Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature – May/June 2020
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
Overcoming two years of bureaucratic hurdles, four siblings flee Europe in February 1940. However, the youngest brother’s pursuit of his American dream is interrupted. Not yet a citizen, he’s inducted into the army and chooses to serve in the infantry to defend his newfound American freedom, champion the honor of his people, and save the family he left behind. Small serendipities repeatedly safeguard him. His courage, kindness, and optimism will inspire you. Documented by extensive primary sources, this memoir precedes an upcoming, remarkably comprehensive, special online collection of correspondence, documents, photos, and artifacts at the US Holocaust Museum (ca. 2021).
Available on Amazon.com.
“What a sweet and wise book!” – Alan Morinis, founder, The Mussar Institute. This heartwarming memoir explores Mussar, the practice of Jewish ethics, through a woman’s lens with inspiring stories about a grandmother and her grandchildren, adopted from China and Ethiopia. Each chapter offers humorous, relatable anecdotes about soul traits like gratitude, courage and compassion. Journal prompts provide the reader with an opportunity for self-reflection.
Available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com.
When their marriage – and their Victorian home – go up in flames, a couple must face the charred remains of both. But did the fire rob them of their past or free them from it? The novel draws on the biblical tale of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who is portrayed as a woman of fierce independence and unbridled sexuality. The protagonist sees his wife as his “Lilith” – until he unearths the tragic roots of her fervor. A love story like no other. “With prose that is insightful and slightly mystical, Golan questions the impossibility of happiness.”- Kirkus Reviews
With over 90 recipes and amazing photography, this new kosher cookbook is a collection of traditional Middle Eastern entree recipes handed down from mother to daughter for generations. Like her first cookbook, Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads, the genesis for Backyard Kitchen came from Esther Salem, Sarina’s Syrian grandmother, who came to America as an immigrant in 1921, and could not read or write. Esther supported her seven children with a catering business housed in the garage located in her backyard. Also enjoy Sarina’s blogs, the Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine iPhone app and tips at sarinassephardiccuisine.com.
Available on Amazon.com.
This first comprehensive history of the Jews of Florida from colonial times to the present is a sweeping tapestry of voices spanning centuries. Despite not being officially allowed to live in Florida until 1763, Jews were among the earliest settlers and integral to every area of development and the common welfare—while maintaining their heritage to help ensure Jewish continuity. This rich narrative—accompanied by 716 images, most rarely seen—is the result of three-plus decades of grassroots research by the author, giving readers a unique look at the long and crucial history of the nation’s third-largest Jewish community.
$60. Hardcover, 8.5” x 11,” 434 pages. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated guide to the earliest Mah-Jongg sets and Mah-Jongg play in the U.S. It encompasses the geography, history, Jewish contribution and Mah-Jongg’s exceptional importance in 1920s popular culture. The book includes game components and their functions in actual play. The various 1920s sets are detailed and illustrated for their boxes, tiles, dice, wind discs, counters, instruction booklets, racks, and tables. This welcome book fills a gap and is sure to be appreciated by countless Mah-Jongg players and collectors.
Softcover 101 pages, 8 1/2″ x 11″, Available on Amazon.com $24.99; Kindle $12.99.
In 1939 Leah, her parents and sister leave Hamburg and sail to Cuba aboard the Saint Louis, a ship full of Jews trying to escape from the Nazis. Upon arrival in Havana, the government returned them to Europe. Leah watches how all her dreams, her family and her violins aspirations fade away. Holocaust memories will haunt Leah, along with the tattooed numbers in her arm.
230 pages – available at Amazon.com.