Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature – November/December 2019
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
Highly acclaimed book teaches creative ways to experience interactions between Jewish thought and the impact of new technologies on contemporary life. Demonstrates how smartphone photography and social media can reveal and share spirituality in everything we do. Since it speaks about Judaism in the language of today’s digital culture, you should buy this book for yourself as well as for your children and grandchildren.
Available on Amazon and other Internet booksellers.
This description of the values-based Relational Judaism change process at Temple Shalom in Naples, Florida, is a “how-to” book. It provides details of the many projects undertaken to bring about this change in culture. Also included are a readiness checklist, some marketing materials, and some carefully constructed letters to the congregation. One chapter is devoted to the values-based change from a standard dues system to a voluntary pledge system. Temple Shalom’s remarkable growth in the five years of this change process (46% increase in membership!) is testimony to the need for such a transformation in today’s Jewish community.
Paperback, 208 pages. Available on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com ($17.95)
See the year through Jewish eyes! Now in its sixth year, THE JEWISH EYE wall calendar features unique paintings and thought-provoking captions by D. Yael Bernhard, inspired by Torah, Israel, Diaspora, and holidays. Grids include Hebrew and secular calendar for 5780 (September 2019 through September 2020); candle-lighting times; weekly Torah portion and Jewish holidays in Hebrew and English; and major secular holidays.
Finalist, 2018 National Jewish Book Awards in Debut Fiction, Goldberg Prize. A literary novel that explores love, war, mystery, magic, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Available as paperback, e-book, or audiobook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or select independent book stores, www.deborahgaal.com.
“Extraordinary” and “Vibrant”—Jewish Book Council. Every branch of Judaism is presented with creativity, integrity, and moral imagination—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.
“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 they attend a dinner to receive an award, each recalls fifty years of her life and journey to forge her path and find her voice and each makes the decision that will forever change her life.
In 1905, when Rebecca leaves her shtetl in Ukraine to join Samuel in Milwaukee and Ingrid leaves Norway to become the Picture Bride of Lars, a farmer in North Dakota, by mistake officials at Ellis Island send them to each other’s destination. Lost in alien cultures, they struggle to return to their fiancés. But the love that blossoms between Rebecca and Lars threatens their plans.
From the moment I looked at my sister and saw she had been crying, I knew that something was terribly wrong. I felt numb and completely blindsided. Told from a loving daughter’s perspective, <em>Triangle of My Heart</em> explores three generations of interconnected relationships framed by AML leukemia, chemotherapy, and the subsequent turmoil it created.
Paperback, 237 pages, $18. Available on Amazon.com.
“A laughter-inducing novel of nostalgia and self-discovery…rooted in love, family connections, and comedic dysfunction.” —Foreword Reviews. David Melman is a successful thirty-five-year-old celebrity brander with deep affection for the 1977 Cadillac he inherited from his grandfather. But everyone in his life agrees that he needs some help in the relationship department. When David’s sister, Marcy, suggests a screenwriting class, he tentatively agrees, and readers are treated to the story of Slip and Estelle, David’s grandparents and characters in a real-life soap opera that is Jewish senior living in 1970’s Miami.
Available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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 and Noble in hardcover, paperback and in all e-book formats.
A National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Braided chronicles physician-mother Beth Ricanati’s journey of making challah weekly and learning that through the mixing and kneading, the watching and waiting, she could heal her sense of being overwhelmed. Through three children, living in three cities, seeing over a thousand patients and making over a thousand challahs, Ricanati realized this meaningful ritual is the one of the best medicines to prescribe in our fast-paced world.
Paperback, 184 pages. Available on Amazon.com for $16.95 + shipping and wherever books are sold.
Travel in time to meet a beguiling teenage Jewish girl living in Palestine during the turbulent and pivotal years of its transformation into the State of Israel. Filled with photographic treasures, this translated diary shares a front-line view of history and weaves a tale of the loves and adventures of a generation whose fortitude gave birth to a renewed people.
Softcover, 260 pages. Amazon.com.
Far Eastern Siberia, 1920. After Bolshevik partisans arrest her husband, Luba struggles to keep her young children alive by seeking refuge in pigsties, warehouses and opium dens as she fights for her life. Inspired by author’s family history. Book club favorite. “Thoroughly engrossing, emotionally captivating work.” – Midwest Book Review; “Inspirational…Masterful job.”-Hadassah Programming Director Judy Robins. Author available for speaking engagements.
Available on Amazon.com in print and e-book formats.
Israeli authors. A perfect gift for all seasons. Amusing short stories and poems with thoughtful lessons for those who are forever young. Seasoned with surprising illustrated word characters: Stucker and Unstucker, TooBee or NotTooBee, Think-Outside-Box, Catcher Angel, Freeing Angel and many more.
Available on Amazon.com as paperback ($10.00) and e-book ($7.99).
An intricate tapestry of two young women separated by three centuries but bound by mysterious circumstances. Hanna, a contemporary American, uncovers an ancestral link to Anna Isaac, a Jewess living in 17th century Scotland. In this inter-generational tale, both women experience romance, adventure, and tragedy as the reader witnesses them becoming more and more connected. Author available for book talks. firstname.lastname@example.org
Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Also in Kindle format.
Rachel is a typical American teenager, until she begins to receive divine visions. Her mysterious teacher, Yonatan, has been sent to reveal the ancient Jewish wisdom she’ll need to grow into her gifts. The perfect gift for Bat Mitzvah girls and spiritually seeking teens, The Prophetess explores adolescent anxieties, mystical teachings, promises kept though generations, and how we can grow bigger than we believed possible.
A powerful story about the price of fitting in or speaking out. In the summer of 1958, Ruth’s family moves from New York to Atlanta after her father’s death. Here, Ruth can be Jewish or she can be popular, but not both. When a hate crime rocks the town, she will have to choose between her new life or standing up for what she believes.
Available from Workman.com.
No specialized medical or Jewish knowledge is required to appreciate the fascinating history of medical contributions made by Jewish physicians throughout the ages. Profiles of more than 450 Jewish physicians are divided by region and area of specialization, all within a historical context. A perfect gift for a beloved doctor or medical student.
Urim Publications, 2019, HC, 464 pages, includes hundreds of images.
The Queen & The Spymaster is a fast-paced tale of palace intrigue that tells the story of the unlikely champions of Ancient Persia, and of a thousand-year vendetta that presages modern historical events in Iran and Afghanistan. It is a thrilling novel, telling the biblical Esther story you never knew.
Penlight Publications, 2019, SC, 520 pages.
A unique and exciting approach to making leftovers new again. Boasting a collection of over 120 innovative recipes, this cookbook offers a comprehensive guide of the best, safest, and most delicious ways to use what’s on hand and eat well. To curb her own food-waster’s guilt, Yaffa Fruchter developed creative ways of using available ingredients that will change the way you look at last night’s meals.
Ktav and Urim Publications, 2019, HC, 149 pages.
“During my teaching career I often had students entering the field of medicine and nursing. I would tell them to always remember that they are doing God’s work. Rabbi Dr. Goldstein is such a person, who did God’s work as a chaplain for close to forty years… Rabbis, social workers, physicians, nurses and children with aging parents will want to read this book.” -Rabbi Dr. Norman Strickman.
Ktav and Urim Publications, 2018, HC, 90 pages.
Forthright and frank, yet respectful and sensitive, this book will help couples enrich their marital and sexual lives, and maintain passion and intimacy within the framework of Jewish tradition. I Am for My Beloved conveys essential information about intimacy—with an informative and practical approach. The information provided in this book will enable couples to enjoy a more open and fulfilling intimate connection, both emotionally and physically.
Urim Publications, 2020, HC, 151 pages.
A Jewish family in Nova Scotia, set in the war years of the 1940’s. Eleven-year old Jilly recalls her strong and handsome uncles and the war that scattered them as they fought the enemy thousands of miles away in a broken Europe. The struggles of that time and that place forced her to recall her own family’s past, and has created a pride that will always survive.
Available on Amazon.com,
Good Heart interweaves the stories of a Jewish and a Christian family over three generations. We follow their lives through adulthood, and characters from vastly different backgrounds are pulled together by twists of destiny, drawing them all to one special place: Israel. Good Heart is embedded with gems of Israel’s history and culture, giving nuanced insights through tangible human stories. From an Israeli army base to an Indiana evangelical church, from World War II Austria to the Sudanese desert, exotic locales pepper this adventure with the ultimate discovery that even those who seem worlds apart are all interconnected.
First published serially in 1860, this is the first coming-of-age novel, written and published in English by an American Jewish woman, to depict Jews in the United States and transforms what we know about the history of early American Jewish literature.
$29.95 paper. To order call 800-621-2736 or www.uapress.ua.edu.
“A fascinating and engrossing read, The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter examines questions of trust and loyalty through the dual eyes of a father with a hidden past and a daughter gradually discovering her father’s secrets – and wishing she hadn’t. It’s a story of heartbreak and loss told with humor and grace.”—Rabbi Ilene Schneider, author of the Rabbi Akiva Cohen Mysteries. The story of a Miami woman whose life is endangered when she discovers her father was a member of the Jewish syndicate explores the colorful and precarious life of 1940s and 1950s Jewish gangsters in Miami and New York.
Available on Amazon.com.
Nicknamed the “Miracle Kid” by his concentration camp brethren, Martin Baranek’s memoir of survivial illustrates his undying spirit. From a ghetto, labor camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, death march, Mauthausen and Gunskirchen, Martin continually cheats death. Martin teaches us about resilience, and determination to thrive in spite of a childhood filled with loss and tragedy. Martin has participated numerous times in the international March of the Living, an educational program to study the Holocaust.