books

‘Love Me, Love My Book’

A personal account of a two-minute pitch that can catapult or sink an author.

06/05/2014
Editor and Publisher
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It’s every author’s dream. And nightmare.

The chance to address several hundred people from around the country who, deeply attentive, have come to New York for three days and one purpose — to find speakers for their local Jewish community book fairs, sisterhood luncheons and other cultural programs.

Gary Rosenblatt

PJ Library-Like Program Comes To Jaffa

Israel’s reading-readiness project provides 45,000 schoolchildren with Arabic-language children’s books.

02/26/2014
Israel Correspondent
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Jaffa, Israel — The children at the Arabic-speaking Ofek preschool in Jaffa have spent a lot of time this month thinking about a mouse named Soumsoum, the character of a picture book all the kids read with their parents at home. 

Jaffa preschoolers work on art project about “Soumsoum the Mouse” as part of program modeled on PJ Library. Michele Chabin/JW

I Would Like To Acknowledge…

02/25/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Gratitude, scientists tell us, is one of the healthiest of emotions. Jewish liturgy is replete with prayers of thankfulness; the reason why many observant Jews attend morning minyan, they say, is to start each day with an “attitude of gratitude.” The Torah suggests that God created humanity, in part, because He needed applause for his sublime authorship. And not just people — the Rabbis believed that every living thing acclaimed God with the song of its own species; these lyrics are contained in the ancient text, “Perek Shirah” (“Chapter of Song”).

Ted Merwin

The Skinny On ‘From Scratch’

01/14/2014
Jewish Week Correspondent
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Former New York Times reporter Allen Salkin interviewed more than 200 people for “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network” (Penguin Group). The book, which was ranked among the top 10 of 2013 by NPR, makes juicy revelations about controversial stars such as Emeril Lagasse; Paula Deen, who cooked fatty foods without disclosing she had diabetes and then later fell from grace amid reports of racist comments; and Chef Robert Irvine, who was replaced for a season of “Restaurant Impossible” after questions emerged about his resumé.

Allen Salkin: Not popular at the Food Network for his behind-the-scenes book.

Matti Friedman Wins Rohr Prize

Matti Friedman was awarded the largest Jewish literary prize, the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, for "The Aleppo Codex” (Algonquin). His book, published in 2012, traces the unusual history and complicated provenance of the precious manuscript, considered to be the authoritative text of the Bible. The codex was hand-written about a thousand years ago.

Lens On American Jewry

09/10/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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In his thoughtful and provocative new book, “The American Jewish Story Through Cinema” (University of Texas Press), Eric A. Goldman refers to Hollywood films about American Jewish life as “a Haggadah,” the Passover text that is savored and studied annually.

Eric Goldman investigates nine movies that define the Jewish experience. Rachel Banai

A 20th-Century Murder Case

‘Norwegian by Night’ transcends the usual thriller genre to offer comment on wars from Vietnam to Kosovo.

Special To The Jewish Week
06/19/2013

It begins, as all such stories do, with a murder.

Derek Miller’s “Norwegian by Night” is a treatise on Europe’s wars and genocides, in the guise of a murder-mystery.

Three Immigrant Tales Test Genre’s Flexibility

For Andre Aciman, A.J. Sidransky and Jessica Sofer, questions of identity, assimilation and food.

Jewish Week Book Critic
06/19/2013

In his memoir and essays, Andre Aciman has captured the inner life of exile, what it’s like to stand in one place and be reminded of another, to long for that other place, even knowing it no longer exits. He embraces his new land of America, while Egypt and Europe, his motherlands, are very present. A masterful writer, Aciman is most at home in the place of not feeling at home, anywhere.

The tensions felt by newcomers in foreign settings color the plots of several new novels.

Avivah Zornberg’s Intricate Patterns

Avivah Zornberg overlays a dizzying tapestry of midrashic, psychoanalytic and literary sources on her biblical themes. Her most satisfied listeners allow for the unmooring of the categorical mind. Zornberg, most recently the author of “The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious,” suggests that the hidden meaning of our classical texts is best perceived with our own porous and poetic unconscious minds.

Avivah Zornberg. Photo by Debbi Cooper

Jewish Megatrends

Rabbi offers a new way to think of ourselves: "tribal," and "covenental."

05/22/2013
Editor and Publisher

Rabbi Sidney Schwarz recalls the exact words of a comment from a liberal rabbinical student that disturbed him profoundly.

Gary Rosenblatt
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