Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries.
Christian missionaries calling themselves messianic “Jews,” Jews ingratiating themselves to Evangelical Christians for their support of Israel, the overuse of the term “Judeo-Christian” and the increasing use of Jewish rituals in Christian churches are among the factors that blur the lines between Judaism and Christianity. Judaism and Christianity: A Contrast explains, from a Jewish perspective, the irreconcilable differences and mutually exclusive beliefs of the two faiths.
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback and in all e-book formats.
Since George Washington promised Jewish Americans the full privileges and protections of U.S. citizenship, Jews have flourished in America as nowhere else in the world. But has that come at the expense of their Jewish identity? Richard Rubin argues that while most American Jews have been “Americanized,” they continue to be shaped by Jewish history, culture and religion in ways that affect everything from their social attitudes to their child-rearing methods to their voting patterns. This “fusion” of American values with Jewish ones has created a “hybrid” Jewish identity that American Jews must cultivate and pass on to future generations.
Computer nerd Beth, 17, time-travels back to 1945 to accompany her 19-year-old Jewish great-grandfather through the last five months of WWII. She learns about the Holocaust, engages German girls who have survived, and travels to 1945 Ohio to learn about her 18-year-old great-grandmother. She watches with horror as her great-grandfather enters the gates of hell to liberate Dachau concentration camp. As a result, Beth discovers both the insidiousness of hate and the power of love. This book, based on actual letters, presents the Holocaust to a new generation of readers so that it’s not forgotten. Remember and tell…
A book club favorite and finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, this acclaimed memoir of growing up a Turkish Jew in a fortune-telling, belly-dancing family illustrates Sephardic life, the foods, fear of the Evil Eye and the author’s struggle to walk again after polio. Booklist calls it “A joy to read…a profoundly moving memoir.” Now in paperback with Discussion Questions!
Award winning author of Clouds Across the Sun and And So It Was Written. A promise I made to my father led me on a journey into the heart and soul of Judaism. The result is this book, filled with intensely personal stories as I attempt to unlock some of the complicated teachings of Judaism. You will laugh, you will cry, you will question as you are challenged to contemplate the mysteries of Judaism: angels and reincarnation, reward and punishment, good and evil. I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery and wonder.
Available at Amazon.com in print, e-book and audio: read by the author.
In Tel Aviv, under daily missile attack during Operation Desert Storm, when every heart seeks comfort and companionship, complex affairs and a world of crisis bring conflicts of love, betrayal and unforeseen commitments. A young charismatic nurse lives and works by her own code of honor in a strict Orthodox hospital—until one day a married doctor emerges with a campaign of seduction that could endanger her livelihood, reputation and self-respect. “…a powerful first-hand look at what everyday life was like in Israel when most Americans were watching Shock and Awe on the 24-hour news channel.”—Mike Ball, Erma Bombeck award-winning author.
Amusing. Seductive. Stimulating. We’re talking about the Talmud? That’s right. Take 50 actual Talmudic discussions, mix in pithy sayings by luminaries like Mae West, Amy Schumer, George Washington and Gandhi, add a few cartoons, and voilà—best-selling author Maggie Anton reveals how Jewish tradition is more progressive, and more bawdy, than one might think. Delighted and enlightened readers will come away with a new perspective on what the ancient Jewish sages say about our most intimate relationships.
E-book-$2.99, Print-$6.95. www.fiftyshadesoftalmud.com.
These 52 cards convey many of the core spiritual practices of a meaningful Jewish life. Perfect for gifts, reflection and study. Each mitzvah is given in Hebrew and transliteration, inspirational explanation and sources cited. Beautifully illustrated cards match the laminated box (see picture), 2.5” x 3.5”. Dynamic programs also available.
Israel’s heroic biblical women spring to life in Debra Band’s vibrant Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah, illuminated paintings and compelling commentary of the biblical stories of women who stood up to lead at crucial moments and sculpt the eternal character of Israel. Inspiring Bat Mitzvah gift! Dedicated copies available.
“Compelling…engaging…a moving family saga.” Kirkus Reviews. Until her beautiful French mother died and her famous uncle became her guardian, Paige never knew the family history in the Holocaust and the power and passion of the secrets in a hidden diary. A rich tapestry spanning three generations, a young girl’s coming-of-age and a man’s search for a lost love.
The treasured bond between bubbies, zaydees and grandchildren is lovingly shared in Bubbie’s Baby, a musical story of a bubbie, zaydee and grandchild celebrating the joys of exploring the world. This tender tale comes to life through a CD-single/book, featuring a toe-tapping melody and beautiful vocals sung by singer/songwriter/author. Guaranteed to create memories together with sing-along fun!
Available at elaineserling.com and 800-457-2157. $14 plus $2 shipping.
These ten short stories open an intimate window into the lives of a congregation of Jews in Boston. “If I were asked whether there is one single book I would recommend to anyone interested in learning about the world of contemporary American Jews, I would unhesitatingly recommend John J. Clayton’s Minyan.”—Richard L. Rubenstein, Distinguished Research Professor of Religion, University of Bridgeport.
Paragon House. Cover: Paper; 272 pages. $17.95.
Considered the culinary bible of Jewish cuisine, this is an essential book for anyone wanting to sink their teeth into traditional as well as contemporary Jewish cooking. Includes a guide to the major Jewish festivals and provides menu plans for the special occasions.
Hardcover, 208 pages, full-color, $30 + $7 domestic shipping. Available at good booksellers or call 1-800-238-LINK, www.interlinkbooks.com.
Energize your Friday nights, enchant your family’s hearts, souls and modern minds with Debra Band’s new Kabbalat Shabbat: the Grand Unification! Vibrant illuminated paintings of every home and synagogue prayer, custom and song. Poetic translations by Raymond P. Scheindlin and comprehensive new scholarly commentary. Matching bencher available. Exquisite, inspirational gift!
A fascinating look at life after the Exodus! Shira is living at Mount Sinai when her people rebel and begin worshipping a golden calf. In the resulting chaos, she discovers her calling as a midwife. But after the unthinkable happens, can she let go of past pain—and embrace love?
Trade Paper, 352 pages, $14.99. Available at bethanyhouse.com, your local bookstore, or by calling 1-866-241-6733.
Kirkus Reviews: “An accomplished debut novel.” “Goldsmith’s ear for dialogue is superb.” “Payoff is smoothly and confidently orchestrated.” A young female rabbi starting a Jewish community in Alaska encounters a visiting egocentric and narcissistic, recently-widowed Miami Beach cosmetic surgeon who, together with his troubled son, finds redemption and a path back to Judaism, life and love amongst the Frozen-Chosen. Other reviews on Amazon.
ISBN 978-1-5150-9434-0, Softcover, 354 pages. Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon and other booksellers.
A fun book for family sharing from master storyteller Jane Yolen. This beautifully illustrated, creative book folds Jewish folk tales into a cookbook of kid-friendly recipes. Readers of all ages will learn about Jewish culture and cooking, all the while captivated by the humor and wisdom of these enduring stories.
Hardcover, 200 pages, full-color, $25 + $7 domestic shipping. Available at good booksellers or call 1-800-238-LINK, www.interlinkbooks.com.
After the kids leave and the wrinkles arrive; after a career is over and fantasies take its place, what’s a lady to do? Fly to Italy, of course. Dance Me Younger, a new novel by Marilyn Gottlieb, is a humorous take on the need to be validated at any age. This entertaining adventure will make you smile, make you think and perhaps make you appreciate a Jewish mother.
Published by The Crescendo Group. Available at amazon.com and other retailers.