Jewish Community Library

off the shelf | Sci-fi visions of future and alternate Israels

Sci-fi visions of future and alternate Israels - J.

The quest for Jewish nationhood is entwined with the exercise of imagination. Theodor Herzl's best-known words, "If you will it, it is no dream" (or, translated more accurately from the original German, "it is no fairy tale") attest to the nature of Zionism as the fulfillment of a fantasy.

Ilan Vitemberg speaks at the Library about Israel and Eurovision

Deep dive into Israel's Eurovision history a real ear-opener - J.

"This is one of the most horrible songs you'll ever hear," Ilan Vitemberg said with a grin as he cued up Israel's Eurovision submission for 2000. "Sameyakh," by Ping Pong, is truly terrible, but that's not why Vitemberg was playing it for his audience at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco on Nov.

The Jewish Community Library celebrates Rabbi Ed Zerin

Ed Zerin, the 98-year-old who wrote the book on "Jewish San Francisco" - J.

Ten books, three languages, two bar mitzvahs - Rabbi Edward Zerin has seen a lot in his 98 years. Now people are gathering to celebrate his erudite life and long career with an event at the Jewish Community Library on Oct. 25. "It was completely unexpected," Zerin said of the celebration in San Francisco.

The Chosen: Is the classic book frozen in time, or still relevant? (features Howard Freedman)

'The Chosen' onstage: Is the classic book frozen in time, or still relevant? - J.

When playwright Aaron Posner was seeking a Jewish-themed book to adapt for the stage in the late 1990s, he went to the author Chaim Potok for advice. To prepare for the meeting, he read some of Potok's works - and quickly found the one he wanted to adapt: "The Chosen."

off the shelf | Two books explain how Israel became what it is

Two 2018 books explain how Israel became what it is - J.

When faced with a vexing situation, I tend to think that part of the answer lies in finding out how we got there. And this is particularly so in the case of Israel, whose history is complicated and contested. The title of Michael Brenner's "In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea" is fitting.

off the shelf | Three books to put you through (Jewish) law school

Three books to put you through (Jewish) law school - J.

Many Bay Area Jews engage in spiritual exploration and Torah study, but my impression is that there tends to be far less interest in studying Jewish law. This is likely because our Bay Area community is generally less observant than other large American Jewish communities, ...

Reading 'The Plot Against America' across the Bay - J.

Reading 'The Plot Against America' across the Bay - J.

The surprising success of Donald Trump's candidacy in 2016 brought a number of literary works out of the woodwork, but none so much as Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America." Roth's work of counterfactual historical fiction (sometimes known as the "What if?" genre) explores the imagined impact of aviator Charles Lindbergh's defeat of incumbent Franklin ...

off the shelf | Three solid additions to your end-of-summer reading list

Three solid additions to your end-of-summer reading list - J.

With school about to begin and only six weeks left until the official start of autumn, it's time to get that summer reading done! Here are three new novels, each with a pronounced Jewish dimension, to consider.

off the shelf | Three connections to secret Jewish pasts

Three books about characters connecting to secret Jewish pasts - J.

For some, summer reading represents the prospect of an escapist treat to help free the mind from worries. And for others, it means finally having the time to take on a challenging book otherwise pushed aside by the demands of everyday life.

off the shelf | Why audiences plotzed over these forgotten performers

Why audiences plotzed over these forgotten performers - J.

The passage of time is not particularly kind to performers of bygone eras, with few of us able to expound on the singers and musicians that thrilled our grandparents. Two new books profile entertainers who commanded exalted positions in the first half of ...

On the Jewish Community Library | Ernest Newbrun, D.M.D., Ph.D.

On the Jewish Community Library | Ernest Newbrun, D.M.D., Ph.D.

Times are changing and people are getting more and more information online, but if you're a novice in a field, you have a hard time knowing what's factual. At the Jewish Community Library, the librarians help guide you. As concerns programming, I'm always amazed by the caliber of speakers which is very impressive. I've never been disappointed and wish I had more time to spend there. Click image for the full story…

11 stellar Israeli novels that cry out to be read

11 stellar Israeli novels that cry out to be read - J.

As we mark Israel's 70th anniversary, I remain awed that a small country with a reconstructed language should produce a literature that is so rich. Below is a sampling of 11 varied titles that give a taste of Israeli literature at its best. 1. "Only Yesterday," S.Y.

Three generations of women artists in exhibit at Jewish Community Library

Three generations of Stanger women, lots of art, one exhibition

Barbara Stanger couldn't be happier about her upcoming art exhibition at the Jewish Community Library. Not only will her own work be on display, but it will be shown alongside art by two of her favorite women in the world: her mother and her daughter. "Just thinking about it, I'm almost in tears," she said.

off the shelf | 3 new books ponder eternity in new light

3 new books ponder eternity in striking new lights

The common adage that we should "live each day as if it's our last" presupposes that knowledge of our impending demise might cause us to act differently. It's a question I am thinking about in relation to three new works of fiction: To ...

off the shelf | Nazis in Hollywood and Jewish refugees who returned to fight Hitler

New books: Nazis in Hollywood; and Jewish refugees who returned to fight Hitler - J.

I have enjoyed reading three recent books that give readers unprecedented insight into lesser known episodes during the Nazi era. Laura B. Rosenzweig's "Hollywood's Spies: The Undercover Surveillance of Nazis in Los Angeles" (a Jewish Book Award finalist) and Steven J.

‘Diaspora’ collages create layers of meaning at library exhibit

'Diaspora' collages create layers of meaning at library exhibit - J.

Artist Rachel Leibman has been creating her collages - colorful, vivid works with a delicate juxtaposition of text, image and line - for 18 years. But this year she's breaking new ground at the Jewish Community Library with her show "Diaspora." Though her collages and mixed media art have been shown in Jewish spaces before, ...

off the shelf | New biographies tell the stories of Jews who aren’t as famous as they should be

New biographies of Jews who should be better-known

Although we tend to read biographies of people we care about, I just finished reading two books about figures who meant little to me - and I'm glad I did. It was not long ago that I first learned of Julius Rosenwald, the former head of Sears, Roebuck and the subject of "Julius Rosenwald: Repairing the World ," historian Hasia R.

off the shelf | Three newly translated works are a blast from the past

Three newly translated works are a blast from the past - J.

We are all familiar with the modern tradition of time capsules, created with the intention that they will be opened far in the future, enabling the people of tomorrow to glimpse a bygone moment in history. There are books that, although not by design, function similarly.