one’s personalities should one keep private ? Woven into this funny and forthright narrative is Weil's extensive research on marriage and marriage improvement. The result is an illuminating and entertaining read that is a fresh addition to the body of literature about marriage
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His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg
By Louise Borden
Winter 2012, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Ages 12 and up
Louise Borden is the highly regarded author of many books, including Good Luck, Mrs. K!, Sleds on Boston Common, Good-bye, Charles Lindbergh and The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in WW II--all published by Margaret McElderry Books. Across the Blue Pacific is based on the true story of her uncle, Theodore Taylor Walker, who served aboard the USS Albacore (SS-218) during World War II. She lives with her husband, Pete, in Terrace Park, Ohio, and has three grown children. Her website can be found at www.louiseborden.com.
THE EIGHTH VEIL
A JERUSALEM MYSTERY
By FREDERICK RAMSEY
February 2012, Poisoned Pen Press
A mystery by a retired Episcopal priest that is set in Jerusalem
The Eighth Veil is a mystery set in the year 28 CE in Jerusalem during the feast of Tabernacles. A murdered servant girl is found in the palace of King Herod Antipas. The Prefect, Pontius Pilate is in attendance. The populace is still buzzing over the brutal death of one of their Prophets, John, known familiarly as the Baptizer, and scandal is in the air.
Pilate does wants no trouble and insists an independent investigation into the murder be made. Antipas will have none of Pilate’s men in the palace and Pilate doesn’t trust Antipas. Gamaliel, the chief rabbi and head of the Sanhedrin is coerced by Pilate to do the detective work.
Gamaliel is a Talmudic scholar, not a sleuth and at first struggles. But as he learns more of the dead girl’s background and that of the other major players in the drama, particularly Menahem, Antipas’ foster brother, he soon becomes eon over to the process and, Sherlockian-like, begins to fit the pieces together. Or, as his “Watson” Loukas says, strips the veils from his personal Salome.
The girl turns out not to be the mere servant everyone assumed, in spite of his impatience with the pace and direction of the investigation Pilate is rewarded and the fascinating, little told but critically entwined, histories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Herod the Great, Anthony and Augustus Caesar, and the Battle of Actium suddenly seems more relevant to the Gospel narratives than anyone might have previously imagined.
Meanwhile, the figure of Jesus, the rabbi from Nazareth, with his ragged band of enthusiasts and his habit of annoying Caiaphas, the High Priest, moves enigmatically in the background.
BY HOWARD SHRIER
Winter 2012, Vintage Canada
Publisher’s Weekly gives it a starred review
Canada's top private eye is back as Jonah Geller resumes his vagabond ways in Boston Cream, the Vintage World of Crime trade paperback original and sequel to the Arthur Ellis-winning novels Buffalo Jump and High Chicago.
David Fine is not the kind of guy to go missing. Or so his father tells Toronto PI Jonah Geller. A brilliant young surgeon-in-training, devoutly Jewish, devoted to his parents--last seen 2 weeks ago leaving the Boston Sinai hospital where he worked. Still recovering from a concussion, Jonah and partner Jenn Raudsepp soon find out that David fled for his life after a vicious Irish crime boss tried to abduct him. And that he's more likely dead than alive. Then Jenn joins the ranks of the missing, and Jonah needs help from former hit man Dante Ryan and two local wise guys as he races the clock to save her life, one step ahead of the Boston law.
OPERA BUFFA WITH LEIB GOLDDKORN
A novel by Mr. Leslie Epstein
February 2012, Norton
A multilayered masterpiece of fevered imagination and eroticism, Liebestod soars as the consummate work by one of America's greatest comic geniuses. As hilarious as it is heartbreaking, Liebestod returns us to Leslie Epstein’s most compelling literary character, that European émigré and meagerly successful musician, Leib Goldkorn, whose final years as a randy centenarian in New York City end in one of the most memorable swan songs in recent fiction. Invited back to his hometown in Moravia, Leib discovers that his father is not a hops magnate but actually one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers, Gustav Mahler. Returning to New York with a bevy of rabbinical cousins, Leib, now besotted by a world-famed diva, is determined to bring to the Metropolitan Opera Rubezahl, the only opera his real father ever wrote. Yet the much-heralded premiere turns into a fiasco of unimaginable proportions, all breathtakingly relayed by a stunned newspaper correspondent who survives to report on this monumental disaster. With Liebestod, Epstein once again “illuminates the mystery of our common humanity and mortality”
Epstein is director of the Creative Writing Program, at BU
Bringing Up Bebe
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
By Pamela Druckerman
Also known as “French Children Don’t Throw Food.”
Pamela Druckerman has written for many publications including The Wall Street Journal. She knows a lot about sex, worldwide lust, standup comedy, Argentina, Brazil, Japanese and some Hebrew. But when she had a child in Paris, France, she saw that French babies acted differently from those of English speaking families. The French children Druckerman knows sleep through the night at two or three months old while those of her American friends take a year or more. French kids eat well-rounded meals that are more likely to include braised leeks than chicken nuggets. And while her American friends spend their visits resolving spats between their kids, her French friends sip coffee while the kids play. What was the secret?
Are they putting wine in the bottles of babies and cups of mothers?
Motherhood itself is a whole different experience in France. There's no role model, as there is in America, for the harried new mom with no life of her own. French mothers assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. They have an easy, calm authority with their kids that Druckerman can only envy.
Of course, French parenting wouldn't be worth talking about if it produced robotic, joyless children. In fact, French kids are just as boisterous, curious, and creative as Americans. They're just far better behaved and more in command of themselves. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and pre-literacy training, French kids are- by design-toddling around and discovering the world at their own pace.
With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.
For Better or For Work
A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families
By Meg Cadoux Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farms
March 2012, Inc.
Discover how to build a successful business and follow your passions without sacrificing healthy family relationships to the financial and emotional rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship.
How does someone who is obsessed live peacefully with others who are not? That question summarizes the quandary faced by company founders and their families. To answer it, author Meg Cadoux Hirshberg examines the impact for better and for worse of entrepreneurial businesses on families and relationships, and vice versa.
Practically, this is a vital guide to navigating the emotional and logistical terrain of business-building while simultaneously enjoying a fulfilling family life. From the trials of co-habiting with a home-based business to the queasy necessity of borrowing money from family and friends to the complexities of intergenerational succession, no topic is taboo.
Psychologically, this book is a reminder that no entrepreneurial family trudges the hard trail of company-building alone. If you have embarked on such an enterprise, you and your spouse will find comfort and guidance in the experiences of others like you. Meg draws on the struggles and triumphs she and husband Gary Hirshberg experienced as he built Stonyfield Yogurt, and also shares powerful stories and insights from other families, gathered through hundreds of interviews.
For Better or For Work will remind you that the long hours and late nights spent on the business or with the family are worth the effort and will give you tools for making both endeavors successful.
The Crisis of Zionism
By Peter Beinart
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.
Israel's next great crisis may come not with the Palestinians or Iran but with young American Jews
A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America. In Israel, the deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the liberal Zionist dream—the dream of a state that safeguards the Jewish people and cherishes democratic ideals—may die.
In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart lays out in chilling detail the looming danger to Israeli democracy and the American Jewish establishment's refusal to confront it. And he offers a fascinating, groundbreaking portrait of the two leaders at the center of the crisis: Barack Obama, America's first "Jewish president," a man steeped in the liberalism he learned from his many Jewish friends and mentors in Chicago; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who considers liberalism the Jewish people's special curse. These two men embody fundamentally different visions not just of American and Israeli national interests but of the mission of the Jewish people itself.
Beinart concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change
HALBMAN STEALS HOME
By B. GLEN ROTCHIN
March 2012, Durdin
Rotchin's debut novel, The Rent Collector (Vehicule, 2005), was a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. The novel has a Mordecai Richler feel to it, a la Barney's Version (Montreal-centric, featuring a crusty protagonist and his loopy family). Rotchin has won two national Jewish Book Awards for co-editing two poetry anthologies, and is a well-respected literary figure. MORT HALBMAN, 65, is the prime suspect in an arson investigation when his family home, which he built 35 years ago, burns down. Juggling complicated family matters, like his ex-wife, Mona, whom he divorced after 7 years of marriage; or Jacob, his gay son in search of a rabbi who can officiate at his same sex wedding, he feels compelled to continually return to the ruin of his former home, and to the memories the place still holds for him (which therefore makes him a suspect in the arson investigation). This is the story of Mort's daring attempt to risk everything for a last shot at redemption.
Judgment Before Nuremberg
The Holocaust in the Ukraine
and the First Nazi War Crimes Trial
The story of the forgotten Kharkov Trials
By Greg Dawson (The Orlando Sentinel)
March 2012, Pegasus
The story of the forgotten Kharkov Trials, which sought justice for the thousands of Jews killed in the Ukraine two years prior to the infamous Nuremberg Trails. When people think of the Holocaust, they think of Auschwitz, Dachau; and when they think of justice for this terrible chapter in history, they think of Nuremberg. Not of Russia or the Ukraine, and certainly not of a city called Kharkov. But in reality, the first war-crimes trial against the Nazis was in this idyllic, peaceful Ukrainian city, which is fitting, because it is also where the Holocaust actually began.
Revealing a lost chapter in Holocaust historiography, Judgment Before Nuremberg tells the story of Dawson’s journey to this place, to the scene of the crime, and the discovery of the trial which began the tortuous process of avenging the murder of his grandparents, his great-grandparents, and tens of thousands of fellow Ukrainians consumed at the dawn of the Shoah, a moment and crime now largely cloaked in darkness.
Eighteen months before the end of World War II — two full years before the opening statement by the prosecution at Nuremberg — three Nazi officers and a Ukrainian collaborator were tried and convicted of war crimes and hanged in Kharkov’s public square.
The trial is symbolic of the larger omission of the Ukraine from the popular history of the Holocaust—another deep irony, as most of the first of the six million perished in the Ukraine long before Hitler and his lieutenants even decided on the formalities of the Final Solution.
Fat, Drunk, and Stupid
The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House
By Matty Simmons
April 2012, St Martin’s Press
A wild, uncensored, behind-the-scenes account of America's favorite film comedy. In 1976, National Lampoon, the nation’s most popular humor magazine, decided to create a movie under the Lampoon banner. It would be set on a college campus in the 60s, very loosely based on the fraternity experiences of Lampoon contributor Chris Miller, and it would be called “Animal House.” A cast of mostly unknowns was hired, and for four weeks in late 1977, the actors and crew invaded the town of Eugene, Oregon. Reluctantly produced by Universal Studios on a budget of less than $3 million, the film wound up with revenues of over $600 million. Drawing from exclusive new interviews with director John Landis, fellow producer Ivan Reitman, Karen Allen, Kevin Bacon and other key players, as well as never-before-seen photos, this book traces the film’s outrageous history, from its birth in the offices of the National Lampoon, to scripting, casting, filming, and, ultimately, the film’s mega success. This is a hilarious romp through one of the biggest grossing, most memorable, most frequently quoted, and most celebrated comedies of all time.
America's Soul In the Balance
The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, And The Moral Disgrace Of An American Aristocracy
By Attorney Gregory J. Wallance
April 2012, Green Leaf
Documentary producer, author, tv host, and Kaye Scholer partner Wallance, reports on the often forgotten story of the 70,000 Romanian Jews who were deported to death camps during WWII and the US State Department’s reactions, failure to act, and suppression of facts
House of Stone
A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East
By Anthony Shadid
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Last spring, when Anthony Shadid—one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya as the region erupted—was freed, he went home. Not to Boston, Beirut, or Oklahoma where he was raised by his Lebanese-American family, but to an ancient estate built by his great-grandfather, a place filled with memories of a lost era when the Middle East was a world of grace, grandeur, and unexpected departures. For two years previous, Shadid had worked to reconstruct the house and restore his spirit after both had weathered war. Now the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near (National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize) tells the story of the house’s re-creation, revealing its mysteries and recovering the lives that have passed through it. Shadid juxtaposes past and present as he traces the house’s renewal along with his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. House of Stone is an unforgettable memoir of the world’s most volatile landscape and the universal yearning for home.
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KASHER IN THE RYE
The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16
BY MOSHE KASHER
Grand Central Publishing
A Delightful Romp Through Childhood Tragedy, Institutional Living, and Teenage Drug Addiction
Moshe Kasher is a stand up comedian and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, and Chelsea Lately. He has performed at many international comedy festivals including the prestigious "Just For Laughs" festival in Montreal, Jamie Foxx's "Laffapalooza" festival and "South By Southwest." Moshe just finished shooting an MTV show, and he recently sold a show to Comedy Central, which he wrote and will star in.
Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948
By Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
April 2012, Harper
I Am Forbidden
By Anouk Markovits
A family saga set among a group of Satmar Hasidic Jews, spanning from pre-WWII Transylvania to Paris in the 1960s and contemporary Brooklyn. Tradition, love, commitment, and Torah law collide.
Josef Lichtenstein, 5, survives the murders of his family at the hand of the Romanian Iron Guard in 1939. She is saved by Florina, the family’s non-Jewish maid. He is taken and raised by her. Five year’s later, at age 10, Hosef rescues a young girl, Mila Heller, after her parents are killed while running to the Satmar Rebbe, Yoel Teitelbaum, who is aboard the Kasztner train. Josef helps Mila reach the home of Zalman Stern, a community leader and scholar, where Mila is taken in and raised like a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. After WWII, Zalman, Mila, and Atara flee to Paris, and Josef is sent to America to the newly planted Satmar community. As you would expect, Mila moves to Brooklyn to marry Josef, while Atara seeks independence. Alas, after a decade of marriage, Mila and Josef are childless and Mila, who is fervently pious, must try to get pregnant using another method. Hopefully her choice will remain a secret. This is just a taste, an appetizer of chopped liver, to the saga. The author, Anouk, is one of 15 children borne to a Hassidic Jewish family in France. She fled an arranged marriage and moved to NYC where she received a degree from Columbia, and then graduate degrees from Harvard and Cornell. Her first novel was in French, and this is her first novel in English
The Aleppo Codex
The True Story of Obesession, Faith, and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible
By Matti Friedman
May 2012 Algonquin
This true-life detective story unveils the journey of a sacred text-the tenth-century annotated bible know as the Aleppo Codex-from its hiding place in a Syrian synagogue to the newly founded state of Israel. Based on Matti Friedman's independent research, documents kept secret for fifty years, and personal interviews with key players, the book proposes a new theory of what happened when the codex left Aleppo, Syria, in the late 1940s and eventually surfaced in Jerusalem, mysteriously incomplete.
The closest thing Jews have to the Word of God, the codex provides vital keys to reading biblical texts. By recounting its history, Friedman explores the once vibrant Jewish communities in Islamic lands and follows the thread into the present, uncovering difficult truths about how the manuscript was taken to Israel and how its most important pages went missing. Along the way, he raises critical questions about who owns historical treasures and the role of myth and legend in the creation of a nation.
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