Joshua Boettiger may be the only rabbinic student who can trace his roots to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The 31-year-old is a great-grandson of Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Depression and World War II leader alternately exalted and reviled by the American Jewish community.The elder son of an Episcopalian father –– the son of President Roosevelt’s daughter, Anna –– and a Jewish mother, Boettiger grew up attending church and synagogue. “I don’t know whether to be Jewish or Christian,” a 5-year-old Boettiger told his parents.
Judging by their covers, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld’s just published work A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice (Schocken) and his earlier “The Jewish Catalog” (Jewish Publication Society) — published almost 30 years ago — couldn’t be more different. His new book is hardcover; its jacket features a traditional papercut design in deep colors, highlighted in gold, altogether very handsome. The first book, a paperback he edited along with Richard Siegel and Sharon Strassfeld, is bright red, with a do-it-yourself look.