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A record 225 NETWORK authors touring this fall. Celebrate Israel @ 60 continues: JBW talks to Etgar Keret and poet Shirley Kaufman; novel ways to support Israel. Plus: People of the (Comic) Book, Part 2, New Children’s author interview column


Fall 5768/2008

FEATURES: 34 Israel at Sixty 34 Jerusalem Chronicler 37 A Conversation with Etgar Keret 36 S.Y. Agnon 38 Reviews of Current Titles 40 People of the (Comic) Book: Part 2

Vol. 26, Number 3

55 You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith without Fanaticism Brad Hirschfield Reviewed by Robin Levinson

52 COOKBOOKS 55 FICTION 56 The Book of Getting Even

REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS: 44 AMERICAN JEWISH STUDIES 44 Imagining the American Jewish Community

56 The Cure for Grief

Cynthia Ozick Reviewed by Judith Felsenfeld

Merle L. Bachman Reviewed by Julia Wolf Mazow

58 46 BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR 47 Dough: A Memoir Mort Zachter Reviewed by Maron L. Waxman

48 Growing Up At Grossinger’s

Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust

Steve Stern Reviewed by Sydelle Shamah

Pierre Birnbaum Reviewed by Carol Poll

62

Benjamin Harshav Reviewed by Joseph A. Kanofsky

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62 The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, 2 Volumes Gershon David Hundert, ed. Reviewed by Michael N. Dobkowski

63 HOLOCAUST STUDIES 63 Daring To Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust David Engel and Eva Fogelman; Yitzchak Mais, ed. Reviewed by Marcia Posner

Spiritual Activism: A Jewish Guide to Leadership and Repairing the World Avraham Weiss Reviewed by Arnold D. Samlan

54 Ten Days of Birthright Israel: A Journey in Young Adult Identity

Aaron David Miller Reviewed by Michael N. Dobkowski

65 POETRY 66 SCHOLARSHIP 66 Transforming Identity: The Ritual Transformation from Gentile to Jew-Structure and Meaning Avi Sagi and Zvi Zohar Reviewed by Wally Greene

67 WOMEN’S STUDIES 67 Moses’ Women Shera Aranoff Tuchman and Sandra E. Rapoport Reviewed by Hara E. Person

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Ghettostadt: Lodz and the Making of a Nazi City Gordon J. Horwitz Reviewed by Marcia Posner

The Torah: A Women’s Commentary Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Andrea L. Weiss, eds. Reviewed by Rabbi Julie Pelc

Greece: A Jewish History K. E. Fleming Reviewed by Jane Wallerstein

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger Reviewed by Joel Cohen

51 CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LIFE 53 The Polyphony of Jewish Culture

39 The Much Too Promised Land

61 HISTORY 61 Geography of Hope: Exile, the Enlightenment, Disassimilation

Anna Porter Reviewed by Marcia Posner

50 The Promise

Haskell Nussbaum Reviewed by Barbara M. Bibel

59 The North of God

Tania Grossinger Reviewed by Noel N. Kriftcher

49

Indignation Philip Roth Reviewed by Maron L. Waxman

48 The Girl From Foreign Sadia Shepard Reviewed by Bob Goldfarb

38 ISRAEL STUDIES 38 101+ Ways to Help Israel: A Guide to Doing Small Things that Can Make a Big Difference

Nellie Herman Reviewed by Molly B. Dubin

57 Dictation

Who Will Write Our History?: Emanuel Ringelblum, The Warsaw Ghetto and The Oyneg Shabes Archive Samuel D. Kassow Reviewed by Jack Fischel

Benjamin Taylor Reviewed by Karen Hauser

Jack Wertheimer, ed. Reviewed by Susan M. Chambre

46 Recovering “Yiddishland”: Threshold Moments in American Literature

65

68 CHILDREN’S

DEPARTMENTS 2 4 6 32

33 68

77 81 83 86

Editor’s Note Director’s Note Jewish Book NETWORK Authors Jewish Book Council Events 32 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature 32 2008 Photos Book Group Forum 33 Book Club Recommendations Children’s 72 A Book of More Value, Who Can Find? 75 Column: Jewish Books for Children Books of Note Now in Paperback Contributors Index

Leonard Saxe and Barry Chazan Reviewed by Jaclyn Trop

www.jewishbookcouncil.org

Fall 5768/2008

Jewish Book World

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Jewish Book World

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his fall I will be sending my son into harm’s way—and it is now personal. He is not fighting with the troops in Iraq; he is not researching infectious diseases in the outreaches of Rwanda; he is not joining an oil rig crew in West Texas, nor is he a journalist investigating a drug cartel in Cali, Columbia. He is going to spend a pleasant post high schoolpre-college year studying Talmud in a leafy neighborhood of Jerusalem. And he will be in harm’s way. Each night before I close the lights and each morning when I wake, I will check the news for bulldozer attacks, burning busses and machine gun toting disgruntled janitors and I will pray for my son’s safety. And each day for the next year, what happens in, and to, Israel, will be personal. How is this possible? How is it that despite the unprecedented economic and military strength of this young country, we still shudder at the very real possibility of its demise? Is it that history seems to want to repeat over and over—there is no room in the world for Jews? Or is it a result of our failure to meet the moral imperative demanded of us as a precondition to our entitlement to the land? Or perhaps in our hubris, we have overstated our claim to the land and in doing so we have brought this upon ourselves by dispossessing and subjugating an indigenous population? All throughout this year, Jewish Book World has joined the entire Jewish people in a celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday. While others find their own ways to honor this miracle, we do so by bringing to the attention of our readers English language books and authors that consider these questions and the myriad other questions about Israel and her place in the Middle East that concern not only Jews but the world at large. One of the books we review in this issue is The Much Too Promised Land–America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace by Aaron David Miller. The Much Too Promised Land is a chronicle of Aaron Miller’s twenty years of statecraft as a Middle East specialist in the State Department, a span that included a cen-

tral role in the failed Oslo peace process. Although this memoir considers positive possibilities for the future, mostly by American intervention that features sweet carrots with strong sticks, it is largely an anecdotal account of Miller’s own interaction with the personalities that formed Israel’s recent history. Through close up views of Rabin, Arafat, and Bill Clinton, as well as dozens of less well known players, a complex picture emerges. The region is not made up of good people and bad people—but flawed people—that is to say, humans. And where there is humanity, there is hope. We also highlight a book that examines a phenomenon that may be the best hope for the future of American-Israeli Jewish relations-Birthright Israel, the innovative philanthropic program of Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt that offers to young Jewish adults a ten day free, all expense paid trip to tour Israel. Ten Days of Birthright Israel–A Journey in Young Adult Identity by Leonard Saxe and Barry Chazan is the story of one of those trips—a trip that has been shared by over 150,000 young Jews since the year 2000. As summarized by our reviewer, the authors conclude that the ‘free trip to Israel’ has been key in allowing the collegiate and young professional set to develop a Jewish identity— participants are more likely to form a strong connection to Israel , become involved in Jewish organizations on campus and marry and raise their children Jewish. These are but two of the books about Israel and the American-Israeli connection that we bring to your attention each issue. In many cases, we are the only source of information about these books. Enjoy our reviews, read the books that capture your interest and become more engaged in the issues that define Israel. Israel will become personal for you as well.

Jewish Book World is published four times a year by the Jewish Book Council, 520 8th Avenue, 4th floor, New York, NY 10018, (212) 201-2920; www.jewishbookcouncil.org; email: jbc@jewishbooks.org. JBC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1943 to promote the publishing, writing, and reading of quality books of Jewish interest. In sponsoring Jewish Book World the Jewish Book Council aims to meet the need for a journal devoted to providing thoughtful reviews of new Jewish books and features on the author and literary scene. It is our hope that Jewish Book World will be a valued resource in navigating today’s exciting Jewish literary scene. The Council is also the sponsor of Jewish Book Month, the National Jewish Book Awards, the Jewish Book NETWORK and other programs and activities. Subscriptions to Jewish Book World are available from the Council at $36.00 annually or $12.50 an issue. An advertising rate schedule is also available on request.

Staff Carol E. Kaufman Naomi Firestone Lisa Silverman Barbara Goelman Sean Kennedy

Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Children’s Book Editor Editorial Assistant, Children's Books Art Director

Jewish Book Council Lawrence J. Krule Harry I. Freund Judith Lieberman Mimi S. Frank Henry Everett (z”l)

President Vice-President Vice-President Secretary Honorary Chairman of the Board Carolyn Starman Hessel Director Geri Gindea Director, Sami Rohr Prize Miri R. Pomerantz Program Director Joyce Lit Program Associate Andrea Miller Network Film Coordinator Libi Adler Program Associate Eve Weinstein Intern Intern Rachel Orbach

Board of Directors Steven D. Burton Edith Everett Paul A. Flexner Ellen Frankel Samuel G. Freedman Sharon Friedman Ari L. Goldman Shelley Goldseker Matthew F. Golub Blu Greenberg Rae Gurewitsch Miriam Holmes Altie Karper Francine Klagsbrun Warren Kozak

Myra Kraft Carmel R. Krauss Ruth Legow Dan Levine William Liss-Levinson Stuart Matlins Debby Miller Marcia W. Posner Julie Potiker Steven Siegel Livia S. Straus Joseph Telushkin Alan J. Wiener Bernard Weinflash Jane Weitzman

Editorial Board Altie Karper Nessa Rapaport Michael Monheit Arlene Soifer Marcia W. Posner Ted Solotaroff, ex officio For information about advertising in this publication, please contact Naomi Firestone at 212-201-2920 or naomi@jewishbooks.org. Claims on orders that have not been received must be made within 2 months of the date of publication.

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Now available from the Jewish Book Council

ONLY $160 (including is a perfect shipping)! It ones. Or, gift for loved te it as a why not dona cal gift to your lo senior synagogue or citizen home?

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SAMI ROHR LIBRARY of RECORDED YIDDISH BOOKS

The historic compilation of Yiddish classics, read aloud by native Yiddish speakers at Montreal’s Jewish Public Library, and presented by the National Yiddish Book Center , preserves complete, unabridged books on CD. Thirty titles are now available, including works by: Sholem Aleichem, Sholem Asch, I.L. Peretz, Mendele Moykher Sforim, and I.B. Singer, among others.

For more information, call 212-201-2920 or email jbc@jewishbooks.org This project is supported by a generous grant from the Rohr family of Miami.


B

ooks change lives! And for the Jewish people, it is indeed “the Book,” the Torah, that has changed the life of each of us throughout time. It is the book that is passed down from generation to generation, dor l’ dor, to frame our very being. Think back on all the books you have read and how they have enriched your life. I have always read about heroines of yesterday and today and know they impact upon my understanding of the role of women and their potential. On a more spiritual level I think of As A Driven Leaf, which allows us, perhaps on a more intellectual level, to grapple with very basic ideas about religion. Then there is Exodus, certainly on a more popular track, which impacted upon the American public at a time when positive ties with Israel were growing. The very popular “self-help” genre began with When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner and books within

this group have assisted many people. And in the last twenty years, so many of us have benefited from the teachings in Jewish Literacy, certainly a universal standard reference about Judaism. In addition to the actual books, each generation has its favorite authors whose work(s) shape our thinking. The mission of the Jewish Book Council is to promote books that will enrich your life. A primary means is through the magazine you are now holding. Four times a year we bring you reviews of the latest books and other developments in the Jewish literary world. And what are the types of Jewish books that will appear? The Jewish Book Council definition is broad, to allow for all possible titles. It may be a book whose content is decidedly Jewish or it can be a book written by a Jewish author as that person is seeing the world through Jewish eyes and writing with a Jewish pen. So it can be Lucette Lagnado’s Sami Rohr Prize winning The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit or Martin Fletcher’s Breaking News or Peter Manseau’s Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter. This provides a spectrum of the vast reach of selections pro-

moted by Jewish Book Council. After twenty-six years, Jewish Book World has taken on a new design. What began as a four page brochure is now a proper magazine bringing you the latest in Jewish literary news. We will continue to carry book reviews and extended lists of new books in addition to features about Jewish literature. The thousands of subscribers to Jewish Book World are receiving the news on a regular basis. I hope you will join this growing list. I must extend heartfelt thanks to our Editor, Carol Kaufman, Managing Editor, Naomi Firestone, and Art Director, Sean Kennedy, for the spectacular work they do in bringing this fine publication to our many interested readers.

Carolyn Hessel Director, Jewish Book Council

Evolution of Jewish Book World through its covers Summer 2008 Fall 1982

Spring 2004

Fall 1992

Winter 2002 Summer 2003

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Jewish Book World

Fall 5768/2008


Jewish Children’s Book Writers’ Conference AT THE 92ND STREET Y IN NEW YORK CITY

If you write or illustrate children’s books for the Jewish market,

PRESENTATIONS The Yiddish Policewoman’s Guide to Agents: Solving the Slush-to-Sale Mystery Michelle Andelman (Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.)

Teach Your Children Well: Writing for the Jewish Educational Market

92nd Street “Y” Ad

this conference is for you! Meet with top

professionals from the publishing world. Whether you are a new or a published author or illustrator, this is your

opportunity to network with the experts

who can help you get your work into print.

David E. Behrman (Behrman House)

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It: Revising and Finding the Right Home for Your Jewish Manuscript Michelle Frey (Alfred A. Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers)

The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Competition: Why Should You Bother? Aileen Grossberg (AJL’s Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award Committee)

Nancy Drew Isn’t Jewish: The Curious Adventures of a Jewish Children’s Book Writer Johanna Hurwitz (Author)

With a Leap of Faith Anna Levine (Author)

Sunday, November 23, 2008 9 AM–5 PM at the 92nd Street Y

Of Making Many Books There Is No End Kathe Pinchuck (AJL’s Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee)

The Stories Behind the Stories, or How I Got Those Books Larry Rosler (Boyds Mills Press)

1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY

Releasing Your Inner Publicist

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Joni Sussman (Kar-Ben Publishing)

CO-SPONSORED BY THE 92ND STREET Y BUTTENWIESER LIBRARY AND THE JEWISH BOOK COUNCIL

Oy Vey! How Will I Get the Publisher to Notice My Artwork? Melissa Turk (Melissa Turk & The Artist Network)

For information or to register, please call 212.415.5544 or e-mail library@92Y.org REGISTRATION FEE: By November 1: $95; after November 1: $110. Fee includes kosher breakfast and lunch. Final registration deadline is November 17. No refunds will be made after November 7.


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(The book summaries have been compiled from material provided by the respective publishers.)

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*All photographs throughout spread are from the 2008 NETWORK conference in Los Angeles taken by Naomi Tropp.

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The Jewish Book Council created the Jewish Book NETWORK to heighten awareness and promote the reading of quality Jewish interest books. In the past few years, Jewish book fairs and year-round book programs have become a major force in the Jewish community. Below is a preview of some of the “hottest” new authors to hit the Jewish literary scene for the 2008–2009 season.

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Jewish Book NETWORK Authors 2008–2009

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Bahia Abrams

Diane Ackerman

Jonathan R. Adelman

THE OTHER HALF OF MY SOUL

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE: A WAR STORY

Grateful Steps, Inc., 2007 ISBN: 978-0-9789548-4-0 Rayna, an American-born Orthodox Syrian Jew and Rami, a Syrian-born Muslim, defy their respective doctrines of hate and dare to fall in love.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06172-7 The true story of the keeper of the Warsaw Zoo and his wife, who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews in the face of a crumbling Europe.

THE RISE OF ISRAEL: A HISTORY OF A REVOLUTIONARY STATE

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Routledge, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-415-77510-6 Addresses the way Israel was created in 1948 and how it flourished in the sixty years since becoming a modern, revolutionary state aligned with leading democratic states.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org


Warren Adler

Andrew Foster Altschul

FUNNY BOYS

LADY LAZARUS: A NOVEL

Overlook Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59020-034-6 A timeless love story and a sweeping American tale set in the great days of the Borscht Belt.

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101484-2 “A poetic satire of rock and roll, and a rock and roll ode to poetry” (Andrew Sean Greer), Lady Lazarus “brilliantly examines the cultural allure of the famous dead” (Heidi Julavits).

Neal Aronson

Vauhini Vara

Arons explores the lives of both famous and lesser-known gangsters who served time “up the river.”

Elliot Aronson

MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME): WHY WE JUSTIFY FOOLISH BELIEFS, BAD DECISIONS, AND HURTFUL ACTS Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-603390-9 From the personal to the political, Aronson breaks down the complicated means by which we lie to ourselves and each other.

Elisa Albert

THE BOOK OF DAHLIA

David A. Andelman

Free Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7432-9129-3 A dark, arresting, fearlessly funny story of one young woman’s terminal illness.

A SHATTERED PEACE: VERSAILLES 1919 AND THE PRICE WE PAY TODAY John Wiley & Sons, 2007 Andelman offers a new perspective on the origin of today’s most critical international issues as he looks at the powerful lessons the Treaty of Versailles has for us today.

Laura Manischewitz Alpern

MANISCHEWITZ, THE MATZO FAMILY: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN JEWISH ICON KTAV Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-60280-003-8 The story of the family behind the Manischewitz symbol, told by a family member who grew up with the famous name.

Carol Ascher

AFTERIMAGES: A FAMILY MEMOIR Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8419-1449-0 Ascher tries to understand her heritage as the oldest daughter of refugees from Nazi Europe, making vivid the psychoanalytic understanding of memory.

Ron Arons

THE JEWS OF SING-SING Barricade Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-56980-333-2

Robert Alter

THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES: A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-01955-1 With this translation, Alter has equipped us to read the Hebrew Bible as a powerful, cohesive work of literature.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org

jas and author icity Alberto Ro mber Feldman bl pu of or ct re perbacks di e, WI) and A l and Harper Pa Dubin (Milwauke Harper Perennia NETWORK members Molly ith Michael Wex w ). H O i, at nn ci in (C


2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

A full color history of a generation as told via photos and tall tales collected from across the nation, telling a coming-of-age story of how a generation of American Jews came to be. Avi Becker

MY MISERABLE, LONELY, LESBIAN PREGNANCY

THE CHOSEN: THE HISTORY OF AN IDEA, AND THE ANATOMY OF AN OBSESSION

Cleis Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-57344-315-9 Like other Jewish girls, Andrea wants a baby. But unlike the others, she doesn’t have a husband or a wife. With the birth of her daughter, Andrea reevaluates faith, family, and identity.

Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-230-60048-5 Explores Judaism’s key defining concept and inquires why it remains the central unspoken and explosive historical and theological problem at the heart of Jewish-Gentile relations.

Naomi Benaron Bernard Avishai

LOVE LETTERS FROM A FAT MAN

THE HEBREW REPUBLIC: HOW SECULAR DEMOCRACY AND GLOBAL ENTERPRISE WILL BRING ISRAEL PEACE AT LAST

BkMk Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-886157-60-6 “These stories are unflinching and gorgeous-they are stories with a social conscience and a jeweler’s craft,” writes Bellwether Prizewinner Gayle Brandeis.

AND YOU SHALL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF OUR VINYL: THE JEWISH PAST AS TOLD BY THE MUSIC WE HAVE LOVED AND LOST

UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH: A HOLOCAUST STORY OF LOVE AND PARTISAN RESISTANCE St Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-37807-3 An intensely personal, painstakingly researched memorial to the Jews of Vilna, including the resistance fighters led by Abba Kovner.

Amacom, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8144-1299-2 The first memoir of a French gentile Holocaust survivor published in the US. Originally written shortly after the war when memories were still fresh, Berg’s book reminds us how the Holocaust affected us all.

Paula Bernstein

IDENTICAL STRANGERS: A MEMOIR OF TWINS SEPARATED AND REUNITED

Roger Bennett

Michael Bart

SCHEISSHAUS LUCK: SURVIVING THE UNSPEAKABLE IN AUSCHWITZ AND DORA

Crown Publishing Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-307-39467-5 The story of a search for identity, telling a new history of the Jews in America spanning forty years of music history.

Random House, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4000-6496-0 Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties while searching for her biological mother that she learned the life-changing news: she had an identical twin sister.

Marion Ettlinger

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101452-1 Avishai presents a pioneering study of economics and peace, cutting through partisan arguments on all sides, with his argument that Israel must become a more complete democracy if it has a chance for a peaceful future.

Pierre Berg

Elena Seibert

Andrea Askowitz

Jill Bialosky

THE LIFE ROOM: A NOVEL

Roger Bennett

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101047-9 An astute portrayal of one woman’s interior journey to recover her true self in the wake of irrevocable choices, showing how the collision of past and present can challenge the myths we create for ourselves.

CAMP CAMP: WHERE FANTASY ISLAND MEETS LORD OF THE FLIES Crown Publishing Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-307-38262-7

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Josyn Herce

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Ori Brafman

The tale of a fearless politician who becomes the champion of the underclass, confronting gangsters and bigots as the admired Robin Hood of Depression-Era New York, taking on poverty, polio and rampant anti-Semitism.

SWAY: THE IRRESISTIBLE PULL OF IRRATIONAL BEHAVIOR

MAKING UP WITH MOM: WHY MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS DISAGREE ABOUT KIDS, CAREERS, AND CASSEROLES (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT) Edgar Bronfman

HOPE, NOT FEAR St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-37792-2 Bronfman argues for openness and joy to reinvigorate Judaism in America, challenging us to understand Judaism as a multi-faceted culture as well as a religion, and explore Jewish literature, music and art.

Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-36881-4 Young women today are making choices about school, careers, dating, marriage, and babies that their mothers just can’t understand. This book offers dozens of tips from experts to help mothers and daughters reclaim a loving relationship, while respecting differences of opinions. Bill Hughes and Stephan Billups

Josyn Herce

Currency/Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52438-4 Uncovers the hidden forces that unconsciously influence us, showing the rational basis for a wide variety of irrational behaviors while pointing readers to ways to avoid falling victim to them.

Deborah Carr

Rom Brafman

SWAY: THE IRRESISTIBLE PULL OF IRRATIONAL BEHAVIOR Currency/Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52438-4 Uncovers the hidden forces that unconsciously influence us, showing the rational basis for a wide variety of irrational behaviors while pointing readers to ways to avoid falling victim to them.

Thomas Cathcart Ezra Cappell

AMERICAN TALMUD: THE CULTURAL WORK OF JEWISH AMERICAN FICTION SUNY Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7914-7124-1 Cappell argues that the literary production of Jews in America might be seen as one more stage of rabbinic commentary on the scriptural inheritance of the Jewish people.

Irving Brecher/Hank Rosenfeld

PLATO AND A PLATYPUS WALK INTO A BAR: UNDERSTANDING PHILOSOPHY THROUGH JOKES Penguin Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8109-1493-3 A crash course in philosophy via jokes proving that gags really do explain the meaning of it all! Harvard philosophy majors, Cathcart and Klein are your emcees on this profound tour de farce through Western philosophy.

THE WICKED WIT OF THE WEST Ben Yehuda Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-478-9980-8-0 What is it like to be the last of the great MGM screenwriters? Rosenfeld chronicles the life of Irving Brecher who wrote for the Marx Brothers, Milton Berle, The Life of Riley, and more.

Ed Brodow

FIXER: A NOVEL

Joanne Caras

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR COOKBOOK Caras and Associate, Inc., 2007 With recipes your family will enjoy and stories they will never forget, Caras showcases Holocaust survivors. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Carmei Ha’ir Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem, feeding over 500 poor and hungry Israelis daily.

Leon H. Charney

THE MYSTERY OF THE KADDISH ITS PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON JUDAISM Barricade Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-56980-300-4 Charney traces the most famous and familiar prayer in Jewish liturgical doxology coming to the conclusion that to understand the meaning of Kaddish, one must have an understanding of Jewish history.

Outskirts Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4327-1703-2

www.jewishbookcouncil.org

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Mark Peterman

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Jerome Charyn

Andrei Cherny

Benyamin Cohen

JOHNNY ONE-EYE: A TALE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

THE CANDY BOMBERS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE BERLIN AIRLIFT AND AMERICAN’S FINEST HOUR

MY JESUS YEAR: A RABBI’S SON SEARCHES FOR FAITH IN THE BIBLE BELT

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-39915-496-6 The story of the Berlin Airlift, when America fed the defeated citizens’ of Hitler’s capital by air, winning the hearts of our defeated enemies and bringing democracy to a place that had never known it, inspiring people around the globe to believe in this country’s fundamental goodness.

HarperOne, 2008 ISBN: 978-0061245176 Journalist Benyamin Cohen, a rabbi’s son who married a minister’s daughter, sought to cure his religious apathy by going to the one place he was never allowed to venture—the church across the street. Cohen finds that hanging out with Jesus and his newly converted Orthodox wife made him a better Jew.

William D. Cohan

Jayne Cohen

THE LAST TYCOONS: THE SECRET HISTORY OF LAZARD FRÈRES & CO.

JEWISH HOLIDAY COOKING: A FOOD LOVER’S TREASURY OF CLASSICS AND IMPROVISATIONS

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-39306-497-1 Johnny One-Eye is a comic masterpiece that is also historical literature of the highest order that reanimates Revolutionary War-era Manhattan.

Barry Chazan

TEN DAYS OF BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL: A JOURNEY IN YOUNG ADULT IDENTITY

Broadway Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0385514514 A portrait of Wall Street through the tumultuous history of an exalted and fascinating company, pulling back the curtains on a mysterious world of wealth, power, and influence.

John Wiley & Son, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-471-76387-1 Food is the center of all Jewish holidays, connecting people with their past, uniting old and new traditions.

Aaron Cohen

Leah Hagar Cohen

BROTHERHOOD OF WARRIORS: BEHIND ENEMY LINES WITH A COMMANDO IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST ELITE COUNTERTERRORISM UNITS

HOUSE LIGHTS: A NOVEL

Bryce Vickmark

Brandeis University Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58465-541-0 Chazan and Saxe serve as our tour guides inside the world of Birthright Israel showcasing the experiences of the participants and how the program’s effects may well last far beyond the time they spend together in Israel.

of Fancy Nancy sser, illustrator Robin Preiss Gla r Ruby, delivering her two fo books and Tea ar. Fancy Nancy ge ll fu in es minut

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Ecco/HarperCollins, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-123615-0 Cohen left his Beverly Hills home at the age of eighteen to join Israel’s elite forces. He was offered the only post a non-Israeli can hold in a top-secret unit that worked as undercover operatives disguised as Arabs. A rare fly on the wall view into the world of “black ops.”

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06451-3 Illuminates the corrosive power of family secrets and the redemptive struggle to find truth, forgiveness, and love.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org


2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Larry Colin

David G. Dalin

Michael Dirda

FAMILY, INC.: HOW TO MANAGE PARENTS, SIBLINGS, SPOUSES, CHILDREN AND IN-LAWS IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS

ICON OF EVIL: HITLER’S MUFTI AND THE RISE OF RADICAL ISLAM

CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE

Career Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-56414-985-5 This is a witty, engaging blueprint for maintaining peace within the family without busting the business. It provides uncommon insights mixed with commonsense solutions for family business owners.

Random House, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-40006-653-7 This account of the life of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, provides evidence that al-Husseini’s actions and writings serve as inspirations today to the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations pledged to destroy Israel and the United States.

Harvest, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101251-0 In these essays, Dirda introduces some of the world’s most entertaining books, seeking to inspire ordinary people to try some of the greats.

Emil Draitser

SHUSH! GROWING UP JEWISH UNDER STALIN: A MEMOIR Libby Cone

Steven H. Dayan

WAR ON THE MARGINS: A NOVEL

INSTANT BEAUTY: THE COMPLETE CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO QUICK, SAFE, AND EFFECTIVE COSMETIC TREATMENTS

BookSurge, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-41968-995-6 Meet the Jewish Surrealist artists and longtime lovers Claude Cahun (Lucille Schwob) and Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe) in this fascinating account of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands of England during World War II.

Hatherleigh Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-57286-259-5 Explaining that cosmetic medicine is not about altering the way you look, but about adjusting the way you feel, Dr. Dayan gives a guide for exploring cosmetic medicine that will become a trusted reference for years to come.

Ruth Corman

ISRAEL THROUGH MY LENS: 60 YEARS AS A PHOTOJOURNALIST Abbeville Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06269-4 The illustrated autobiography of renowned photojournalist David Rubinger, with a narrative written by Ruth Corman, is a first-hand account of Israel’s history as well as a memoir of an important journalist’s career.

Tatiana De Rosnay

University of California Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-520-25446-6 In this account of post-Holocaust life in Russian, Draitser presents a sweeping panorama of two centuries of Jewish history in Russia.

Erin Einhorn

THE PAGES IN BETWEEN: A HOLOCAUST LEGACY OF TWO FAMILIES, ONE HOME Touchstone, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4165-5830-9 Einhorn’s memoir about finding the family in Poland that saved her mother from the Holocaust leading her to ask the question: how far should she go to rectify the past?

SARAH’S KEY St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-37084-8 Inspired by the Vel’d’Hiv roundup in Occupied France during 1942, this novel is the story of a mysterious past that irrevocably alters the present and future.

Emuna Elon

IF YOU AWAKEN LOVE The Toby Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59264-145-1 Set in Israel between the Six Day War and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, this is the moving story of a stormy and spiritual girl and

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

her love-hate relationship with her childhood sweetheart, with her father, and with God.

This practical and charmingly written book delivers mouth-watering recipes laced with plenty of humor and a dash of chutzpah.

Leonard Felder

FITTING IN IS OVERRATED: THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR ANYONE WHO HAS EVER FELT LIKE AN OUTSIDER

Florence Falk

ON MY OWN: THE ART OF BEING A WOMAN ALONE Three Rivers Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4000-9811-8 Falk invites women to take the fear out of being a woman alone, to discover the pleasures and riches of solitude, and to reconnect with others through a newfound sense of selfconfidence.

Sterling, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4027-4884-4 Dr. Felder shows how to find the expressive voice of your soul using realistic strategies and positive steps to finding the gifts and benefits of being different.

Reuven Firestone

AN INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM FOR JEWS Jewish Publication Society, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8276-0864-1 Firestone explains the remarkable similarities and profound differences between Judaism and Islam. He covers topics from the history of jihad to the Muslim views about Israel and more.

Vardi Kahana

Ellen Feldman

SCOTTSBORO: A NOVEL

Evan Fallenberg

LIGHT FELL Soho Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-56947-467-9 The story of an Israeli scholar who left behind his entire life—wife, sons, father, religious moshav—when he fell in love with his soul mate, the rabbi, Yoel Rosezweig. Longing for reconciliation with his family, they all must confront what was, what is, and what could be.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06490-2 Stirring racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism into an explosive brew, Scottsboro is a novel of a shocking injustice that convulsed the nation and reverberated around the world.

Loren Fishman

YOGA FOR ARTHRITIS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-33058-8 A comprehensive, user friendly medical yoga program designed for management and prevention of arthritis.

Louis Ferrante

Charles French

UNLOCKED: A JOURNEY FROM PRISON TO PROUST

Alice Feiring

THE BATTLE FOR WINE AND LOVE: OR, HOW I SAVED THE WORLD FROM PARKERIZATION Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101286-2 Feiring takes us on her crusade for natural and artisanal winemaking showing what is actually in the wine we drink and challenging us to ask: What do I really want in my glass?

Harper, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06113-385-5 Serving nine years in prison, former mobster, Ferrante, transforms himself into a voracious reader of Tolstoy and Milton and converted to Orthodox Judaism.

Martin Fletcher

BREAKING NEWS Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-37118-0 An eye-witness account of some of the most tumultuous moments of our time and an intimate personal story of the man referred to as “the gold standard of television war correspondents.”

Tracey Fine

THE JEWISH PRINCESS COOKBOOK: HAVING YOUR CAKE AND EATING IT McBooks Press, Inc., 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59013-161-9

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With lofty ideals, spectacular ambivalence, and endearing naïveté, this memoir explores Israel and Palestine by talking to ordinary people in the quest to find real hope for a troubled region. Matthew D. Gewirtz

HYPER-CHONDRIAC: ONE MAN’S QUEST TO HURRY UP AND CALM DOWN

THE GIFT OF GRIEF: FINDING PEACE, TRANSFORMATIONS, AND RENEWED LIFE AFTER GREAT SORROW

Atria Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7432-9342-6 A hilarious memoir about one man’s obsession with achieving perfect health and the quixotic quest for calm.

Celestial Arts, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58761-313-5 Rabbi Gewirtz offers a graceful, insightful and consoling education on the true nature of grief: how it breaks us and how it can remake us, bringing us closer to our strongest sense of self.

Jim Graham

Brian Frazer

Merrill Joan Gerber

THE VICTORY GARDENS OF BROOKLYN Syracuse University Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-8156-0892-9 Illuminating the lives of three generations of New York women, Gerber explores the yearnings, loves, and struggles of women who try to adapt the Jewish rituals of the “old country” to the realities of the new world.

Stephen Fried Peter Godwin

Bantam, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-553-80665-6 Fried turns his attention to marriage—his own and others’ offering up the inner workings of the male mind on subjects of love, sex, and marriage.

WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN

Ken Goebel

HUSBANDRY

Rivka Galchen

Robin Gerber

ELEANOR VS. IKE Avon, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-137321-3 For the first time in American history a woman is the Democratic Party’s candidate for President of the United States. The year is 1952 and the woman is Eleanor Roosevelt...a “what if?” novel of political maneuvering, sexual politics, and human longing.

Back Bay Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0316158947 In this moving account of the collapse of the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, seasoned journalist Godwin’s memoir creates a searing portrait of a family and a nation collectively coming to terms with death.

ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES: A NOVEL

Maiah Levine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-374-20011-4 Galchen investigates the moment of crisis when you suddenly realize that the reality you insist upon is no longer one you can accept in this moving love story, dark comedy, psychological thriller, and deeply disturbing portrait of a fracturing mind.

Jonathan Garfinkel

AMBIVALENCE: ADVENTURES IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06674-6

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Masha Gessen

BLOOD MATTERS: FROM INHERITED ILLNESS TO DESIGNER BABIES, HOW THE WORLD AND I FOUND OURSELVES IN THE FUTURE OF THE GENE Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101362-3 Having inherited a heightened risk for cancer, a journalist travels to the front lines of genetics and finds both personal guidance and a fascinating new world of scientific discovery.

Wise oznica (Stephen Rabbi David W es, CA) speaking el Temple, Los Ang conference. RK O W at the NET

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Greenberg tells the story of the summer his fifteen year old daughter, Sally, was struck mad. He chronicles Sally’s journey and its effect on those closest to her. Gary David Goldberg

Julie Halpert

SIT, UBU, SIT

MAKING UP WITH MOM: WHY MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS DISAGREE ABOUT KIDS, CAREERS, AND CASSEROLES (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT)

Harmony, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-307-39418-7 This memoir of award winning writerproducer Gary David Goldberg’s tells of his improbable journey from Brooklyn to Hollywood as the creator of Family Ties, Brooklyn Bridge, and Spin City.

Murray Greenberg

PASSING GAME: BENNY FRIEDMAN AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF FOOTBALL Public Affairs, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58648-477-4 Passing Game recounts the story of this little-known Jewish sports hero from the 1920’s who revolutionized the game of football with his forward pass.

Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-36881-4 Young women today are making choices about school, careers, dating, marriage, and babies that their mothers just can’t understand. This book offers dozens of tips from experts to help mothers and daughters reclaim loving relationship while respecting differences of opinions.

Janna Gur

Evan Handler

THE BOOK OF NEW ISRAELI FOOD: A CULINARY JOURNEY

IT’S ONLY TEMPORARY: THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS OF BEING ALIVE

Laurie Graff Broadway Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7679-2761-1 Do shiksas really have more fun? A nice Jewish girl is about to find out in Laurie Graff ’s wickedly witty new novel.

Michael Greenberg

Kirk Edwards

THE SHIKSA SYNDROME

Schocken, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-80521-224-2 Gur brings us the sumptuous color, variety, and history of today’s Israeli cuisine in a book that does full, delectable justice to the significance of Israeli food today.

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE Other Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-59051-191-6

Riverhead Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59448-995-2 Actor and author Evan Handler’s new book is both a personal memoir and a series of meditations on life, love, faith, gratitude, and mortality since his miraculous recovery from a supposedly incurable leukemia more than twenty years ago.

Jeffrey Hantover

THE JEWEL TRADER OF PEGU

Marlene Levin eri Kalvort and Ch rs be em m with NETWORK er having dinner or Bob Morris. dl an H an Ev r auth Autho Raton, FL) and (both from Boca

William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-125270-9 This historical fiction about a young Jewish gem merchant of Venice who seeks his fortune far from Europe in the exotic Burmese kingdom of Pegu is steeped in the customs and atmosphere of worlds long lost.

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David Schachman

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Hirsch takes readers through ten basic steps for formulating a plan that reflects who we are now and who we want to be—a plan that is alive, organic, and in sync with God.

Steven J. Harper

Joachaim Jacobs

STRADDLING WORLDS: THE JEWISHAMERICAN JOURNEY OF PROFESSOR RICHARD W. LEOPOLD

HOUSE OF LIFE: JEWISH CEMETERIES OF EUROPE

Northwestern University Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-81012-444-8 Harper pays tribute to a well-respected teacher with this biography of Richard W. Leopold, along the way noticing striking parallels with the life of his father-in-law as both men struggled for their rightful place as Jews in Turn-of-the-Century America.

Brad Hirschfield

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WRONG FOR ME TO BE RIGHT: FINDING FAITH WITHOUT FANATICISM Harmony Books, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-307-38297-9 A former activist in the West Bank dedicated to reconstituting the Jewish state within its biblical borders, Brad Hirschfield is now an Orthodox rabbi devoted to teaching inclusiveness, celebrating difference, and promoting acceptance.

CAPTIVES

Joanna Hershon

Edward Hoffman

THE WISDOM OF MAIMONIDES: THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF THE JEWISH SAGE Trumpeter Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59030-517-1 An accessible introduction to the life and wisdom of the famous 12th century philosopher-physician Moses Maimonides.

THE GERMAN BRIDE Ballantine Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-345-46845-1 Exploring the territory of the untamed American West through the eyes of a young German immigrant.

WE PLAN, GOD LAUGHS: 10 STEPS TO FINDING YOUR DIVINE PATH WHEN LIFE IS NOT TURNING OUT LIKE YOU PLANNED

Workman Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-7611-3581-4 Cooking Jewish gathers recipes from five generations of a food-obsessed family into a celebratory saga of cousins and kasha, Passover feasts, and crossover dishes.

Arie Kaplan

FROM KRAKOW TO KRYPTON: JEWS IN COMIC BOOKS

Michael G. Holzman

THE STILL SMALL VOICE: REFLECTIONS ON BEING A JEWISH MAN

Rabbi Sherre Hirsch

Judy Bart Kancigor

COOKING JEWISH: 532 GREAT RECIPES FROM THE RABINOWITZ FAMILY

Todd Hasak-Lowy Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52773-6 This is a scathingly funny debut novel about a screenwriter’s spiritual crisis and personal reckoning with the world.

Lincoln Publishers, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-71122-648-7 Jewish cemeteries are called Houses of Life for good reason. This book shows how burial grounds across Europe reflect the ways that specific Jewish communities have lived and continue to live.

URJ Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8074-1057-8 What does it mean to be a Jewish man? Rabbi Holzman assembled a collection of essays that answer this question in a variety of ways providing a snapshot of how Jewish men’s lives and souls are evolving in the present moment.

Jewish Publication Society, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8276-0843-6 Comic books have forever changed the way Americans think about heroism and villainy. Arie Kaplan uncovers the Jewish subtext behind these stories and showcases the unique contributions Jews have made to this art form.

Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52361-5

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Kirsch’s latest biography offers a compelling look at Benjamin Disraeli’s lifelong struggle with the question of Jewish identity.

Leslie S. Klinger

HOUSE OF GHOSTS: A NOVEL

THE NEW ANNOTATED DRACULA

Rio Norte, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9799495-2-4 Inspired by his mother-in-law’s Auschwitz memories Kaplan sets out to answer through fiction a nagging question: why didn’t the US Army Air Corps try to knock out the gas chambers?

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-39306-450-6 Klinger employs literary detective skills to mine this classic for nuggets that will surprise even die hard Dracula fans and introduce the vampire-prince to a new generation.

THE STORY OF YIDDISH: HOW A MISH-MOSH OF LANGUAGES SAVED THE JEWS William Morrow, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-083711-2 Underlying Karlen’s unique, entertaining yet thoroughly researched telling of the language’s story is the notion that Yiddish is a mirror of Jewish history, thought, and practice—for better and worse.

THE GRAND INQUISITOR’S MANUAL: A HISTORY OF TERROR IN THE NAME OF GOD HarperOne, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06081-699-5 Kirsch pulls aside the veil of the Inquisition, which has been draped in myth and mystery throughout the 600 years of its active operation, to show the original blueprints for the machinery of persecution that was invented in the Middle Ages and applied to human flesh ever since. Bill Hughes and Stephan Billups

Neal Karlen

Jonathan Kirsch

Daniel Klein

PLATO AND A PLATYPUS WALK INTO A BAR: UNDERSTANDING PHILOSOPHY THROUGH JOKES Penguin Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8109-1493-3 A crash course in philosophy via jokes proving that gags really do explain the meaning of it all! Harvard philosophy majors, Cathcart and Klein are your emcees on this profound tour de farce through Western philosophy.

Janet R. Kirchheimer

HOW TO SPOT ONE OF US CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-9633329-6-1 A collection of poems about the Holocaust, details of Kirchheimer’s family’s experience, as well as the author’s experience as the daughter of survivors.

Stephanie Klein

Steve Shay

Lawrence Kaplan

David Klinghoffer

HOW WOULD GOD VOTE? WHY THE BIBLE COMMANDS YOU TO BE CONSERVATIVE Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-51542-9 Unlike most Jews, Klinghoffer thinks God is a Republican. He demonstrates that the teachings of the Torah and the Hebrew prophets imply a mostly conservative set of principles describing good government.

Lisa Alcalay Klug

COOL JEW: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE TRIBE Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7407-7113-2 Cool Jew covers everything from womb to tomb about living large, living Jewish, and finally putting an end to Christmas tree envy with a hip-hop spin that captures the spirit of the times.

MOOSE: A MEMOIR OF FAT CAMP William Morrow, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-084329-8 Klein’s memoir takes a funny and touching look at adolescence, sharing her memories of a summer at fat camp. A coming-of-age story that will appeal to anyone who ever felt like an outsider.

Adam Kirsch

BENJAMIN DISRAELI Schocken Books/Nextbook, 2008 ISBN: 978-0805242492

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Bible to uncover the rich traditions and lessons our ancestors were taught by God in the wilderness, and explains that it is vital to reclaim these lessons and awaken our inner spirituality. Edward I.Koch

Charla Krupp

THE KOCH PAPERS: MY FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM

HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD: FAST AND EFFORTLESS WAYS TO LOOK 10 YEARS YOUNGER, 10 POUNDS LIGHTER, 10 TIMES BETTER

Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-230-60102-4 Koch guides readers through the major battles in his life-long fight against anti-Semitism, revealing startling information that will ignite discussion for years to come.

Joel L. Kraemer

MAIMONIDES: THE LIFE AND WORLD OF ONE OF CIVILIZATION’S GREATEST MINDS Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0385511995 At once a portrait of a great historical figure and an excursion into the Mediterranean world of the 12th century.

Springboard Press/Grand Central Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-446-58114-1 This is the go-to guide for women who want to look young and hip forever-without face-lifts.

Manes Kogan James L. Kugel

Mayapple Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0932412-669 Readers who love fables will delight in this collection taken from the Talmud and Midrash.

HOW TO READ THE BIBLE: A GUIDE TO SCRIPTURE, THEN AND NOW

Tatiana Krasikov

FABLES FROM THE JEWISH TRADITION

Sana Krasikov

ONE MORE YEAR: STORIES Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52439-1 Offers up stories of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who hold out hope, despite the odds.

Free Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7432-3586-0 Hailed as the essential introduction and companion to the Bible, How to Read the Bible combines modern scholarship and science with the wisdom of ancient interpreters.

Doug Kohn

LIFE, FAITH AND CANCER: JEWISH JOURNEYS THROUGH DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT AND RECOVERY

Jeff Finkelstein

URJ Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-8074-1059-2 Personal stories from cancer survivors in the Jewish professional world are interwoven with Jewish texts and teachings.

Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold

GOD IN THE WILDERNESS: REDISCOVERING THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS WITH THE ADVENTURE RABBI Doubleday, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52049-2 Rabbi Korngold guides readers through the

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Lit , Lisa a Goren , Joyce et N l, se es H an Starm ng from photo) erantz, Carolyn erence (Carol Kaufman missi m Po iri M a, de nf Gin JBC Staff: Geri Firestone at the NETWORK Co i m ao N , an m er Silv


Paul Boisvert

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Madeleine M. Kunin

Daniel C. Kurtzer

Anne Landsman

PEARLS, POLITICS AND POWER: HOW WOMEN CAN WIN AND LEAD

NEGOTIATING ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE: AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

THE ROWING LESSON

United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-601270-30-6 A guidebook on how to broker peace in the Middle East, setting forth a compelling, interests-based framework for American engagement in the peace process.

Soho Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-56947-469-3 Scenes from the rich, contentious life of a dying Jewish South African country doctor flash before his expatriate daughter’s eyes in Landsman’s second novel.

Juliette Borda

Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-933392-92-9 A political call to action for women to assume their rightful places in the nation’s corridors of power.

Ilana Kurshan

WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER NIGHTS? “THE FOUR QUESTIONS” AROUND THE WORLD Schocken Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8052-4252-2 Translates the Passover Seder’s Four Questions into 23 languages and provides capsule histories of the Jews in the countries where the languages are spoken.

Adam Langer

ELLINGTON BOULEVARD Barry Lack

ARY STILLMAN, FROM IMPRESSIONISM TO ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM Merrell Publishers, London, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-858944333 This lavishly illustrated volume traces the artist’s development from his early impressionist and representational painting to his striking post-war Abstract Expressionist works.

Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52205-2 The story of why people come to a city they can’t afford, take jobs they despise, sacrifice love, find love, and eventually become the people they never thought they’d be, for better or for worse, Langer captures Manhattan’s quirky insanity with style and humor.

Scott B. Lasensky

NEGOTIATING ARAB-ISRAELI PEACE: AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE MIDDLE EAST United States Institute of Peace Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-601270-30-6 A guidebook on how to broker peace in the Middle East, setting forth a compelling, interests-based framework for American engagement in the peace process.

raub (San I), Marilyn Weint ster, W e, ke au ilw (M ce e) Dorene Paley Greenberg (Wor ) ideas: (clockwis an (Marblehead, MA), Nancy Y g N in , ar er st sh rs he oc be (R NETWORK mem a Valleys, CA), Susan Steigm ockville, MD), Andrea Miller (R mon Gabriel and Po rg (Austin, TX), Lynn Gittleson be el pf A MA), Lisa

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Rutka Laskier

Liel Leibovitz

RUTKA’S NOTEBOOK: A VOICE FROM THE HOLOCAUST

LILI MARLENE: THE SOLDIER’S SONG OF WORLD WAR II

Time Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-60320-019-6 Hailed as the “Polish Anne Frank,” the diary of fourteen-year-old Rutka Laskier, a victim of Auschwitz in 1943, now speaks to us across the decades.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06584-8 The dramatic story of an iconic love song that cut across front lines and ideological divides, uniting soldiers across the globe, its three creators, and their lives under the Nazis.

Aliza Lavie

Gregory Levey

A JEWISH WOMAN’S PRAYER BOOK

SHUT UP, I’M TALKING: AND OTHER DIPLOMACY LESSONS I LEARNED IN THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT

Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385522748 This beautiful and moving collection of prayers, written by women for women, draws from a variety of Jewish traditions, through the ages, to commemorate every occasion in the cycle of life.

Free Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-4165-5613-8 A hilarious insider’s take on Israeli politics by the twenty-five-year-old invited to become the speech writer for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Jennifer 8. Lee

Jeffrey Lewis

THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF CHINESE FOOD

ADAM THE KING

Yael Goldstein Love

THE PASSION OF TASHA DARSKY Broadway Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7679-2979-0 Set in the glamorous and competitive world of classical music, Love offers a fascinating meditation on the nature of genius and on the love that binds a mother and daughter even when their personal desires clash.

Rami Loya

CHAIRMAN-X Authorhouse, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-4343-2753-6 “Chairman-X develops a brilliant and intriguing idea, a truly enlightening “What if?” plot that makes for a thrilling story and introduces one of the most fascinating characters in recent fiction.” (Daniel Zitlin)

Beverly Magid

FLYING OUT OF BROOKLYN iUniverse, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-595-45586-7 Set in the summer of 1943 on the American home front, this is a heartfelt coming-of -age story of a young couple in times that prescribe roles for husband and wife.

Ian Fraser

Twelve/Hachette Book Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-446-58007-6 Lee serves up satisfying mini-histories on the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, a biography of the real General Tso, as well as factoids and tidbits of American culture that eventually touch on large social and cultural subjects such as identity, immigration, and nutrition.

Other Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59051-284-5 Lewis’s fourth novel traces one man’s heroic but flawed attempt to make good of past mistakes, juxtaposing the struggle between rich and poor.

Steven Pinker

humorous stories about an unforgettable cast of Russian-Jewish immigrants trying to assimilate in a new world.

Ellen Litman

THE LAST CHICKEN IN AMERICA: A NOVEL IN STORIES W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06511-4 Litman has written twelve linked, wryly

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

The son of an African-American father and his unbalanced Jewish mother, Matthews’ memoir tells of growing up racially mixed in Baltimore, MD, during the ‘70s and ‘80s stymied by his lack of a mother and his inability to own his racial identity.

Lawrence Malkin

Peter Manseau

KRUEGER’S MEN: THE SECRET NAZI COUNTERFEIT PLOT AND THE PRISONERS OF BLOCK 19

SONGS FOR THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER

Little, Brown and Company (Back Bay Books), 2008 ISBN: 978-0-316-06750-8 Malkin uncovers a fifty year old secret plot by the Nazis to destroy England with counterfeit pound notes used to destabilize the British economy. Using slave labor from the concentration camps, Krueger recruited experts from the camps and saved prewar Europe’s master forger from the gas chambers.

Free Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4165-3870-7 A novel of faith lost and hope found in translation, this book is at once an immigrant’s epic saga, a love story, a Yiddishinflected laughing-through-tears tour of world history for Jews and Gentiles alike.

Andrew Meier

THE LOST SPY: AN AMERICAN IN STALIN’S SECRET SERVICE W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06097-3 The story of one of the first Americans to spy for the Soviets.

Benjamin Markovits 2studio

A QUIET ADJUSTMENT: A NOVEL Reva Mann

THE RABBI’S DAUGHTER Dial Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-385-34142-4 Mann’s memoir paints a picture of herself as a young woman on the edge, an eye-opening glimpse into the world of the ultraOrthodox and her personal rumination on identity, faith, and self-acceptance.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06700-2 A psychological thriller involving a love triangle between Lord Byron, his half-sister, and his wife inspired by the actual biography of Lord Byron and re-imagined by Markovits.

William F. S. Miles

ZION IN THE DESERT: AMERICAN JEWS IN ISRAEL’S REFORM KIBBUTZIM SUNY Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-79147-103-6 Miles explores the core questions of identity through a group of young American Jews who established the only two Reform Movement kibbutzim in Jewish history in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Mark Matousek Matthew L. Kaplan

WHEN YOU’RE FALLING, DIVE: LESSONS IN THE ART OF LIVING

Adam Mansbach

THE END OF THE JEWS

Matthew Miller

LILI MARLENE: THE SOLDIER’S SONG OF WORLD WAR II W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06584-8 The dramatic story of an iconic love song that cut across front lines and ideological divides, uniting soldiers across the globe, its three creators, and their lives under the Nazis.

Justin Lane

Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52044-7 The story of the Brodskys, a family of artists who realize, too late, one elemental truth: Creation’s necessary consequence is destruction when faced with the choice between the people they love and the art that sustains them.

Bloomsbury, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59691-369-1 With advice from well-known survivors such as Elie Wiesel and Isabel Allende, as well as the common people among us, he adds recent scientific evidence that shows we are, in fact, hardwired to evolve and adapt when faced with the impossible.

David Matthews

ACE OF SPADES Picador, 2008 ISBN: 978-0312426316

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Bob Morris

Susan Neiman

Alana Newhouse

ASSISTED LOVING: TRUE TALES OF DOUBLE DATING WITH MY DAD

MORAL CLARITY: A GUIDE FOR GROWN-UP IDEALISTS

HarperCollins, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-137412-8 What would you do if your eighty-yearold father dragged you into his hell-bent hunt for new love? Bob Morris tells you all about it in this wacky chronicle of a year of dating dangerously, exploring the impact of senior parents on their boomer kids and the perils of dating at any age.

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101197-1 How do we talk responsibly about good and evil? What does realism really mean? How are morality and religion connected? Neiman is a moral philosopher committed to making the tools of her trade relevant to everyday life.

A LIVING LENS: PHOTOGRAPHS OF JEWISH LIFE FROM THE PAGES OF THE FORWARD W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06269-4 The premier national Jewish newspaper has opened its never-before-seen archives, revealing a photographic landscape of Jews in the 20th century and beyond.

Sherwin B. Nuland Mary Morris

THE RIVER QUEEN: A MEMOIR Picador, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-42789-4 A blend of travel writing and memoir documenting Morris’ midlife adventure journey down the Mississippi River in the wake of her father’s death and her daughter’s departure for college.

Ruth Nemzoff

MAIMONIDES

DON’T BITE YOUR TONGUE: HOW TO FOSTER REWARDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR ADULT CHILDREN

Schocken Books/Nextbook, 2008 ISBN: 978-0805211504 Like many Jewish sons, Maimonides became a doctor out of obedience, Nuland thinks, to the Lord’s injunction to his people to choose life.

Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-230-60518-3 Addresses the delicate relationship between parents and adult children, empowering parents to continue to play an important and positive role in their children’s lives while respecting their independence.

Haskell Nussbaum

101 + WAYS TO HELP ISRAEL, A GUIDE TO DOING SMALL THINGS THAT CAN MAKE BIG DIFFERENCES

Alyse Myers

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? A MEMOIR

Jay Neugeboren

Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4165-4305-3 A portrait of a mother and daughter exploring the profound and poignant relations that often come to light only after a parent dies.

Two Dollar Radio, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9763895-6-9 Neugeboren presents a fictional account of an obscure historical figure, an Austrian doctor who achieved notoriety for being Adolf Hitler’s childhood physician, accepts favors granted to no other Jew and finds himself at the beginning of WWII living out his twilight years in the Bronx.

1940

Gavel Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9786825-4-5 This book is your complete guide to making a difference for Israel by doing things that will fit into your present lifestyle.

Jay Nussbaum

A MONK JUMPED OVER A WALL TheToby Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-59264-201-4 When J.J. Spencer finds himself with a

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Porter tells the story of Rezso Kasztner, a little know Jewish activist, responsible for saving thousands of lives by bargaining with the Nazis. Juliet van Otteren

morally repulsive client who has purchased a bundle of defaulting mortgages and is gleefully foreclosing and evicting people from their homes, he breaches attorney-client confidentiality to help a couple. Robert Pinsky

THE LIFE OF DAVID Schocken Books/Nextbook, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-80521-153-5 Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States, recounts the life of King David, traditionally accepted as the author of the poetic Psalms.

OFFICE MATE: THE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK FOR FINDING AND MANAGING ROMANCE ON THE JOB Adams Media, 20007 ISBN: 978-1-59869-33-0 Teaches one how to make the most of the office dating pool, offering specific do’s and don’ts on what to look for in a potential paramour, and how to protect a career if your relationship sours before the job does.

PoliPoint Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9794822-1-2 Posner examines the unholy alliance between a new breed of corrupt televangelists and the Republican Party, which is eagerly courting the “values voters” in the nation’s largest megachurches, exposing the “prosperity gospel” of politically connected religious leaders.

Neal Pollack

ALTERNADAD: THE TRUE STORY OF ONE FAMILY’S STRUGGLE TO RAISE A COOL KID IN AMERICA! Anchor Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4000-9558-2 Pollack becomes the spokesperson for a new generation of parents with his engaging memoir of fatherhood about trying to become responsible parents without sacrificing their passion for pop culture.

Rachel Pastan

Nina Hauser

LADY OF THE SNAKES Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101369-2 Pastan depicts the triumphs and travails of a working mother, struggling to manage the competing demands of marriage, motherhood, and career.

Eileen Pollack

IN THE MOUTH: STORIES AND NOVELLAS

THE SEXUAL PARADOX: MEN, WOMEN AND THE REAL GENDER GAP Scribner/Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7432-8470-7 Crafting a biologically based and controversial examination of sex differences between “fragile men” and gifted women who opt out of successful careers, Pinker sheds important new light on how gender differences affect every strata of contemporary existence.

PRETTY IS WHAT CHANGES: IMPOSSIBLE CHOICES, THE BREAST CANCER GENE, AND HOW I DEFIED MY DESTINY Spiegel & Grau, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-385-52040-9 When genetics can predict how we may die, how then do we decide how to live? Queller gives us a chilling, unflinching look at her personal journey of survival with surprising wit and style.

Scott Raab

REAL HOLLYWOOD STORIES INSIDE THE MINDS OF 20 CELEBRITIES, WITH ONE A-LIST WRITER Anna Porter

KASZTNER’S TRAIN: THE TRUE STORY OF AN UNKNOWN HERO OF THE HOLOCAUST Walker Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8027-1596-8

Jewish Book World

Jessica Queller

Four Way Book, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-884800-82-5 Pollack writes about times of tragedy and transition insightfully, aware of their everyday quality and of their gravity.

Susan Pinker

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GOD’S PROFITS: FAITH, FRAUD, AND THE REPUBLICAN CRUSADE FOR VALUES VOTERS

Cara Buono

Helaine Olen

Sarah Posner

Fall 5768/2008

BoCo Media, LLC, Tara Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-097761425-7 Raab present his greatest hits, with twenty new short stories of outtakes and inner thought on celebrities, getting to know them, and on our popular culture.

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Nancy Ripps

Donna Rosenthal

CARVED IN SAND: WHEN ATTENTION FAILS AND MEMORY FADES IN MIDLIFE

SEDER STORIES: PASSOVER THOUGHTS ON FOOD, FAMILY AND FREEDOM

THE ISRAELIS: ORDINARY PEOPLE IN AN EXTRAORDINARY LAND

Cumberland House Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58182-643-2 Offers 101 Seder memories from contributors ranging from the famous to family and friends, people of all ages, professions and from all parts of the US.

Free Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-7432-7035-9 Updated for Israel’s 60th Anniversary, Rosenthal offers a panorama of Israeli diversity.

Harper, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-059870-9 Anyone older than forty knows that forgetfulness can be unnerving, frustrating, and sometimes terrifying. Ramin explores the factors that determine how well, or poorly, one’s brain will age.

Hanna Rosin Liz Robbins Alvin Reiter

EVEN DOCTORS CRY: THE UPSIDE, THE DOWNSIDE AND THE DARK SIDE-A BEVERLY HILLS PLASTIC SURGEON’S LOVE STORY Seven Locks Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9801270-6-5 A riveting story of love, death, scandal, and a terribly flawed medical system.

A RACE LIKE NO OTHER: 26.2 MILES THROUGH THE STREETS OF NEW YORK HarperCollins, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-137313-8 The New York City Marathon was founded in 1970 by the Romanian Holocaust survivor, Fred Lebow, whose passion for uniting runners and the city still fuels the race today. Each chapter represents a mile, interspersing history with inspirational stories from current professional and amateur participants.

GOD’S HARVARD: A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE ON A MISSION TO SAVE AMERICA Harvest, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-101262-6 Since 2000, America’s most ambitious young evangelicals have been making their way to Patrick Henry College, a small Christian school just outside the nation’s capital. At “God’s Harvard” they are groomed to become tomorrow’s elite when they will lead the battle to take back a godless nation.

Irina Reyn

WHAT HAPPENED TO ANNA K: A NOVEL Touchstone, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4165-5893-4 Exploring struggles of identity, fidelity, and community, What Happened to Anna K is a mesmerizing debut novel that re-imagines Tolstoy’s classic tragedy, Anna Karenina, for our time.

) lbuquerque, NM arian Greher (A M d an f ol W ssion, Phyllis ng-room-only se Leading a standi

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Shlomit Levy Bard

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

John F. Rothmann

Danya Ruttenberg

Ellen Saltonstall

ICON OF EVIL: HITLER’S MUFTI AND THE RISE OF RADICAL ISLAM

SURPRISED BY GOD: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE RELIGION

YOGA FOR ARTHRITIS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE

Random House, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-40006-653-7 This account of the life of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, provides evidence that al-Husseini’s actions and writings serve as inspirations today to the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations pledged to destroy Israel and the United States.

Beacon Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8070-1068-6 The memoir of a young woman’s spiritual awakening and eventual path to the rabbinate. It’s a post-dotcom, third-wave, punkrock story of integrating life on the edge into the discipline of traditional Judaism without sacrificing either.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-33058-8 A comprehensive, user friendly medical yoga program designed for management and prevention of arthritis.

Jonathan D. Sarna

A TIME TO EVERY PURPOSE: LETTERS TO A YOUNG JEW Joshua Rubenstein

Ariel Sabar

THE UNKNOWN BLACK BOOK: THE HOLOCAUST IN THE GERMANOCCUPIED SOVIET TERRITORIES

MY FATHER’S PARADISE: A SON’S SEARCH FOR HIS JEWISH PAST IN KURDISH IRAQ

Indiana University Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-25334-961-3 Wall Street Journal describes The Unknown Black Book as “an extraordinary collection of eye-witness reports, diary entries and other accounts of the mass murder of Jews...”

Algonquin Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-56512-490-5 Sabar’s quest to reconcile present and past brings him to his father’s birthplace in the ancient town of Zahko. What he finds in the Sephardic Jews’ millennia-long survival in Islamic lands is an improbable story of tolerance and hope, uncovering the vanished history of a place that is now at the very center of the world’s attention.

Basic Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0465002467 Using the Jewish calendar as his starting point, Sarna reflects on the major themes of Jewish life as expressed in a full year of holidays—from Passover in the spring to Purim eleven months later.

Leonard Saxe

TEN DAYS OF BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL: A JOURNEY IN YOUNG ADULT IDENTITY David Rubinger

Abbeville Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06269-4 The illustrated autobiography of renowned photojournalist David Rubinger, with a narrative written by Ruth Corman, is a first-hand account of Israel’s history as well as a memoir of an important journalist’s career.

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Susan Shapiro

ISRAEL THROUGH MY LENS: 60 YEARS AS A PHOTOJOURNALIST Jeanne Safer

DEATH BENEFITS: HOW LOSING A PARENT CAN CHANGE AN ADULT’S LIFE-FOR THE BETTER

Brandeis University Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58465-541-0 Chazan and Saxe serve as our tour guides inside the world of Birthright Israel showcasing the experiences of the participants and how the program’s effects may well last far beyond the time they spend together in Israel.

Basic Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-465-07211-8 Safer casts a light on ways we find new self-expression and freedom following the death of a parent.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org


Elena Seibert

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Simon combines expressionistic images of his father with Yiddish poetry and English prose and “etches the life of Yoel Schneiderman into our hearts.”

Elyse Schein

Samuel Shem

IDENTICAL STRANGERS: A MEMOIR OF TWINS SEPARATED AND REUNITED

THE SPIRIT OF THE PLACE

Arthur Schwartz

ARTHUR SCHWARTZ’S JEWISH HOME COOKING: YIDDISH RECIPES REVISITED Ten Speed Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58008-898-5 The past comes alive in the pages of Jewish Home Cooking, with food maven Arthur Schwartz shopping, cooking, tasting, talking, and stirring up big pots of memory and desire.

Kent State University Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-87338-942-6 This is Shem at his finest with a novel about an expatriate doctor called home after his mother’s death, offering a portrait of the medical profession and underscoring the crucial link between the health of individuals and the health of communities.

Andreas Burgess

Random House, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4000-6496-0 Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties while searching for her biological mother that she learned the life-changing news: she had an identical twin sister.

Cathleen Schine

Sadia Shepard

THE NEW YORKERS

THE GIRL FROM FOREIGN: A SEARCH FOR SHIPWRECKED ANCESTORS, LOST LOVES, AND FORGOTTEN HISTORIES

Picador, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-42783-2 A funny story of love, longing, and overcoming the shyness that leashes us as five lonely New Yorkers find one another, compelled to meet by their canine companions.

Mindy Schneider

Mimi Schwartz

GOOD NEIGHBORS, BAD TIMES: ECHOES OF MY FATHER’S GERMAN VILLAGE University of Nebraska Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8032-1374-6 Small stories of decency are often overlooked in the larger historic narrative. In this thoughtful, elegantly written memoir, Schwartz gives new light to the Holocaust as she encounters her father’s past, recreating the times before and after the Nazis.

Penguin Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59420-151-6 In this memoir, a young half-Muslim, half-Christian woman travels to India to connect with a tiny Jewish community and unlock her family’s secret history.

NOT A HAPPY CAMPER Grove Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8021-4369-3 Mindy Schneider went to a summer camp in Maine in the ‘70s that was run by a con artist who lied about the facilities and duped nice kids into spending eight weeks at a dump where it rained every day. It was the best summer she ever had.

Brenda Shoshanna

JEWISH DHARMA: A GUIDE TO THE PRACTICE OF JUDAISM AND ZEN Dani Shapiro

BLACK AND WHITE: A NOVEL Anchor Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-375-41548-7 A brilliant examination of motherhood that pits artistic inspiration against maternal obligation and asks whether the two can ever be fully reconciled.

Da Capo Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-60094-043-9 A guide to authentic Jewish and Zen practice and how they illuminate, challenge, and enrich each other.

Simon Schneiderman

PREOCCUPIED WITH MY FATHER ECW Press and Lipman Publishing, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-55022-810-6

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Gary Gilbert

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Maxim Shrayer

Rachel Shukert

Joan Silber

WAITING FOR AMERICA: A STORY OF EMIGRATION

HAVE YOU NO SHAME? AND OTHER REGRETTABLE STORIES

THE SIZE OF THE WORLD

Syracuse University Press, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-81560-893-6 An emigration story, Shrayer shares colorful Austrian and Italian misadventures, and the thrill of living in a Western democracy while shedding Soviet social taboos.

Villard/Random House, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-345-49861-8 Shukert’s memoir tackles topics as diverse and weighty as life, death, love, and Jewish paranoia with an irresistible mixture of humor and candor.

John Shuchart

Ami Silber

ISRAELI KIDS’ LETTERS TO TERRORISTS

EARLY BRIGHT

Marisa Silver

Socar Publishing, 2008 Kansas City businessman and former educator, John Shuchart partnered with the Jewish Agency for Israel to create a course on terrorism with Israeli students, both Jews and Arabs. Proceeds from the book sales will benefit programs for at-risk youth in Israel.

The Toby Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1592642410 Louis, a Jewish con man in 1948, navigates the treacherous waters of jazz, women, and passion in post-war Los Angeles.

THE GOD OF WAR

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-05909-0 A novel set in wartime Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Sicily, and contemporary America about men and women whose jolting encounters with the unfamiliar force them to realize how many “riffs there are on being human.”

Simon and Schuster, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4165-6316-7 A coming-of-age story steeped in poverty and violence, this novel offers a poignant and often heartbreaking account of twelve-yearold Ares Ramirez.

Abbe Smith

CASE OF A LIFETIME: A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER’S STORY Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-230-60528-2 A gripping examination of human rights, wrongful imprisonment, and the ethics of defending criminals, Smith weaves together real-life cases to show what it’s like to champion the rights of the accused.

w from his past giving a slidesho t et nn Be r ge Author Ro

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oks. and current bo

Diana Spechler

WHO BY FIRE Harper Perennial, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-06-157293-7

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When Bits and Ash were children, their younger sister was kidnapped; a tragedy that led to their family’s unraveling. Thirteen years later finds Ash in Israel, becoming an Orthodox Jew, their parents divorced, and Bits a twenty something wild child seeking solace in just about anything and everyone.

Daniel Spiro

Robert Burnbaum

2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Ilan Stavans

Darin Strauss

RESURRECTING HEBREW

MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU

Schocken Books/Nextbook, 2008 ISBN: 978-0805242317 Stavans tells the story of how Hebrew was rescued from the fate of a dead language to become the living tongue of a modern nation, raising urgent questions about the role language plays in Jewish survival.

Dutton, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-525-95070-7 Strauss’ novel is set in a world turned upside down—where doctors try to save babies from their parents, police use the law to tear a family apart, and the people you know the best end up surprising you the most.

Rachel Stolzman

Ellen Sussman

THE SIGN FOR DROWNING: A NOVEL

BAD GIRL’S: 26 WRITERS MISBEHAVE

Trumpeter Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59030-587-4 Anna has grown up haunted by her younger sister’s death. By exploring the frailty of family bonds, the limitations of language and the ephemeral beauty of life, Stolzman has crafted a moving and poetic witness to love’s power to transcend grief and pain.

W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06463-6 To better understand herself and her behavior, Sussman invited twenty-five other bad girls to share their stories revealing truths about themselves and our society.

Aegis Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9747645-3-5 At a time when religion and hypocrisy are increasingly linked, Moses Levine is an exception. A rabbi for whom truth, justice, peace and passion aren’t slogans, but imperatives, he is a provocative and inspiring character.

Bob Spitz

THE SAUCIER’S APPRENTICE: AN AMATEUR’S ADVENTURES IN THE GREAT COOKING SCHOOLS OF EUROPE W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-393-06059-1 Combination travelogue and gastronomic lore guide, this memoir recounts the transformation of a professional writer and lifelong kitchen amateur into a world-class cook.

Karen E. Starr

REPAIR OF THE SOUL: METAPHORS OF TRANSFORMATION IN JEWISH MYSTICISM AND PSYCHOANALYSIS Taylor & Francis/Analytic Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0881634877 Starr examines transformation from the perspective of Jewish mysticism and psychoanalysis, addressing the question of how one achieves self-understanding that leads not only to insight but also to meaningful change.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org

Elizabeth Fenwick

MOSES THE HERETIC

Robert K. Tanenbaum

ESCAPE Alix Strauss

HAVE I GOT A GUY FOR YOU: WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN MOM FIXES YOU UP Adam’s Media, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59869-433-8 Like a support group to carry around in your purse, these narratives let you in on the date while introducing you to each author and her mother with true stories that celebrate and exacerbate the mother-daughter bond.

Vanguard Press/The Perseus Books Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-159315-475-5 A thriller that deals with the insanity plea and a terrorist plot against Manhattan at the same time, this story delves into the root of evil and leaves one questioning where morality ends and insanity begins.

Georgie Tarn

THE JEWISH PRINCESS COOKBOOK: HAVING YOUR CAKE AND EATING IT McBooks Press, Inc., 2008 ISBN: 978-1-59013-161-9 This practical and charmingly written

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Nancy Crampton

book delivers mouth-watering recipes laced with plenty of humor and a dash of chutzpah.

Carol Tavris

MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME): WHY WE JUSTIFY FOOLISH BELIEFS, BAD DECISIONS, AND HURTFUL ACTS

Marion Ettlinger

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-15-603390-9 Written by two psychologists, this book offers a psychological explanation for self-justification, breaking down the complicated means by which we lie to ourselves and each other.

Benjamin Taylor

THE BOOK OF GETTING EVEN Steerforth Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1586421434 “The book explores the tortured and often misguided process by which children attempt to define themselves in relation to their parents.”–The New Yorker

Rhea Tregebov

Fredrica Wagman

ARGUING WITH THE STORM: STORIES BY YIDDISH WOMEN WRITERS

PLAYING HOUSE: A NOVEL

The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2008 ISBN: 978-155861558-8 Recently rediscovered and newly translated, here are humorous, bittersweet, and tragic stories and memoirs, from the 1890’s through the Holocaust, that illuminate a lost world, expanding the Yiddish canon and showing the artists’ passionate engagement with their Jewish communities and history.

Steerforth Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1581952254 When Playing House appeared in 1973, Publishers Weekly hailed it, “A probing descent into madness...” This nationally bestselling story of one woman’s struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers and remains a literary work of enduring quality and value.

Anya Ulinich

Sharon Waxman

PETROPOLIS

LOOT: THE BATTLE OVER THE STOLEN TREASURES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

Penguin, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-14-311301-0 After losing her father, her boyfriend, and her baby, Sasha Goldberg decides that getting herself to the United States is the surest path to deliverance. She grits her teeth and signs up for a mail-order bridal service....Petropolis is about finding more than the American dream, but about finding a place for one’s misfit heart.

Times Books/ Henry Holt and Company, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8050-8653-9 Why are the Elgin Marbles in London and not on the Acropolis? Why do there seem to be as many mummies in France as there are in Egypt? Where do these treasures rightly belong? Waxman takes us on a journey across four continents to the heart of the conflict over who should own the great works of ancient art.

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT ON HIGHER EDUCATION Touchstone, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4166-5719-7 An eye-opening and, at times, controversial insider’s look at the current state of higher education in America, the former president of The George Washington University tells it like it really is.

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Suzanne Vromen

HIDDEN CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST: BELGIAN NUNS AND THEIR DARING RESCUE OF YOUNG JEWS FROM THE NAZIS Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0195181289 Vromen interviewed both the hidden children and the Christian women and nuns of the Roman Catholic convents and orphanages who rescued them for this remarkable book, offering an inspiring chronicle of the brave individuals who risked everything to protect innocent young strangers.

Noah Weinberg

THE FIVE LEVELS OF PLEASURE: ENLIGHTENED SelectBooks, Inc., 2008 ISBN: 978-1590791233 Rabbi Weinberg explains the path to true success and happiness through understanding and mastering progressively the five levels of pleasure: physical, love, meaning, creativity, and ultimate meaning.

www.jewishbookcouncil.org


2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Eric Weiner

Mark M. Werner

David J. Wolpe

THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS: ONE GRUMP’S SEARCH FOR THE HAPPIEST PLACES IN THE WORLD

ARMY FATIGUES: JOINING ISRAEL’S ARMY OF INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERS

WHY FAITH MATTERS

Twelve/Hatchette Book Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-446-58026-7 Fortified with Eeyoreish fatalism—I’m already unhappy. I have nothing to lose— NPR foreign correspondent Eric Weiner set out on a yearlong quest to find the world’s unheralded happy places.

Devora, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-93440-08-7 Chronicle of Werner’s volunteer experiences on different army and navy bases over four consecutive years during some of the most stressful times in Israel’s recent history.

HarperOne, 2008 ISBN: 978-0061633348 An articulate, nondenominational defense of established religion in America, Rabbi Wolpe presents the case for religion and proposes solutions toward engaging religion in discussions of modernity.

A.B. Yehoshua Lawrence Weinstein

GRAMMAR FOR THE SOUL: USING LANGUAGE FOR PERSONAL CHANGE Quest Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8356-0865-7 Weinstein shows that how we use grammar and punctuation can make a big difference in who we are and how we live. Topics range from Grammar to Restore the Ego to Grammar for Mindfulness.

Michael Wex

FRIENDLY FIRE: A NOVEL

JUST SAY NU: YIDDISH FOR EVERY OCCASION (WHEN ENGLISH JUST WON’T DO)

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0151014194 With great artistry, Yehoshua has once again written a rich, compassionate novel in which sharply rendered details of Israeli life and age-old mysteries of human existence echo one another in complex and surprising ways.

Harper Perennial, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-36462-5 A follow-up to Born to Kvetch, Just Say Nu is a practical guide to using Yiddish words and expressions in day-to-day situations.

Sara Young

Simcha Weinstein

SHTICK SHIFT: JEWISH HUMOR IN THE 21ST CENTURY Barricade Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-569803523 Irreverent humor with an “in your punim” attitude is now the lingua franca of young Jewish adults, whose common reference points come from The Simpsons, not the synagogue. Offering a fresh perspective on familiar Jewish humor (money, family, faith, politics and bigotry), their humor may not be subtle, but at least it is honest.

Jerry White

MY ENEMY’S CRADLE

I WILL NOT BE BROKEN: FIVE STEPS TO OVERCOMING A LIFE CRISIS

Harcourt, 2008 ISBN: 978-0151015375 A work of historical fiction that mines a tragic, lost piece of history—the Lebensborn, a maternity home for Aryan girls carrying German babies.

St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-312-36895-1 In 1984 Jerry White lost his leg by stepping on a landmine during a camping trip in Israel. The tragedy divided his life in twoeverything became either before or after the accident. He shares the experience providing a road map for other victims of trauma to recover, survive and thrive.

Mort Zachter

DOUGH: A MEMOIR Collins/HarperCollins Publishers, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8203-2934-5 Zachter chronicles the life-altering discovery made at age thirty-six that he was heir to

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

several million dollars his bachelor uncles had secretly amassed.

CHILDREN’S AUTHORS

Laurie Friedman

ANGEL GIRL Anne-Marie Asner Peter Zheutlin

KLUTZY BOY

AROUND THE WORLD ON TWO WHEELS: ANNIE LONDONDERRY’S EXTRAORDINARY RIDE

Matzah Ball Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9753629-4-5 Lively picture books featuring characters named for Yiddish words, they seek to foster love and pride for Yiddish and all things Jewish.

Citadel Press/Kensington Publishing Corp., 2007 ISBN: 978-0-8065-2851-9 Zheutlin tells the story of a Jewish mother of three small children, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, who took the pseudonym “Annie Londonderry” and became the world’s first international female sports celebrity.

Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8225-8739-2 Based on a true story from the Holocaust, Angel Girl tells of an eleven-year-old Jewish boy struggling to survive in a Nazi concentration camp. One day a young girl on the other side of the fence hands him an apple. They meet every day at the fence for seven months. The apples sustained the boy until the camp closed down. Year’s later; on a blind date the boy meets the “angel girl” who saved his life.

Nora Raleigh Baskin

THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH

Irene Zisblatt

THE FIFTH DIAMOND: THE STORY OF IRENE WEISBERG ZISBLATT Authors & Artist Publisher of New York, 2008 ISBN: 978-097871133-7 Moving through Irene’s childhood in Hungary, coming-of-age in Nazi concentration camps and her life in American, this is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4169-3558-2 This is the story of Caroline. Her mom is Jewish, her dad isn’t. This thoughtful novel traces one girl’s journey toward discovering who she is and where she fits in as she discovers that her Judaism was there all the time, just waiting for her to choose.

Robin Preiss Glasser

BONJOUR, BUTTERFLY HarperCollins Children’s, 2008 ISBN: 978-0061235887 Fancy Nancy Clancy loves butterflies. She thinks they are exquisite. So of course, she can’t wait for her best friend Bree’s “Butterfly Birthday Bash,” until her mother tells her she can’t go because her grandparents’ un-glamorous 50th wedding anniversary is the same day...

Malka Drucker Greg Pallante

PORTRAITS OF JEWISH-AMERICAN HEROES

Alan Zweibel

CLOTHING OPTIONAL AND OTHER WAYS TO READ THESE STORIES Villard, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-345-50086-1 Zweibel treats us to a mixed bag of stories and drawings on subjects ranging from Hebrew school to memories of his earliest days as a comedy writer to a wide-eyed account of an ill-advised weekend at a nudist camp.

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Dutton Children’s Books, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-525-47771-6 The twenty-one heroes profiled in this book exemplify what the American experience has meant to Jewish and how Jews have impacted the American experience.

Robin Preiss Glasser

TEA FOR RUBY A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster, 2008 ISBN: 978-1416954194 Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and Robin Preiss Glasser know a thing or two about the importance of manners and poise and being ladylike. In Tea For Ruby, they have created the irrepressible Ruby, whose antics and foibles will touch readers’ hearts as she tries her very best to do things correctly.

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2008–2009 NETWORK Authors

Cambria Gordon

“Aunt” Laya Saul

Matthue Roth

THE DOWN-TO-EARTH GUIDE TO GLOBAL WARMING

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEARN EVERYTHING THE HARD WAY: WHAT I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME

LOSERS

Orchard Books, An Imprint of Scholastic, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-439-02494-5 A comprehensive resource for understanding why global warming happens and the ways it impacts our planet, and how we can work together to stop it.

Kadima Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-9723889-7-3 “Aunt” Laya offers practical, timeless and helpful wisdom, and all within the framework of Jewish thought and teachings.

Richard Michelson

Steve Sheinkin

A IS FOR ABRAHAM: A JEWISH FAMILY ALPHABET

RABBI HARVEY RIDES AGAIN

Sleeping Bear Press, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58536-322-3 From Abraham to Zaydee, and from ancient times to modern day practices, this Jewish Family Alphabet book shares the joyful celebrations, history and traditions of Judaism.

Jewish Lights, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-58023-347-7 In this follow-up to the popular The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey, the rabbi returns to the streets of Elk Spring, Colorado to protect his town and deliver justice.

PUSH, An Imprint of Scholastic, 2008 ISBN: 978-0545068932 Jupiter was born in Russia, but he’s getting quite an education in America. He sees everything slightly askew, but in a way that’s endearing to (most) of his fellow students. Roth makes everything illuminated about American teen life—reminiscent of the movie “Borat.”

Yale Strom

THE WEDDING THAT SAVED A TOWN Kar-Ben, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7376-0 This charmingly ghoulish folktale is based on an old European Jewish custom of holding a wedding in a cemetery to ward off the “Evil Eye.” Klezmer musician Yiske and his band of musicians must find a groom to participate in this unconventional wedding and save the town from the plague.

AS GOOD AS ANYBODY: MARTIN LUTHER KING AND ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL’S AMAZING MARCH TOWARD FREEDOM Knopf, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-375-83335-9 Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.: their names stand for justice and equality. Here is the story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

in sessions come together y tr un co e th ers from around bers and lay lead als, and programs. em m RK O W NET stiv h book fairs, fe to discuss Jewis

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2008

Sami Rohr Prize King David Hotel Jerusalem, Israel

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Jewish Literature for

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1. Sami Rohr and George Rohr 2. Deborah Lipstadt, Joseph Telushkin, and George Rohr 3. Arthur Fried, Chairman of the Avi Chai Foundation, and George Rohr 4. Ilana M. Blumberg, Choice Award recipient for her book Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman Among Books

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5. Lucette Lagnado receiving the 2008 Sami Rohr Prize from George Rohr for her work The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World 6. Eric L. Goldstein, Choice Award recipient for his book The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race and American Identity

7. Lucette Lagnado and film director Avi Nesher 8. Sami Rohr Prize non-fiction judges: (pictured l to r) Nessa Rapoport, Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph Telushkin, Deborah Lipstadt, Ari L. Goldman, Samuel G. Freedman, Rela Mintz Geffen (Not pictured here: David Ellenson, Yossi Klein Halevi) 9. Sami Rohr

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Book Club Recommendations

Editor's Note: Please let us know which Jewish-interest books have worked out particularly well for your reading group

Book Club Recommendations

Non-Fiction Fiction

MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU Darin Strauss

Author Darin Strauss opens his novel with a quotation from Anton Chekhov. What do you think it means? How does this quote set the stage for what transpires in More Than It Hurts You? “The question for Josh had always been, how much blindness does a happy life require?” (page 277). What does this sentiment reveal about Josh’s personality? Was the fact that he loved his wife “honestly, faithfully, and blindly” the reason why Josh didn’t suspect Dori sooner? Why did he feel such antagonism toward Darlene Stokes? What was your opinion of Darlene? If you were in her shoes, would you have done the same things she did, whether in her role as a doctor or as a woman? How do you think her life would have been different had her father stayed with the family, or had she and Leo been able to work things out? Do you think she knew joy? The author reveals certain plot twists after they’ve taken place. What did you think of this device? Did it enhance your reading experience? How would the novel have been different had all the events unfolded in real time? What is the role of prejudice in the book? Which characters exhibit it, or otherwise allow themselves to accept stereotypes? In Part VI, Josh refers to Darlene as a “reverse racist”; do you think there is such a thing? What was your opinion of the book’s ending? What do you think might have happened after Dori uttered the book’s last line?

HOUSES OF STUDY: A JEWISH WOMAN AMONG BOOKS Ilana M. Blumberg 2008 Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award Winner

“To learn is to live” is the novel’s epigraph. Do you agree with this statement? How does it dictate the importance of the connection between a Jewish education and a secular education? In the preface the author remembers the ‘changing of the guard,’ as when her teachers changed from those who taught her Hebrew classes to those who taught her general studies lessons. She then says in reference to the differences between the texts, “But these two literatures could not easily be had in the same country, let alone the same school. They could not be taught by the same people (then why did we assume they could be learned by the same people?), and they could not address the same questions in the same fashion.” Do you agree with this? Does this seem to be the root of the dissonance between the presented cultures or is there something more? The author often refers to Binah (“understanding” in Kabbalah, the second intellectual sephirah on the tree of life) both as a limitation and a gift. Both through your own experience and that of reading the book, how would you approach Binah? Do you see yourself leaning more toward one of the perspectives? How do you feel Binah echoes through the Jewish woman of today? On page 85, Blumberg says, “We were as resourceful within a limited closet as our foremothers had been in their constrained kitchens.” How does the author connect the creativity of her generation to that of her foremothers throughout the book? Have you struggled with reconciling two worlds with outward expression? Near the end of the book, Blumberg describes the different positions women were starting to hold within the synagogue and within their communities. She also mentions the differences between the Jewish denominatios such as Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism. How are these two connected within your own community? How do current educational trends play a role in women being able to lead and participate more actively in prayer according to the author, and what you observe in your own life?

For additional book club resources, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org

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Fall 5768/2008

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Connecting to Israel Through JERUSALEM CHRONICLER: Conversations with Poets By Linda Zisquit

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n 1977, my husband Donald went on a “pilot trip” to Israel to look for a job and a place to live. On that trip he carried two letters from the American poet Robert Creeley introducing me to poets Shirley Kaufman and Yehuda Amichai. He returned discouraged, having found neither work nor home. Shortly afterwards I received a generous letter from Shirley Kaufman offering suggestions and advice for our move, and inviting me to a Translators Party honoring the Hebrew poet Gabriel Preil that was to take place the day after our scheduled arrival. It was a bleak, dark day in February when we arrived at the Absorption Center in Gilo—our temporary quarters were situated in a basement, without light or neighbors. Resistant, I wasn’t speaking to Donald. Our two small children must have reflected my gloom, everything about our new lives seemed broken and hard. I

Logo courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

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BW’s celebration of Israel’s 60th continues. This issue’s offerings include interviews with two outstanding literary figures—

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an American-born Jerusalem poet and a fiction writer from Tel Aviv, a profile of the acknowledged founding father of

Israeli literature, and a book of innovative ways to step up your involvement with Israel.

the

Written Word

didn’t know Hebrew but I dragged the whole mother-tongue is English. Gabriel Levin was family to that party the next day where I met born in France; his mother-tongue is French, poets Gabriel Levin and Zali Gurevitz who he writes in English. Rivka Miriam was born became my local brothers, Shirley Kaufman in Israel to Holocaust survivors; her motherwelcomed me warmly as a friend and poet. tongue is Yiddish and she writes in Hebrew. And, as one who thrives on difficulty, I recog- Each has a new collection of poetry coming nized that first gesture of kindness from out soon in English. Recently we spoke about Shirley as an essential one. Soon after the their new work, their childhoods, languages, party I started learning Hebrew at the absorp- and Israel. Following is an excerpt from the tion center ulpan. Gabriel Levin urged me to first of three interviews. Award-winning Seattle-born poet Shirley translate two poems by the controversial, innovative poet Yona Wallach for a U.S. journal he was editing. He also suggested I meet Israeli poet Rivka Miriam who lived in the neighborhood where I was soon to find a charming apartment. And so it began, my writing life in Jerusalem. As an American-born Jew living in Israel for many years and writing in English in a country where Hebrew is the spoken language, I embody many of the tensions inherent in the landscape. I have two homelands, my childhood home where my parents are buried, and the place Shirley Kaufman reading from her first book, The Floor where I have now lived half my life raising Keeps Turning, at SUNY Buffalo in 1971. a family, where I am torn between being at home and in exile. Not long ago I realized Kaufman moved to Israel in 1973. Eight volthat I have never written about this place with umes of her poetry have been published in the its contradictions and blessings, and so U.S., most recently Roots in the Air: New & embarked on a series of interviews with my Selected Poems, 1996, and Threshold, 2003. Her friends as a way to understand how other new collection, Ezekial’s Wheels, will be pubwriters live here and come to terms with the lished by Copper Canyon Press in 2009. Shirley reality. I have been listening carefully to what Kaufman has also published several books of my friends—left-wing and right-wing, reli- translations in the U.S., from the Hebrew of gious and secular—are saying, to hear the Abba Kovner, Amir Gilboa, and Meir Wieseltinuances, the complexities that living here er. She was awarded the Israel President’s Prize, means for each of them. I am interested in the for an Israeli poet writing in English, presented details of their lives, their relationships, what this year at the President’s House by Shimon impinges on them from outside, from histo- Peres. She turned 85 this spring. Shirley Kaufry. Shirley Kaufman was born in the U.S., her man started writing seriously at age 40. The first

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poem that she sent out to a literary magazine was accepted by The New Yorker! During our conversations we spoke about how she came to Israel after falling in love with her second husband, professor and literary critic Bill Daleski, and how she started translating Israeli poet Abba Kovner without any knowledge of Hebrew, but with the help of experts Robert Alter, Benjamin Harshav, and the Israeli shaliach to San Francisco, only to have a friend at Penguin offer to publish that work [My Little Sister] together with Nobel-prize winning poet Nelly Sachs. It was through translating Kovner’s work that Kaufman gained what she describes as “the strongest sense I ever could have of the Holocaust.” I opened my conversation with Shirley with these lines of Saul Bellow about what it means to be an artist: “First of all you see what you never saw before; you opened your eyes and there was the world; the world was a very strange place; you had your own version of it, not anybody else’s; and you were loyal to your version and what you were seeing...” Shirley: That little phrase, ‘and what you were seeing...’ I have been totally affected, probably changed, too, and overwhelmed by my fear of blindness that I went through, and the things I thought about at the time, how I live in my eyes, how I couldn’t do anything, never mind walking around with a cane, because this was a serious business. I had a retinal disease in this eye, but this eye is practically sightless, I had a messed-up cataract operation so I wear a contact lens sometimes which helps but without it I can’t see. I am a

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one-eyed person and when that eye went my life was really focused on my fear of going blind. And that’s what made Ezekial’s Wheels [Kaufman’s forthcoming book]. It was very scary... I’m glad I could write my way through it. Poetry is a saving force for me in my life.

LZ: So you’re an award-winning American poet and an award-winning Israeli poet Shirley: Who doesn’t write in Hebrew

S. Y. Agnon

LZ: But whose concerns are of this place Shirley: Oh, entirely. I don’t think of myself as American anymore. I don’t share the aspirations and feelings of Americans. My life, my friendships, and my connections are completely Israeli.

n December 10, 1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the first, and to this date, the only Israeli, received the Noble Prize in Literature. He thanked the Swedish Academy and then began his talk by speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus of Rome in the 1st century of the Common Era and the exile of the Jews. He described himself as being born in a city of Exile and to him came a dream or vision that he was standing with the Levites in the Holy Temple singing the Psalms of King David. But in the waking world he was unable to sing the Holy Temple melodies and the Angels allowed him to sing his melodies in his writing of stories. These self revelatory remarks sum up the true essence of the writings of Agnon, whether in his short stories or novels. His writings are reminiscent of a literary Chagall. They portray a life in a world that no longer exists but yet exists in a dream-like state, neither real nor imaginary, but somewhere in between. Agnon’s name is an illusion as well, being born Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes in 1888 in the Eastern Galician town of Buczacz, which at the time was part of the Austro Hungarian Empire. He was educated in the world of Hasidic traditions by his father and private tutors, learning the Talmud and its Aggadic stories that were to have a strong influence in his writings. Young Shmuel was also influenced by his

LZ: What’s the connection between blindness and Ezekial’s Wheels? Shirley: I told Zvi Jagendorf about this thing that happened to me in the hospital LZ: And your conwith my eye...Before cerns in your writing? they made the diagnosis Shirley: If it didn’t [uveitis] they thought I had glaucoma—and reflect my life as it is it they did an operation on wouldn’t be authentic my eye...they opened up poetry, and my life is and drained something here, it’s Jerusalem, it’s from my eye...and I had my friends here, it’s what this fantasy or waking I do every day here, it’s dream of a mountain LEFT TO RIGHT: Abba Kovner, Shirley here, in Jerusalem. like Vesuvius erupting Kaufman, and Nurit Orchan at Kovner’s LZ: Do you feel any and the hot flow of house in Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, 1984. struggle between being a lava...when I closed my eyes I couldn’t stop seeing it, couldn’t get rid person involved with politics and a writer creof it...the nurses gave me something to ating art? Shirley: I don’t feel it as a struggle because sleep...I described this to Zvi and he said do you know the story of Ezekial. I immediately I think poets have to express life in its fullest got out the Soncino edition with the English detail, and the political life here is a very big and Hebrew and all the footnotes and Ezekial part of life. It’s not that I write political describes this chariot with wheels... poems, my poems are mostly personal but I think that my thoughts and my preoccupaLZ: Has any movement, ideology, or tions are certainly of a political nature. orthodoxy affected your work? Shirley: I think psychoanalysis was the LZ: Some writers see this as a problematbest thing that ever happened to me. I’m a ic place, an embarrassment, a burden— Shirley: But every place is problematic...I firm believer in it and because I’m a poet it taught me the value of free association...and actually feel coming to live here added a that’s what makes a good poet...the mind dimension to my life that I might never have known, and a very rich dimension. If I had learns to leap and to trust the leaps. just lived in the comfortable safety of San LZ: When you came here you’d already Francisco with whatever I drew from the won a lot of recognition in America, so that friends and the scenery and everything was your literary home. Has that transferred around me, my poetry would never have had now? You just the experience and the...angst. won a big here prize LZ: Do you feel the same hunger you felt [The Israel before, for more? P r e s i d e n t ’s Shirley: I’m consumed with hunger, I feel Prize]. that’s what’s keeping me alive, the need to S h i r l e y : write and the words are always there...I’m writWell, it will ing all the time...I don’t think ideas should be never transfer the kernel of any poem. I start with words and Shirley Kaufman with Meir in the sense images. A poem goes through many Wieseltier at a reading that I write in drafts...and there’s a lot to get done...actually it celebrating the publication English and isn’t that I’m afraid of dying. I’m afraid that I’m of his Selected Poems that I’ll never going to lose my capacity to think straight... translated into English by m a s t e r Kaufman. Jerusalem, 2003. Hebrew... For me the most extraordinary thing is

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by Barbara Andrews

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that I can still write every day and that writing really keeps me alive. Linda Zisquit has published three full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Face in the Window (Sheep Meadow, 2004), as well as translations from Hebrew poetry, including Wild Light (Sheep Meadow, 1997) for which she received an NEA Translation Grant, and Let the Words: Selected Poems of Yona Wallach (Sheep Meadow, 2006). Her translation of Rivka Miriam’s poetry will be published this year by Toby Press. She has recently completed a new manuscript of poems called “Porous.” Born in Buffalo, NY, she has lived in Jerusalem since 1978; she is Poetry Coordinator for the Shaindy Rudoff Creative Writing Program at Bar Ilan University, and runs ARTSPACE, an art gallery in Jerusalem representing contemporary Israeli artists.

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Israel at 60

mother’s family, which was steeped in the learnings of the Mitnagdim, as well as German stories and fables his mother taught him. Later, as a young man living in Germany, he would read widely in German and French literature. While he would disavow that these later readings had influence upon his work, it is often said that his writings bear some resemblance to modern German literature. Agnon himself would say that his writings were most influenced by Sacred Scriptures, Torah, as well as the Mishnah and Talmud. He renamed himself Agnon around 1908 as his writing became more prolific, and took his surname from the Hebrew word agunah. Agunah means a woman who is not free to marry because her husband has refused her a divorce by either leaving or abandoning her. Much has been made of why Agnon chose this particular name for himself and one wonders if it is not an allusion to the desertion of Israel by God. The metaphor as portrayed in the Torah pertains to when Israel has strayed and God laments Her waywardness. In His lament, God turns His face from Israel, leaving her abandoned and belonging to no one. Agnon mourned and yearned for a world of Eastern European Jewry that was disappearing, first by the assimilation of German Jews into a secular culture, and finally, by the approaching and final horror of the Holocaust. In 1907 Agnon left Buczacz for Israel in the Second Aliyah, and while he loved Eretz Israel, he was not

prepared for the pioneer life of the early settlers. In 1913 he went to Germany and lived there until 1924, becoming an ardent Zionist, and formed important and lifelong friendships with the publisher Salman Schocken and Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher. During this period he married Esther Marx, who was born into a prominent GermanJewish family of intellectuals and Zionists. Together they had two children, a son and a daughter. In 1924 Agnon’s library of Hebrew books and many of his writings were destroyed in a mysterious fire. Once again Agnon, with his family, returned to Israel (then Palestine) where he remained until his death in 1970. During his years of wandering from Buczacz to Israel to Germany, and back to Israel, Agnon had given up the Orthodox lifestyle of his early years and immersed himself in a Jewish secular culture. After the devastating loss of his library and return to Israel, he took up traditional religious practices again. In an interview Agnon gave he

A Conversation with Etgar Keret By Ruth Andrew Ellenson

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THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE Etgar Keret; Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston, trans. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 192 pp. 12.00 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0374531058 (pbk.)

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child nurtured by a major appliance isn’t usually the subject of great fiction, but as the stories in Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s collection The Girl on the Fridge can attest to, this masterful writer can make even the most bizarre of situations deeply emotionally resonant. Short, strange, and brutally funny, Keret’s stories have caused him to be hailed as a “genius” by The New York Times and placed him as a star on the stage of world literature. On a recent tour to the States to promote his book, Keret had just arrived in Boston without his luggage or passport, having lost

said that the loss of his library was God’s punishment for leaving Israel and settling in Germany. While many of his writings were destroyed we have left hundreds of short stories and his masterpiece novel, Only Yesterday. Like Agnon’s life they tell stories of wandering, loss, and mourning for a world that no longer exists. The simple stories of his writing hide deeper, more complex themes of the nature of man’s existence and the relationship of himself to the greater Being of creation. They are often autobiographical musings reflecting Agnon’s personal search for connection to God and man in a world that is often cruel, strange, and miraculous. The Nobel Prize was awarded for the richness and intellectual depth of Agnon’s writing, as well as the recognition that he had been a leader in bringing Israeli literature the maturity and recognition it deserved. Barbara Andrews holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Jewish adult education classes.

both at the airport. “It’s like a Woody Allen film,” he observed, “But not as funny.” The Girl on the Fridge is Keret’s fourth story collection to be published in English— the others include The Nimrod Flipout (FSG, 2006), The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God (Toby Press, 2004) and Missing Kissinger (Chatto & Windus, 2007). Despite its English publication sequence, The Girl on the Fridge collects Keret’s stories from his first two books in Hebrew. Essentially his juvenilia, the brilliance of Keret’s writing is apparent even at 22 (he’s now 41) when he began to publish fresh out of the Israeli army. “It’s like looking at a photo album from when you were still young and didn’t have a pot belly yet,” said Keret about the stories collected for this book. “It’s funny because I

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know I wouldn’t be able to write them now, and sometimes I kind of miss that passion and anger. There’s something more reconciled in my writing now. I miss that crazy energy even though I realize how messed up I was.” He might have been young, but Keret’s ability to apply a scalpel of observation and wit to the underbelly of contemporary Israel and reveal its messy innards and human experiences is remarkable. His Israel is less the mythic land of milk, honey, and pioneers, and more about the complicated everyday life in a country beleaguered by the constant undercurrent of violence. Keret is the son of a Holocaust survivor, grew up largely secular, and has a sister who’s deeply religious (now in her mid 40’s, she has 11 children and two grandchildren. “When I

go over there they all scream my name at the same time.”). He lives in Tel Aviv with his wife, filmmaker and actress Shira Geffen, and their two-year old son, Lev. Keret and Geffen have collaborated on films, including the recently released Jellyfish, which won a Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (his work was also the basis for the recent film Wristcutters: A Love Story). On top of all of this, he’s often heralded as the heir to Amos Oz’s status as a titan of Israeli literature and voice of his generation, The comparisons to Oz flatter Keret, but he takes them in stride. Once, when the two spoke together, Oz explained that he writes fiction and essays with two different pens— for fiction it’s a pen of confusion, and for essays it’s a pen of clarity. “I write both on my computer,” Keret deadpanned. Along with the accolades come the inevitable questions of the political content of

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his writing as an Israeli artist. Although his work rarely deals with politics directly, he is still subject to the question. “When I showed Jellyfish two people came up and started shouting at me. They said I am pro-Palestinian and that I was part of a conspiracy to show that Israel has bad hotel rooms.” As for the constant questions, Keret said: “It’s not funny, it’s not sad, it’s just strange. Is the dog a Palestinian, or the father an Israeli? Many people think being political is being pragmatic. The politics I exercise do not come from that position. Look around and tell me what you feel about it. Look into yourself. I think telling people what the right thing to do is too obvious and a cliché. I don’t want to endorse ideas the way Michael Jordan endorses shoes. I’m not sure I know better than everybody else. Art is a stage where you promote ambiguity.” Although he travels widely to promote his work, Keret’s heart remains in Tel Aviv, and particularly with Lev. Asked if his son has inherited his parent’s creative talents, Keret replied “He really loves stories, and likes telling stories, but they’re very boring. They’re very long and are usually about Lev leaving the house and eating ice cream. You would think it was Crime and Punishment [because] they’re so long and he’s so excited when he tells them.” If a literary life isn’t in the cards for Lev, perhaps one in film is. “He loves watching films, since he was 14 months he would watch movies. We took him once to see The Red Balloon in Tel Aviv and when it was over he started crying, again, and again. The usher was really nice, and told him we’re sorry, but we just show it once. It was the wrong answer. Lev started to hit the usher. My wife and I call him the little Mussolini.” Ruth Andrew Ellenson was born in Jerusalem and raised in New York and Los Angeles. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, People, Forward, and Heeb. She is the author of The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt (Dutton, 2005).

ISRAEL STUDIES

101+ WAYS TO HELP ISRAEL: A GUIDE TO DOING SMALL THINGS THAT CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE Haskell Nussbaum Gavel Press, 2008. 161 pp. $10.99 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0-9786825-4-5 (pbk.)

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t a time when anti-Israel sentiment is high, many people would like to find ways to support the Jewish State. With Israel celebrating her 60th birthday, this book offers many ways for us to give her birthday gifts. The author has served in the Israel Defense Forces and has a law degree from Hebrew University. He suggests a wide variety of activities and projects that provide opportunities for contributing to Israel. These range from putting a pro-Israel bumper sticker on one’s car to displaying Israeli art and reading books about Israel; contributing to charitable organizations supporting Israel to taking classes in Hebrew and reading Israeli magazines and newspapers. He also has suggestions for group activities such as starting a book club devoted to books by Israeli authors or about Israel, hosting interfaith discussion groups, and, of course, visiting Israel as a tourist, student, or volunteer. The book includes a resource list of organizations and books. Since it brings many simple ideas and resources together in a single volume, this is a useful book for school, synagogue, and public libraries. BMB

34 DAYS: ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, AND THE WAR IN LEBANON Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. 288 pp. $27.95 ISBN: 978-0230604001

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he war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah was transformative. Israel was

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Israel at 60

changed because of this most recent war with Hezbollah. Hezbollah, too, was changed. Even the nature of Israeli/Arab war was changed. The new book 34 Days (a translation from the enormously popular and critically acclaimed Hebrew version) is an essential tool in understanding the many conflicts being fought out during the Lebanon War. There was the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, the conflict between Hezbollah and Lebanon, and even a conflict over the inner workings of Israeli politics and the interplay with the Israeli Defense Forces. Harel and Issacharoff, the authors of this book are veteran Israeli journalists. The interviews these respected journalists were able to conduct with the highest level decision makers in both Israeli political and military life are a testament to their professionalism. It is also a testament to Israeli democracy that so many leaders spoke so freely about this war. Obviously, the access of these authors to the Hezbollah side was limited to newspaper and third party accounts, but their analysis and comprehensive study of events and decision making remains enormously insightful. 34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah, and the War in Lebanon is highly recommended to anyone hoping to understand Israel and current Israeli/Arab conflicts. This work truly shows both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Jewish democracy. MDH

HERE AND NOW: HISTORY, NATIONALISM, AND REALISM IN MODERN HEBREW FICTION Todd Hasak-Lowy Syracuse University Press, 2008. 176 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-8156-3157-6

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asak-Lowy’s dissertation thesis, expanded and revised over many years, looks at the works of four writers whose stories are considered seminal works written in so-called “secular Hebrew” whose themes can be interpreted as paralleling the return to the Land of Israel/Palestine. S.Y. Abramovitz (known by his pen name, Mendele Mokher Sfarim) is the earliest, followed by Y.H. Brenner, S.Y. Agnon, and, lastly, S.Yizhar (Yizhar Smilansky), whose first works were published simultaneously with the establishment of the State of Israel. Each of

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the chapters examine in detail one particular took place in Jerusalem, Ramallah, the White work (Travels of Benjamin the Third; From Here House, and Camp David. This remarkably and There—note the allusion in the book’s title; candid, insightful, and well-written insider’s Only Yesterday; and The Prisoner)* from various account, presented with the gifts of a master storyteller, offers a perspectives—the historical, political, and EXAMPLES FROM 101+ WAYS TO HELP ISRAEL new analysis of why America has failed to cultural as well as literFind a cool Israeli website broker or impose a ary. References to the solution in the MidCreation story, mesThrow a party with an Israeli theme, featuring dle East. The book is sianism, the Golem Israeli food, music, and wine less about what legends, and excomRent an Israeli video and invite your friends. Miller did than about munication, as well as Ask your local video store to stock Israeli titles. what he heard and modernist literary theories contextualize the Tell a child about Israel -give him or her a book, saw and gained from these experiences. It analysis. Zionist ideolmovie, music, or suggest a website is also a personal ogy as reflected in the Invite an Israeli for dinner story, how a Jewish plot and the Jewish Start a book club focusing on Israeli books kid from Cleveland condition in Europe, got caught up in hisparticularly Russia, is a Take a class in Israeli dance. Bring along a friend tory and helped make dominant thread. The Hang up Israeli art history. book is heavily footPalestine was noted, which makes Take a virtual tour of Israel, online promised four times the reading somewhat Order Israeli take-out food to it inhabitants. daunting, but the First, by a Jewish, non-specialist gains Listen to Israeli music in your car Christian, and Musnew insight into the Read the headlines of an Israeli newspaper lim God who offered development of the an exclusive claim to Hebrew novel followDecide to spend $10 a month on Israeli prodthe land; a second ing the pogroms of the ucts. (You can buy them online.) time by the British 1880’s to 1945. For who made conflicting the scholar, this book is a significant contribution to the critical liter- promises to the Zionists and to the Arab nationalists during World War I; third by the ature. bibl, index. *Hebrew titles: Masaot Benyomin Hashlishi; U.N. whose 1947 partition resolutions proMi-kan u Mi-kan; Tmol Shilshom and posed splitting Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state; and fourth, the focus of this HaShavui. EN book, by America, a promise that over time and through negotiations and compromise the needs of both peoples could be met and that America would help deliver what God, the British, and the U.N. could not. Although the U.S. has not been successful to date, Miller believes peace in the region is still possible if leaders will apply some basic principles to their negotiating strategy. They need to make the issue a top and ongoing priTHE MUCH TOO ority. They need to remember that this is a PROMISED LAND very long “book” with countless chapters and Aaron David Miller can only be approached with patience and in Bantam Books, 2008. 406 pp. $26.00 phases. The issue must be kept above partisan ISBN: 978-0-553-80790-7 politics. America must offer to both parties ver the course of nearly twenty years, love, but it must be a tough love. Readers may not agree with many of Aaron David Miller played a central role in the U.S. efforts to broker an Arab- Miller’s assertions, particularly his treatment Israeli peace as an advisor to six secretaries of of Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, and James state in the administrations of Presidents Baker as the true heroes of American diploGeorge H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George macy in the Middle East, but they will come W. Bush. In that capacity, from 1988–2004, away from this book informed, entertained, he was a key player in the negotiations that and stimulated. MND

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By Wendy Wasman

ith graphic novels making headway with mainstream publishers and readers across all genres, and Jewish graphic novels becoming a burgeoning category in their own right, fans of the format have welcomed the publication of many high-quality books in the last few years. Some old friends have made appearances in new editions, such as the Will Eisner compilations from Norton; other writers who have been around since the beginning are finding wider acceptance in the graphic novel world, such as Harvey Pekar and his wild popularity following the movie version of his comic American Splendor. Pekar has also branched out into political areas, and his newest books examine war in Macedonia and political activism in Students for a Democratic Society. Some new acquaintances have made their way from Europe and Israel in expert translations, and readers are eagerly awaiting sequels of many of their favorite works. One example of a European import is Joann Sfar, a very prolific French cartoonist who creates comics and graphic novels unlike any ever seen before. Best-known for his Little Vampire books for children, Sfar has recently made his mark with the critically-acclaimed The Rabbi’s Cat. Set in Algeria in the 1930’s, the story of a rabbi and his daughter is seen through the eyes of their precocious cat. In the beginning of the book the cat eats the pet parrot and gains the ability to speak. He immediately engages the rabbi in a discussion about his own Jewishness and demands to have a Bar Mitzvah. The rabbi, confused about whether the cat can have a Bar Mitzvah, takes up the question with his own rabbi. And so it goes, until the cat loses his ability to speak. He continues to narrate the rest of the book, and through him we learn about the rabbi’s daughter and her marriage to a young rabbi from Paris. With the cat as our guide, we accompany the rabbi and his daughter to Paris, where the rabbi has a crisis of faith, and back again to Algeria, to a time and place where Arabs and Jews peacefully coexisted. Likened to a foreign film on paper because of Sfar’s captivating characters and flowing illustrations, The Rabbi’s Cat is a splendid example of how the graphic format can be used to enhance a story. Sfar fans will be happy to know that The Rabbi’s Cat 2 has just been published (see review on page 55).

PART II: CONTEMPORARY GRAPHIC NOVELS FIND THEIR NICHE Fall 5768/2008

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People of the Comic Book

2005 Rabbi’s Cat 2006 Megillat Esther 2006 Klezmer 2007 Exit Wounds

comic book as a history text would have been unacceptable a decade ago, when most people would have assumed that something in a cartoon format was intended merely for entertainment or for people who were too lazy to read “real” literature. The original “real” literature for Jews includes a book that is read out loud each year amidst great revelry: the Book of Esther. JT Waldman’s graphic novel version of the Megillat Esther is a unique combination of traditional text and comic book. Met with great acclaim when it was published by JPS in 2005, Waldman’s illustrations burst from the page and are intertwined with the original Hebrew and an English translation. Author Steve Sheinkin renders traditional Jewish folktales into comics set in the Wild West. His Rabbi Harvey graphic novels are met with applause by readers of all ages, and since there seems to be an endless supply of traditional stories that can be mined for adaptation, Sheinkin can easily keep Rabbi Harvey fans happy with future volumes. If these traditional Jewish stories and texts, such as the Megillat Esther, can share shelf space with Eisner, Spiegelman, Pekar, and such gifted newcomers as Sfar, Modan, Libicki, and Sheinkin, then fans of the comic format are in for an exciting ride in the coming years. Wendy Wasman has been a professional librarian since 1988. She is the former Assistant Librarian at The Temple - Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, Ohio, and is currently the Librarian at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

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novel, Jobnik!, a collection of the first six issues of her comic series, provides an unflinching look at her life as an American in the Israeli army. As she enters the army, deals with the language barrier, falls in and out of love, and tries to understand the Palestinian Intifada, Libicki offers readers a unique insider’s perspective by someone who considers herself an outsider. Her bold pencil drawings and honest text are worthy of greater study, and readers will be eager for her to continue her story in future publications. In Germany, a new comic book about the Holocaust is being used in classrooms to teach eighth-grade students a part of their history that has never been explicitly taught before. The Search, which was created by a Dutch comic artist, Eric Heuvel, in conjunction with a team of experts, and is available in five different languages, shows how far the comic book has come from the days of Superman and other costumed heroes. Using a

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Sfar’s second graphic novel to be published in the U.S. is Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East. Sfar takes his readers away from the sunny Algeria of The Rabbi’s Cat to the snowy shtetls of Eastern Europe, where they follow a ragtag band of klezmer musicians on their adventures. It is another stellar graphic novel, with unforgettable characters and imaginative illustrations. Exit Wounds, by Israeli comic artist Rutu Modan, is an impressive graphic novel set in present-day Israel that tells the story of a young man searching for his father, who may have been a victim of a suicide bombing at a bus station. His companion on the search is a female soldier who was his father’s lover before he disappeared. Exit Wounds is notable not only for the high level of achievement by the artist and author, but also for its depiction of everyday life in Tel Aviv. The bombing, having taken place before the book begins, is not a prominent part of the story. Readers are given glimpses of the aftermath of the attack, such as snippets of newspaper articles, a mangled ceiling in the bus station café, and one gruesome scene of an autopsy. The message seems to be that daily life in Israel goes on despite acts of violence. The graphic novel format is ideal for telling this type of story. Miriam Libicki’s self-published graphic

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AMERICAN JEWISH STUDIES THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF CHINESE FOOD Jennifer B. Lee Twelve, 2008. 320 pp. $24.99 ISBN: 978-0446580076

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ews love Chinese food. Jennifer Lee argues further that Chinese food is now the typical American food in general. Why? Because there are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than all of the KFCs, Burger Kings, and McDonalds combined! I had terrific fun reading Lee’s book, packed with astonishing facts about Chinese cuisine in America. Chinese fortune cookies were a Japanese invention in the early 1900’s in California. Chop suey, also invented in America, quickly became the most popular food to eat in New York City restaurants by 1900. And, one of my favorites, a chapter dealing with how Chinese immigrants became rich by effectively taking chicken McNuggets and slathering them with a sweet and spicy Asian-tasting sauce suited to American tastes—General Tso’s chicken. The good General never tasted it in China. Lee also includes chapters on why Jews gravitate to Chinese food, and about the famous kosher duck scandal of 1989 in Washington D.C., when ducks of “mysterious provenance” made their way to a famous kosher Chinese restaurant which then was shut down in disgrace. If you like Chinese food, this book is a must read. DoS

IMAGINING THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY Jack Wertheimer, ed. Brandeis University Press, 2007. 346 pp. $29.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-1-58465-670-8 (pbk.)

introduction points to the fact that “[T]he current moment marks a particularly challenging time in the dynamic history of Jewish community formation. Mounting evidence attests to declining levels of participation in the key institutions of the Jewish community.... Simultaneously, new types of communities have sprung into existence.” The editor and authors are to be commended for providing important insights into the imagined and the reimagined Jewish community in the past, present, and future. SMC

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his collection of sixteen original articles addresses the evolution of the Jewish community and the contemporary challenges that lead us to imagine what it might become in the future. The articles focus on an important range of topics, including the history of Jewish patriotism, transnational philanthropy, the role of Jewish mothers, the impact of different types of Yiddish schooling on the religious and ethnic identities of their students, and the history of Orthodox Jewish sports. As a group, the articles are interesting and cover issues not often discussed in earlier publications. The title of this book evokes Benedict Anderson’s concept of ‘imagined communities,’ which was originally conceived to explain the development of nationalism in modern societies but, curiously, only one article in this excellent collection makes reference to this concept. Jack Wertheimer’s

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ness in recent culture, touching on, among other things, such writers as Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Philip Roth (The Human Stain), and Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman), gay and radical klezmer groups such as Masada and Klezmatics, the great clarinetist Artie Shaw (Abraham Arthur Arshawsky), and Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein’s 1974 ballet, Dybbuk. Freedman also analyzes how Jewishness has shaped the relationship between Jewish writers and musicians and their black, Chicano, and Asian-American counterparts, as well as the prominence of anti-Semitism in the Left Behind series of books by Christian Right advocates Timothy LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Klezmer America is part of the wave of “cultural studies” now so prominent in academia. This is reflected in its concern with issues of gender, particularly homosexuality, its sympathy for radical politics, its often rarefied and dense academic prose, and its weak historical superstructure. Klezmer America is a valuable book but only for readers patient enough to make the effort. ESS

MANISCHEWITZ: THE MATZO FAMILY: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN JEWISH ICON Laura Manischewitz Alpern; Jonathan D. Sarna, intro. KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 2008. 202 pp. $25.00 ISBN: 978-1-60280-003-8

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KLEZMER AMERICA: JEWISHNESS, ETHNICITY, MODERNITY Jonathan Freedman Columbia University Press, 2008. 388 pp. $34.50 ISBN: 978-0-231-14278-6

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ewish identity, the topic of Jonathan Freedman’s book, is the great theme of American Jewish studies, just as anti-Semitism is the great theme of European Jewish studies. Freedman, a professor of English and American Studies at the University of Michigan, ranges far and wide in discussing the role of Jewish-

onathan Sarna’s introduction to this history of the Manischewitz kosher food empire tells the story that readers are probably interested in: how Dov Behr (he took the famed surname upon entering America) tinkered until he found a method that would allow the mass production of matzo, slowly expanding a line of products that were eventually sold around the world. In fact, albeit brief, it tells that story better than Alpern, Behr’s great-granddaughter, who treats it somewhat like a soap opera. The phrase in the subtitle “American Jewish Icon,” rather than “Jewish American Icon” is telling, for this is as much a story about assimilation as it is about business. The book, which is meant to be a “power behind the throne” story, is a straightforward analysis of how the Manischewitz company reached its

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n o o s g r o . l i c n u n o g c i s k e o D o b r h e s t i s o w P e j . h t w n w o w M k k o o B Chec h s i w e J 8 0 0 2 e h t for

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Biography, Autobiography & Memoir

level of prominence in the Jewish and business universes. RK

NEW MEXICO’S CRYPTO-JEWS: IMAGE AND MEMORY Photographs by Cary Herz; Essays by Ori Z. Soltes and Mona Hernandez University of New Mexico Press, 2007. 240 pp. $39.95 ISBN: 978-0826342898

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he trust in an inexplicable God...offers its own echoes in the trust accorded to the camera eye.” To the crypto-Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin, the Inquisition was a literal bane on their existence. Holding their sacred traditions secret for centuries, the Anusim or secret conversos settled in New Mexico. They quietly left behind photographs of Inquisition survivors, and of touching the invisible mezuzah on a residential doorpost; of tombstones displaying the Jewish star, menorah, or shroud representing a tallit next to or near the Christian cross; and many more small but powerful remnants of faith. Many of their descendants have returned to open worship and practice of their Jewish heritage. The photographs and essays herein exhibit the strength, passion, and devotion that move the pride of Jews throughout the world. DS

RECOVERING “YIDDISHLAND”: THRESHOLD MOMENTS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE Merle L. Bachman Syracuse University Press, 2008. 326 pp. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-8156-3151-4

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his most recent work of Merle Bachman, poet and director of creative writing at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky, is clearly the work of a poet expert in literary analysis. Her approach is clear: she states, “because of my interest in American ‘Yiddishland,’ I write only about poets who made the journey to New York” (primarily from Eastern Europe from the 1890s through the 1930’s). Bachman begins her study of “Yiddish-

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land” by identifying herself as a Yiddish student who came relatively late to the study of the language and literature. Throughout the text, speaking as that very Yiddish student, Bachman responds to the works she analyzes. Her insertion of herself into this book is unique and appealing. Readers should not expect a study of nostalgia or borsht-belt humor. Of primary importance is the concept of “threshold”; that is, “the place that joins an inside and an outside, two worlds that meet, even overlap, yet intersect.” Bachman states that Yiddishland and “threshold” are metaphors but also notes that she sees “Yiddish cultural space as actual,” located on New York’s Lower East Side as various texts show. Among those texts are Abraham Cahan’s Yekl, Anzia Yezierska’s short stories, the works of Yiddish writers who deal with the Black experience, and Mikhl Likht’s poetry, rarely read and never translated before Bachman’s work. Recovering “Yiddishland” is a must-read for anyone interested in Yiddish literature, particularly those writings lost to us. Bachman makes it clear that they are part of American literature. Bibliography, illustrations, index. JWM

tial wager, to its culmination many months later, and the unanticipated changes that erupted from her dramatic world tour. Her trip popularized bicycling as a women’s sport, and changed how they dressed for it, and her personality and daring added strength to the struggle for women’s rights. Unfortunately, her long journey seems to have left her family with the negative effects that a mother’s absence can produce, as detailed by the author from discussions with Annie’s remaining descendants. Confining his story to what he read in the contemporaneous newspapers and found in letters and other memorabilia, the author supplements his text with acknowledgments, an afterword, appendix, bibliography, epilogue, index, and notes. CR

BROTHERHOOD OF WARRIORS

BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

Aaron Cohen and Douglas Century Ecco Books, 2008. 273 pp. $25.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-123615-0

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AROUND THE WORLD ON TWO WHEELS: ANNIE LONDONDERRY’S EXTRAORDINARY RIDE Peter Zheutlin Citadel Press, 2007. 260 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-8065-2851-9

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hile daring journeys around the world might have seemed almost commonplace near the turn of the century, circumnavigating the globe on a bicycle was another matter. That a Jewish mother of three small children should have attempted this feat is a further anomaly, and that she should have achieved fame, admiration (though some disdain), and even a cash reward, adds further appeal to this extraordinary story. Basing his narrative on newspaper reports, author Zeutlin zestfully unfolds the story of his relative, Annie Kopchovsky, from her ini-

aron Cohen’s memoir tells how he came to immigrate to Israel from Beverly Hills as a teenager and complete the grueling training required to join one of Israel’s elite army commando units. Cohen describes his privileged California childhood and his stint at a military academy in Canada, which he credits with transforming him from a lackluster student into a highly motivated and disciplined one. Cohen became fascinated by Israel after hearing stories about the Israel Defense Force from the headmaster, and decided he wanted to make a substantial contribution to Israel’s well being by joining an elite army unit. The book focuses on the training Cohen received in order to join the IDF’s Sayeret Duvdevan, which operates mainly in undercover roles in Palestinian-controlled areas. Cohen also describes a couple of actual undercover operations in which he participated, including one in which his unit is tasked with kidnapping a Hamas financier from a wedding in the West Bank. A word of warning: do not rely on this book for the history, as there are errors. For example, the author describes Shimon Peres as a “leg-

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endary commander” of the IDF, and tells how Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In fact Shimon Peres never served in the IDF, and Israel captured the Golan Heights in the Six Day War in 1967. But as an inside peek into the life of an Israeli commando, the book does not disappoint. GE

DOUGH: A MEMOIR Mort Zachter University of Georgia Press, 2007. 184 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-8203-29345

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s a child, Mort Zachter slept in a bed wedged against the refrigerator in the dinette of his parents’ walk-up Brooklyn apartment. His mother regularly helped out at her brothers’ Lower East Side bread store, her pay the leftovers from the day’s sales. Her bachelor brothers, Joe and Harry, had taken over the store when their parents died and worked there seven days a week from seven in the morning until midnight. They lived nearby until Joe died, and Harry, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, moved in with Zachter’s parents. On a sweltering summer day when Zachter was visiting his parents, the phone—a black rotary model—rang. By the time Zachter hung up, his entire life was upside down. His uncle’s stockbroker—the ailing uncle who was sitting on a broken-down chair across the room—was mailing Zachter power of attorney over his uncle’s account of a million dollars. Thus begins Mort Zachter’s journey into his uncles’ history, more accurately, their mystery, and his parents’ part in it. As he empties his uncles’ apartment, crammed with castoff furniture, unused bank giveaways, and piles of papers, he discovers six million dollars in various bank and brokerage accounts. Why had his family struggled so, working so hard for such modest comforts? With his knowledge as a CPA and graduate of night law school, Zachter, the ultimate heir to this money, is able to pay off his debts and follow his original goal of being a writer. The result is this forgiving, amiable, and affectionate memoir of second-generation Jewish working-class life, a warm and lively picture of one family’s unlikely road to the American middle class. Photographs. MLW

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A MYSTERIOUS AND FORGOTTEN CORNER OF IRAQ. AN ANCIENT LANGUAGE AND A TRIBE OF MYSTICS, TR ADERS, AND STORYTELLERS. A VANISHED HISTORY. AND A SON’S EPIC JOUR NEY BACK TO HIS FATHER’S HOMELAND.

“Something rare and precious— A TALE OF HOPE AND CONTINUITY THAT CAN BE PASSED ON FOR GENERATIONS.” —PublishersWeekly, starred review

“Taut and extravagant. A SWEEPING SAGA WITH THE CADENCE OF A BIBLICAL TALE.” —DANIEL ASA ROSE, author of Hiding Places

“With the novelistic skill of a Levantine storyteller . . . the author spins A COLORFUL TALE INHABITED BY WONDERFUL CHARACTERS.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An enchanting combination of history, family, and discovery— Ariel Sabar’s chronicle is FLAT-OUT WONDERFUL.” —RABBI DAVID WOLPE, author of Why Faith Matters

 

In My Father’s Paradise, award-winning journalist Ariel Sabar invites readers on an amazing journey through Kurdish Jewish history in search of clues to his own family’s story.

SEPTEMBER 20 08 A L G ONQU I N BOOK S

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Biography, Autobiography & Memoir

THE GIRL FROM FOREIGN Sadia Shepard The Penguin Press, 2008. 363 pp. $25.95 ISBN: 978-1-59420-151-6

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ilmmaker Sadia Shepard’s desire to unearth her family’s roots was sparked by the discovery that her South Asian grandmother was Jewish, from the Bene Israel community of India. What began as a research and documentary project into that community, however, became a deeply personal exploration of that dwindling Jewish culture and its fate in religiously partitioned India and Pakistan, and ultimately a quest to grasp her own complicated identity. Shepard brings an extraordinary perspective as the Boston-born child of a Protestant American father and a Muslim mother from Pakistan. Writing as one might to a friend, she confides her fears and uncertainties as she travels to India and Pakistan, gradually if only temporarily becoming a part of the world she came to investigate. Her story draws together many strands: not only the historical and cultural details, but also her deep feelings for her grandmother, her sense of wonder as she travels in India and Pakistan, her feelings for a man who befriends her, and her search to understand the meaning of home. Enriched by many evocative observations, including her experiences of Jewish holidays and celebrations in India, Shepard’s account is particularly affecting because of its emotional honesty and vulnerability. BG

might have been a girl like Tania Grossinger. Both had unusual childhoods, growing up as hotel kids, surrounded by adults who were unrelated to them, many of whom were eccentric and famous. This appealing coming-of-age memoir, written by a member of the Grossinger clan, reveals the behind-the-scenes operation of the famous year-round resort hotel, but it also reveals a girl’s development into a woman while surrounded by much that was fabulous and unusual. Growing Up At Grossinger’s is Tania’s story. It takes place when she is between the ages of eight and her mid-thirties. It reflects a time of profound change in the Jewish resort industry, when social mores and accessible jet travel affected the social and religious ethos of “the mountains.” Tania invites the reader to separate the person from

...reflects a time of profound change in the Jewish resort industry, when social mores and accessible jet travel affected the social and religious ethos of “the mountains.” a carefully crafted image for such as Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, and of course Jennie Grossinger, but she also conveys just how special were the qualities of a Jackie Robinson, or of Jan and Alice Peerce, beyond their fame and talents. This is a balanced portrait of the emergence of an adult, but also of the evolution of an industry. At the book’s end, the adult Tania returns to visit the hotel. She admits to appreciating the experiences she had, yet if given the choice, she confesses that she would be unlikely to inflict such experiences on a child of her own. NNK

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT: A MEMOIR Benjamin Hirsch iUniverse, 2006. 238 pp. $19.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0595390021 (pbk.)

B GROWING UP AT GROSSINGER’S Tania Grossinger Skyhorse Publishing, 2008. 187 pp. $14.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-1-60239-205-2 (pbk.)

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ad Eloise been Jewish, less precocious, and more Catskills than Manhattan, she

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enjamin Hirsch is one of one thousand children who arrived in the United States between 1934 and 1945 without parents. Although many of the children were raised by relatives, this was not the case for Hirsch, who lived in a series of foster homes, including several that actively undermined his birth family’s commitment to Jewish religious practice. Like other ‘survivors,’ reflection and ‘bearing witness’ came much later in life than they would today, where childhood loss and trauma are common themes in memoirs. One month after Kristallnacht, Hirsch

and his four siblings were sent via kindertransport from Frankfort to Paris, leaving behind two younger children, their mother, and their father, who was then in Buchenwald. Three years later, when Hirsch was nine, the siblings arrived in the U.S. after living in private homes and orphanages in France and Spain. A remarkable series of events, outlined in the book, made his arrival truly miraculous. Drawing on his own memory and the records of the Jewish social service organization that oversaw his care, Hirsch tells an amazing and poignant story of how he and his siblings moved into adulthood propelled first by the hope that their parents would survive, and later moved beyond the loss of their parents to develop careers and establish families. The success of these five siblings is a remarkable testimony to their mother, whose foresight and selflessness led her to send her children away so that they could survive. SMC

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE Michael Greenberg Other Press, 2008 240 pp. $22.00 ISBN: 978-1-59051-191-6

“A

nd when everything should be quiet/your fire fights to burn a river of sleep....” So begins Michael Greenberg’s poetic account of his daughter Sally’s descent into bipolar disorder. Greenberg, whose initial reactions are mainly denial and agony, travels the complex road to Sally’s recovery with the help of his wife, Pat; Sally’s biological mother, Robin; and other family members. We meet other inmates on Sally’s psychiatric ward, including a Hasidic patient so obsessed with his studies that he believes he is constantly communicating with G-d and a classics professor again returning to the ward for his chemical “mallet to the brain.” Attempting to understand Sally as well as his mentally ill brother, Steve, Greenberg gradually comes to accept this particularly poignant journey that patients and their families must forever traverse through reality and transcendence. Hurry Down Sunshine is a literate, deeply personal account of a father’s swirling gallery of reactions to a daughter’s mental illness. DS

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Biography, Autobiography & Memoir

THE INVISIBLE WALL Harry Bernstein Ballantine Books, 2007. 320 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-345-49580-2

side of the street and the non-Jews who live on the other. But if two people on opposite sides of a wall touch the wall, instead of acting as a separator, it is a connector. And so it happens, that the people who live on either side of the separated street are in fact inextricably bound together. As the trials and devastation of world war make their way along the street, neighbors find profound connections they never knew they had. Bernstein takes the reader on a powerful journey through a book in which emphasis in the title shifts from Wall to Invisible. JMB

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eading The Invisible Wall is like having a grandfather spend several relaxed evenings entrancing you with the story of his childhood. This debut memoir, written by Harry Bernstein at the spry age of 93, is at once a deeply personal memoir, a historical document, and a love story. With wonderfully readable language, Bernstein brings to life the colorful characters who inhabited one street in a small English mill town just before and during World War I. The title refers to an invisible, but no less tangible division between Jews who live on one

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KASZTNER’S TRAIN: THE TRUE STORY OF AN UNKNOWN HERO OF THE HOLOCAUST Anna Porter Walker & Co., 2007. 431 pp. $27.95 ISBN: 978-0802715968

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his is a story Shakespeare would have loved, full of danger, daring, and artful deceit. Once a hero, its protagonist ends up disgraced. Although it is non-fiction, it has the resonance and immediacy of fine fiction. In “A Note to Readers,” the author explains that she has allowed herself “to reconstruct scenes and dialogue based on the diaries, notes, taped interviews, courtroom testimonies, pretrial interrogations, and memoirs both written and oral,” including more than seventy-five interviews. Hungarian Jewish activist Rezso Kasztner, a brilliant, self-confident lawyer and journalist, was directly responsible for liberating 1,684 Jews on a train to Switzerland, for the “storage” of others who were kept for trade under better conditions than other inmates, in Birkenau and also in Austria where they worked as laborers. Struggling to save the Hungarian Jews, by the war’s end he had preserved some 100,000 more lives by bargaining with the Nazis, including Adolf Eichman and Kurt Becher, among other officers. This he did by exploiting the Nazi weaknesses of greed and need—“blood for goods.” Kasztner

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Biography, Autobiography & Memoir

offered money, jewelry, and the promise of war materiel he knew could never be delivered, in exchange for Jewish lives. He and the other activists were able to save only a fraction of their people, as nearly a half million Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz in just a few months. The selection of those who were saved, especially on the train, has haunted Kasztner ever since. After testifying at the Nuremberg Trials, Kasztner and his family emigrated to Israel, where he expected to be welcomed as a hero. Instead, they found tension between settlers and refugees and because Kasztner had to pretend to fraternize with Nazis, he was attacked as a Nazi collaborator. When he charged one of his accusers (a man who was jealous of him back in Hungary) with libel, the judge, who had a political agenda, ruled against him mainly because of the struggle for power between the political parties in Israel. As the author states, “the real Rezso Kasztner [was] an extraordinary man who played a high-stakes game of roulette with the devil. And won in the only game he cared about, that of saving human lives; he achieved more in his way than any other individual in Nazi-occupied Europe. In the end, all he lost was his own life...” Extensive bibliography, index, notes, photographs. MWP

PLEASE EXCUSE MY DAUGHTER Julie Klam Riverhead Books, 2008. 272 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-1-59448-980-8

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ulie Klam’s memoir reads like witty diary entries strung together from events in her life. From visiting her grandpa in Florida with her brother to her parents’ Lower East Side beginnings, their move to Riverdale, White Plains, and finally the homestead in Bedford, she gives us a thin backdrop of her cultural setting. She feels her mother an accomplice in her academic failures, yet her analogy of jump rope in elementary school describing “the real good jump roper who would walk up to the spinning rope sort of rocking back and forth with their hands up to get the rhythm and then jump in; whereas I stood there and did the readying but the rope was still waiting for

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me when the sun set,” best describes her own progression after moving to New York City and her successive stints at David Letterman, her father’s insurance company, and Pop Up Video. It is only after her marriage to Paul, her difficult pregnancy with Violet, and her ensuing dire financial difficulties that she stoops to selling her family’s jewels and then figures out who she really is and what she’s made of. She blames her lack of self-actualization on her stereotypical “princess” upbringing, especially her mother’s sheltering presence. Yet one thing is certain; with this memoir Julie Klam has finally jumped in the game with her very own self deprecating wit and description. KJH

THE PROMISE Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger Eerdmans, 2007. 177 pp. $18.00 ISBN: 978-0802807717

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he Promise, a collection of meditations on the Gospel of Matthew written by the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, is actually a statement of two promises. As such it articulates both the “promise” of Israel as the Elect people of God, and the “promise” that Jesus is fundamentally their Redeemer and Savior. Given the tension in the mutual promises, the following is probably worth noting: two years ago, I attended an interfaith dinner hosted by a rabbi at a kosher New York restaurant. The group consisted mostly of Catholic priests from France, including four cardinals. I spoke to the group on the subject of my then forthcoming book, “Moses and Jesus: A Conversation,” whose premise is a fictional dialogue between the two men that takes place in heaven, the day after the crucifixion. In it, Moses openly questioned Jesus’ “Good News.” Before I spoke, Cardinal Lustiger, the former archbishop of Paris, sat next to me, bedecked in his vestments. With consummate grace, he whispered in my ear, “How does it, the struggle, turn out?” His English was poor and my French non-existent. So he asked his friend, an American rabbi seated nearby who too did not speak French, to translate “struggle.” To my amazement, he inquired in Yiddish. It should not have been astonishing—His Eminence, after all, as I well knew, was born a Jew. Cardinal Lustiger had been raised by Catholic foster parents and effected his conversion some time after his mother was murdered in Auschwitz. Remarkable, though, was the evident nervousness with which he queried me as to how Jesus had fared in response to Moses’ fictionalized challenges to him over the proper

meaning of Scripture. It was almost as if Cardinal Lustiger had a foot in each camp—that he continued to endure an interminable struggle within himself. And, I came to know later that, having anticipated his death last year, he had left instructions that before his majestic funeral at Notre Dame Cathedral, his cousin, a Holocaust survivor, would say kaddish in his memory outside. The struggle continued! Yes, Cardinal Lustiger seemed to know that two conflicting covenants continued to marinate within him. He was, thus, clearly aware that, in his words, certain of The Promise’s passages “might seem disconcerting or even excessive to Jewish readers, and certain passages disconcerting or even excessive to Catholic readers.” True, His Eminence greatly desired outreach and encounters with Jews and, in fact, made uncommon efforts to that end. To underscore the point, he reminds his readers that the Gospel of John memorialized Jesus’ teaching to a Samaritan woman that “Salvation is from the Jews.” But, make no mistake, notwithstanding Cardinal Lustiger’s thoughts of inner conflict that he may have revealed in either personal reverie or private allusions, his belief in Jesus and the Church, particularly as articulated in The Promise, were as strong and unyielding as Christianity’s world-changing moment at Calvary. Yes, he was ever-mindful of the cultural import of his Jewish roots, but, unmistakably, for him, Jesus is “the Way” and the only truth—“truth” revealed both intellectually and spiritually as The Promise. But one cannot help but wonder. When I began to address the assembled priests at the dinner two years ago, I sensed that I had created a minor tension in the room by first explaining that I feared that my late grandfather, a refugee who escaped the anti-Semitism of Eastern Europe at the turn of the century, might be looking down at this “ecumenical” event with trepidation. The tension broke when I—looking upward—said, “Not to worry grandpa; you and I are priests (kohanim), as are these men. We’re in good company.” The Cardinal’s friend, the rabbi who translated for him from Yiddish, privately told me later that evening: “If you worry about your grandfather’s thoughts this evening, consider the thoughts of the Cardinal’s late mother.” I have, indeed, considered them a number of times. Just as I have considered the meaning of Cardinal Lustiger’s comment in an earlier volume, Choosing God—Chosen by God (Ignatius Press, 1991), that he had been drawn to Catholicism, and had told his birth parents of his desire to be baptized some years

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Contemporary Jewish Life

before his mother was taken from him. Was that the “God’s honest” truth? Was it a trick that the mind plays on one? Was it an effort to make his decision to convert seem more a choice than an obligation imposed on him? Alas, it is hard to know. Perhaps reading The Promise will help the reader to decide for himself. JC

great pieces of art. In fact, reading through Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me, a collection of essays about being dumped by some of the funniest and bitterest men in the world, and edited by Ben Karlin (an eight time emmy-winning writer and executive producer who worked on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report among his

of laughter from the corner of my eyes, hours later I found myself sobbing in the corner, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s clutched in my left hand, crying to myself, “please God, don’t make me end up like Ben Karlin.” MO

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LIFE

Getting dumped blows. It’s painful, miserable, and sometimes even boring, but every so often, it inspires some great pieces of art.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM WOMEN WHO’VE DUMPED ME Ben Karlin, ed. Grand Central Publishing, 2008. 240 pp. $23.99 ISBN: 978-0446580694

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et’s face it: Getting dumped blows. It’s painful, miserable, and sometimes even boring, but every so often, it inspires some

many credits), one might actually think getting dumped is a good thing. From A.J. Jacob’s essay about getting over bad girls; to Andy Selsberg’s relationship troubles (best response to being told you’re loved as a person: “If you absolutely have to love me as something, love me as a [deleted]”); to Stephen Colbert’s essay, brilliantly edited by his wife; to Sam Lipsyte’s explanation of dumping, dumping may actually emerge as a rather genius-making phenomenon. So after setting out to write this book review, drying the tears

THE NEW AUTHENTICS: ARTISTS OF THE POST-JEWISH GENERATION Staci Boris Spertus Press, 2007. 144 pp. $29.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0-935-98265-7 (pbk.)

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his exhibition catalog—Spertus Museum, Chicago; The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University—as others, is an atypical

New Picture Book by Richard Michelson A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet A Celebration of family and heritage A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet explores Jewish culture, history, celebrations and traditions from Judaism’s ancient beginnings to present day practice. Jewish customs and beliefs often vary by denomination and locale. This informative and entertaining picture book gives families an opportunity to share and explain their Jewish heritage.

To order call: 800.877.4253 | www.sleepingbearpress.com

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HEALTHY COOKING FOR THE JEWISH HOME: 200 RECIPES FOR EATING WELL ON HOLIDAYS AND EVERY DAY Faye Levy William Morrow Cookbooks, 2008. 416 pp. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-078784-4 If any cuisine could use lightening up, it’s Jewish cuisine. But Faye Levy doesn’t stop at simply cutting calories from old favorites like (peach pistachio) noodle kugel, (whole wheat) matzo balls, and (buckwheat) blintzes (with goat cheese and ratatouille). Levy, a food columnist for the Jerusalem Post and prizewinning author of more than twenty cookbooks, has fused traditional kosher cuisine with often surprising flavors hailing from the Middle East and Far East to the Americas, and everywhere in between. This volume is like two cookbooks in one. The first half offers creative incarnations for all the major Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah fruity rice, Turkish

BERRY BLINTZES WHOLE WHEAT BLUE A FILLING WITH CITRUS RICOTT

autumn vegetable casserole with chicken for Sukkot, and Passover chocolate cinnamon brownies with almonds. The second half is organized into chapters for different courses and categories, including appetizers, soups, salads, eggs and dairy, fish, poultry and meat, grains and pasta, and desserts. The author precedes each recipe with an anecdote that reveals snippets of her life’s story, an insight into a particular culture’s cuisine, or information on the nutritional content of the dish that follows. The book closes with a handy guide that covers elements of keeping kosher and basic cooking techniques, like making a quick fish stock or vegetable broth, making sauces and glazes, and toasting nuts. This section in particular makes this cookbook a great bridal shower or wedding gift. And it’s ideal for any amateur cook who appreciates the robust connection between healthy eating and being healthy. RKL

ps of water. If water inkle pan with a few dro Spr t. hea h hig moil. Remove diu me . Brush pan lightly with Whole Wheat Blintzes sizzles, pan is hot enough ly ate ly, add 2 edi ick imm qu ur g flo rkin eat 3 bowl of batter. Wo ⁄4 cup whole wh m heat and hold it near ; add batter fro pan pan e larg to s t 3 on sal po ⁄4 teaspoon all pan or 3 tables sm to ter bat s on a thin po h les wit tab e is covered 3 large eggs tilt and swirl pan until bas and pan of wl. e bo o edg int to k 1 excess batter bac About 1 ⁄3 cup milk poon butter . Immediately pour any les ter with a tab bat 1 of ntz or , er bli oil lay of ble ges eta ed 2 tablespoons veg high heat. Loosen mdiu me to n pa n Co tur Re sides of pan. ok and 1 tablespoon oil g any pieces clinging to din car dis a, tul to a spa tal me tly. Slide blintz out on ttom browns very ligh bo its Contil ds. un on ntz sec g bli lin few up. Reheat pan a Ricotta Blueberry Fil just uncooked side facing h Ad . wit ies isk te, err wh pla h eb wit blu ally zen 1 cup fresh or fro ring batter occasion stir es, ntz bli g te kin ns tas ma tinue ar, or to If batter thicke on 3 to 5 tablespoons sug h more oil if necessary. nces) wit n ou pa 15 t sh ou bru (ab t and nfa at no he or more water, about 1 tea 2 cups ricotta, low-fat dually whisk in a little lemon- or gra y or ver , am ing cre r nd . sou sta ne t do nfa are 1 ⁄4 cup low-fat or no ntzes on plate as they t spoon at a time. Pile bli 1 tablespoon sugar h wit ies orange-flavored yogur err eb blu kle rin Sp : ing fill ke ma To ite h sour cream, egg, 1 large egg, or 1 egg wh minutes. Mix ricotta wit 5 for nd . Stir sta let t zes and on zests until well blended 1 teaspoon grated lem and lemon and orange ar, sug ing t ain zes rem nge 1 teaspoon grated ora in blueberries. each blintz near r (optional) 2 to 3 teaspoons butte 1 filling onto brown side of s on po les tab h 2 ⁄ 2 on Spo oil left of filling so that eac 1 tablespoon vegetable es of blintz to right and oking), edg Co r hy ove alt d ng. He Fol filli in e. h d edg wit un e e (fo on ce ing at edg Lemony Blueberry Sau ng. Roll up blintz, beginn ies covers about half of filli one layer in a shallow, in es ntz bli or 1 cup fresh blueberr e ang Arr F. 0˚ 40 to en ov at Prehe all dish in butter (if using) in a sm combine oiled baking dish. Melt with salt. In a blender tly ur h mixture. Bake ligh flo wit t es Sif ntz es: bli ntz sh bli 1 To make h oil. Lightly bru h speed about wit hig x on mi nd and Ble ve re. wa xtu cro mi mi flour 1 lightly browned. eggs, 1 ⁄4 cups milk, and until heated through and if it is lumpy. Cover or ter tes bat nu ain mi Str 20 th. for oo sm is h fresh blueberries. minute or until batter . ntzes with sauce or wit bli day 1 ve to Ser up or ur all blintzes ho 1 t xture of out 12 large or 15 sm and refrigerate abou blintzes, heat oil or mi Makes 6 servings, ab the k coo to dy rea u’re When yo saucepan over low wave or in a very small me by Faye Levy oil and butter in micro batter. It should have oking for the Jewish Ho o Co int hy oil alt isk He wh ally du 8) heat. Stir batter well. Gra gradually whisk in (William Morrow, 200 cream. If it is too thick, consistency of whipping e. tim spoon at a more milk, about 1 tea 9-inch skillet over 1 pan or skillet or an 8- to pe cre h inc 2 ⁄ 6 6a Heat


Contemporary Jewish Life

book. Following its frontispiece, it opens with a small group of articles clarifying “Post-Jewish,” its snap-to title, derived from “Too Jewish: Challenging Traditional Jewish Identities,” the title of an exhibition at The Jewish Museum in New York twelve years ago. Spertus curator Staci Boris and others cover the nature of Jewish identity and the rifts and fissures in the Jewish narrative. Effective, if familiar, historical illustrations punctuate an

Spertus curator Staci Boris and others cover the nature of Jewish identity and the rifts and fissures in the Jewish narrative. essay by Dr. Stephen J. Whitefield, professor of American Studies at Brandeis. Brief descriptions accompany each of sixteen artists’ work. Generally, this commentary is clear, avoiding the frequent ascents into verbal clouds that so often swirl through art criticism. Installation art, oils, pastels, photomontages, production stills, silver prints, acrylics, representing almost every current tool for graphic expression, are the media. Artists’

biographical details appear in the closing pages. Some works are witty, others are a reach or trendy; very little is lovely; poignancy is absent, so is nudity. In an oversize format, the catalog has interestingly-designed typography and all works which had been created in color are printed in color, a definite plus. Data on all—size, media—are given. With a skinny, cigarette-smoking rabbinical student in full traditional garb on the cover, combined with its title, The New Authentics: Artists in the Post-Jewish Generation, this publication will certainly generate reader attention. Acknowledgement, biographies, foreword, 142 illustrations. ABS

THE POLYPHONY OF JEWISH CULTURE Benjamin Harshav Stanford University Press, 2007. 285 pp. $34.95 ISBN 978-0-8047-5512-2

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aken as a whole, this collection of essays opens a broad window onto a shimmering sea of literary and artistic production that is Jewish culture. It brings together previously published articles and introductions by

Benjamin Harshav, a major figure in Jewish literary scholarship and criticism, on topics as diverse as Holocaust poetry; Israel’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, S.Y. Agnon; and the revolution in modern Jewish culture. A shining example of the depth and breadth of context with which Harshav delights his readers is a chapter subtitled “On Texts and Subtexts in Chagall’s Paintings.” This essay is a tour-de-force, drawing upon Yiddish languge, Jewish religious practice, the pursuit of European culture by assimilating Eastern European Jews at the beginning of the last century, and the field of art history itself, in which Harshav corrects several misreadings of Chagall’s work. It should be required reading for anyone who seeks to understand the artist’s milieu. Read individually, these polished gems of scholarship offer the reader a depth of understanding of the topic at hand which draws upon critical methodology, as well as the breadth of Jewish experience. Harshav calls “associative talking” “a national sport” in Yiddish and Jewish culture; The Polyphony of Jewish Culture challenges and delights sportsman and spectator alike. JAK

THE MASCOT BY MARK KURZEM

AS SEEN ON “60 MINUTES”

T H E TRUE S TORY O F A J E W I S H B OY W HO B ECAM E A M A S COT FOR TH E NAZI S “Part mystery, part memory puzzle, written in the polished style of a good thriller . . . spellbinding.” —The New York Times

Available August 26, 2008, wherever books are sold. ISBN 978-0-452-28994-9 / $16.00

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Plume A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. www.penguin.com

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Contemporary Jewish Life

RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION: A JEWISH CALL FOR JUSTICE Or N. Rose, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, & Margie Klein, eds. Jewish Lights, 2008. 351 pp. $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-58023-336-1

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he pursuit of social justice, under the broad heading of tikkun olam, has become a significant part of American Jewish identity today. This series of essays explores some of the areas in which Jewish Americans can work toward tikkun olam: economic justice, women’s rights, peace issues, and more. The articles, written by a group of forty-five writers, use very different approaches. For some, there is a clear grounding of their writing and the values they advocate in Jewish texts and traditions. For others, the foundation appears to be more rooted in American or humanistic values, with the Jewish connection more generalized (“image of God” and similar connectedness). The introductory articles are particularly noteworthy in exploring the role of social action and community organizing as a means of expressing one’s Jewishness and Judaism. ADS

being a new yeshiva for the ordination of modern Orthodox rabbis as well as a new rabbinical organization. In his latest book, Rabbi Weiss articulates the principles that have guided all his work. In his passion about activism as a tool of living Torah principles, he acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King, as well as to generations of grassroots communi-

His actions and beliefs have pitted him against (among others) a number of foreign governments, the Catholic Church, as well as numerous mainstream Jewish organizations. ty organizers. His principles of spiritual activism—and his supreme motivation of love for the Jewish people and their mission—are worthy of study and consideration by rabbis, Jewish educators, Jewish communal workers, Jewish leaders, and anyone who is on the path to leadership roles. A final chapter, “The Spiritual Activist’s Action Plan,” summarizes his principles and includes questions to stimulate discussion relating to these leadership principles. ADS

SURPRISED BY GOD: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE RELIGION Danya Ruttenberg Beacon Press, 2008. 256 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0807010686

SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM: A JEWISH GUIDE TO LEADERSHIP AND REPAIRING THE WORLD Rabbi Avraham Weiss Jewish Lights, 2008. 193 pp. $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-58023-355-2

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abbi Avi Weiss is one of this generation’s remarkable rabbinical leaders. An Orthodox rabbi, his career has been quite unlike that of the mainstream congregational rabbi. His actions and beliefs have pitted him against (among others) a number of foreign governments, the Catholic Church, as well as numerous mainstream Jewish organizations. In recent years, his leadership has brought into

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ike punk, philosophy gave me new tools for crafting my life,” writes Ruttenberg in the first chapter of her memoir, which chronicles her journey of religious awakening as she moves through a series of seemingly disparate counter-cultural identities: from an atheist punk rock teenager in the suburbs of Chicago to a Conservative rabbinical student in Los Angeles. Throughout this honest and self-reflective account, Ruttenberg interlaces her thoughts about and gleanings from philosophy, theology, psychology, literature, and religion. Ruttenberg consistently describes the world based on simplistic dichotomies: when she’s an atheist, she judges the religious world and when she’s religious, she judges atheism.

This type of black and white thinking is fairly typical of returnees to Judaism. What she describes, but fails to say, is that her journey through various incarnations of affiliations illustrates the relativity of truth. Still, this book is a revealing and thoughtprovoking glimpse inside the mind of a young seeker. It is well-written and accessible to people who are curious about the life of one feminist Jew as she struggles to find community and meaning amidst life’s joys and challenges. JP

TEN DAYS OF BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL: A JOURNEY IN YOUNG ADULT IDENTITY Leonard Saxe and Barry Chazan Brandeis University Press, 2008. 256 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-1584655411

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hy would a Jewish young adult choose ten days in Israel over a vacation in Cancun? That’s the question professors Leonard Saxe and Barry Chazan set out to answer in their analysis of Birthright Israel’s mission and success. Drawing upon the findings of a rigorous sociological study, the authors conclude that the “free trip to Israel” has been key in allowing the collegiate and young professional set to develop a Jewish identity—participants are more likely to form a stronger connection to Israel, become involved in Jewish organizations on campus, and marry and raise their children Jewish. Though the authors’ enthusiasm for “the largest education experiment ever attempted” is obvious, they also examine the claims of skeptics who called Birthright a folly borne of founding philanthropists “[Charles] Bronfman’s blunder and [Michael] Steinhardt’s stupidity.” But they are quick to point out that Birthright has seen exponential growth despite the odds. In 2007, nearly 30,000 young adults—up 50 percent from 2006— joined a Birthright trip, visiting the land they would have fought to protect had their grandparents immigrated to Israel rather than North America. Readers no longer eligible for a Birthright trip may still experience Mount Herzl, Yad Vashem, and the beaches of Tel Aviv as more than 150,000 participants have since Birthright’s inception in 2000. The authors

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Fiction

are reliable guides who accurately capture the mood of a trip, both on and off the bus. JT

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WRONG FOR ME TO BE RIGHT: FINDING FAITH WITHOUT FANATICISM Brad Hirschfield Harmony, 2007. 288 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-307-38297-9

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abbi Hirschfield’s unusual past and his current position as president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL) informed and enabled the writing of this book, which implores people of different faiths to seek common ground. The roots of Hirschfield’s timely message are deeply personal. In his youth, he left his home in Chicago to join a group of

FICTION

militant Israeli settlers who believed that Hebron was part of the biblical home of the Jewish people. It was 1980, the Intifada, and some of his fellow settlers were attacked. The violent retaliation resulted in the deaths of two Palestinian children, a tragedy that shook Hirschfield “to the core.” It changed the direction of his life and became the backbone of his personal philosophy and his mission: cultivating tolerance and respect between people of different religions, railing against fanaticism, and acknowledging that no belief system is 100 percent right or wrong. His book includes bibiblical interpretations and gripping recollections of his interfaith activities, such as participating in the groundbreaking of a synagogue in Auschwitz and hosting a show on Islamic radio, a show that began as a post-9/11 effort to increase understanding. Hirschfield also addresses marital relationships, sharing the lessons he has learned from his wife, whose approach to challenge is radically different from his own. This discussion greatly broadens the appeal of this important book. RKL

THE BOOK OF DAHLIA: A NOVEL Elisa Albert Free Press, 2008. 288 pp. $23.00 ISBN: 978-0-7432-9129-3

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acked with hearty doses of wit and empathy, Elisa Albert’s debut novel tells the story of Dahlia Finger, a dissatisfied, out-of-work twenty-nine year-old, who lives in the Southern California condo her father purchased for her. Dahlia spends her days idly watching movies on cable TV, getting stoned, and daydreaming of one day applying to graduate school. Late one night, Dahlia unexpectedly suffers a grand mal seizure, and is subsequently diagnosed with

Jewish Dharma:

by Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D.

A Guide to the Practice of Judaism and Zen “Dr. Shoshanna’s adamant refusal to give up the riches of one tradition in order to embrace the treasures of another serves to deepen the power of both. She keeps her Jewish passion while opening to the spaciousness of Zen.” —Rabbi Shefa Gold, author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land

“I couldn’t put JEWISH DHARMA down. With wisdom, humor, depth and dedication, Dr. Shoshanna guides us into the heart of Jewish and Zen practice.” —Rabbi Marcia Prager, author of The Path of Blessing

“A delightful, interesting, psychologically astute, and practical book. Anyone interested in finding deeper understanding and meaningful purpose in life will be rewarded by reading any one of its pages.” —Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within

“Brenda Shoshanna’s personal anecdotes of a childhood in an Orthodox enclave in Brooklyn and of her encounters with Japanese Zen teachers are captivating. She has found a constructive way to integrate both traditions and is creating a unique path. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a foot in more than one world.” —Rodger Kamenetz, New York Times Bestselling author of The Jew in the Lotus

The first guide to the authentic practice of Judaism and Zen, and the ways in which it can heal your life. See how each practice illuminates, challenges and enriches one another, addresses the primal questions that drive your life and provide answers for the personal struggles we face each day. Chapters explore different life issues, such as loneliness, relationships, conflict, family and ways of healing suffering. Guidelines and exercises included to integrate material into one’s everyday life. http://www.jewishdharma.com

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an inoperable brain tumor. What follows from this startling news is both a chronicle of Dahlia’s health crisis and the story of her coming-of-age, retrospectively told in seamlessly-constructed snapshots. Wounded familial relationships come to the fore, and Dahlia must confront her agreeable yet world-weary father, her hostile older brother, and her ever-distant mother. Rather than making peace and settling past feuds however, Dahlia remains sarcastic and headstrong, unwilling to adopt a saccharine personality. She grudgingly buys a self-help book that suggests she follow a cancer “to-do list.” From here, Albert’s novel works in dialogue with this all-too-cheerful book, as Dahlia refuses to be blindly optimistic in the face of her illness. A powerful meditation on mortality, Albert’s richly expressive novel possesses that rare quality of making life feel wholly real. PhS

Gabriel soon realizes “Had the furious craving for other, nobler origins been only a blind?” Taylor writes about very heavy themes with a heavy hand, yet skirts many side issues, like Gabriel’s homosexuality. He concludes that whereas in the natural world there is order and instinct, man must guess, negotiate, make history. KSH

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Andre Aciman Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 248 pp. $14.00 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0312426781 (pbk.)

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THE BOOK OF GETTING EVEN Benjamin Taylor Steerforth Press, 2008. 176 pp. $23.95 ISBN: 978-1-58642-143-4

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his coming-of-age novel is told in a detached narrative voice that echoes the central character’s feeling of displacement. Gabriel grows up in New Orleans, the son of a rabbi who preaches Talmudic certitude and is also described as a “trollist savage,” while the toxic home environment makes his mother constantly sick. It is also their insistence on philosophizing and values and religion which he calls “superstitious monuments to wishful thinking and mind-numbing ritual repetitiveness” that irk Gabriel. When he arrives at Swarthmore College, he immerses himself in the world of science, nature, and rationality. He falls physically in love with Danny Hundert; and spiritually with his twin sister Marghie, as well as with their Hungarian Nobel prize winner parents and their writer friends, who summer together in Wisconsin. But romance is pierced and subplots of getting even revealed, when Danny becomes an antiwar activist and is imprisoned; Marghie gains all her authority on affairs of the heart vicariously from movies; and the Hunderts commit double murder by taking anti-depressants.

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t isn’t a novel at all, really; it’s more like a sensuous love song. Elio, a young man vacationing at his parents’ villa in Italy, becomes entranced by a scholar, invited for the summer to work on a translation of his book and to help Elio’s professor father with his correspondence. The two young men are bound by physical attraction but also by so much more: their Jewishness, their love of literature and their complementary lives-of-the-mind. They have amorous adventures with women, as well, but the yearning and longing for one another and the ultimate erotic consummation transform each forever. The author’s extraordinary use of language evokes long, luxurious sun-drenched days by the sea, first love, deep intimacy, and the foreverness of youth. The whole piece, read start to finish (and it’s hard to put down once begun) flows and ebbs, waxes and wanes like life and love and endless summer days. MHM

Nellie Hermann takes readers on a journey through time to witness the tragic events that drove this young girl emotionally inward and irrevocably altered her family’s relationships. While set primarily in the picturesque eastern states of Massachusetts and Maine, with young Ruby recalling the idyllic landscapes and formative scenes of her family’s summer home on the shore, this multilayered coming of age story succeeds in its universal familiarity. With three older brothers, Abe, Aaron, and Nathan, Ruby is the youngest child of a mother who converted to Judaism and a father who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust only to keep his past hidden from his children, unwilling or unable to discuss that dark chapter of his life. Ruby is comfortable with her role in the family until a series of catastrophic events cause her to question everything she thought she knew and her place both within the microcosm of her family and on the larger stage of human existence. The title, The Cure for Grief, describes the difficult road Ruby traverses in dealing with strong feelings of loss, anger, and disbelief at the situations and circumstances she has no choice but to endure. While Ruby’s journey begins with a quest to find a treatment for what ails her, she discovers along the way that while there is no definitive cure for grief, ultimately she holds the key to unlocking her emotions and learning to move forward. MBD

DEAREST ANNE: A TALE OF IMPOSSIBLE LOVE Judith Katzir; Dalya Bilu, trans. Feminist Press at The City University of New York, 2008. 344 pp. $55.00; $15.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-1-55861-579-3 ISBN: 978-55861-575-5 (pbk.)

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THE CURE FOR GRIEF Nellie Hermann Scribner, 2008. 272 pp. $24.00 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-1-4165-6823-0 (pbk.)

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hrough the narrative voice of nine-yearold Ruby Bronstein, first time novelist

ove it was. Impossible, certainly! Israeli novelist Judith Katzir has written a stirring tale about a relationship—secret, lovely, intense, and sensuous—between a fourteenyear-old student and her twenty-seven-yearold language arts teacher. Rivi and Michaela, love starved and needy, attracted to each other with a magnetic force, share something that shepherds one through adolescence and

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lasts a lifetime for both. Their love is destined to exposure, but not to oblivion. The story is saved through the wonderful, intimate entries in Rivi’s diary. Dearest Anne, the confidante of the diary is, of course, Anne Frank. Like millions of other readers, Rivi identified with and honored the yearnings and isolation of the young Anne. “The attic Michaela and I made for ourselves is my real life, and all the rest is like some movie...” Although the translation is a bit dense, this coming of age story has real staying power. Afterward, notes. PGM

times laugh-out-loud comic sense, and superb command of the language permeate these stories, along with her unique comprehension of the human heart. JF

FUNNY BOYS Warren Adler Overlook Press, 2008. 317 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-1-59020-034-6

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DICTATION Cynthia Ozick Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. 176 pp. $24.00 ISBN: 978-0-547-05400-1

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ictation, Cynthia Ozick’s masterful new collection, is comprised of four long, intricately plotted tales. In the title story, which is previously unpublished, two young women, secretaries to Henry James and Joseph Conrad respectively, meet at Mr. James’s country estate. A friendship develops, a bold scheme is hatched as the two amanuenses contrive to place their personal imprints on posterity. “At Fumicaro” is set at a tranquil Catholic conference center tucked into the mountains above Lake Como, in Mussolini’s Italy. An eminent American Catholic literary critic arrives at the conference, falls precipitously in love with a pregnant, teen-age peasant girl. Four days later, they marry. “Actors” follows the dismal fortunes of an over-the-hill character actor as he rehearses for the title role in an adaptation of King Lear, in which Lear has been re-imagined as a Jewish emigrant. A naive college student enmeshes herself in the bitter marital discord of her crazy Esperantist uncle and his wife, in “What Happened to the Baby?” Mid-1950’s kochaleyn life is warmly drawn as the story moves between the Catskill Mountains, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Ozick’s high intelligence, her sly, some-

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ickey Fine, the narrator and hero of this story, is a tumler, an entertainer at a Catskills hotel, during its heyday. Gorlicks’s is an upstate hotel with a twist, hosting Jewish Mafia families and serving as a meeting place for the top echelon in the organization. The tumler must keep the wives happy and busy with activities while not getting too involved personally. Mickey falls for Mutzie Feder, a former good girl who became the girlfriend of one of the big gangsters and that’s when the trouble begins. The description of how the hotel is run is very believable and the typical humorous banter entertaining. The characters speak exaggerated Brooklyn-ese throughout and the dialogue is slightly repetitive, but I enjoyed reading about this period. There is some graphic violence and a love story with a few glitches before the happy ending. I recommend this book as a quick and fun read. MBA

GOLDIE’S LOX AND THE THREE BAGELS: FRACTURED JEWISH FAIRY TALES Jeffrey and Lila Dubinsky Kensington Publishing, 2007. 129 pp. $14.99 ISBN: 978-0-8065-2861-8

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his charmer’s title offers a strong hint about the contents of this unique creation. Subtitled Fractured Jewish Fairy Tales, the book features nursery rhymes and fairy tales sprinkled with splashes of Yiddish and a gen-

erous helping of delectable humor. The book’s first story, “Shlepping Beauty,” sets the work’s silly and joyous tone. The book’s vignettes are those from our childhood, so their characters are generally well known as are the plots of each story. But with the added twists of Yiddish phrases, characters both new and some familiar and lots of zaniness, the reader is in for a real treat. However, the book is not without its flaws. The major lump of coal in this work is that the book has no dictionary to explain the Yiddish contained in each story. If you only know a bissele of Yiddish, like me, not only can the stories be difficult to understand, a heft of humor is lost in translation, too. Still, the book’s fifteen stories are light, humorous, and fun. If you don’t mind not quite understanding every word you’re reading, or perhaps enjoy the challenge of deciphering the Yiddish, this is a breezy, enjoyable work. TKM

IN THE MOUTH: STORIES & NOVELLAS Eileen Pollack Four Way Books, 2008. 257 pp. $18.95 ISBN: 978-1-884800-82-5

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t is a natural tendency when reading a book of short stories to try to connect the stories in some way, to find a cohesive thread. In this collection, there are two such themes: Jewish culture and sex. The story “Bris” is particularly intriguing in that it deals with aspects of Jewishness that are usually taken for granted. Here is the tale of John Sloane, who says he is Jewish and is accepted as such. John Sloane? Is this a name for a Jew? We discover, late, that he was raised as a Christian, fell in love with a Jew, and acted Jewish all his life. As he nears death, he reveals to his son that he has never been circumcised. This has affected his life and now, his imminent death. Marcus, the son, comes to realize that pretending is easier than being and that families are what they are. “Beached in Boca” is another story of an older parent being visited by his estranged child in a time of illness. Wendy was raised to think her parents would always be there to

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help. Now, her mother is dead and her elderly father has AIDS. She slowly realizes that she wants it to be her turn but has no idea how to accomplish this. This is an interesting book to share with your parent or child. EC

INDIGNATION Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 256 pp. $26.00 ISBN: 978-0547054841

better not to know. And his first encounter with love and sex entangles him in the mental breakdown of a deeply troubled girl. Marcus’ naïve bravado thrusts him into a position from which he can't retreat until it’s too late to act on the knowledge he has gained. As the Winesburg campus explodes in an out-of-control panty raid, so comfortable campus assumptions and Marcus’ life are unsettled by the advance of distant Communism and postwar social realignment. Tightly told, Indignation is Roth’s account of a period of gradual awakening, both personal and national. Memorable for its picture of hardworking Newark and its sense of coming change, Indignation is a vintage snapshot in the album of American social change. MLW

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n his novel American Pastoral Philip Roth brought back the protest and student violence of the 1960’s. Indignation, Roth’s latest novel, examines the unease beneath the benign surface of the 1950’s and the overreaching ambitions of adolescence. Driven from home by his overprotective, over-loving father, Marcus Messner, nineteen-year-old native of Newark, New Jersey, escapes his cloistered working-class Jewish neighborhood to the leafy campus of Winesburg College in Ohio. There, in the shadow

Tightly told, Indignation is Roth’s account of a period of gradual awakening, both personal and national. Memorable for its picture of hardworking Newark and its sense of coming change, Indignation is a vintage snapshot in the album of American social change. of the Korean war and the threat of the draft, Marcus meets Middle America—tradition, Protestantism, collegiate hierarchy, fraternity fellowship—and tries to stake out his position on these unfamiliar grounds. Indignation, Marcus’ response to Winesburg campus life, brings him up against the expectations of the college. Summoned by the dean to discuss his adjustment to the college, Marcus can’t stop himself from countering every one of the dean’s points and climaxing his arguments by citing Bertrand Russell to support atheism. Against his better judgment, Marcus falls in with a self-assured campus leader—the Jewish president of the interfraternity council on this WASP campus—who introduces him to facts of campus life that are

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JEZEBEL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE BIBLE’S HARLOT QUEEN Lesley Hazleton Doubleday, 2007. 258 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-385-51614-3

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ezebel, like many a powerful woman, has a bad reputation. The only information available about her life is found in the Books of Kings in the Bible. Lesley Hazleton, formerly a psychologist and a journalist who reported on the Middle East for Time magazine, works to provide a more balanced picture of this foreign woman who became queen of ancient Israel by marriage. Using history, historical fiction, and sociological and anthropological studies, she paints a picture of life during the time that Jezebel lived. As a foreigner, a polytheist, and a powerful woman, Jezebel had three strikes against her. Hazleton examines the stories that label her a “harlot queen” as well as the roles of Elijah and Elisha in creating this image. In fact, Jezebel was not sexually promiscuous and the word harlot refers to her unfaithfulness to the God of Israel. She remained faithful to her gods. This is an entertaining and enlightening look at a classic biblical story. The author includes detailed notes and an extensive bibliography for further study. It is a good choice for collections in public and synagogue libraries. It would be a good choice for book clubs, too. BMB

THE LAZARUS PROJECT Aleksandar Hemon Riverhead Books, 2008. 294 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-1-59448-988-4

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emon’s book tells two interesting stories in alternating chapters. One is based on a true event that took place on March 2, 1908 when Lazarus Averbach, a young Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, knocked on the door of Chicago police chief George Shippy’s home to give him a letter and was shot dead. The police covered up this anti-Semitic act as a defense against the so-called anarchist assassin. The anarchists of the time made Lazarus out to be a martyr for their cause. Lazarus’ sister Olga was left wondering who her brother really was and we are left with no answer. The other tale is about Brik, a young writer from Bosnia who was, like our author, Hemon, born in Sarajevo. Brik, who is out of work, is supported by his American physician wife. He is obsessed with Lazarus and takes his mysterious photographer friend Rora through Europe to trace Lazarus’ path. Brik has won a “Susie” grant to write and sets out to prove himself. Rora’s haunting black and white photos precede each chapter. The book blends fact and fiction in a way that makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. Hemon’s use of language is fascinating and his descriptions are raunchy and humorous in the present-day chapters. The tale of Lazarus’ fate is written beautifully while conveying Olga’s state of misery and tension. MBA

THE MIRACLE LETTERS OF T. RIMBERG Geoff Herbach Three Rivers Press, 2008. 320 pp. $14.00 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0-307-39637-2 (pbk.)

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old in letters, journal entries, and interview transcripts, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg chronicles the (supposedly) last year in the life of “a skittish part-Jew who grew up underachieving in a small Midwestern town.” After messing up in nearly every aspect of his life, T. Rimberg is planning to kill himself. He’s not sure exactly how, but in preparation and desperation, he writes letters to all the people in his life: his brother, his young children, high school teachers, Julia Child.... Then a letter comes addressed to T.; his estranged father has died and left him a large inheritance. T. begins a journey from Minneapolis, to Antwerp to Warsaw. He eventually ends up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Along the way he discovers a side of his father he never knew. Though Herbach’s debut novel ventures into clichéd plot territory and would not be categorized as Jewish literature, The Miracle Letters’ true strength lies in the voice of its not-always-lovable, imperfect narrator. JBH

THE NORTH OF GOD Steve Stern Melville House, 2008. 108 pp. $13.00 ISBN: 978-1-933633-56-5

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here are events so horrendous that one can only deal with them by not dealing with them, as in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. In The North of God, Velvl is in a cattle car, wedged against a young woman, with her child suspended between them. We know, of course, where they’re going. And so, it would seem, does Velvl. In order to keep from thinking, he tells her the story of a boy from his long ago yeshiva days, who visited Sitra Achra, the ‘other side.’ But the tale is itself a frame, reminiscent of matryoshka, Russian dolls, nested within each other. At the center: life, death, dreams, masques, a (maybe) prophet... What is real? What is sin? Where is Hell? Is there Paradise? Steve Stern’s little masterpiece calls up Jewish life in the Pale of Settlement, even as it disappears. The images are extremely well chosen, and work on the book’s many levels—in the midst of reverie, the appearance of a Russian succubus, or a Yiddish expression, reminds us where (and when) we are. With a

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sure hand, Steve Stern entices the reader on a merry romp, but under it all is ultimate evil...and true to the fairy tale-like format, if not rescue, there is redemption. SS

OUT OF THE DEPTHS & OTHER STORIES Yosef Haim Brenner; David Patterson and Ezra Spicehandler, trans. The Toby Press, 2008. 448 pp. $14.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-1-59264-135-2 (pbk.)

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osef Haim Brenner wrote mostly in Hebrew and often based his fiction on his own experiences and the miseries endured by Jews in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, such as the terrible ordeal of a Jew drafted—as he was—into the Czar’s army, and the poisonous anti-Semitism that was a fact of army life. He paints a stark picture of what it was like to be incarcerated in Russian jails, and he vividly describes the terror experienced by those who tried to escape across the border, knowing that one false move could mean death. Brenner moved to Palestine in 1910 after living for three years in London’s East End (the setting of the final story in the collection) and was tragically murdered by Arab rioters in 1921. His anguished prose and haunting portrayal of an extraordinary cast of characters is a unique contribution to Hebrew literature of the early 20th century. Biography, intros to the stories. SRL

along with the Rabbi’s strikingly beautiful daughter, his son-in-law, cousin Malka the storyteller and his tame lion, and a cast of new characters, including a Muslim sheikh (another cousin), and a lost Russian painter. While the Rabbi is away on business his cat accompanies Malka and the lion as they make their way around the villages of Northern Africa. They sleep under the stars, and the cat and lion engage in existential discussions with a poisonous snake. Malka, who makes only a brief appearance in the first Rabbi’s Cat book, is a wonderfully complex character whose secrets are revealed through the eyes of the cat. Back in Algiers, the Rabbi’s daughter and her new husband are having marital difficulties, and Algerian Jews in the 1930’s are facing growing anti-Semitism. A Russian painter, en route to discover the black Jews of Ethiopia, winds up stranded in the care of the Rabbi. The Rabbi assembles a company of travelers and they set out to help the Russian find his inspiration. A near-death experience enables the cat not only to regain his ability to speak to humans, but the ability to speak multiple languages. Along the way, the companions experience violence, death, camaraderie, spirituality, and love, all depicted in Sfar’s expressive and colorful watercolors. A little darker than the first Rabbi’s Cat, but equally as enthralling, this second showing will leave readers hoping for an encore. WW

SCOTTSBORO Ellen Feldman W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. 384 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-393-06490-2

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THE RABBI’S CAT 2 Joann Sfar Pantheon Books, 2008. 130 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-375-42507-3

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ust as the season for blockbuster sequel movies rolls around, fans of the talented graphic novelist Joann Sfar have a reason to cheer. The loquacious Rabbi’s cat is back,

hey became known as the Scottsboro Boys—the nine very young black men who were falsely accused of raping two young white women on a train through Alabama in 1931. The crime (though fabricated) produced more trials, mistrials, and reversals than any other case in American history. Across the country and around the world people were shocked by the Southern mobs, by the corruption of the state judicial system, and by the magnitude of the lies told by the two women. It is one of the most famous

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cases in American history and yet, perhaps because there were nine defendants, most people do not know the details. Ellen Feldman vividly invokes the passion and determination of Alice Whittier, a young female journalist from New York who travels to Alabama to get to the truth. Clearly Feldman combed through countless eyewitness accounts to get her details straight; in her hands the story and characters come heartbreakingly to life. If Alice wears her heart too much on her sleeve while trying too hard to appear tough, it is difficult to judge whether this is melodrama or simply how people were back then. One cannot help reading about Scottsboro and Alice’s obsession with it without noting that current journalistic obsession mainly targets celebrity culture. Feldman deftly shifts the narrative back and forth between Alice and Ruby, one of the accusers, adding depth and drama to the story. The two women are so different in upbringing, intelligence, and status that juxtaposing their voices fleshes out the facts of the case in a way that neither of them alone possibly could have. As in life, neither of the women is completely sympathetic or completely despicable and they each have their own agendas to pursue. But Ruby, especially, must have been a challenge to inhabit, and Feldman does an excellent job of getting into her head. The Scottsboro case was one of the most shameful events in American history, showing that black men accused of raping white women in the Deep South were not presumed innocent but in fact had to prove their innocence. Though it is a work of fiction, Feldman’s book is especially timely in light of the many accounts of people currently being held without trial in American prisons. SLS

yeshiva created in the philosophical learning style of the “old school” Lithuanian/Polish yeshivot. The story unfolds through a series of interviews conducted by the Search Committee as it looks for the next head of the Torah Academy. Two candidates—from opposite ends of the Orthodox spectrum—are being considered for the position. The contrasting interviews disclose the deep-seated belief of each group that it has the unequivocal formula for how to live the “correct” Orthodox life. The heated tone is set from the very first interview, given by the grandson of the first head rabbi of the yeshiva. His astonishment that a search committee would have been established to choose someone other than himself, who was groomed for this position, reveals the obdurate attitude toward change that the established Orthodox community lives by. Rabbi Marc Angel, who himself is currently at the forefront of a similar debate within the Modern Orthodox community, uses the story to promote his agenda, exposing the staid and stoic attitude of the right wing Orthodox community. The contrasting points of view given in the book decidedly favor Marc Angel’s more modern leniency. However, the story ends with a surprising twist. Perhaps Rabbi Angel’s book will encourage the long overdue open discourse that is necessary between the right wing Orthodox community and its more modern counterpoint. HR

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Pari Noskin Taichert University of New Mexico Press, 2008. 306 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-8263-4384-0

Marc Angel Urim Publications, 2008. 155 pp. $18.00 ISBN: 978-965-524-012-2

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n his first work of fiction, Rabbi Marc Angel creates a dynamic stage for the competing worlds in an Orthodox learning institution. The setting is the Board Room of an established

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SONGS FOR THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER Peter Manseau Free Press, 2008. 384 pp. $25.00 ISBN: 978-1-4165-3870-7

THE SOCORRO BLAST

THE SEARCH COMMITTEE

Solomon is endearing because of her passions, quirks, and foibles. She often regrets her own words as soon as the impassioned declarations fly off her tongue. She is troubled by her family’s fervent religious observance. The novel’s opening words convey her discouragement about her own relationships: “If hell exists, it’s filled with old boyfriends....” Eating cans of whipped cream provides her solace. When she is feeling less desperate, Solomon delights in enchiladas smothered in red and green chilis. She takes pleasure not only in the spicy Southwestern cuisine, but also in the beauty of the local landscape. The author’s depictions of the central character and of the local backdrop animate the novel. While much of the writing seems hackneyed, treatment of topics such as post9/11 security measures and “info-tainment” broadcasts is somewhat fresher. The relative strengths of the novel are its quirky protagonist and vivid setting, rather than compelling intrigue or mystery. PG

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he Socorro Blast is Pari Noskin Taichert’s third novel to feature Sasha Solomon as narrator and amateur sleuth. Solomon pushes her way into the role of detective, this time in hopes of protecting her niece, who is injured in a suspicious explosion. Rather than trust the police officer and reporter whose work she finds suspect, Solomon takes it upon herself to investigate. She attempts to untangle the details of her niece’s romantic liaisons and her graduate study of explosives.

n this historical novel, a young American stumbles across and sets out to translate the unpublished Yiddish memoirs of Itsik Malpesh. Malpesh’s love interests and adventures are basis enough for a saga. The Russian immigrant lived through major events in Jewish history and tells of his experiences in colorful, humorous language. Manseau’s sweeping novel spans generations and continents, languages and religions. Yet, the book is a great deal more than an immigrant’s epic tale. The novel intersperses Malpesh’s stories with personal notes from Malpesh’s translator. Eventually the life stories of the young American Catholic translator and the old Russian Jewish poet intersect in interesting and surprising ways. Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter is a book about writing, a warm, funny, and fascinating testament to the power of words, a power that outlives a dying language and transcends love. PG

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THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH Eva Etzioni-Halevy Plume, 2008. 368 pp. $14.00 ISBN: 978-0-452-28906-2

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n this imaginative re-telling of the biblical story of Deborah, Etzioni-Halevy makes the prophetess’ struggles between femininity and tribal leadership come alive, from the discontent in Deborah’s marriage to her experiences with Barak, the handsome Israelite military leader who waged war against the Canaanites. But, writing in sharp contrast to Deborah’s experiences, Etzioni-Halevy weaves in the story of another woman, an Israelite slave who is also the daughter of the Canaanite king. The two tales intermingle to create an inspired narrative that brings the biblical story to its full color. The author’s third book on biblical women, this engaging novel is appropriate for readers of many interests. Certainly those interested in the biblical period will enjoy the descriptions of Deborah’s judging, while those more interested in gender studies will find the tales of her leadership intriguing and insightful. Historical note. RSR

THE VICTORY GARDENS OF BROOKLYN Merrill Joan Gerber Syracuse University Press, 2008. 406 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 9780815-608929

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his immigrant story, a prequel to Gerber’s award winning novel, The Kingdom of Brooklyn, is about three generations of a Jewish family, focusing on the experiences and emotions of the women. Two sisters, Rachel and Rose, arrived on the Lower East Side from Poland in 1906 and the tale continues with Rachel’s three daughters from her two husbands. Ava, Musetta, and Gilda must

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share very cramped quarters in Brooklyn. The times are full of hardships, tragedy, and survival and Gerber describes how the women and the men in their lives react to what life brings each of them. The women’s personalities are all strong but very different from each other and their interactions seem very real. The author doesn’t hold back on depicting emotions such as the pain caused by the pettiness of sibling rivalry; the way a bad disposition can color one’s life; selflessness and selfishness; parental love and emotional abuse. Religious observance, a subject of disagreement, is barely tolerated. World War II is covered as some of the men go off to fight and we read about the immigrants’ patriotism to their adopted country. I found this book to be a quick, enjoyable read, notable for its honesty. MBA

WHAT HAPPENED TO ANNA K Irina Reyn Simon and Schuster, 2008. 244 pp. $24.00 ISBN: 978-1-4165-5893-4

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hat Happened to Anna K is a reimagining of Anna Karenina set in the Russian and Bukharian immigrant enclaves of Rego Park in Queens, NY. Irina Reyn’s Anna feels trapped within a marriage and society and yearns to break free. A counterpoint story is that of her cousin, Katya, who wants only the security of commitment and marriage. Events unfold, tragedy ensues, life goes on. It is always a treat to read a novel based on an old favorite. Such novels have become increasingly popular over the past several years, be they sequels, prequels, interquels, or stories told from differing points of view. The new work often prompts the reader to revisit the original as an old friend. Many readers of Reyn’s Anna will wish to reread Anna Karenina, but they will find that Reyn is no modern-day Tolstoy. This is not a sweeping dramatic canvas; it has a more personal, intimate feel. Yet Tolstoy’s theme of yearning for freedom is echoed here and the shadow of tragedy has the same feel of inevitability. Reyn clearly knows her community well and transmits a nuanced feeling for the characters who inhabit her world,

yet the universal push/pull of security/freedom transcends the specific enclave and resonates for all. MHM

HISTORY GEOGRAPHY OF HOPE: EXILE, THE ENLIGHTENMENT, DISASSIMILATION Pierre Birnbaum Stanford University Press, 2008. 479 pp. $65.00 ISBN: 978080475293

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eography of Hope is a history of ideas that traces the Jewish role in shaping the social sciences. Birnbaum devotes an entire chapter to each of the “Jewish” social scientific giants: Karl Marx, Emile David Durkheim, George Simmel, Raymond Aron, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, Michael Walzer, and Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, and additional pages to a discussion of the many other notable “Jewish” social scientists including Erving Goffman, Howard Becker, Alvin Gouldner, Alfred Shütz, David Reisman, Reinhardt Bendix, Edward Shils, Karl Mannheim, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Franz Boas. I put “Jewish” in quotation marks because not all are Jewish; Simmel and Marx are converts to Christianity, but all of them are thought of as Jewish in the eyes of the larger community. To Birnbaum, the apparent “leitmotif ” of the work of most of these social scientists is their “distancing” from their Jewish origins even when their research interests appear to be directly related to the “specific social facts” associated with being Jewish such as stigma, marginality, alienation, the rise of totalitarian governments, intergroup relations, and being an outsider. It isn’t until the entry of Jewish academics of Eastern European background that this picture changes. The Eastern European experience, Birnbaum argues, was generally left untouched by the scientific and secular rationalism of the 18th century European Enlightenment. In these communities, “Jews still shared almost collectively a specific culture and customs formed by traditions as well as by marginalization...where assimilation often remained an almost inconceivable strategy....” The Jewish social scientists of Eastern European descent did mainstream academic study but at the same time explored aspects of the Jewish experience in their research and private lives. Typical of this group are the distinguished University of Chicago sociologists Horace Kallen, “the true founder of Ameri-

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History

can multiculturalism,” and Louis Wirth, author of the classic sociology book, The Ghetto, and the noted socio-linguist Edward Sapir, who was president of the Linguistic Society of America and a member of the Yiddish Scientific Institute. It is primarily this group, such as Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, who engage in “disassimilation” and seek to develop academic research and courses on Jewish concerns and support the development of Jewish studies programs. The academic style of this book makes it challenging for the average reader but the fascinating analysis is bound to captivate. The book has one glaring omission: It does not have an index, which would have made looking up individual scholars a far easier task. Nonetheless, the book is well worth reading. Pierre Birnbaum is a leading French historian and sociologist and prolific researcher and author. His works available in English includes Status and Collective Action: The European Experience, (1988), Anti-Semitism in France: A Political History form Leon Blum to the Present (1992). Endnotes with archival sources. CP

GREECE: A JEWISH HISTORY K. E. Fleming Princeton University Press, 2008. 271 pp. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-691-10272-6

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ith this innovative, soundly researched work Professor K.E. Fleming has filled a long-standing need for the story of Greek Jewry to be told fully. Fleming begins her history with Greek independence (1820’s). At that time Jews in the area felt a nationalistic devotion to their ancestral religious identity, whether it was Romaniote, Sephardic, or Ashkenazi. Fleming traces the process by which they began to “feel Greek.” Then came the German invasion and the horrors of the Holocaust, in which 85% of Greek Jewry perished. With unsparing honesty Fleming describes the post-war years—the half-hearted welcome home for survivors; the scramble for Jewish property; and the final insult— having Greek Holocaust suffering ignored by

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Western co-religionists. There are only 5,000 Jews in Greece today. In an interesting departure, the author visits Greek Jewish communities in the United States and Israel. There, ironically, many have developed a firmer sense of Greek Jewish identity than their forebears ever had in their homeland. Bibliographical notes, historical map index, photographs. JW

JEWS AND JUDAISM IN THE MIDDLE AGES Theodore L. Steinberg Praeger Publishers, 2008. 302 pp. $49.95 ISBN: 978-0-275-98588-2

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his book is meant to provide an introduction to medieval Judaism for nonJewish students. Students of medieval Christian Europe are probably the specific audience that the author had in mind, and he addresses them by adding many casual references to figures and texts well-known in that field. To a Jewish reader who is familiar with the details of Judaism, these throw-away comments add liveliness and food for thought. The primary focus is on the intellectual heritage of medieval Judaism, the different categories and genres of books that were written by Jews. To set the stage, the author sketches the development of Judaism from Late Antiquity, and the broad strokes of Jewish history. The survey is sometimes confusing, jumping between historical periods and geographical areas. But it is pleasant reading, and the author provides insights from the latest research in a variety of fields. Bibliography, index, notes. PR

THE YIVO ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWS IN EASTERN EUROPE Gershon David Hundert, ed. Yale University Press, 2008. 2400 pp. $400.00 ISBN: 978-0300119039

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his encyclopedia, which chronicles and seeks to recover and represent the rich history and culture of East European Jewry, is truly a treasure of information. It presents the life of this vanished culture, as dispassionately and as accurately as possible, without nostalgia and without undue celebrating. The 450 contributors, from sixteen countries, represent the leading scholars of the various specialties of East European Jewish studies. To give just a few examples: Jan Gross wrote the entry on the massacre at Jedwabne, Chava Weissler on tkhines, James Young on monuments and memorials, Antony Polonsky on Brody, J. Hoberman on cinema, Joseph Dan on Hassidic thought, Ruth Wisse on Y.L. Peretz, Eli-

The focus is on Jews and events in Eastern Europe. It does not treat, for example, people who have roots in Eastern Europe but who did most of their creative work outside of the region. sheva Carlebach on messianism, and Paula Hyman on gender. The editors, in fact, were conscious of the need to redress the traditional imbalance in the coverage of women. All contributors were instructed to address gender in their entries and to use it as a category of analysis when appropriate. This resulted in some interesting and novel material, particularly in the areas devoted to daily life, economic life, and cultural and artistic expression, not usually found in reference texts of this type. The geographical limits defined by the editors conformed roughly to today’s Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, the Baltic states and Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Chronologically, the encyclopedia extends from the earliest presence of Jews in Eastern Europe over a thousand years ago, to the end of the 20th century. The focus is on Jews and events in Eastern Europe. It does not treat, for example, people who have roots in Eastern Europe but who did most of their creative work outside of the region. So, for example, there is no entry on journalist and novelist Abraham Cahan on Yiddish culture in America. The YIVO Encyclopedia is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe. The entries are accessible, written so that nonspecialists can benefit. Ten years in the making, it is the definitive work of its kind, carefully conceived and edited and a most reliable portal into the rich landscapes of Jewish life and loss in Eastern Europe. MND

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A WOMAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE TORAH— (Not for Women Only)

THE TORAH: A WOMEN’S COMMENTARY Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Andrea L. Weiss, eds. URJ Press, 2007. 1,416 pp. $75 .00 ISBN: 978-0807410813 By Rabbi Julie Pelc his is not just a Torah commentary for women,” says Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, “it is a Torah commentary for everyone. And it is not ‘Torah Lite.’” What is so remarkable about this volume, says Eskenazi, is that for the first time in history there now exists a sizeable collection of excellent rabbis, biblical scholars, poets, and academics who are Jewish women and whose insights can be gathered in a written forum where they reflect, analyze, and comment upon our sacred text. “Only since the last third of the 20th century,” write Eskenazi and Weiss, “have Jewish women become truly visible in both the academic arena of biblical scholarship and in specifically Jewish circles.” According to the editors, this Torah commentary focuses on three aspects of the text: “that which relates to women, that which is obscure to contemporary readers, and that which remains particularly significant for Jews today.” For so many reasons, this volume is a remarkable revolution in biblical scholarship and Jewish exegesis. It is inclusive, thorough, and provocative. It is also a work of profound collaboration and creativity: it includes a new, “gender-accurate” version of the NJPS translation of the Torah by Rabbi David Stein and the late Rabbi Chaim Stern; it highlights the scholarship and poetry of countless Jewish women gleaned from millennia of Jewish writings; it introduces poetry and personal reflections on the Torah into the genre of biblical criticism. In their introduction Eskenazi and Weiss explain that “at times different parts of the Commentary treat similar topics, or they approach the same topic from divergent stand-

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HOLOCAUST STUDIES

DARING TO RESIST: JEWISH DEFIANCE IN THE HOLOCAUST David Engel and Eva Fogelman; Yitzchak Mais, ed. Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2007. 146 pp. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0971685925

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his collection of more than thirty memoirs, oral histories, and letters, enriched by three insightful essays, is the companion volume to the exhibit “Daring to Resist,” but it easily stands on its own as a compendium of

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points—just as various biblical verses interrelate. Therefore the commentary frequently includes cross-references that enable the reader to engage more deeply in the study of the Torah.” Five different modes of analysis and interpretation address each Torah portion, utilizing ancient and contemporary genres of biblical scholarship side by side. The Commentary begins with brief essays reflecting on “Women and the Interpretation of the Torah,” “Women in Ancient Israel–An Overview,” “Women and Postbiblical Commentary,” “Women and the Contemporary Revelation,” “The Poetry of Torah and the Torah of Poetry,” each authored by a remarkable and respected Jewish woman: Carol Myers, Judith R. Baskin, Ellen Umansky, and Sue-Levi Elwell. Their insights on each of these topics are ground-breaking, refreshing, and steeped in the wisdom of tradition. One of the foundational messages inspiring this collaboration was, “do not forsake your mother’s Torah” (Proverbs 6:20). Eskenazi and Weiss write, “in this volume, biblical scholars illustrate what the Torah probably meant in its own cultural milieu and literary context. Then, scholars of rabbinic Judaism, Jewish thought, and other academic disciplines, along with clergy and other Jewish professionals, augment the interpretation of the biblical text to show how the Torah continues to have new meanings for later generations.” The women whose writing is included in the volume are a diverse, inter-disciplinary group, including: Rachel Adler, Debbie Friedman, Ellen Frankel, Blu Greenberg, Judith Hauptman, Regina Jonas, Noa Kushner, Golda Meir, Carol Meyers, Judith Plaskow, Riv-Ellen Prell, Hannah Senesh, Henrietta Szold, Dvora Weisberg, and Zelda. They come from all streams of Jewish life, from various periods in Jewish history, and provide unique contributions to the canon of biblical studies. “God continues to speak to each generation; in this one, we hear women’s voices,” writes Ellen Umansky, citing a midrash on Exodus that relates that women, too, heard the divine voice at Sinai, “each according to their strength” (Shmot Rabbah 5:9). The Torah: A Women’s Commentary is a profound and important record of women’s reflections on revelation. Every Shabbat, Jews throughout the world recite the words, “she [the Torah] is a tree of life”. This Commentary goes one step further, illustrating that the Torah, indeed, is a living, vibrant, and contemporary source of life to all “who hold onto it.” Julie Pelc is a rabbi and a co-editor of the anthology Joining the Sisterhood: Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives (State University of New York Press, 2003). She is the assistant director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC in Los Angeles and also teaches undergraduate courses in the Literature and Communications Department at the American Jewish University.

daring and expressions of resistance: physical, spiritual, literary, and artistic. There were those who resisted by continuing to honor God and to maintain their faith and belief in Jewish spiritual values as described in “Sanctifying Life and God’s Name” and by never abandoning their faith—Rabbi Leo Baeck, Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, the young Moshe Flinker. Others resisted with art, by continuing to teach, to compose music, to observe Jewish holidays, and by maintaining love of their fellow Jews. Some tried to leave a record, to witness in writing what was happening, notably Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum; others by drawings and photographs. Resistance took many forms. Ordered not to educate, secret classes were given; concerts were held; newsletters were published; art was made. People were rescued; there was armed resistance and rebellion

in some ghettos; there were death camp uprisings. And, of course, there were the partisans and armed resistance, despite the consequences for the Jewish community. Essayist David Engel tries to explain why not all Jews fled, as he writes about the difficulty Jews had in divorcing themselves from historical instances of cruelty and oppression and to realize that this, the Third Reich, was without parallel to anything that had happened to Jews throughout their history. Yitzhak Mais traces the creative Jewish responses to offset the Nazis actions against the Jews—new Jewish schools, Youth Zionist groups, concert halls, etc.. He also discusses the Jewish misapprehensions of the Nazi era due to their memories of the more gentlemanly behavior of German soldiers in World War I to civilians. In discussing the Jewish gullibil-

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ity regarding deportations—who could have envisioned the truth and what other choices were available to them? Eva Fogelman writes about those who blame the victim—(“well, why did you stay? Why didn’t you fight back?” and “How did YOU survive,” as in what did you do to survive?) Illustrated with photographs and drawings. Inspirational for bright teens and college students. MWP

GHETTOSTADT: LODZ AND THE MAKING OF A NAZI CITY

between the perspectives of the Lodz ghetto and the Germans who oversaw and managed the ghetto’s affairs. The conversations, interactions, and interdependence within the city are revealed, as well as “the techniques by which the Nazis, bolstered by their superior force and conscienceless deceptions, maneuvered the Jews by exploiting Jewish institutional traditions, social divisions, faith in rationality, and hope for survival, to achieve their wider goal of Jewish elimination from the world.” It is a lucid, powerful, and harrowing account of the Lodz Ghetto and Nazi cruelty as compared to their grandiose delusions. The author writes facts with a novelist’s flair, which helps the reader feel the experience. 20 color illus., 12 halftones, 2 maps MWP

Gordon J. Horwitz The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. 360 pp. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-674-02799-2

HIDDEN CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST: BELGIAN NUNS AND THEIR DARING RESCUE OF YOUNG JEWS FROM THE NAZIS

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e know that the Nazis fantasized about conquering the old world and creating a new one to mythic standards. This city might have been a first attempt at building a model city of the greatest beauty and charm, a refashioning of the city of Lodz, to which they invited ethnic Germans of the East to resettle. It was to be a German city of enchantment—one of urban planning, great beauty and the arts. It was as if the Jews who once lived in the city had never existed because in the Nazi scheme of things, they soon wouldn’t. Nearby, Jews, displaced from their homes and businesses, were suffering in the Lodz ghetto ruled by a Jewish “king” called Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, chairman of the Jewish Council in the ghetto, who was both hated and respected. He fashioned himself a great man who tried to save as many Jews as possible by posturing himself as an equal to his Nazi masters. He sacrificed the children and the elderly to save the able-bodied. In the end, they were all sacrificed, including the “king,” but the Lodz ghetto outlasted many others. In the ghetto, despite the crowding, the starvation, illness, suffering from the weather and constant fear of being transported elsewhere, there was also education, stage performances, and art. Logic told its inhabitants that if they worked diligently, if they were productive, they would be safe. To jump from rationality and logic, to the pure evil of an otherworldly regime and totally evil philosophy was not possible for most of the Jews. The book is a counterpoint

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Hidden Children of the Holocaust adds to the scholarly literature on wartime rescue of Jewish children by being the first work to explore such efforts in Belgium in such detail. Vromen’s discussion of the ethical question of returning baptized Jewish children, who had adopted the Catholicism of their rescuers, to their Jewish heritage, is an unexplored topic with important contemporary implications. One hopes this thoughtful and well researched work will lead readers to contemplate two existential questions: would they risk their lives to rescue a stranger facing certain death, and have they raised their children with the potential to sacrifice their comfort and safety for the welfare of others. Index, notes, references. SAL

ICON OF EVIL: HITLER’S MUFTI AND THE RISE OF RADICAL ISLAM

Suzanne Vromen Oxford University Press, 2008. 178 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-19-518128-9

David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman Random House, 2008. 240 pp. $26.00 ISBN: 978-1-4000-6653-7

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he literature focusing on Righteous Gentiles rescuing Jews during the Holocaust is probably the most powerful reason to continue to retain some degree of belief in the human potential for goodness and unselfish love in the face of such overwhelming evil. Suzanne Vromen, a professor emeritus of sociology at Bard College, adds to this vital body of work with a study of the role of the Catholic nuns in Belgium in the rescue of Jewish children. This is a readable academic work that comes alive with the incorporation of numerous quotes from both the rescued children and their rescuers. There seems to be something quite health promoting about being a rescuer. The nuns and escorts interviewed, as well as rescuers in general, appear to possess remarkable vigor and longevity. Vromen underscores the inner autonomy, raw courage, and unshakeable ethical principles of her subjects. The few interviewed hidden children, despite unavoidable emotional scars, give evidence of life affirmation and resilience in the years following their tragic childhood experiences. The book’s epilogue, in particular, provides a valuable review of the question of the motivation of altruistic behavior in life threatening situations.

rab anti-Semitism springs not only from several passages in the Koran and from the forgery The Protocols of Zion, but also from one man’s admiration for Adolf Hitler and quick grasp that both the Arabs and Hitler had the same enemy—the Jew—and the same goal—a world free of Jews. That man was Haj Amin al-Husseni. He became the intimate of the top Nazis and closely allied himself with them as Hitler promised to help him rid Arab countries of Jews and Husseni pledged to supply fighters for Hitler’s war against the Jews. He was also given sanctuary by many countries, including America’s ally Saudi Arabia, when he had to flee to escape trial with the other Nazis. Al Husseni, now deceased, was a radical leader of Palestinian Arabs since 1920. He became the mentor of a new generation of Arab leaders, including Yasser Arafat, Mahamoud Abbas, Saddam Hussein, Gamel Abdel Nasser, and Anwar Al Sadat; and he inspired almost all the Arab leaders with his vision of a Palestine without Jews—all except those he had assassinated for daring not to share his vision, those who decided to deal with the Jews. He was hosted by the top Nazis—Eichman, Hitler, and others yet Husseni always managed to escape

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Poetry

imprisonment. As Arabic schools continue to teach scurrilous lies and poisonous myths to children, what hope can there be for a quiet existence between Jew and Arab? This insightful book provides a definitive account of this 20th century Palestinian leader, linking the fascism of yesterday with the radical Islam of the 21st century. 8 page photo-insert, appendix of correspondence and documents, chronology of the Al-Hussenini’s life. MWP

WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY?: EMANUEL RINGELBLUM, THE WARSAW GHETTO AND THE OYNEG SHABES ARCHIVE Samuel D. Kassow Indiana University Press, 2007. 552 pp. $34.95 ISBN: 978-0253349088

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f there is one book that should be read this year (or any year) about the Holocaust it is Who Will Write Our History, wherein historian Samuel Kassow provides us with the history of the Oyneg Shabes Archive, a project organized in the Warsaw Ghetto by Emanuel Ringelblum, a historian, to describe Nazi measures against Jews trapped in a ghetto, where starvation, typhus, forced labor, and deportation were the realties of everyday life. Between the outbreak of war in September 1939 to the summer of 1942, Ringelblum managed to assemble a number of teachers, rabbis, scholars, writers, businessmen and idealistic young people to collect data on the trials and tribulations of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Taking great risks, the compilers of the archive wrote of Nazi cruelty toward the Jews, Polish-Jewish relations, as well as the seeming collaboration of the Warsaw Jewish Council and Jewish police with the occupiers, so that future generations would have an account of what transpired in the ghetto. But there were risks associated with the project, both physical—the Nazis would execute anyone associated with the archive—and existential. As Isaac Shiper, one of the writers subsequently told a fellow inmate in the Majdanek concentration camp, “Everything depends on who transmits our testament to future generations, on who writes the history of this period. History is usually written by the victor. What we know about murdered

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people is only what their murderers...cared to say about them.... But if we write the history of this period of blood and tears...who will believe us? Nobody will want to believe us, because our disaster is the disaster of the civilized world.” To document the Nazi cruelty, therefore, was to resist. During the Holocaust powerless Jewish men, women, and children faced death, yet there were individuals who were determined to confront the Nazis with pen and paper, and through works of art, powerful weapons that they hoped would record the crimes of the perpetrators. More than anyone else it was Emanuel Ringelblum who encouraged the participants in the Oyneg Shabes Archive to record what they observed, and who organized and conceptualized the articles and questionnaires into a powerful center of civil resistance. Fearing that the archive would be found by the Nazis, Ringelblum and his staff gathered the information about the Nazi killings and buried them in three separate caches. The first was uncovered in 1946, the second in 1950, and the third cache, which would have documented the critical months of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was never found. Together, however, the archives constitute the most significant eyewitness accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto and the travails suffered by its incarcerated Jewish victims. Facing an uncertain future but sensing that death hovered over the ghetto, Israel Lichtenstein, burying the first cache of the archive in 1942, concluded his testament with the following words: “We are the redeeming sacrifice of the Jewish people. I believe that the nation will survive. We the Jews of Eastern Europe are the redeemers of the People of Israel.” Lichtenstein, who would not survive the genocide, reminded posterity that Jews were not just victims: they were people and part of a resilient nation. This was also Ringelblum’s legacy, the legacy of the Oyneg Shabes Archive. JaF

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iora Gubkin, assistant professor of religious studies at California State University, Bakersfield, opens her examination of the place of the Holocaust in the seder with the fear, expressed by an anonymous survivor, that we will forget, “for we are prone to forgetting fast.” How, Gubkin asks, can we incorporate the Holocaust into our seders to prevent our forgetting? In her study Gubkin poses several problems. Framed in academic terms, these problems often take the reader beyond the seder to consider larger questions of ritual performance and its significance, psychology, and theology. These problems are illustrated with well-chosen examples from contemporary haggadot and firsthand Holocaust testimonies that bring immediacy to the questions. In the hands of a sensitive leader this material—separated from its illustrative purpose—could enrich any seder. Ultimately Gubkin comes to realize that her long study does not yield answers to her question and her hope of prescribing a way to read the Holocaust into the seder. To make a seder live beyond the text, participants must look to their own values and concerns and formulate their own questions. Bibliography, glossary, illustrations, index, notes. MLW

POETRY

THE BAG OF BROKEN GLASS: POEMS Yerra Sugarman The Sheep Meadow Press, 2008. 120 pp. $13.95 ISBN: 978-1931357586

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YOU SHALL TELL YOUR CHILDREN: HOLOCAUST MEMORY IN AMERICAN PASSOVER RITUAL Liora Gubkin Rutgers University Press, 2007. 209 pp. $23.95 ISBN: 978-0813541945

erra Sugarman’s poetry presents a vivid canvas of exploration, remembrance, tenderness, and connection with the Divine. The first section, entitled “Her Hands,” is a raw lamentation for Sugarman’s mother. In “This Moment” her mother breaks into the writer’s thoughts of “God, I’m not ready,” with a reminder that “...this moment / is the only / moment...” while the fog outside lifts to display “the soft pendulum, / outside, of the swaying tree.” In the titled section “My Bag of Broken Glass,” we learn of her family’s upbringing in the “Holocaust season” in

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Scholarship

Poland; the poet analogizes square of yards of folded cotton to “...a square / of darker memory / packed in an attic of the mind / just try to take it out / a nest blown from its tree / falling little charnel house of charred bones....” Moving into another realm of interwoven memories, scripture and ritual, the author reaches the chilling and potent conclusion that,” Maybe this is what memory is: God wounds.” Sugarman’s figurative language and familiar imagery entice rather than repel the reader into sharing this poet’s deeply vulnerable and precious pilgrimage. DS

A WALL OF TWO: POEMS OF RESISTANCE AND SUFFERING FROM KRAKÓW TO BUCHENWALD AND BEYOND

being pursued by Nazi tanks on a forced death march. Straightforward in vocabulary, message, devoid of metaphor, it fell to the poet Fanny Howe to “make poetry out of poetry,” once she was provided with the english translation. Gertrude Morris is a New Yorker, a poet and artist who studied painting with Raphael Soyer, teaching art to disabled children. Her pieces dealt with what were clearly sanguine, positive family memories of a New York based immigrant family. The sadness that permeates the collection is due to the absense of these loving souls, illness, old age, ultimately death having claimed them all. Morris’ succinct comment sadly speaks for both collections: A scattered corpus of interrupted lives A legacy of leavings.... RS

SCHOLARSHIP

Henia Karmel and Ilona Karmel; Arie Galles and Warren Niesluchowski, trans.; Fanny Howe, adaptation University of California Press, 2007. 158 pp. $16.95 ISBN: 978-0520251366

and security as a nation on God’s promised land. Without these, an individual or the nation of Israel as a whole could experience itself as “dead.” When the prophets spoke of God restoring the “dead” to “life,” they spoke literally. When later on this logic was extended to individuals, resurrection still retained its collective and spiritual character—the individual brought to life with others in spiritual perfection, through Christ or Am Yisrael. At times the book seems to be trying to jar modern readers into accepting the importance of resurrection as a core doctrine, particularly for Jews. The authors implicitly denigrate the alternative idea of the timelessness of the soul. This part of their argument crops up in several places and is hurried. While the authors state that resurrection means very different things to Jews and Christians, they do not explore how the connections and differences might factor into interfaith dialogue. Still, the core of the book provides subtle readings of important biblical passages relating to life and death, and is extremely helpful to anyone looking to understand resurrection and immortality in Judaism. General index, index of primary sources, notes. JSS

RESURRECTION: THE POWER OF GOD FOR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS

TRANSFORMING IDENTITY: THE RITUAL TRANSFORMATION FROM GENTILE TO JEW-STRUCTURE AND MEANING

Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson Yale University Press, 2008. 257 pp. $30.00 ISBN: 978-0-300-12277-0

M HONEY AND GINGER Gertrude Morris Ten Penny Players, Inc. 2007. 40 pp. $12.00 ISBN: 978-0-934830-73-7

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ny familiar landscape we might discover between Gertrude Morris and the Karmel sisters is limited to their ancestral Jewishness and their chronology. Both have their beginnings in Eastern Europe in the first quarter of the 20th century. Henia and Ilona Karmel, sisters whose poems of resistance and suffering from their beginnings in Krakow, to Buchenwald, and beyond form a remarkable unified body of survivors’ words, remnants of inscriptions on a prison wall. The words are sometimes screams, often words of rage, a desperate effort to leave a record, sown into the lining of a dress, then desperately thrust into the hands of a cousin as the sisters were

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adigan and Levenson have woven three purposes in to this exploration of the earliest expressions of the idea of bodily resurrection in Jewish and Christian religion. At the core of the book is the history of how the resurrection doctrine evolved from biblical ideas through the Second Temple and Talmudic/early Christian eras. Linked to this is an argument that bodily resurrection is in fact a core belief of rabbinic Judaism. Finally, as a Christian and a Jewish scholar writing together, Madigan and Levenson present resurrection as a doctrine common to the “classical form” of both religions, even though the meaning of resurrection is entirely different for Jews and Christians. The history is the bulk of the book, and its most carefully executed dimension. The authors note that for most of the Hebrew Bible, life and death represent more than biological realities. Life is a social concept, encompassing family well-being, prosperity,

Avi Sagi and Zvi Zohar Continuum, 2008. 311 pp. $44.95 (pbk.) ISBN: 978-0-8264-9672-0 (pbk.)

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ased on their 1994 original work in Hebrew, Professors Sagi and Zohar have rendered an important service to those who would understand the process of conversion. It is not a handbook of procedures; nor is it, strictly speaking, a history of conversion. More significantly, this vast array and compilation of original sources seeks to understand the very nature and essence of conversion. Which factors are determinative of one’s newly acquired Jewishness? Do the rabbis subjectively evaluate conversion candidates or is an objective measurement applied? What qualities must a candidate for conversion present? What leeway do rabbis have in accepting converts? In an ideal world all converts to Judaism

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Women’s Studies

would embrace Jewish observance in its totality. In fact, this is what is encouraged by those who conduct conversions. However, since we do not always live in an ideal Torah oriented society, the Rabbis from the time of the Mishna until today have dealt with the issue of converts who are non-observant, converts who change their mind after the fact, and those who convert for reasons other than a pure desire to be Jewish. What is most fascinating to the uninitiated is the Talmudic formula for conversion, which is codified in every Jewish legal canon. In brief, if someone wants to become Jewish and share the slings and arrows of Jewish misfortune as well as their ultimate destiny, he/she is asked why. If they willingly accept their fate and kinship as part of the Jewish community as well as the commandments, they are accepted immediately, circumcised (males) and immersed (men and women) in a ritual pool (mikvah) and are considered Jewish! They are informed of major and minor commandments, but are not to be harassed about them. If they revert or do not observe, they are still Jews, sinners, but still Jewish. There is no statutory waiting period or learning curve. There is no requirement to read Hebrew, nor even a delineation of which commandments they are informed about, i.e. not mandated to observe as a prerequisite. The tribunal needs only to be convinced of a convert’s sincerity and earnestness. There is a recognition that Jewish observance is too vast to be mastered ab initio. Granted that there are theoretical standards to be implemented, but the sources deal with the occasions when there is less than ideal adherence to Jewish observance. The authors make a convincing case that what is sought by the rabbis is a person’s desire to share Jewish destiny. Further, they show that the rituals of conversion, circumcision, and immersion in a mikvah, are determinative of a convert’s Jewish status. It must be stated that these leniencies are all ex post facto. But, what this study does show is that the Rabbis were realists and quite practical. There are some sources which are decidedly strict and rigidly opposed to any leniency. However, the preponderance of materials presented and the manner in which they are interpreted indicate that historically the Rabbis leaned towards leniency and compassion in these matters. The importance of the volume is its currency, since this very debate is being played out in Israel today. The haredi rabbis who control the conversion courts are not only

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very demanding of potential converts, but are attempting to retroactively annul certain conversions done over the past fifteen years. Both of these positions seem contrary to the Halakha. In addition, American Orthodox conversions are being scrutinized and are not automatically accepted anymore in Israel. Transforming Identity should be required reading for all rabbinical students. Certain rabbis should read it as well. WG

WOMEN’S STUDIES

MOSES’ WOMEN Shera Aranoff Tuchman and Sandra E. Rapoport KTAV Publishing House, 2008. 239 pp. $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60280-017-5

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his compilation of material related to the women who surrounded Moses is an ambitious project. The authors maintain that though Exodus is mostly about Moses, there are women in the story who have important roles in his life, such as his mother, Yocheved; his sister, Miriam; the midwives Shifra and Puah; Batya, the Egyptian Princess; and Moses’ wife, Zipporah. Moses’ Women is a study tool meant to be read alongside the Torah. Each chapter correlates to a specific verse. The authors’ goal is to provide more dimensionality to these women than a reading of the biblical text alone would allow. Through the use of commentary and midrash from such traditional sources such as Yalkut Shimoni, Rashbam, Rambam, Rashi, Bechor Shor, Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer, and Midrash Rabbah, as well as contemporary scholars such as Adin Steinsaltz and Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, the women of Exodus are brought into the foreground. The sources used are rich with fascinating material and the authors put the material to good use. The perspective of this book is definitively traditional; the book would have been even richer if contemporary feminist bible commentary had been used as well. Nevertheless, the authors have provided a valuable resource for Torah study. Includes Moses’ family tree; extensive endnotes in Hebrew and Aramaic; glossary; index. HEP

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Albert Einstein

Milton Meltzer Holiday House, 2008. 32 pp. $16.95 ISBN: 978-0-8234-1966-1

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eave it to Milton Meltzer to make Einstein’s Theory of Relativity almost understandable for me. That he is able to distill the life of this complicated scientist in a way that is inviting and perceptive is emblematic of Meltzer’s writing skills. Throughout his long career Meltzer has written biography and non-fiction which couple elegant literary style with well-researched information on dozens of subjects. In this spare volume, the complicated life and accomplishments of Albert Einstein are skillfully compressed into 32 pages with large type. The underlying theme of the book is “as brilliant as Einstein was, he was very human.” It is this humanity which Meltzer draws upon to connect the now mythological Einstein with his life’s work and thoughts. Is this a picture book or not? Although the book is dotted with archival photographs and is picture book length, the subject matter, concepts, and vocabulary make this more appropriate for readers older than the publisher’s targeted age group. Phrases such as “moral decision,” “compressed energy,” and “nuclear fission” will not be easily understood by young children unless read along with an adult. It is so difficult to write a meaningful biography that takes the youngest readers beyond basic chronological details. That being said, this book draws on Einstein’s own words to present a challenging understanding of Einstein the person, the scientist—and especially relevant to us—the Jew. While the bibliography is composed of titles beyond the comprehension level of young readers, the timeline provides a useful context to better understand Einstein’s life and times. Ages 8–10 NHF

The Bat-Chen Diaries: Selected Writings by Bat-Chen Shahak

Bat-Chen Shahak; Diana Rubanenko, trans.; Judyth Groner, ed. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 112 pp. $7.95 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7223-7

may be useful to teachers of middle school and high school students to help them relate to an individual who tragically died so young. It is not a cohesive volume in that one would sit down and read it straight through. The level of the writing is appropriate to the age level at which it was written making it effective as a psychological thought provoker, but less so for its literary value. The translation was done with regard to the words and not the style as noted by the translator, hence much of the rhymes and rhythm are lost. This may have affected the literary quality of the work. With the proper background, support and insight, this book would be appropriate for youth ages 12-16. DA

and growing connection between Tal, a sixteen year old Israeli girl and Naim, a twenty year old Palestinian young man. The story begins following a bombing in Tal’s neighborhood. A young woman is killed on the eve of her wedding. Tal is shaken and moved to write down her thoughts. She has the overwhelming urge to share her ideas with a Palestinian. She asks her brother, Eyton, to throw the letter, stuffed into a bottle, into the Gaza Sea. Naim, or Gazaman, as he refers to himself, finds her letter and responds with an email. Their letters are sincere, defensive, and concerned. Both Tal and Naim yearn to be heard; they want recognition. Through their letters as well as sections of authentic narrative and interior monologue, the reader feels their growing friendship and love. Although their points of view are opposite, they do indeed have much in common. In every word, the yearning for peace and understanding glow. The end result: a stunning and frank conversation. This novel should serve as a discussion point for young people who are tired of politics as usual. Like the film, Broken Promises, the story invokes utter despair as well as hope that young people hold the promise of peace. As Tal tells Naim, “I feel as if we’re caught in a labyrinth and no one can find the way out, everyone’s losing their temper and smashing everything in their efforts to get out into the fresh air.” And as Naim tells Tal, “I mostly have dreams.” The cover reads, “Love is like War...Easy to begin but hard to stop.” But A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is about more than love. It is also about hope and fear, and will stay with the reader for a long time. Ages 12 and up. SA

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very day another person’s life ends. But He passes me by. I hope that He won’t also take me. It’s unknown. It’s unforeseen.” This is the first stanza of one of the more moving poems left to us by Bat-Chen Shahak in a new English language compilation entitled The Bat-Chen Diaries. This book is a diverse compilation of diary entries and letters written by Bat-Chen Shahak who was killed by a suicide bomber on her 15th birthday on Purim 1996. Taken in this context this poem in particular is quite moving and can be quite powerful to those of any age who read it. The entries and poetry span from her third grade school assignments through the day she was killed. Together they help piece together her life, that of an average teenager in Israel. Select entries

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Fit For a Princess

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

Valerie Zenatti Bloomsbury, 2008. 157 pp. $16.95 ISBN: 978-1599902005

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alerie Zenatti’s moving novel, A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, translated by Adriana Hunter, depicts the unlikely correspondence

Risa Rotman; Tova Leff, illus. Hachai Publishing, 2008. 36 pp. $10.95 ISBN: 978-1-929628-38-4

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his picture book for young readers begins with a captivating story. The author calls the main character, “The Busy Princess” as she is given many important jobs in the kingdom by her father, the king. She is no ordinary spoiled princess who spends her time on frivolous matters such as looking in the mirror all

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day, counting her money, or playing with golden toys. This princess was in charge of the kingdom’s library and garden. But doing these important jobs properly is impossible while wearing her stuffy royal clothing. For instance, when shelving the books in the library, her crown would fall off, and when watering the garden, her long gown would get caught in the hose. “The Busy Princess” decides to ask her advisors for ideas for new clothing that would eliminate her problems while she performed her jobs. She gets many interesting suggestions and when she tries some of them, the people of her kingdom do not recognize her and give her the proper greetings and respect deserving of a princess. She does try many lovely outfits and designs from different cultures of the world, but she becomes confused with so many choices. The end result of her clothing choice is modern and modest, and she sports the typical look of a young observant girl. At the end of the book, the author states that this princess is Jewish and her king is Hashem. The disappointment for this reader was the abrupt change in the rhythm of the story when it concludes. After the fun of the many clothing choices shown both on the princess and in drawings, we see her at the end of the story dressed as a modest girl with long sleeves, tights, a headband, a cape, and a lollipop-looking scepter. The words on the page showing this outfit and our princess are: “From then on, everyone could see exactly what was fit for a princess.” The last page shows a proclamation on parchment saying: “Dear Jewish Daughter, We can be proud to dress in our own unique way, because we are all daughters of Hashem, our King.” So, suddenly, what seemed to be a delightful fairy tale turns moralistic and preachy. This book could have been more successful with a subtler message. Ages 3–6. EH

The Freak: Book One of the Freak Series

Carol Matas Key Porter Books, 2007. Originally published 1997. 160 pp. $9.95 ISBN: 978-1-55256-930-6

The Freak II: Visions

Carol Matas Key Porter Books, 2007. 133 pp. $9.95 ISBN: 978-1-55263-932-0

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n Book One, after an accident, Jade discovers that she has psychic abilities. As a typical teenager, being able to see the future presents all kinds of difficulties. Although the

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author captures the right tone and voice for this teen novel, the plot is predictable. The Judaic content is contained in one of the main plot points when Jade foils an antiSemitic classmate’s attempt to bomb the synagogue on Yom Kippur. Jade is aided by her “Baba,” a stock Jewish grandmother, who believes in her psychic power. The love interest is supplied by a handsome East Indian Hindu who is a twelfth grader. In Book Two, Jade risks losing her best friend because of her strange behavior. She has dreams warning her of attacks on women and of a dark cloud around her friend Susie. She decides to tell her friend the truth about her abilities, and she solves the mystery through her psychic powers and a communication with her dead grandfather. These books are like junk food: The fast pace and dangerous situations will appeal to younger teens, and the experience doesn’t last long, but fans will grab the next installment the minute it comes out. Grades 6–8. SD

The Golden Rule

Ilene Cooper; Gabi Swiatkowska, illus. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2007. 32 pp. $16.95 ISBN: 978-0-8109-0960-1

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hat a lovely, pensive, ethical book for children. Through the love of a gentle grandfather and a tot (boy), primary readers learn about the golden rule in a multi-cultural way. The two characters are out walking when they see the golden rule, in both its do and do not form, on various signs. The child asks and the adult explains in warm, comprehensible language that this is a rule that promotes civility and morality between people and nations. He explains it is golden because it is so valuable a way of living that your life shines. He encourages the boy to use his imagination to understand; the boy empathetically puts himself in various age appropriate situations, showing concretely that he (and the reader) gets it. The grandfather explains that many religions promote this rule with Judaism being second after Christianity (ouch, the Jewish bible came first and double ouch, the art gives Christianity a half page color spread while Judaism is reduced to two small square sketches of symbols). The child understands this rule is simple, but not easy, to carry out and that it starts with each person. The lesson is delivered without didac-

ticism and with smashingly gorgeous art; the layout is sophisticated and the muted colors mix grey and white drawings with the active color spreads. This stunning book is not Jewish, but it contains a Jewish teaching that is quite valuable. Ages 5–8. EGC

Honey Cake

Joan Betty Stuchner; Cynthia Nugent, illus. Stepping Stone for Young Readers, 2007. 128 pp. $11.99 ISBN: 978-0-375-85189-6

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he large print and easy-to-read text of this early chapter book makes it a good choice to introduce the Holocaust to younger readers. In age-appropriate language, without gory details, the author communicates the sense of danger and desperation faced by these Danish Jews. The almost ten-year-old narrator, David, begins the story by telling us what life has been like since the Nazis invaded Denmark three years before, right before Passover. He has a warm, loving family: a father, who is a baker, a brave older sister, Rachel, who is a university student, and a supportive, kind mother. The author does a good job of developing the characters, and showing their bravery and the bravery of their non-Jewish friends. David smuggles a map in a box of éclairs to help Rachel with her work as a resistance courier around Copenhagen. As her mother prepares to make a honey cake to welcome in the new year, Rachel tells her that “A sweet year would be a year without Nazis.” Stuchner describes the rationing, how the Germans send most of the good Danish food to Germany, and how, as their freedoms and comforts are taken away from them and Hitler’s net closes in, “all Danes dreamed of the secret taste of freedom.” The story ends with their neighbors smuggling them to Sweden in September 1943 to escape Hitler’s orders to send all Danish Jews to concentration camps. In the Afterwords, the author describes the historical events upon which the fictional story is based, and states that the majority of Danish Jews were saved by their non-Jewish neighbors, like the Jensens of the story. Clever pen and ink, richly drawn illustrations will hold the attention of young readers in grades 3–5. The honey cake of the title

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symbolizes the normalcy of celebrating the Jewish holidays to which the family wishes they could return, and the author has included “Mama’s honey cake recipe for a Sweet New Year,” with careful instructions to have an adult help with the oven and preparations. Ages 8–11. AD

Keeping Israel Safe: Serving in the Israel Defense Forces

Barbara Sofer Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 56 pp. $7.95 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7222-0.

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his title fills a void in children’s literature about Israel. With the interest that Israel’s 60th anniversary brings, it will surely garner attention. This short paperback book tells you everything you would want to know about the Israeli military, in kid-friendly language. The author has accomplished this in an original way with the introduction of four teenage friends who meet at the end of camp every year for hamburgers. The four teens are seniors this year and will be going in the military after graduation, so they discuss what branch they want to join. The book proceeds in chapters and covers the history of the IDF and the various branches of service, such as the Air Force, the Navy, the Intelligence Service, and the Army. It also covers Alternative Service (Sherut Leumi). Each of the teens selects a different service, so this gives a personal slant to the branches, and allows us to follow their choices. There are appealing photos that relate to the text both in black and white and color. The book also includes the structure of the Israel Defense Forces and gives the military ranks in both in English and Hebrew. Ages 7–12. BS

How Mama Brought the Spring

Fran Manushkin; Holly Berry, illus. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008. 32 pp. $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-525-42027-9

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osy’s mother coaxes her out of bed on a shivery Chicago day with a tall tale of how Grandma Beatrice melted the snow of Minsk with her sunshiny, warm blintzes. Jewish content is implied by the presence of blintzes as a springtime food, and by names such as Rosy Levine and Moishe the cat, but is not made explicit in any other way. The fanciful story combines themes of girl-power, family tradition, magical realism, and of course, yummy food. The old world story is framed by modern American scenes, making it easier for young readers to relate to, and reinforcing the concept of lador vador (from generation to generation). The blintz recipe at the end is not only an invitation to participate in the story, but is also a call to action for readers seek out their own family recipes. Delightful illustrations by Holly Berry mix expressive characters with touches of Eastern European folk art. Sunny blintz-yellow warms the scenes, which swirl with movement and interesting “camera angles.” A collage of bright fabric borders makes the pages pop even more. Like Mama’s blintzes, this story tickles the fancy, warms the heart, and makes the reader hungry for more. K–3 HE

The simplicity and charm of this book is that it makes younger children feel comfortable with the photos because these photographed children are doing the same kinds of activities that the reader might do at his/her own school. Because children like familiarity, the young reader will be able to relate well as the teacher reads the basic text and shows the photos while stopping for discussion on each page. The teacher can use this book to elaborate more fully on the different aspects of Israel life and culture in terms of special regional foods, important cities, shopping, and most importantly, the feeling of “Am Yisrael Chai.” This simple book will become a first choice for pre-school educators and even for young non-Jewish children as an introduction to the culture of Israel and the celebration by Jewish children of this important day for the Jewish people. EH

Let My People Go

Tilda Balsey, Ilene Richard Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 32 pp. $7.95 ISBN: 978-0-82225-7241-1

It’s Israel’s Birthday

Ellen Dietrick; Tod Cohen, photographer Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 20 pp. $12.95 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7668-6

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his non-fiction picture book is a continuation of a successful series for the Jewish pre-school audience. In it, real youngsters are shown celebrating Israel’s birthday at their school. The photos and one-line descriptions depict actual ways children at American Jewish day schools get involved with the celebration of Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha atz’maut. Because each page shows real children doing real activities that are so often a part of a school celebration of this holiday, the reader is “hooked” by the cuteness of the children and the familiarity of the scenes. Some Hebrew words and typical tourist sites of Israel are depicted and the children look like they are enjoying the celebration. For example, children choose different ingredients at the falafel stand, visit the shuk (market) in Jerusalem, pick fruit on a kibbutz, and even place a prayer into the “cracks” at the Kotel.

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old illustrations and lively language bring the Passover story to life in this childfriendly book. The poetry is fresh and easy to read. A reader’s theatre is cleverly integrated within the text. Dialogue is color coded, and easily adapted to a school or family setting. Humor is used throughout and the accompanying illustrations are graphic and reflect the comedic elements in the language. Although ideal for the younger set, all family members will enjoy acting out this version of the Passover Seder. Let My People Go brings Jewish history to life and belongs in every Jewish preschool and kindergarten class. Ages 4–8 BB

The Lord is My Shepherd: The Twenty-third Psalm

Gennady Spirin, illus. Philomel Books, 2008. 28 pp. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0-399-24527-5

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As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom

accessible a fascinating slice of American history, and will appeal to Jewish readers, African American readers, and anyone with an interest in issues of social justice. Grades 2–5. HE

Richard Michelson; Raul Colon, illus. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 40 pp. $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-375-83335-9

The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales

he life stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel are artfully woven together here to make their meeting seem inevitable. Parallels are drawn, such as the frustration of growing up among institutionalized prejudice, and the strong values instilled by family. The complex political situations these men faced are poetically distilled to their essential elements of bigotry and injustice, so that the story is understandable even to readers without much background knowledge. The first half of the book describes Martin’s youthful anger at the status quo and his growing determination to change the system. The second half details Abraham’s struggle to escape European anti-Semitism and his recognition of Martin’s plight as similar to his own. The book ends with the 1965 Selma march where the two men walked arm in arm, and Abraham famously said that he felt like his legs were praying. Paul Colon’s signature colored-pencil-andwatercolor artwork is a perfect compliment to the text. He respectfully renders the wellknown faces of the central characters, but infuses them with an energy that shows them as active participants in the story rather than as staid historical figures. Subtle overtones of warm American brown and cool European blue distinguish the separate stories, and combine in a full-color palette when Martin and Abraham finally meet. This picture book makes

Retold by Peninnah Schram; Gianni DeConno, illus. Sterling, 2008. 96 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 978-1-4027-2651-4

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without any explanations, a few lines per page. The illustrations are secular and tend toward Christological. Each page has panoramic art that bounces from realistically ancient scenes to mystical tableaus to strange, symbolic decorations. The artistic idea (if not the text topic) is a good one for children, except the art here is too much beyond their comprehension. But if this is intended for adults as an artsy gift book, it is no more successful. The author is a talented, noted illustrator and the publisher probably hoped his name would carry the sales, but not this time. EGC

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his is not a Jewish book despite the origin of this moving psalm. The idea was to create a picture book from one large, beautiful painting. Children were supposed to enjoy the experience of seeing the painting in smaller portions on each page until they open up the final folded poster which reveals that each page’s illustration is a part of a dramatic whole. Unfortunately, it will not interest either parents or children. The biblical text appears

The idea was to create a picture book from one large, beautiful painting. www.jewishbookcouncil.org

story, this is more consciously a teaching collection than Schram’s other works. Thirty-two elegant, full-color illustrations reinforce its formality. For adults to share with children, or ages 10 and up to read alone. With introduction, glossary, and sources. SE

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o kick off its new Folktales Around the World series, Sterling turned to Peninnah Schram, the Director of the Jewish Storytelling Center and winner of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network, to choose stories that represent the “values, faith, culture, and traditions” of the Jewish people. The twenty-two tales, expertly selected, draw from a wide range of traditional Sephardic and Ashkenazi lore. They include favorite fairytales, legends and trickster tales with familiar characters, such as Honi and Hershele of Ostropol, plus some reimaginings with Moroccan settings and new protagonists. A wise woman replaces the boy Solomon and King David in proving guilt by discovering gold coins left behind in a pot of honey. A Hakham replaces King Solomon as judge in “How Much Is a Smell Worth?” In three lovely tales not often found elsewhere in English, the scratch in a diamond is transformed into a rose, a prince unknowingly carries news from a free bird that teaches a caged bird how to escape, and a young man wins the contest for laziest man in the kingdom. Short introductions turn many of the tales into parables. With messages laced through each

Portraits of Jewish American Heroes

Malka Drucker; Elizabeth Rosen, illus. Dutton Children’s Books, 2008. 96 pp. $21.99 ISBN: 978-0-525-47771-6

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his is a welcome book that fills an important void. At a time when Jewish heroes are largely absent from American history classes, Malka Drucker has done us a wonderful service. As she explains to the readers, “The people in this book tell the story of what it means to be both a Jew and an American.” Her selection of heroes spans time, age, and gender to provide stories of individuals who made a positive contribution to American history. From Haym Salomon at the birth of America to Daniel Pearl whose life was recently taken by terrorists, the book allows readers to transcend time and connect with people who made a difference. The book should accompany every child’s American history text to fill the missing details of Jewish involvement. The creative design and, in particular, the striking and colorful illustrations by Elizabeth Rosen make this book especially attractive. Each of her distinctive portraits varies in media to match the individual she is portraying. The results are visually striking. A useful glossary, timeline and suggested reading list are provided. Ages 9–12. NHF

Love Every Leaf–the Life of Landscape Architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

Kathy Stinson Tundra Books, 2008. 89 pp. $26.95 ISBN: 978-0-88776-804-0

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t was a pleasure to be introduced to Cornelia Hahn Oberlander through Love Every

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A BOOK OF MORE VALUE, WHO CAN FIND?

The Jewish Values Finder: A Guide to Values in Jewish Children’s Literature

Linda R. Silver, for the Association of Jewish Libraries Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2008. 299 pp. $50.00 ISBN: 978-1-55570-624-1

By Rita Berman Frischer n The Children’s Book of Virtue, William Bennett frankly admits aiming at the “moral education of the young.” Bennett sets forth, through mostly pedestrian literary selections, rules and precepts chosen specifically to lead to what he terms “moral literacy.” Jews, too, desire that children grow into moral awareness. To make a mensch is our ultimate goal. But don’t expect Linda R. Silver to compromise her well-honed literary and critical judgment; she’s not about to welcome heavy-handed pap as an acceptable means to that end. On behalf of the Association of Jewish Libraries and for the greater benefit of Jewish and non-Jewish librarians, teachers and parents worldwide, she answers to a higher authority. Silver encourages us to set as high a literary standard as a moral one for the books that shape our children. In over 1,000 entries, her annotations in The Jewish Values Finder address the quality of the given work, whether just acceptable or truly exemplary, whether message driven or just for fun. Her years of work in public and special libraries, wide-ranging expertise in the field of children’s literature and pivotal role as editor of the AJL online Jewish Valuesfinder (www.ajljewishvalues.org) made her the perfect person to provide this much needed professional and personal tool. And with this printed work, she has also brought us full circle by dedicating the book to Dr. Marcia Posner whose print guide “Juvenile Judaica” was the precursor for the outstanding AJL online resource Silver so ably maintains. Posner’s doctoral dissertation, “A Search for Jewish Content in American Children’s Fiction” (University Microfilm, 1980), was, to my knowledge, the first ambitious attempt to establish measurable guidelines for Judaic content. The following year, Northern California librarian Enid Davis, examined over 450 books in A Comprehensive Guide to Children’s Literature with a Jewish Theme (Schocken Books, 1981). Both these publications were indexed by subject, as well as author/title; both were divided into major chapter topics. Since then, however, only individual bibliographies and a small, text-linked but unannotated AJL publication, “Literature as a Means of Teach-

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Leaf. In our normal daily events, her name would not usually cross paths with most people’s lives. Yet, the truth is, this one woman has had a profound impact on how humanity has been engaged with the environment for years and she is responsible for many of the major developments in playground, park, city, and private landscape architecture and planning. Stinson documents Oberlander’s personal life, her childhood in Berlin, Germany and her migration to the United States in 1939 at the age of 18. The book builds upon the events of her life while weaving her pas-

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ing Values to Children” (Karp and Frischer, 1999) were available until 2002. In that year, Linda Silver published an excellent article on Jewish children’s books (“A Librarian Offers Tips for Evaluating Books of Jewish Content,” School Library Journal, January 2002). Then, encouraged by Marcia Posner, she went online with the continually updated AJL Valuesfinder site, which served as the foundation for this work. The Jewish Values Finder (the book) does not break down into as many distinct values as the online resource, using 18 instead of over 100. However, it enhances its entries by providing an opening chapter defining and giving a historical overview of Jewish children’s literature in the U.S. The following chapters, 2 through 18, are organized by particular values, while Chapter 19 contains short story collections which naturally cover numerous different values. Values include “Decency and Ethical Conduct,” “Honor and Respect”, “Lovingkindness” and “Repairing the World”, among many others. Silver has arranged each chapter for maximum helpfulness: titles are listed by grade level: pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school with the most highly recommended titles set off by shaded boxes. Entries contain author, title and publishing information but not ISBN numbers. Each entry is annotated and Silver carefully notes deviations that may disqualify a book for certain readerships (e.g. Julius Lester’s The Pharaoh’s Daughter as opposed to a more traditional version, Miriam by Bernice Gormley). Occasionally I found the notes somewhat vague; e.g., the entry on Pamela Melnikoff’s Prisoner in Time gave a plot summary but no inkling of whether the story “works” or not. Sometimes Silver’s comments are oblique, as when she chides Chelsea House for anti-Israel bias by praising one recent, more positive work as a “welcome exception” to its usual approach. Some chapter topics offer large umbrellas: For example, “Remembrance” covers mourning, personal reminiscences, nostalgia, history, and Holocaust. “Repentance and Forgiveness” includes stories of Jonah and a careful criticism of The Hardest Word, pointing up the slightness of its link to Yom Kippur and the inconsistency of its illustrations. Grandpa’s Gamble also gets some constructive criticism as Silver points out the mismatch of format (simple) and ideas (complex and contrived). Throughout, Silver offers selection guidance by being generous with earned praise but unafraid to nitpick when deserved. In addition, Silver has provided all the add-ons that libraries find essential and more casual users find helpful. Besides the chapter defining Jewish Children’s Literature, setting standards and providing historical context, you’ll find the following appendices and indices: Glossary; Jewish Holy Days and Festivals; Sydney Taylor Book Awards (winners and honor books by year); Jewish Publishers (with contact information); Author/Illustrator Index; Title Index; and Subject Index. This is an outstanding work, beneficial to libraries and also useful as a resource for families. You’ll wonder how you got along without it. Rita Berman Frischer, retired director of Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library and a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, has reviewed adult and children’s books for Jewish periodicals and newspapers, judged children’s book awards and published chapters on children’s books in various bibliographic works.

sion for children, their need for unstructured play and landscape architecture, which results in the biography of a thoughtful, responsible and progressive woman, who was far ahead of her time. The concepts of play, good earthly stewardship and conservation that Oberlander sought to promote are apparent in each personal and professional decision that Stinson chooses to highlight. The reader must be prepared for Stinson’s injections of information on the current events of the times, which call for a mature historical knowledge base in order to segue into the text. Ages 12 & up. CM

The Mozart Question

Michael Morpurgo; Michael Foreman, illus. Candlewick Press, 2007. 67 pp. $15.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-3552-7

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ow and when do you introduce the Holocaust to a young child? Can you tell a

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story about the Holocaust without ever mentioning the word “Jew”? This book, with its lovely watercolor pictures of Venice and subdued brown and gray paintings showing scenes in the camps, skillfully addresses these questions. The story is told through Paolo, who is currently a famous violinist. Paolo shares his story by means of flashbacks, which are revealed while a young journalist is interviewing him. He remembers how his father was the most renowned barber in Venice. Each haircut was an interlude where his father “...would conduct the music of his scissors with his comb.” Although Paolo knows his father had been a violinist, his father never plays the instrument and he will not answer his son’s questions regarding it. Finally, the boy’s mother shows him the violin that she has hidden away on the condition that Paolo stop asking his unremitting questions. Subsequently, one summer evening, Paolo hears the sound of a violin and runs outside in his pajamas to listen. The violinist’s name is Benjamin and Paolo sits at the old man’s feet as he entertains the audience. They become friends and in the following weeks the child brings his father’s violin to Benjamin, who not only repairs it, but secretly teaches the boy how to play it. All the while, the relationship and the violin lessons are a secret—until Benjamin insists that Paolo reveals the nature of their relationship to his parents. The child is very upset because he feels his parents will be angry with him. What happens next is both an unexpected twist and a very satisfying and surprise ending. The author reveals each “secret” a little at a time until all the puzzle pieces are in place. The story is powerful but is presented in a way that will not frighten a young child. Paolo, the main character, is particularly well drawn, as is the background information about what it was like to survive in the camps. Ages 9–12. MK

many of them full-page, Passover Around the World introduces us to customs of Passover observance in countries such as Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Morocco, Gibraltar, the United States, and Israel. The background and history of the observances—including details about the Seder—make this both a

Passover Around the World introduces us to customs of Passover observance in countries such as Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Morocco, Gibraltar, the United States, and Israel. perfect introduction to the holiday and enrichment for those who are already familiar with our observance in the United States. Vignettes personalize the observance in a special way, such as a description by the author of the actions of three Iranian men whom her father took home for Seder one year. Each section has information about Jewish life in that particular country in a brown area surrounded by a border, which is both helpful and interesting. Following the text, the author has added a Passover potpourri of various customs, recipes, and a glossary. This 48page book could be called a picture book, but is clearly aimed at readers older than those to whom picture books are usually presented. Recommended for readers from ages 9–12, this can also be a read-to for younger children, particularly since the author has included lovely fictionalized stories about each country. SF

Private Joel and the Sewell Mountain Seder

Bryna J. Fireside; Shawn Costello, illus. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 47 pp. $6.95 ISBN: 978-0822590507

Passover Around the World

Tami Lehman-Wilzig; Elizabeth Wolf, illus. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2007. 48 pp. $15.95 ISBN: 978-1-58013-213-8

A

n easy-to-read book whose text is added to by lovely maps and color illustrations,

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his unusual Passover book is a work of historical fiction, based on research conducted by the author about a group of Jewish soldiers in the 23rd Ohio Regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War. The characters and events are based on an actual soldier’s diary entry. The soldiers are keenly aware of the similarities between the Exodus and what they were trying to accomplish— defending their country and freeing the

slaves. The author even added African Americans to her imagined Seder, to acknowledge their impact on the outcome of the war. None of the soldiers had ever prepared for a Seder before, since that was the job of their mothers and sisters. The book explains how they did their best with what they had. This section of the book reaps the benefits of the author’s extensive research, and does a remarkable job of making the experience come alive for the reader. The painted illustrations add just the right amount of drama to the story. The soldiers knew that they could not make the Seder perfect and instead focused on the greater meaning and symbolism of the Seder. As the author pointed out, that night was “certainly different from all other nights and from all other seders.” Ages 7–12. RR

Rina’s Rainy Day: A Gam Zu L’Tova Story

Chani Altein; Jerry Blackman, illus. Hachai, 2008. 34 pp. $10.95 ISBN: 978-1-029628-39-1

“T

his, too, is for the good” is the refrain when Rina’s plans don’t seem to work out. She wants to go to the bookstore with a friend, but it starts raining. So she invites Bina to her house for lunch and a play date. After Rina and her mother cook and bake, Bina cannot get there because her parents’ car won’t start. The smoke alarm goes off because Rina left a pie in the oven. Then they hear a knock at the door. It is a lady who got caught in the rain and is hungry. She got lost in the woods, but found Rina’s house when she heard the smoke alarm. After lunch, the lady shows her thanks by giving Rina the book that she had wanted to buy at the bookstore. Everything works out because “Hashem makes things happen the way that they should.” There are several factors that make this a great book for young readers. The rhyming text is simple and uncontrived. The illustrations are bright, and the characters have expressive faces. The story is comprised of likely events and concludes with a happy ending. The tag line of “Gam zu l’tova is repeated enough times for emphasis without being

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too repetitive. While targeted at the Orthodox, most readers, ages 4 to 6 will enjoy the book. KSP

Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot

Sylvia Rouss; Katherine Janus Kahn, illus. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 32 pp. $7.95 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7225-1

Jewish people, and has rules about how to treat others with love, kindness, and respect.” Kahn’s colorful, bright paper-cut illustrations accent the text, which is age- appropriate and just right for explaining Shavuot to young children. The story ends with a concise explanation of the holiday. It notes that the meaning of Shavuot is “weeks,” so the holiday is called The Feast of Weeks, and since the words of Torah are said to be as sweet as milk and honey, it is traditional to eat dairy, such as blintzes, on Shavuot. A step-by-step recipe for blintzes is included. This is highly recommended as an addition to the very few books explaining Shavuot that are available for young readers. Ages 4–7. AD

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ow nice to have Sammy Spider back! In this newest addition to the Sammy Spider picture books on holidays, young readers learn about Shavuot, the holiday where God gave the Torah to Moses. As Mrs. Shapiro prepares for Shavuot by making blintzes, Sammy and his mother watch from their web on the kitchen ceiling. Mrs. Spider explains to Sammy what a recipe is, and points out that “Shavuot celebrates the first fruits of spring,” so Mr. Shapiro is preparing strawberry topping for the blintzes. When Josh bursts into the room carrying a little Torah, Rouss draws the parallel through Sammy’s discussion with his mother that, like the instructions in a recipe, the Torah contains the instructions, or rules, to become a recipe for life. She tells him “it includes the story of the

Sarah Laughs

Jacqueline Jules; Natascia Ugliano, illus. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008. 32 pp. $17.95 ISBN: 978-0-8225-7216-9

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ot every bible story can be successfully translated into a book for young children. This attractive paperback picture book, nevertheless attempts it, and succeeds in many ways. When Sarah understands, that in spite of her advanced age, she will bear a child in a year, she laughs her famous laugh.

The book describes this as a “tinkling sound that bubbled from deep inside her and skipped through the air.” Whether or not the sound was as lighthearted as that, we cannot say. Sarah is presented as a beautiful and loyal wife, as well as a generous and welcoming host. The author shows that growing old childless was a source of sadness and worry for Sarah. Natascia Ugliano’s bright illustrations show a very pretty dark haired young woman, growing older throughout the story. Giving young children an acquaintance with our important matriarchs in the Tanach is important. Perhaps more accessible to children than Sarah’s laugh, and the conundrum of the childless wife in the bible, is Abraham’s lonely and original belief in an invisible God, and his decision to listen to God’s directions. God speaks to Abraham and he listens. He leaves his home and journeys to Canaan. Sarah, who seems not hear God’s voice herself, listens as Abraham relates what he understands. Author Jacqueline Jules provides interesting bibliographical notes at the end of the book so that adults who read this may be inspired to explore the matriarch Sarah further. Bound by Kar-Ben in paperback, 10” x 10”, and illustrated with bright pastels in softened primary colors, the book has a lot of child appeal. Colorful tents, sheep, cattle, baskets and jugs, decorate the pages. The succinct text on each page make the story brief enough to read aloud to young children, in groups or individually. For ages 4 to 7. NM

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With this issue we are pleased to inaugurate a new interview column, with interviews of children’s authors provided by Barbara Bietz, one of our reviewers, and a children’s author herself. Her interviews can be found on her blog, “Jewish Books for Children” at http://barbarabbookblog.blogspot.com/ This month we are pleased to offer an interview with Newbery and Sydney Taylor Award winning author Sid Fleishman.

A CHAT WITH SID FLEISCHMAN By Barbara Bietz

A few months back I had the pleasure of sitting next to Newbery author Sid Fleishman at the Los Angeles Jewish Literature for Children conference. I have read and admired Sid’s work for many years, but never had the opportunity to meet him in person. Sid was charming, kind, and gracious enough to blog chat with me about his newest book, The Entertainer and the Dybbuk (Greenwillow), which won a Sydney Taylor Book Award for older readers. Both children and adults should read The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, a tribute to the children of the Holocaust. The story brings to life an important part history through the character of Avrom the dybbuk, who takes over the life of Great Freddie, a ventriloquist. The relationship that develops between the two characters is warm, touching, and surprisingly humorous. I’m thrilled to interview Sid about his latest work.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk is your first book about the Holocaust. What was the inspiration for the book? I think every Jewish novelist wants to deal with this most dramatic and disturbing event in our lives. But what can you say? Through the years my thoughts have returned again and again to the nightmare and in particular to the murder, beyond belief, of the 1 1⁄2 million Jewish children. It was only after I began thinking of a dybbuk as the illuminating character in a novel that I found a fresh way of dealing with the Holocaust.

Do you have experience as a ventriloquist? None as a performer, though many of my magician friends do vent acts. It is, after all, a bit of magic to throw the voice. Still, when I was nine or ten, I saw an ad in a Johnson Smith catalogue of novelties (magic tricks, joke books, stage beards and makeup, etc.) offering Ventrillo, a device that allowed you to throw your voice into a trunk, and so forth. I believe the price was ten cents. Anyway, I sent for one and was disappointed to receive a rubber warbling device you put on your tongue—the same device sold to make bird calls. My career as a ventriloquist or bird caller ended on the spot. But in writing the book, I talked over technical problems with friends who were pros.

The concept of a dybbuk might be unfamiliar to kids. How have readers responded to this aspect of the story? Yes, even among Jews, I have found only spotty familiarity. But they respond immediately and with fascination when the dybbuk is explained. Kids, especially, like to discover there is a well-defined Jewish ghost lurking about. From mail I have received so far, kids especially are enchanted with Avrom, the dybbuk in the

novel, and particularly the ending when he tricks the villain into confessing.

Of all the books you have written, do you have a favorite? Almost always the last book I have written, out of sheer relief to have gotten the story on paper. I’d have to say, the novel I find myself thinking about the most these days is The Entertainer and the Dybbuk. At other times the book that has pleased me the most is By the Great Horn Spoon! and more recently, Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini. Impossible to pick an absolute favorite.

Can we expect another book soon? Yes. The Trouble Begins at 8, a biography of Mark Twain, just came out in June 2008. Due in 2009, The Dream Stealer. I’ve been busy. Sid, we look forward to seeing your new books on the shelves. Thank you for all your contributions to children’s literature. I know you will continue to inspire readers, writers, and librarians for years to come!

Barbara Beitz is a freelance writer and children’s book reviewer. She is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. Barbara is the author of the middle grade book, Like a Maccabee. She has a blog dedicated to Jewish books for children at www.BarbaraBBookBlog.Blogspot.com.


Secret, and The Shepherd Boy who Loved G-d. It is a somewhat pedantic re-telling of a classical story, loosely adapted from a story taken from Kol Sippurei HaBa’al Shem Tov, by Yisroel Ya’akov Klapholtz. A read-to for children from ages four to six, and an independent read for ages seven and eight. SF

Shlomo’s Little Joke: A Ba’al Shem Tov Story

Sterna Citron; Igor Eydel, illus. Kerem Publishing, 2007. 22 pp. $10.95 ISBN: 978-1-889727-18-9

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n this Chassidic story, Shlomo’s friend Meir has done something foolish. He has left his newly earned money in an open drawer, where anyone can take it. To teach Meir a lesson Shlomo takes his friend’s money. But when Shlomo tries to return the money, he is too embarrassed. What if people think he has stolen the money? Shlomo can’t figure out what to do until he runs into the Ba’al Shem Tov, who helps him out of his dilemma. Full-color illustrations depict the dress and house furnishings of that era; the artist credits Marc Chagall’s techniques as his inspiration. A glossary follows the text, along with a biographical note about the Ba’al Shem Tov. Shlomo’s Little Joke is the latest entry in a Kerem series with Chassidic rebbes—The Ba’al Shem Tov and the Rebbe Reb Zushe—as protagonists. Other titles include Zushe’s Find, Hirsh’s

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The Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud

Retold by Hugh Lupton; Sophie Fatus, illus. Barefoot Books, 2001. 64 pp. $19.95 ISBN: 978-1841484174

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he Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud is a large format book containing seven known folktales from world folklore, including “Monkey-See, Monkey-Do” (Indian), which is a version of the famous Caps for Sale, “The Magic Porridge Pot” (German), from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and “The Three Billy Goats Gruff ” (Norwegian). The book includes one Jewish story, “The Blue Coat,” which is the very popular story often titled “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat” as in Simms Taback’s Caldecott Medal winning book. However, in Hugh Lupton’s version, there is no indication that it is from a “Jewish” source, not even in the

source notes—only that he had heard the story either from an English or a Scottish storyteller and saw it in print in Parabola magazine, (but without stating which issue or version). Actually, this story comes from a Yiddish folksong called “I had a little coat.” In 1978, storyteller Nancy Schimmel made the song into a story (“The Tailor”) and published it in her book Just Enough to Make a Story: A Sourcebook for Storytelling (Sisters’ Choice Press). If one did not know the origin of this story, there is nothing identifiable as cultural markers to indicate that this is a Jewish folktale. The boy’s name is Tom, a rather nondescript choice. As the coat gets cut down to a waistcoat (yes, a waistcoat), and then to a hat, then to a bow-tie, then to a button, and finally to a story, the mother repeats, “Oh dear, oh dear, that coat [or other item] is tattered and torn beyond all redemption!” Now, redemption is a Jewish concept, but I wonder how many parents will be able to explain clearly what that means in the context of this story. Why weren’t more American words used in place of ‘waistcoat’ and ‘redemption’? There are, however, some repetitive sections of the story that make it a delightful participatory experience for the reader and listener to say out loud together. The cartoonish illustrations are delightfully spaced all over the pages with a lot of color and humor. However, there’s a scene with snow and a palm tree, which don’t seem to go together. Ages 5–10. PS

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Please note that all blurbs have been taken from information provided by the publisher.

AMERICAN JEWISH STUDIES JEWISH AMERICAN FOOD CULTURE Jonathan Deutsch and Rachel D. Saks Greenwood Press, 2008. $49.95 ISBN: 978-0-313-34319-3 An in-depth look at the well-known and unfamiliar Jewish dishes and the practices and culture of American Jews, including a historical overview putting contemporary American Jews and their cuisine into context.

JEWISH DENVER: 1850-1940 Jeanne E. Abrams Arcadia Publishing, 2007. $19.99 ISBN: 978-0-7385-4829-6 By the 1870’s Jewish societies and congregations were established in Denver and due to two Jewish sanatoriums in town, many of the predominantly Eastern European Jews who came in search of better health made Denver their home, establishing the flourishing community there today.

AUTBIOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR ALBAN BERG AND HANNA FUCHS: THE STORY OF A LOVE IN LETTERS Constantin Floros; Ernest Bernhardt-Kabsich, trans. Indiana University Press, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-253-34966-8 The secret love letters of renowned composer of the Second Viennese School, Alban Berg.

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AND NO MORE SORROW: THE WORLD WAR II MEMOIRS OF SONJA KIEK ROSENSTEIN COHEN

LET ME CONTINUE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH: BERTHA PAPPENHEIM AS AUTHOR AND ACTIVISM

Liliane Pelzman Cold Tree Press, 2007. $32.95 ISBN: 978-1-583-851-65-4 The trials and tribulations of a young girls’ journey into adulthood in 1940.

Elizabeth Loentz Wayne State University Press, 2007. $34.95 ISBN: 978-0-87820-460-1 Recounts the life of Pappenheim, an influential and well-known author and activist for Jewish and feminist causes in early 20th century Germany.

THE ANTI-JOURNALIST: KARL KRAUS AND THE JEWISH SELF-FASHIONING IN FIN-DE-SIÈCLE EUROPE Paul Reitter University of Chicago Press, 2008. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-226-70970-3 An exploration of Karl Kraus, his new style of media criticism at the turn of the 20th century, his reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew, and an important stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking about identity.

CHILDHOOD: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY FRAGMENT Moses Rosenkranz Syracuse University Press, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0815-6317-8-1 Originally written in 1958, and published in Germany in 2003, Rosenkranz’s recollections of rural life among Jews, Ukrainians, Romanians, Poles, and Germans in Bucovina recaptures a vanished moment in cultural history.

EMIL L. FACKENHEIM: A JEWISH PHILOSOPHER’S RESPONSE TO THE HOLOCAUST David Patterson Syracuse University Press, 2008. $39.95 ISBN: 978-0-8156-3156-9 Patterson explores Fackenheim’s rigorous pursuit of a philosophical response to the tragedy of the Holocaust.

MENTOR OF GENERATIONS: REFLECTIONS ON RABBI JOSEPH B SOLOVEITCHIK Zev Eleff, ed. KTAV, 2008. $29.50 ISBN: 978-1-60280-011-3 Collecting over 55 essays by his students and those close to him, Mentor of Generations offers readers anecdotes and insights about one of the foremost leaders of the 20th century.

MOOSE: A MEMOIR OF FAT CAMP Stephanie Klein William Morrow, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-084329-8 Calling upon her childhood diary entries to jog her memory, Klein opens up and shares her thoughts and feelings from her childhood, illustrating that despite the crushing emotional blows that adolescence can deliver, it is possible to learn from the trails of childhood and create a place suited to one’s self.

MY LIFE OF TURMOIL: A JEWISH IMMIGRANT’S STORY AND WARNING Larry Wenig Epigraph, 2007. $27.95 ISBN: 978-0-9789427-9-3 A portrait of a man and his family, and of the generation that spawned the Baby Boom,

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providing a picture of an energetic America and the threat posed by anti-Semitism and Islamofascism.

ON THREE CONTINENTS Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger Efes, 2007. $20.00 ISBN: 978-973-7677-79-2 Weinberger describes his childhood in Transylvania, studies in a typical Hungarian yeshiva, then his experiences at the Rabbinical Seminaries in Budapest and Breslau.

A POWER AMONG THEM: BESSIE AMRAMOWITZ HILLMAN AND THE MAKING OF THE AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS OF AMERICA Karen Pastorello University of Illinois Press, 2008. $42.00 ISBN: 978-0-252-03230-1 The story of a key female labor activist whose sixty-year career spanned Progressive Era social feminism and the feminism of the postwar labor movement and placed her at the center of events that marked the founding of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

SEPHARDI ENTREPENEURS IN JERUSALEM: THE VALERO FAMILY, 1800-1948 Joseph B. Glass & Ruth Kark Gefen, 2007. $29.95 ISBN: 978-96522-939-6-1 The story of one of Jerusalem’s founding families, serving as a cultural study of the life of a family from the higher echelons of Jerusalem in 19th and first half of the 20th century.

STRADDLING WORLDS: THE JEWISHAMERICAN JOURNEY OF PROFESSOR RICHARD W. LEOPOLD Steven J. Harper Northwestern University Press, 2008. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-8101-2444-8 Author Steven J. Harper pays tribute to a well-respected teacher with this biography, digging into the deeper history of Leopold’s life: that of Jews in America after the turn of the century.

WHAT GENTILES CAN LEARN ABOUT JEWS, YIDDISH, YINGLISH AND ME Paul Baron Center for Business Information, 2007. $19.95 ISBN: 978-0-936936-54-3 What Gentiles Can Learn...details Baron’s Jewish-American experiences, where he learned about Business, Yiddish, Yinglish, humor, and writing. He shows how destiny, education, and our American Constitution will make for a good life.

WILL TO FREEDOM: A PERILOUS JOURNEY THROUGH FASCISM AND COMMUNISM Egon Balas Syracuse University Press, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-8156-0930-8 Balas brings to life the horrors of the 20th century under Nazi and Communist dictatorships in Hungary and Romania.

FICTION THE JOURNEY ABANDONED: THE UNFINISHED NOVEL Lionel Trilling; Geraldine Murphy, ed. Columbia University Press, 2008. $26.95 ISBN: 978-0-231-14450-6

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While conducting research in the archives of Columbia University, Murphy discovered this “third” of a book by Trilling, a reflection on the life of letters in America, past and present.

MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU Darin Strauss Dutton, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-525-95070-7 The story of a woman who will risk everything to feel something; a doctor whose diagnosis brings her entire life into question; and a man who suddenly realizes that being a good husband and a good father can no longer comfortably coexist.

NEW YORK ECHOES Warren Adler Stonehouse Press, 2008. $15.95 ISBN: 978-1-59006-217-3 Short stories that deal primarily with intimate human relationship, focusing on New York City, the frenetic, tough-minded, generous-hearted city, magnet for people’s hopes and aspirations, as vividly and lovingly portrayed here as any of the characters.

HISTORY ATROCITIES ON TRIAL: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE POLITICS OF PROSECUTING WAR CRIMES Patricia Heberer and Jürgen Matthäus University of Nebraska Press, 2008. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-8032-1084-4 These essays make use of newly available archival sources and a wide range of case studies to provide in-depth analysis of war crimes within a broad historical framework.

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BEYOND BERLIN: TWELVE GERMAN CITIES CONFRONT THE NAZI PAST Gavriel D. Rosenfeld and Paul B. Jaskot, eds. University of Michigan Press, 2008. $70.00 ISBN: 978-0472116119 An examination of how memorials, buildings, and other spaces have figured in Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past and how the Nazi past has directly shaped the German urban landscape since the end of the Second World War.

THE BIRTH OF MONOTHEISM André Lemaire Biblical Archaeology Society, 2007. $24.95 ISBN: 978-1-880317-99-0 Lemaire explores the development of the concept of a single, universal God, tracing this concept from its precursor—the religion of ancient Israel—to the development of classic, universal monotheism during the crisis of the Babylon Exile and after.

THE CARPATHIAN DIASPORA: THE JEWS OF SUBCARPATHIAN RUS’ AND MUKACHEVO Yeshayahu A. Jelinek East European Monographs, 2008. $60.00 ISBN: 978-0-88033-619-2 Twenty chapters trace the story of Subcarpathian Jewry, a community that lived peacefully with their neighbors, never experienced pogroms, owned and worked their own land, and held major centers of Hasidism in several of their cities until its destruction in 1944.

HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS: THE POWER OF SCRIPT AND IMAGE Ilana Tahan University of Chicago Press, 2007. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-7123-4921-9

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Tahan’s exploration of the milieu that Jewish scribes and artists worked in during the medieval period, specifically the two dominant traditions within Hebrew illumination styles: those that drew from Islamic art and those that exhibited an affinity with Christian methods.

A HISTORY OF PALESTINE: FROM THE OTTOMAN CONQUEST TO THE FOUNDING OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL Gudrun Krämer Princeton University Press, 2008. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-691-11897-0 A history of pre-Israel Palestine and an examination of the interactions of Arabs, Jews, and Christians from around 1800 to 1948.

ITALY’S SORROW: A YEAR OF WAR-1944-1945 James Holland St. Martin’s Press, 2008. $39.95 ISBN: 978-0-312-37396-2 Some of the most brutal instances of World War II occurred in Italy, and this “forgotten history” of Italy stands as one of the most devastating times in its past. Extensively researched, Holland creates a portrait of this horrible time in the world’s history.

RUSSIAN JEWS ON THREE CONTINENTS: IDENTITY, INTEGRATION, AND CONFLICT Larissa Remennick Transaction Publishers, 2007. $49.95 ISBN: 978-0765803405 Remennick relates the saga of the Russian Jews who emigrated from Russia after the demise of communism in the early 1990’s— their encounter with the economic marketplaces, lifestyles, and everyday cultures of their new homelands.

HOLOCAUST STUDIES THE HOLOCAUST: ROOTS, HISTORY, AND AFTERMATH David M. Crowe Westview Press, 2008. $49.00 ISBN: 9780813343259 A fresh, probing look at one of the greatest human tragedies in modern history.

ISRAEL STUDIES

JUDAISM OF THE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD: QUMRAN AND APOCALYPTICISM, VOL. 1

ISRAEL IN THE MIDDLE EAST: DOCUMENTS AND READINGS ON SOCIETY, POLITICS, AND FOREIGN RELATIONS, PRE-1948 TO THE PRESENT

David Flusser; Azzan Yadin, trans. WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007. $34.95 ISBN: 978-0-8028-2469-1 Flusser examines the influence of apocalypticism on various Jewish sects, offering an important source of study for any Dead Sea Scrolls scholar.

Itamar Rabinovich and Jehuda Reinharz, eds. Brandeis University Press, 2007. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-874-5196-2-4 An anthology of the most important documents on the domestic and foreign policy of the modern state of Israel, in relation to the rest of the Middle East.

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LITERARY STUDIES CONTEMPORARY JEWISH WRITING IN EUROPE: A GUIDE Vivian Liska and Thomas Nolden, eds. Indiana University Press, 2008. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-253-34875-3 With contributions from a dozen American and European scholars, this volume presents an overview of Jewish writing in post-World War II Europe. The essays portray Jewish authors across Europe as writers and intellections of multiple affiliations and hybrid identities.

THE GOLEM IN JEWISH AMERICAN LITERATURE: RISKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE FICTION OF THANE ROSENBAUM, NOMI EVE AND STEVE STERN Nicola Morris Peter Lang, 2007. $60.95 ISBN: 978-0-8204-6384 Morris explores the concept of this clay humanoid as a metaphor for power and powerlessness, a device to examine the problematic Holocaust representation in the second generation, the uncertain boundaries between fiction and historiography, the ethics of intertextuality, and the writer’s responsibility to literary, folkloric, and oral sources.

MODERN JEWISH THOUGHT BONDAGE OF THE MIND: HOW OLD TESTAMENT FUNDAMENTALISM SHACKLES THE MIND AND ENSLAVES THE SPIRIT R.D. Gold Aldus Books, 2008. $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-9796406-0-5

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An argument against all forms of fundamentalist religion through an examination of Orthodox Judaism and Christian fundamentalism.

SCHOLARSHIP ABRAHAM’S JOURNEY: REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE OF THE FOUNDING PATRIARCH Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik KTAV, 2008. $25.00 ISBN: 978-1-60-28000-4-5 The ninth title in the series MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, which seeks both the eternal and the contemporary messages of the Abraham story.

MASTERS OF THE WORD: TRADITIONAL JEWISH BIBLE COMMENTARY FROM THE 11TH THROUGH 13TH CENTURIES Rabbi Yonatan Kolatch KTAV, 2008. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-881259-39-1 The second work in a series of in-depth explorations of the world of traditional Jewish Bible commentaries.

THE OPEN CANON: ON THE MEANING OF THE HALAKHIC DISCOURSE Avi Sagi Continuum, 2007. $29.95 ISBN: 978-0-8264-96706 Outline of the broad spectrum of answers to important questions presented in Jewish literature, covering theological issues bearing on the meaning of the Torah and of revelation, as well as hermeneutical questions regarding understanding of the halakhic text.

A RESTATEMENT OF RABBINIC CIVIL LAW VOLUME XI, INDEX Rabbi Emanuel Quint Gefen, 2007. $50.00 ISBN: 978-965-229-375-6 A quick, efficient way to reference to all ten volumes of A Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law.

TORAH FOR TEENS: GROWING UP SPIRITUALLY WITH THE WEEKLY SIDRAH Jeffrey M. Cohen Vallentine Mitchell, 2008. $44.95 ISBN: 978-0-85303-803-0 Cohen explains the relevance of the weekly Torah portions to such current issues as the potential to act heroically, responsibility for Israel, leadership, resisting peer pressure, and other moral lessons. The book is specifically designed for the young adult and student generation.

WOMEN’S STUDIES MODERNISM, FEMINISM, AND JEWISHNESS Maren Tova Linett Cambridge University Press, 2007. $90.00 ISBN: 978-0-521-88097-8 An exploration of the aesthetic and political roles performed by Jewish characters in women’s fiction between the World Wars.

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BEARING THE BODY Ehud Havazelet Picador, 2008. $14.00 ISBN: 978-0-312-42650-4

THE BEST PLACE TO BE Lesley Dormen Simon & Schuster, 2008. $14.00 ISBN: 978-1-4165-3262-0

CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS Martin Gilbert Holt Paperbacks, 2008. $17.00 ISBN: 978-0-8050-8864-9

CLEOPATRA’S NOSE Judith Thurman Picador, 2008. $17.00 ISBN: 978-0-312-42775-7

DOUGH Mort Zachter Collins, 2008. $13.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-166341-3

EINSTEIN Walter Isaacson Simon & Schuster, 2008. $17.95 ISBN: 978-0-7432-6474-7

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THE HISTORY OF LAST NIGHT’S DREAM Rodger Kamenetz HarperOne, 2008. $15.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-123794-2

THE JEWISH ENEMY Jeffrey Herf Harvard University Press, 2008. $18.95 ISBN: 978-0-674-02738-1

LEAVE THE BUILDING QUICKLY Cynthia Kaplan Harper Perennial, 2008. $13.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-054852-0

LITTLE PINK RAINCOAT Gigi Anders Avon, 2008. $12.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-111886-9

MEMORY Philippe Grimbert Simon & Schuster, 2008. $10.00 ISBN: 978-1-4165-6000-5

MOTHER AND ME: ESCAPE FROM WARSAW 1939 Julian Padowicz Academy Chicago Publishers, 2008. $18.95 ISBN: 978-0-89733-570-6

NOT A HAPPY CAMPER Mindy Schneider Grove Press, 2008. $14.00 ISBN: 978-0-8021-4369-3

THE OTHER GREAT DEPRESSION Richard Lewis PublicAffairs, 2008. $14.95 ISBN: 978-1-58648-604-4

THE PASSION OF TASHA DARSKY Yael Goldstein Love Doubleday, 2008. $12.95 ISBN: 978-0-7679-2979-0

THE POST-REVOLUTIONARY SELF Jan Goldstein Harvard University Press, 2008. $22.95 ISBN: 978-0-674-02769-5

RASHI’S COMMENTARY ON PSALMS Mayer I. Gruber JPS, 2008. $50.00 ISBN: 978-0-8276-0872-6

THE REBBE, THE MESSIAH, AND THE SCANDAL OF ORTHODOX INDIFFERENCE David Berger Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2008. $19.95 ISBN: 978-1-904113-75-1

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CHILDRENS: WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN

THE SAVIOR Eugene Drucker Simon & Schuster, 2008. $14.00 ISBN: 978-1-4165-4330-5

Peter Godwin Little, Brown and Company, 2008. $14.99 ISBN: 978-0-316-01871-5

THE SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ Dalia Sofer Harper Perennial, 2008. $13.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-113041-0

THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY A.J. Jacobs Simon & Schuster, 2008. $15.00 ISBN: 978-0-7432-9148-4

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS Jane Isay Broadway Books, 2008. $14.00 ISBN: 978-0-7679-2084-1

EMIL AND KARL Yankev Glatshteyn Square Fish, 2008. $6.99 ISBN: 978-0-312-37387-0

MARA’S STORIES Gary Schmidt Square Fish, 2008. $6.99 ISBN: 978-0-312-37388-7

THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION Saul Friedländer Harper Perennial, 2008. $19.95 ISBN: 978-0-06-093048-6

Want to talk about Jewish literature?

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MIRIAM BRADMAN ABRAHAMS (MBA) lives in Woodmere, NY, mother of three, avid reader, Hadassah Nassau Region One Book Coordinator, Hadassah Hewlett Herald editor and webmaster, and book fair chair. SARAH ARONSON (SA) holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a full time writer and has recently published her first novel, Head Case (Roaring Brook) for young adult. Sara blogs every Thursday for the Lilith blog. DRORA ARUSSY, (DA), Ed.D, is an educational consultant who specializes in integrating Jewish and secular studies, the arts into education, and creative teaching for excellence in Jewish education. She is the mother to four school age children and has taught from preschool through adult. Currently Drora is an adjunct professor of Hebrew language at Drew University. JULI BERWALD (JMB), Ph.D., is a science writer and avid reader living in Austin, TX. She is also one of the chairs of the Austin Jewish Book Fair. BARBARA M. BIBEL (BMB) is a librarian at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, CA; and at Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA. BARBARA BIETZ (BB) is a freelance writer and children’s book reviewer. She is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. Barbara is the author of the middle grade book, Like a Maccabee. She has a blog dedicated to Jewish books for children at www.BarbaraBBookBlog.Blogspot.com. ERIN CANTOR (EC) is an interior designer, teacher of reading and math to third-graders, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer.

Library of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, is a well known reviewer of Jewish books for children and adults. She is a past judge of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards and a past chairperson of that committee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excellence in Jewish Children’s Literature. Ellen is the recipient of two major awards for contribution to Judaic Librarianship, the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroeder Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California. She is on the board of AJLSC. ANDREA DAVIDSON (AD) is the librarian of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beechwood, Ohio. She holds and M.L.S. from the University of Michigan and is a former member of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards Committee. MICHAEL DOBKOWSKI (MND) is a professor of religious studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is co-editor of Genocide and the Modern Age and On the Edge of Scarcity (Syracuse University Press); author of The Tarnished Dream: The Basis of American Anti-Semitism; and co-editor of The Nuclear Predicament. MOLLY BETH DUBIN (MBD) received an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Denver. She is cultural arts director for the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee. SUSAN DUBIN (SD) was the first librarian honored with a Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award. She is the owner/director of Off-the-Shelf Library Services and Library Instructional Consultant at Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino, CA.

ish Story Finder, head librarian at Claremont Preparatory School in New York City. and an adjunct professor with the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. HEIDI ESTRIN (HE) is librarian for the Feldman Children’s Library at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee for the Association of Jewish Libraries. SHELLY FEIT (SF) has an M.L.S. and a Sixthyear Specialist’s Certificate in Information Science. She is currently the library director and media specialist at the Moriah School in Englewood, NJ. JUDITH FELSENFELD’S (JF) stories have appeared most recently in The Southwest Review, The Chicago Review, The Blue Mesa Review and on NPR’s ‘Selected Shorts.’ She is completing a collection of stories. RITA BERMAN FRISCHER (RBF) retired director of Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library and a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, has reviewed adult and children’s books for Jewish periodicals and newspapers, judged children’s book awards and published chapters on children’s books in various bibliographic works. NORMAN H. FINKELSTEIN (NHF), a retired public school librarian, is a long-term instructor at Boston’s Hebrew College. He is the author of fifteen nonfiction books and the recipient of the Golden Kite Honor Award for Nonfiction and two National Jewish Book Awards. His most recent book is the JPS Guide to American Jewish History (Jewish Publication Society, 2007).

SUSAN M. CHAMBRE (SMC), professor of Sociology at Baruch College, studies Jewish philanthropy and health policy. She is the author of Fighting for Our Lives: New York’s AIDS Community and the Politics of Disease.

GIL EHRENKRANZ (GE) is a lawyer in the District of Columbia specializing in telecommunications law and international transactions. He has been previously published in Multichannel News & MIDSTREAM Magazine including an article concerning Israeli military options regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

JOEL COHEN (JC) is a former prosecutor, practices white-collar criminal law at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and teaches Professional Responsibility at Fordham Law School. He has written Moses: A Memoir (Paulist Press, 2003) and David and Bathsheba: Through Nathan’s Eyes (Paulist Press, 2007).

RUTH ANDREW ELLENSON (RAE) was born in Jerusalem and raised in New York and Los Angeles. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, People, Forward, and Heeb. She is the author of The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt (Dutton, 2005).

PENINA GROSSBERG (PG) mentors new teachers in Jewish day schools and supplementary schools in New York and New Jersey.

ELLEN G. COLE, (EGC), the librarian of the Levine

SHARON ELSWIT, (SE) is the author of The Jew-

MICAH D. HALPERN (MDH) is a columnist and a

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JACK FISCHEL (JaF) is professor emeritus of history at Millersville University, Millersville, PA. BOB GOLDFARB (BG) is president of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity in Los Angeles, and publisher of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. WALLACE GREENE (WG), Ph.D., is the director of Jewish Educational Services for the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey.

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social and political commentator. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Terror, and maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com

SHIRA R. LONDON (SRL) is the librarian at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Upper School in Baltimore, MD. She holds an M.L.S from Columbia University.

ELAINE HARRIS, (EH) is a South Peninsula Hebrew Day School teacher of a young fives class at an Orthodox Jewish Day School in Sunnyvale, California where only 1 out of my 9 students is Orthodox but 6 out of 9 are from Israeli families.

STEVEN A. LUEL (SAL), Ph.D., is associate professor of education and psychology at Touro College, New York. He is a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice. He is co-editor (with Paul Marcus) of Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Holocaust: Selected Essays.

KAREN SUGAR HAUSER (KSH) received a B.A. in art history from Stanford. She has worked at various museums and at Sotheby’s and currently does communal volunteer work. JESSICA B. HORWITZ (JBH) lives in Minneapolis, MN. A graduate of the University of Iowa, her goal in life is to prove that an English major can find a career after college. She currently works in publishing and enjoys reading food blogs and memoir. TAMI KAMIN-MEYER (TKM) is a licensed attorney who would rather write than fight. Her byline has appeared in a variety of publications such as Ohio Super Lawyers, Ohio Lawyers Weekly, Ohio Magazine, Cleveland Jewish News, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and www.chabad.edu. She is also an awardwinning Hebrew school educator. JOSEPH A. KANOFSKY (JAK) holds a Ph.D. in literature, and rabbinic ordination. He is an educational consultant to the UJA-Federation of Greater Toronto MARGE KAPLAN (MK) is a retired English as a Second Language teacher. She is a consultant for the children’s literature group for the Roseville, MN school system and is a storyteller of Jewish tales. RON KAPLAN (RK) is a writer and editor for the New Jersey Jewish News. NOEL KRIFTCHER (NNK) is a professor and administrator at Polytechnic University, having previously served as Superintendent of New York City’s Brooklyn & Staten Island High Schools district. ROBIN K. LEVINSON (RKL) is an award-winning journalist and author of a dozen books, including the Gali Girls series of Jewish historical fiction for children. She currently works as an assessment specialist for a global educational testing organization. She lives in Hamilton, NJ.

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CHRISTINE MAASDAM (CM) holds a Masters in Humanities, certifications in Museum Studies and Cultural Property Protection. She is currently completing her M.L.I.S. Her interests are philosophy and the impact of art and technology on culture. MICHAL HOSCHANDER MALEN (MHM) is a librarian and editor of reference books. JULIA WOLF MAZOW (JWM), retired university English instructor, studied Yiddish in the Oxford and YIVO summer programs. Her translations from Yiddish have appeared in BRIDGES. PENNY METSCH (PGM), MLS, formerly a school librarian on Long Island and in New York City, now focuses on early literacy programs in Hoboken, N.J. NAOMI MORSE (NM) is a retired reading teacher/consultant with many years experience developing curriculum and using literature to educate children and adults in the history of the Holocaust. She is a docent and educator at the Nassau County Holocaust and Tolerance Center. ESTHER NUSSBAUM (EN) is head librarian at Ramaz Upper School in New York City. A past editor of Jewish Book World, she has written on Jewish art for Zeek and is a frequent reviewer for the AJL Newsletter and Jewish Book World. MICHAEL ORBACH (MO) is a freelance writer and the editor of 72nd Avenue, a Queens College publication. JULIE PELC (JP) is a rabbi and a co-editor of the anthology Joining the Sisterhood: Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives (State University of New York Press, 2003). She is the assistant director of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at HUC in Los Angeles and also

teaches undergraduate courses in the Literature and Communications Department at the American Jewish University. HARA E. PERSON (HEP) was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a writer and editor and was the managing editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. KATHE PINCHUCK, (KSP), MLIS, is the librarian of Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck, New Jersey. She is currently the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries. CAROL POLL (CP), Ph.D., is a Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Social Sciences Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York. Her areas of interest include the sociology of race and ethnic relations and the sociology of marriage, family, and gender roles. MARCIA W. POSNER (MWP) is librarian and program vice-president of The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. RACHEL SARA ROSENTHAL (RSR) is an associate in the litigation department of Goodwin Procter LLP. She graduated from Duke University and Columbia Law School. RACHEL ROSNER (RR) is the Director of the Jewish Book Festival in Rochester, New York. She also runs Jewish Family Programs for the JCC, and has worked there since 1994. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Syracuse University. PINCHAS ROTH (PR) recently completed an MA in medieval Jewish history. He catalogues Hebrew manuscripts and archives at the New York Public Library’s Dorot Jewish Division. He recently became a father. HELENE ROTHENBERG (HR) is a practicing attorney at Rosenfeld & Maidenbaum, LLP, and is a member of Young Israel of Woodmere, NY. CLAIRE RUDIN (CR) is a retired director of the New York City School Library System and former librarian at the Holocaust Resource Center and Archives in Queens, NY. She is the author of The School Librarian’s Sourcebook and Children’s Books About the Holocaust. ARNOLD D. SAMLAN (ADS), MSW, is the director of Nassau/Queens Services of the Board

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of Jewish Education of Greater New York. PHIL SANDICK (PhS) is a graduate student in the MFA fiction program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. DEBORAH SCHOENEMAN (DS), is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997. PENINNAH SCHRAM, (PS), a professional storyteller, is an author, recording artist and Associate Professor of Speech and Drama at Stern College of Yeshiva University. Her latest anthology is The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales (Sterling Publishing, 2008). RUTH SEIF (RS) is a retired chairperson of English at Thomas Jefferson High School in NYC. She served as administrator in the Alternative High School division. SYDELLE SHAMAH (SS) has been leading book club discussions for many years, and is a published science fiction writer. She was president of the Ruth Hyman Jewish Community Center of Monmouth County, NJ. EDWARD SHAPIRO (ESS) is professor of history emeritus at Seton Hall University and the

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author of A Time for Healing: American Jewry Since World II (1992), We Are Many: Reflections on American Jewish History and Identity (2005), and Crown Heights: Blacks, Jews, and the 1991 Brooklyn Riot (2006). DONALD SIEGEL (DoS) is the author of the Kosher Chinese Cookbook: From Lokshen to Lo Mein: The Jewish Love Affair with Chinese Food (Gefen Publishing Company, 2005). BARBARA SILVERMAN (BS) has an MLS from Texas Woman’s University. She worked as a children’s librarian at the Corpus Christi Public Libraries and at the Corpus Christi ISD before retiring. She now works as a volunteer at the Astor Judaic Library of the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla, CA. LISA SILVERMAN (LS) is director of Sinai Temple’s Blumenthal Library in Los Angeles and a former day school librarian. She serves as the children’s book review editor of this magazine. ARLENE B. SOIFER (ABS) earned degrees in English, and has had many years of experience as a freelance writer, editor, and public relations professional. SARA LEOPOLD SPINNELL (SLS) lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters. She enjoyed a career in book publishing for over 15 years, most recently as director of publici-

ty for Oxford University Press. She now freelances and writes fiction. JONATHAN SPIRA-SAVETT (JSS) is a rabbi and teen educator. He is the rabbi at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH. His work focuses on civic education and youth philanthropy, and he has taught history, literature, and environmental studies in addition to traditional Jewish texts. JACLYN TROP (JT) is a business reporter for The Detroit News and a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. JANE WALLERSTEIN (JW) worked in public relations for many years. She is the author of Voices from the Paterson Silk Mills and coauthored a national criminal justice study of parole for Rutgers University. WENDY WASMAN (WW) has been a professional librarian since 1988. She is the former Assistant Librarian at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, Ohio, and is currently the Librarian at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. MARON L. WAXMAN (MLW), retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-ofthe-Month Club. She also leads editorial workshops.

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An index of all titles included in the Fall 2008 issue of Jewish Book World BR = Book Review CBR = Children’s Book Review BN = Books of Note

Title, Author, BR, CBR or BN 101+ Ways to Help Israel, Nussbaum, BR 34 Days, Harel, BR Abraham’s Journey, Soloveitchik, BN Alban Berg and Hanna Fuchs, Floros, BN Albert Einstein, Meltzer, CBR And No More Sorrow, Pelzman, BN Anti-Journalist, Reitter, BN Around the World On Two Wheels, Zheutlin, BR As Good As Anybody, Michelson, CBR Atrocities on Trial, Heberer, BN Bag of Broken Glass, Sugarman, BR Bat-Chen Diaries, Shahak, CBR Beyond Berlin, Rosenfeld, BN Birth of Monotheism, Lemaire, BN Bondage of the Mind, Gold, BN Book of Dahlia, Albert, BR Book of Getting Even, Taylor, BR Bottle in the Gaza Sea, Zenatti, CBR Brotherhood of Warriors, Cohen, BR Call Me By Your Name, Aciman, BR Carpathian Diaspora, Jelinek, BN Childhood, Rosenkranz, BN Contemporary Jewish Writing in Europe, Liska, BN Cure for Grief, Herman, BR Daring To Resist, Engel, BR Dearest Anne, Katzir, BR Dictation, Ozick, BR Dough, Zachter, BR Emil L. Fackenheim, Patterson, BN Fit For a Princess, Rotman, CBR Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Lee, BR Freak II: Visions, Matas, CBR Freak: Book One of the Freak Series, Matas, CBR Funny Boys, Adler, BR Geography of Hope, Birnbaum, BR Ghettostadt, Horwitz, BR

38 38 80 77 68 77 77 46 71 78 65 68 79 79 80 55 56 68 46 56 59 77 80 56 63 56 57 47 77 68 44 69 69 57 61 64

Title, Author, BR, CBR or BN

Title, Author, BR, CBR or BN

Girl From Foreign, Shepard, BR 48 Girl on the Fridge, Keret, BR 37 Golden Rule, Cooper, CBR 69 Goldie’s Lox and the Three Bagels, Dubinsky, BR 57 Golem in Jewish American Literature, Morris, BN 80 Greece, Fleming, BR 62 Growing Up At Grossinger’s, Grossinger, BR 48 Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home, Levy, BR 52 Hebrew Manuscripts, Tahan, BN 79 Here and Now, Hasak-Levy, BR 39 Hidden Children of the Holocaust, Vromen, BR 64 History of Palestine, Krämer, BN 79 Holocaust, Crowe, BN 79 Home is Where You Find It, Hirsch, BR 48 Honey and Ginger, Morris, BR 66 Honey Cake, Stuchner, CBR 69 How Mama Brought the Spring, Manushkin, CBR 70 Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales, Schram, CBR 71 Hurry Down Sunshine, Greenberg, BR 48 Icon of Evil, Dalin, BR 64 Imagining the American Jewish Community, Wertheimer, BR 44 In the Mouth, Pollack, BR 57 Indignation, Roth, BR 58 Invisible Wall, Bernstein, BR 59 Israel in the Middle East, Rabinovich, BN 79 It’s Israel’s Birthday, Dietrick, CBR 70 Italy’s Sorrow, Holland, BN 79 Jewish American Food Culture, Deutsch, BN 77 Jewish Denver, Abrams, BN 77 Jewish Values Finder, Silver, CBR 72 Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages, Steinberg, BR 62 Jezebel, Hazleton, BR 58 Journey Abandoned, Trilling, BN 78

Judaism of the Second Temple Period, Flusser, BN Kasztner’s Train, Porter, BR Keeping Israel Safe, Sofer, CBR Klezmer America, Freedman, BR Lazarus Project, Hemon, BR Let Me Continue to Speak the Truth, Loentz, BN Let My People Go, Balsey, CBR Lord is My Shepherd, Spirin, CBR Love Every Leaf, Stinson, CBR Manischewitz, Alpern, BR Masters of the Word, Kolatch, BN Mentor of Generations, Eleff, BN Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, Herbach, BR Modernism, Feminism, and Jewishness, Linett, BN Moose, Klein, BN More Than it Hurts You, Strauss, BN Moses’ Women, Tuchman, BR Mozart Question, Morpurgo, CBR Much Too Promised Land, Miller, BR My Life of Turmoil, Wenig, BN New Authentics, Boris, BR New Mexico’s Crypto-Jews, Herz, BR New York Echoes, Adler, BN North of God, Stern, BR On Three Continents, Carmilly-Weinberger, BN Open Canon, Sagi, BN Out of the Depths & Other Stories, Brenner, BR Passover Around the World, Lehman-Wilzig, CBR Please Excuse My Daughter, Klam, BR Polyphony of Jewish Culture, Harshav, BR Portraits of Jewish Americans, Drucker, CBR Power Among Them, Pastorello, BN Private Joel and the Sewell Mountain Seder, Fireside, CBR Promise, Lustiger, BR Rabbi’s Cat 2, Sfar, BR

Title, Author, BR, CBR or BN 79 49 70 44 58

77 70 70 71 44 80 77 58 80 77 78 67 72 39 77 51 46 78 59 78 80 59 73 50 53 71 78 73 50 59

Recovering “Yiddishland”, Bachman, BR Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law Volume XI, Index, Quint, BN Resurrection, Madigan, BR Righteous Indignation, Rose, BR Rina’s Rainy Day, Altein, CBR Russian Jews on Three Continents, Remennick, BN Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot, Rouss, CBR Sarah Laughs, Jules, CBR Scottsboro, Feldman, BR Search Committee, Angel, BR Sephardi Entrepeneurs in Jerusalem, Glass, BN Shlomo’s Little Joke, Citron, CBR Socorro Blast, Taichert, BR Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, Manseau, BR Spiritual Activism, Weiss, BR Story Tree, Lupton, CBR Straddling Worlds, Harper, BN Surprised by God, Ruttenberg, BR Ten Days of Birthright Israel, Saxe, BR Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me, Karlin, BR Torah for Teens, Cohen, BN Torah: A Women’s Commentary, Eskenazi, BR Transforming Identity, Sagi, BR Triumph of Deborah, Etzioni-Halevy, BR Victory Gardens of Brooklyn, Gerber, BR Wall of Two, Karmel, BR What Gentiles Can Learn, Baron, BN What Happened to Anna K, Reyn, BR Who Will Write Our History?, Kassow, BR Will to Freedom, Balas, BN YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Hundert, BR You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right, Hirschfield, BR You Shall Tell Your Children, Gubkin, BR

46 80 66 53 73 79 74 74 59 60 78 76 60 60 54 76 78 54 54 51 80 63 66 61 61 66 78 61 65 78 62 55 65

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