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.
The sudden death of a cousin in Florida several years ago forced Erica Brown, left, the Jewish scholar, educator and writer (and Jewish Week columnist), into the role of spiritual adviser and counselor for her grieving family.
A satisfying historical novel displays a flair for narrative and credible characters grounded on a solid base of research. The more remote the period, the tougher the challenge. In “The Liars’ Gospel,” (Little Brown), Naomi Alderman, a British writer, takes on perhaps the most difficult challenge of all.
Harriet Rossetto’s new book, “Sacred Housekeeping: A Spiritual Memoir” (Author House), is a fitting companion to her husband’s 2004 best-seller, “The Holy Thief: A Con Man’s Journey From Darkness To Light” (HarperCollins).
The Jewish Book Council has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award in past years on literary figures Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick. This year’s award, however, went to someone not as well known in the world of literature, but who has contributed to the Jewish community as well as the world of literature and science.
Ask most rabbis what their number one recommendation is for "saving" the Jewish future and they will point to Jewish literacy. Helping young Jews become more literate about Jewish history, culture and religion is a top priority for Jewish leaders on college campuses. The way to do this is by getting them to read books about a whole host of Jewish themes and topics. Rather than telling college students to read a history of the Jewish people and having them feel like they have one more 4-credit course to take, innovative Jewish educators are envisioning new ways to encourage Jewish literacy. I was impressed when I learned of a new program being implemented at Brown University to get college students excited about reading books with Jewish themes.
The new book “Jews and Words,” co-authored by Amos Oz and his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, quotes Jesus’ saying: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” The authors go on to say: “The directive sounds very Jewish, but the reasoning is quintessentially Christian: it rests on the assumption that the least learned are the purest human beings. It bonds innocence with ignorance.