Lens On American Jewry

09/09/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

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
06/18/2013 - 20:00

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
06/18/2013 - 20:00

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."
05/21/2013 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

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

Gary Rosenblatt

‘Happier Endings’

04/30/2013 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

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.

Naomi Alderman's Jesus, The Jew

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.

Candid Memoirs Of Lives Lost And Found

04/03/2013 - 20:00
Editor and Publisher

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).

Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel Honored For Bridging Worlds of Science and Literature

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. 

Kindle Your Judaism: Growing Jewish Literacy Through New Technology

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.

Brown University is launching a new program providing Jewish-themed books to students on a free Amazon Kindle.
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