Books

Across The Great Divide

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

08/25/2015
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

08/11/2015

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.

08/04/2015

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.

07/29/2015
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.

07/22/2015
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.

07/14/2015
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.

06/24/2015
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.

05/12/2015
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

Reconciling With Mom

Alice Eve Cohen’s memoir, ‘The Year My Mother Came Back.’

05/05/2015
Culture Editor

Alice Eve Cohen didn’t expect her mother to take center stage in her memoir. But as she was writing about a very challenging year in the life of her family, her late mother seemed to appear, on the page and at the kitchen table.

Alice Eve Cohen’s newest memoir recounts a difficult year in her adult life.  Janet Charles Photos

Volumes Of Remembrance

A sampling of new books about the Holocaust and its aftermath.

04/07/2015
Culture Editor

‘Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope” by Wendy Holden (Harper) is the story of three women transported to Auschwitz while pregnant. Since pregnancy meant immediate extermination, each hid her pregnancy and managed to survive; each didn’t know that the others were also pregnant. All three gave birth at around the same time, in secret, defying death to give their children life. Growing up, these children — all turning 70 this year — came to know one another and have since become “siblings of the heart.” Next month, they will reunite at Mauthausen to commemorate the 70th anniversary of liberation. Holden is a journalist, author and novelist who divides her time between the U.S. and U.K.

The subjects in Holden’s book will reunite next month.
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