Alexandria Lost, And Found

Nearly 40 years after Yitzhak Gormezano Goren’s novel ‘Alexandrian Summer’ was published in Israel, its English edition arrives.

Culture Editor

When the Egyptian-born writer Yitzhak Gormezano Goren began thinking of writing a novel in Israel in the 1970s, he considered subjects like Jerusalem, the kibbutz, the Holocaust and Tel Aviv, the kinds of themes Israeli writers dealt with. But he wasn’t that drawn to Jerusalem, hadn’t spent time on a kibbutz, didn’t have experience of the Holocaust, and while he loved Tel Aviv, he didn’t feel it was his subject, that it would have soul. While studying in New York City in 1975 and at a distance from the Middle East, he realized his story was the Alexandria of his youth, a world that was no more. 

Yitzhak Gormezano Goren’s novel 'Alexandrian Summer.'

Chapters Of Introspection

New books that capture the spirit of the holidays.

Culture Editor

These are books unlikely to be on the same shelf, let alone the same bookcase, or in the same home. Some are titles that invoke the spirit of the holidays, whether playfully or subtly or seriously; some are appropriate for these days of introspection in suggesting new ways of seeing. 

Books from left to right; 'Days of Awe', 'Made In Detroit', 'The Point of Vanishing'

Across The Great Divide

Ruth Dayan, Raymonda Tawil and a hard-won friendship amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Culture Editor

The former wife of Israel’s most famous general, and a Palestinian journalist and activist have been talking, meeting, trying to understand each other, fighting, reconciling and laughing together since a chance meeting soon after the Six-Day War.

“A moral meeting point”.Ethel Dizon

Nazi-Jewish Affair Roils Romance Lit World


German thinker Theodor Adorno famously stated that it’s barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz — but he said nothing about romance novels.

The cover of Kate Breslin’s award-nominated novel “For Such a Time.”

Breaking The Color Barrier

New film tells story of Jewish philanthropist who transformed black lives.


Philadelphia — Alex Bethea, the son of cotton and tobacco farm workers, was in sixth grade in 1965 when his family moved from Dillon, S.C., to the tiny town of Fairmont, N.C., where he attended a school called Rosenwald.

Julius Rosenwald with students from a Rosenwald School.   Courtesy of Fisk University, John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library

‘A Kosher Cookbook In The Clothing Of A Memoir’

Brain aneurysm survivor guides the reader through her recovery – the recipes that helped get here there.

Culture Editor

Jessica Fechtor came close to death as a 28-year old when an aneurysm erupted in her brain. At the time, people would offer comments like “Everything happens for a reason,” but she doesn’t believe that. “I think that everything happens and then other things happen. You take what happens and you make something with it. It’s about what we do with it,” she tells The Jewish Week.

In her new memoir, Jessica Fechtor guides the reader through her recovery from a brain injury.

Alice Hoffman’s Impressionist Novel

The mother of the great painter Camille Pissarro is at the center of ‘The Marriage of Opposites,’ set in St. Thomas.

Culture Editor

Covering 30 square miles, the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean is a place of lush beauty, fragrant with jasmine, surrounded by blue-green water. This seeming paradise was a refuge for Jews fleeing the Inquisition, crossing the ocean from Spain and Portugal. Alice Hoffman sets her latest novel “The Marriage of Opposites” (Simon and Schuster) on the island, where a synagogue rebuilt in the early 1800s has a sand floor — even as its walls were covered with fine mahogany and a crystal chandelier was hung in its center — to remind congregants of an earlier time, in other places, when they’d have to muffle the sounds of their prayer gatherings for fear of being discovered.

Alice Hoffman’s interest in strong, Jewish women is reflected in her latest novel. Deborah Feingold

Poodle Skirts And Prejudice

Martha Mendelsohn’s first novel looks at the subtle anti-Semitism at an Upper East Side girls school in the ’50s.

Culture Editor

Martha Mendelsohn’s first novel conjures up a time in New York when a handful of nickels could bring forth a generous slice of lemon meringue pie and steaming strong coffee at the Automat.

In “Bromley Girls,” Mendelsohn draws on her own years at a prestigious Manhattan school. Courtesy Texas Tech University Pres

Joshua Cohen’s Circuit Overload

‘Book of Numbers’ can be dazzling, but his long meditation on being human in the age of computers bogs down.

Special To The Jewish Week

“Ulysses,” it ain’t. And why, you may ask, do I start by saying what this book is not? Because Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers” (Random House), reads like James Joyce’s giant classic — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wordy, to a fault — yes, and dense. But Cohen’s prose is dazzling, often magical. It’s not just the polymathic command of his subject matter — and Cohen is a polymath of art history, and computers, and comparative religion, and seemingly everything else. He is a master wordsmith of wordplay.

The cover of Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers”.

‘To Tell Mizrahi Stories’

Rohr Prize-winner Ayelet Tsabari is a writer on a mission.

Culture Editor

To read Ayelet Tsabari’s stories is to walk right into the living room of an elderly Yemenite grandmother cared for by a young Filipina woman in Rosh HaAyin, or a loud Tel Aviv bar filled with soldiers in varying degrees of off-duty, or to have tea in a backyard garden on an island off Vancouver, where license plates read “The Best Place on Earth.”

Tsabari’s stories are peopled with the children and grandchildren of imigrants from Yemen, Iraq and Morocco.  HarperCollins
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