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.
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 ...
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.
I grew up in Israel in a domestic war zone - a "language war" that raged between my parents. The fight was between Hebrew and Yiddish. Ours was not the only household where this war was fought. It was a struggle between the new Israel and the old diaspora, but it was very personal and quite emotional.
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.
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 ...
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.
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, ...
Harvey Weinstein. Al Franken. Anthony Weiner. Jewish men behaving badly. Is there something in the history or liturgy of Judaism that can explain such conduct, or help Jewish men avoid such misbehavior and act more like mensches? Those were among the questions at the core of "Who Is a Man?"
Filmmaker Melinda Hess was going through boxes of family artifacts that had been collecting dust for a quarter-century when she discovered a series of letters that revealed disturbing secrets about her father's work in the 1940s. Nestled among grade-school report cards, a bar mitzvah photo and a marriage certificate was a brown leather suitcase containing a series of numbered letters in Army-issued envelopes.
This fall has seen the publication of two remarkable memoirs from writers reflecting on life transitions through the most Jewish of lenses. Tova Mirvis became a celebrated figure in the Jewish literary world with " The Ladies' Auxiliary," published in 1999 when she was in her early 20s.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.