Special Sections

Inside An ‘Epic Struggle’

Gal Beckerman’s book provides much-needed coherence
to the history of the Soviet Jewry movement.

Special To The JewishWeek
11/16/2010

The campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry — the “Soviet Jewry Movement,” as it became known — has been the topic of any number of books over the past decade and more. The story of how the “struggle” on behalf of the Jews of the Soviet Union became a “movement” parallels that of the other great “movement” of the 20th century, civil rights.

Gal Beckerman tells how the Soviet Jewry movement grew into a major foreign policy success.

Guilt On Trial

Elie Wiesel’s new novel explores themes of memory, justice and journalistic ethics.

Jewish Week Book Critic
11/16/2010

When Werner Sonderberg replies “Guilty … and not guilty,” after being asked to enter his plea in a New York courtroom, the judge and spectators are stunned. Sonderberg, a young German expatriate who is accused of murder, seems to want to explain something to the court, but he is silenced.

A complex murder trial forms the underpinning of Wiesel’s new novel.

Paris, When It Fizzles

In reworking Henry James’ ‘The Ambassadors,’ Cynthia Ozick
strikes a chord for America against a post-Shoah Europe.

Special To The Jewish Week
11/16/2010

What inspires an artist? Cynthia Ozick’s new novel, “Foreign Bodies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is in part an attempt to answer that much vexed question, though as we know from her prior writing, there is never one simple answer. Inspiration can come as an angry bang on a piano is translated to a symphony, as it does in this novel.

New world symphony: In “Foreign Bodies,” novelist Cynthia Ozick views post-war America as more civilized than Europe.

High Drama, On And Off Stage

First English-language biography of Sarah Bernhardt
in decades captures her complicated life.

Jewish Week Book Critic
11/16/2010

When my sisters and I were overly dramatic while growing up, we were lovingly rebuked, “You’re a regular Sarah Bernhardt.” We weren’t the only ones to hear this line, which echoed across suburbs and cities.

Robert Gottlieb’s “Sarah” reflects the highs and lows of Sarah Bernhardt’s life, which gained international renown a century ago

Roth The Theologian

In a Newark playground,
who shall live and who shall die?

Special To The Jewish Week
11/16/2010

With his latest novel, “Nemesis” (Houghton Mifflin), Philip Roth enters the realm of theology. Set in the summer of 1944, in the mostly Jewish Weequahic section of Newark, it is ostensibly the story of Bucky Cantor, a vital, young, virtue-driven athlete and gym teacher deemed unfit for World War II combat because of his faulty eyesight.

In his latest novel, Philip Roth delves into the randomness of the universe as the polio epidemic grips Newark in 1944.

Literary Guide Fall 2010

Our annual November book section features some heavyweight fiction from Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick and Elie Wiesel. Plus, inside the Soviet Jewry movement, a new biography of Sarah Bernhardt and new cookbooks from some Top Jewish Chefs.

Staff Writer
11/16/2010
Fall Literary Guide

Journal Watch

10/20/2010

“And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” Thus the Book of Genesis — indeed the Tanach, the Hebrew Scriptures — begins its human narrative with nothing less than the murder of a brother by a brother. Genesis is all about family conflict and reconciliation — almost always sibling-to-sibling conflict — setting the pattern for the community- and nation-building of Exodus. Much of Jewish tradition is a forth-and-back between sibling hostility and sibling harmony.

Oh, Brother

An only child considers the challenges of expanding her family.

10/20/2010

My 2-year-old daughter, Bess, understands there’s a baby in mommy’s tummy, but neither David nor I think she really gets what that means. Of course, neither do we.

Especially not me. David has his younger sister, Anna. But right now, Bess and I have something major in common: we are only children. For Bess, that coveted status will last until early December, when her little brother, whom we are calling Ptui-Ptui-Ptui, is due to arrive. That is when my daughter’s world will change forever, and when I, her mother, will be officially, and utterly, out of my depth.

MIRIAM STERN. On the Porch, 1991, mixed media, 14x17. <MiriamStern.artspan.com>

Speaking of Sisters

Deborah Tannen’s latest book explores the often fraught relationships.

Special to the Jewish Week
10/20/2010

My sister is one of the great gifts in my life. We are different in many ways but it doesn’t matter. The bond we share from having grown up in the same home (where we shared a bedroom), been influenced by the same parents, neighbors and teachers, exposed to the same loving, enriched (and sometimes quirky) environment and shouldering the same responsibilities and concerns as our mother got sick and our dad ages has provided me (and hopefully her) with a bedrock of strength and support.

DIANE BRAWARSKY. Two Women,” 2007, oil , paper, found objects on canvas, 12” X 12. <dianebrawarsky.com>

Twin Cities and Peoplehood

Fostering grassroots connections between communities in the U.S. and Israel.

Staff Writer
10/20/2010

When two young Jews were shot dead at a gay club in Israel last summer, New York’s gay Jewish community responded immediately. The West Village congregation for gay Jews, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, reached out to friends they made in Israel through a city-to-city partnership established 10 years ago. And within days, a group of fearful Israeli teens were in New York.

That kind of swift, visceral response would not have been possible without the city pairing, said program participants.

PHOTO BY DAN LENCHNER. Jerusalem, 2001. <danlenchnerphotography.com>
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