Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries.
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.
Vibrant non-fiction through fantasy, these new and adapted stories by leading authors, storytellers and educators are inclusive for gender, family structure and the full spectrum of Jewish life and learning. Reveals the soulful essence of inclusive, mitzvah-centered living. Each tale is paired with a stimulating Study Guide for reflection, discussion and action. Forty-three stories reveal the nourishing spirituality of Jewish values and are designed for reading and retelling across the generations.
Reclaiming Judaism Press. Quality paperback, 336 pp. $19.99. Available through all major booksellers.
Put a spring in your seder. The Joyous Haggadah is a lively cartoon retelling of the story of Passover that is children and family friendly. It covers all the traditional 14 steps of the seder. It’s written in a light, concise, contemporary manner, in English, Hebrew and transliterated Hebrew. It includes songs, games and recipes. The Joyous Haggadah makes the seder enjoyable and meaningful for Jewish and multi-cultural families, and even for those “who don’t know how to ask.”
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!
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.
Second-Night Seder includes chapters from Exodus that tell the story of Moses and the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Also included are blessings and passages from the traditional seder. Enjoy the ritual retelling of the story with colorful illustrations. Less than 30 minutes, from start to finish.
Available on Amazon.
A converso family is in danger of discovery, imprisonment and death. Their grandmother is already in an Inquisition prison. Can they run without their precious abuela? Will they survive? Award-winning author Marcia Fine weaves an historically accurate tale of a crypto-Jewish family living in Mexico City under threat of discovery by the Inquisition. A perilous adventure story from the 17th century when most of the Americas were ruled by the Spanish.
Almost a Minyan, the latest offering from Austin’s Sociosights Press, brings children into the world of a loving daughter and granddaughter whose family stays connected to each other and to the past through sacred ritual. The book is a multi-generational love story for Jewish traditions. In a story that will appeal equally to people familiar with its Yiddish phrases and Jewish traditions and those interested in increasing their cultural understanding, Almost a Minyan subtly handles some of the practices and controversies of modern Judaism. Can women and girls be part of the sacred minyan for public worship?
Available April 4, 2017, $17.99, www.sociosights.com.
Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winner for Best Historical Recipes in the USA. This cookbook/memoir brings to life the culture of Eastern European Jewry and celebrates the courage and resilience of Holocaust survivors through recipes and stories. More than 150 original family recipes—appetizers to entrees, desserts and wine recommendations—and memories with full-color photographs and techniques updated for today’s cooks. Recipes are enriched by priceless remembrances—sweet, bitter and bittersweet—placing the food in the context of the rich Jewish life before the Holocaust. Inspire your family memories and traditions, and bring the mouthwatering food of yesterday to your table today!
The Book Thief has become a modern classic. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing, when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with friends. Told from Death’s point of view, this is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, and grief—and the way that all those contradictions can exist together during war.
“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.
Every Jew’s doing yoga. Avrum, whose business is <em>shvach</em>; Essie, today’s bubbe; Suri, whose Jewish identity grows on an organic farm; and Daniel Aaron who’s in recovery, into meditation, and loves Israel. Follow these Neshama Guides’ journey through Yiddische Yoga. It’ll make you laugh. And plotz a little.
High-quality trade paperback, full-color illustrations. $12.95 US/$14.95 CAN. Order at www.benyehudapress.com/books/yiddische-yoga/.
Two cultures collide in a timeless tale of faith, passion and love. Daniella, a Conservative Jewess, wants to become a cantor. Adam, a Hasidic jeweler, questions his isolated lifestyle. Benny, a diner owner, tries to help the two become a couple. Amid a slew of tough choices and opposition, all three confront family, community and prejudice for the sake of love. People of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds will enjoy this modern-day Romeo and Juliet love story.
The Daily Diner, along with M. Marmer Verhoeff’s novel, When Fishes Love Doves, is available at Amazon.com, Amazon Kindle and BarnesandNoble.com.
The Shoemaker’s Daughter brings to life a vanished world, vividly created, where gentiles and Jews lived together in uneasy proximity, and yet occasionally found themselves collaborating for practical purposes. “Block illustrates not only the selfish calamity of the war, but also the hard, unsentimental love that takes root in such a setting….An engaging story of love in the worst of circumstances.”—Kirkus Reviews.
Available for purchase on Lulu and Amazon.
This unforgettable story has touched millions of readers around the world and is now available in a deluxe illustrated edition featuring illustrations by acclaimed artist Oliver Jeffers. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas tells the story of the power of friendship in the face of tragedy. Bruno, the son of a Nazi commander, finds a boy on the other side of the fence at a concentration camp, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
A New York Times Best Illustrated book, The Tree in the Courtyard tells the beautiful story of the tree outside of Anne Frank’s window. The tree died the summer that Anne Frank would have turned eighty-one, but its seeds and saplings have been planted all over the world, including many locations notable in the quest for freedom and tolerance. The Holocaust can be a difficult topic to introduce to young readers, but this powerful picture book imaginatively focuses the discussion on a wise, loving tree that symbolizes peace.
Anna and the Swallow Man tells the story of Anna, who is just seven years old when the Germans take her father during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. Soon she meets the Swallow Man, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. This moving novel deals with the tragedy of the Holocaust by weaving in elements of fairy-tale and magical realism. Readers who loved The Book Thief will fall in love with this beautiful and unique story.
“This book is a beacon of light and a touchstone for the timeless values of leading a purposeful life.”—From the Foreword by Senator Joseph Lieberman. Through a unique blend of storytelling, practical exercises, and profound wisdom, Rabbi Daniel Cohen will teach you seven transformative principles to reverse engineer your life so that you are living with purpose and passion, so that the person you are today more closely aligns with the person you aspire to be.
For more info and ordering, visit www.whatwilltheysay.com.
The “Charlie” Series ~ A Saga that Spans Four Continents! #1 in The Charlie Series “Smith’s books have the pace and heat of Jacqueline Susann and the style and sophistication of Dominick Dunne.”Charlotte (Charlie) is struggling to cope with the loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown, and the discovery that she’s now penniless. Fortunately, Raul, an admiring young attorney, offers assistance, leading Charlie to embarks on a journey that leads to distressing truths, crimes great and small and a diabolical villain.
#2 in The Charlie Series “…a brilliant book that will take you around the world and back making you anxious for more!”—Reflections of a Bookworm. All the twists, suspense, danger, crime and sizzle that kept readers of Exceeding Expectations turning the pages are back in Paradise Misplaced! Charlie has been viciously pushed off a subway platform. Jack is in Buenos Aires romancing his next wealthy wife, and a roughhewn farmer is relentlessly pursuing Naomi. On three continents, with thousands of miles separating them, will Charlie, Jack, and Naomi meet?
#3 in The Charlie Series At turns suspenseful, surprising and sizzling hot. “This is one of those books that is hard to put down. In fact, I stayed up way too late several nights reading this one.”—booktalkswithcharla.blogspot.com.