Trina Robbins says she was an ungrateful child. But she's making up for that now. Growing up in Queens, New York, the young Robbins - like many children of Jewish immigrants - was uninterested in learning Yiddish, her father's first language.
A story about a Persian Jewish family's struggles in post-revolution Iran has been chosen by the Jewish Community Library as its One Bay One Book selection for 2017-18. "The Septembers of Shiraz," by Tehran-born Dalia Sofer, tells the fictional story of a gem dealer, who is imprisoned after the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970s, ...
I try to use this time of reaching the end of the annual Torah reading cycle, and beginning again, as a reminder to keep my relationship to our core book from stagnating. Lacking formidable interpretive skills myself, I'm highly dependent on the insights of others to keep myself engaged and growing.
With much attention awarded to immigration-related issues in recent months, many of us have considered increasingly the Jewish immigrant experience in the United States, particularly since it reflects many of our families' histories. It was in that light that I enjoyed reading three recent novels that focus on the experience of Jewish immigrants in three ...
For many, "summer reading" connotes light fiction. For me, it means the prospect of having a bit more time to read whatever it is that we want to read. Because everyone is different, I'll discuss a few new titles that may be possibilities for readers of varying tastes as the season winds down.
Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger wrote memorably in their book "Jews and Words" that "ours is not a bloodline, but a text line." But how many of us make the effort to claim our enormous inheritance of centuries of Jewish writing? Fortunately, four excellent recent books help us approach this shared text line.
In transit, on a nightstand or kept close for stolen moments of leisure, collections of short fiction provide a perennial source of pleasure. These three anthologies, which mark their authors' debuts, remind us that short can offer incredible breadth. "The Worlds We Think We Know" contains 20 short works by Dalia Rosenfeld, who was raised ...
In response to the recent political environment, increased attention has been paid to the centrality of the immigrant experience to the Jewish encounter with America. As I enjoy studying history from various perspectives, I want to share three new books that explore dimensions of that experience through different lenses: a neighborhood, cartoons and a movie.
The strength of Israel's literary scene became evident last month when two Israeli titles appeared among the 13 nominees for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize, the world's most prestigious award for literature translated into English. In tribute, I'd like to share a few new novels set in Israel.
In 1957, Noam Chomsky's father, William, published " Hebrew: The Eternal Language," but in the five decades since then, we haven't had a similar effort in English to create a concise history of the Hebrew language. Until now.
Singing satirical songs while cross-dressed in Hasidic costume, Pepi Littman was once a controversial star of the Yiddish theater. Littman faded into obscurity after her death in 1930. Today, a young San Francisco-based Yiddish singer called Jeanette Lewicki is key to her revival.
The National Jewish Book Awards were announced last month, and the winner of the Book of the Year award was Rabbi Daniel Gordis' " Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn." Gordis, who made aliyah in 1998, has gravitated from writing on Jewish thought to writing mostly about Israel.
Determined to teach Milwaukee's Eastern European Jews to cook American, in 1901 Lizzie Black Kander and her committee of Jewish clubwomen raised $18 to publish what was to become the most successful fundraising cookbook in U.S. history, according to author Bob Kann.
When you ask Shalom Flash about his paintings, he laughs slightly and then corrects you. He isn't painting; he's color-reading. "It's all just spots of color," Flash says about his prolific body of work, a portion of which is currently hanging at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.
Pepi Litman may have been born in the 1800s, but from reading the details of her life, you wouldn't know it. A cross-dressing performer with undeniable Yiddish swagger, Litman toured Eastern Europe with her vaudeville theatre troupe, singing songs about politics, archaic religions and the death of bureaucracy.