Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature - July/August 2017
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries.
Not the kind of book that should be written by a nice Jewish boy, much less by an Orthodox rabbi! The narrative gives voice to the unpretentious recollections of Abraham M Mann, a rabbi’s son, educated at distinguished institutions, with 25 years of rabbinic service. The Five Books reveals the hills and valleys through which the author journeyed. If you appreciate the details of a well-told story, and the humor that arises to make the difficulties in life surmountable, this book is for you.
A disgraced and ambitious New York State Governor has his eye on the White House. Young women from a high-class escort service are murdered. What do the governor’s wife and eldest daughter really know? What are their connections to murders in New York City, Chicago, and Paradise Valley, Arizona? Will a popular New York crime reporter, a retired Detroit detective, and a woman imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital, find the killers before it’s too late? An explosive story of politics, religion, and murder that will keep readers guessing until the very last page…Or is the end just the beginning?
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!
“He sheds light on everyday life in ways that celebrate a thriving Jewish community.”—Rabbi Tamar Grimm. “His stories connect on a level where most people live—in the day-to-day, where small decisions, good and bad, reveal a person’s quality, morality, and, finally, what or who is loved.”—Professor David McFarland.
76 stories, 372 pages. $20 at Amazon.com.
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.
“The unifying theme of Why We Remain Jews is the beauty of the Jewish religion [and] why adherence to Judaism is so tenacious. Very highly recommended for students of Judaism, [for] both community and academic libraries.”–Midwest Book Review. “…valuable and wise reflection of Jewish history and Jewish survival.”—Rabbi David J. Wolpe. “A welcome, warm-hearted book that provides inspiration and amusement.”—Michael Medved.
Paperback, Kindle, hardcover. Available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, etc.
“Magnificent… a novel of epic proportions that tells of three strong women, a nun, a rabbi and a minister as they face the struggle for legitimacy and recognition…”—Rabbi Stephen L. Fuchs. A Catholic Sister wants to become a priest. One of the first women rabbis and one of the first women Presbyterian pastors must choose between their lovers and their careers. When the three attend a dinner to receive an award, each recalls fifty years of her life and journey to forge a path-breaking career and find her voice, and each makes the decision that will forever change her life.
Life-long friends Naomi, Miriam and Becky are approaching middle age gracefully, and are content—despite a few hot flashes and mood swings—until life tosses each woman a crisis and a dusty discovery delivers a potentially lethal blow to their friendship. While two of the women fight to save the relationship, one desires nothing more than its demise.
Available in print and e-book at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and independent bookstores.
Genesis and Exodus come to life with Hebrew illustrations and commentary from a Reform Jewish perspective. Genesis & Exodus: 36 Stories is an ideal curriculum for Hebrew school — or as a gift for anyone with an interest in the Torah.
Full-color illustrations, 120 pages. $19.99, Amazon.com.
“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.
Part of the Jewish Book Council Author Tour. From the mansions of Chicago’s North Shore to the European capitals of Paris and Berlin, from WWII to the present day, this compelling historical fiction follows a beautiful Impressionist painting and a young love diverted by the Nazis. From a world torn by the horrors of war, a love story emerges that endures through years of separation.
In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.
Hardcover, 256 pages. To order, visit penguinrandomhouse.com.
Welcome back to Brownsville, an old Jewish neighborhood once called the “Jerusalem of America.” There is information about the hundreds of synagogues, the original Fortunoff’s store on Livonia Avenue, and some of most notorious Jewish gangsters known as “Murder, Incorporated.” There are over 200 vintage photographs in this exquisite coffee-table hardcover volume.
Send $50.00 (plus $5.00 shipping) to Israelowitz Publishing, P.O.Box 228, Brooklyn, NY 11229. (718) 951-7072; www.israelowitzpublishing.com.
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.
Chava, the Jewish daughter of a royal tutor, vowed to be true to her friend Cleopatra always. But after they argue, she is ripped from her privileged life and sold into slavery. Now, alone in Rome, she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will.
Trade Paper, 384 pages, $15.99. Available at bethanyhouse.com, your local bookstore, or by calling 1-866-241-6733.
How Germany’s Weimar democracy became the Third Reich – a cautionary tale for today. Historical fiction based on the true story of Ernst Techow, a young fascist assassin responsible for the 1922 murder of the highest-ranking Jew in Weimar Germany, Walther Rathenau. Rathenau’s mother’s letter, read at Ernst’s trial, offering forgiveness, becomes the fulcrum of his redemption. 13 book awards. A suspenseful and tender love story.
Available from bookstores, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, e-book (Kindle, Nook, iBook).
Rose Rabinowitz has spent her life burdened by a deep sense of guilt, and a history of failed relationships. Then Abe Stolper appears—a shy, introverted scientist with his own dark secret. As Rose and Abe come to trust one another, they begin a painful journey toward love and redemption.
Available on Amazon.com.
Maggie battles an enemy she cannot escape—her own brain. Her family calls her a drama queen, and her fiancé moves out. The only way to get him back—control her moods. She takes the step her family is against: therapy.
Diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, she begins a journey that reveals hidden relatives and spawns a fear that her fiancé will never return.
Available on Amazon.com.