Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature – January/February 2021
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
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
Love Always is a comic romance that shows you’re never too old for love and adventure. Ruth and Sam, in their 80’s, in love, but their adult children think they’re too old for such nonsense. This novel inspired by a true story tells how they break free, get married and see the world.
Available for free on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase as an e-book/paperback on Amazon.com.
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.
From the award-winning author of The Dream Stitcher comes Synchronicities on the Avenue of the Saints, a smart blend of magical realism, suspense, romance and wit. Characters from past and present offer allegorical insight on our faltering contemporary world, as they uncover ways to heal both it and themselves.
Paperback and e-book available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent book stores. $5.99 e-book, $14.99 paperback.
“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.
Interweaving mystery and historical research, The Paris Photo reveals wartime traumas rippling into the present. American soldier Ben Gordon assists a Parisian Jewish family just after Liberation in 1944. Decades later, Ben’s daughter finds a photograph of her late father in Paris with unknown women and a boy. Who were they? Why did her father never speak of them? She travels to France to learn, discovering much more than she anticipated. Named one of the “Best Books of 2019” by Kirkus Reviews, The Paris Photo richly depicts the human emotion that pervades our memories of the past.
From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Paris Architect: The life of Prince Markhov of the Imperial Court of Nicholas and Alexandra is changed when he witnesses the aftermath of the 1903 Easter Sunday pogrom. He is shocked by the brutality the Jews must endure in Russia. Does he stand by or fight injustice?
In bookstores and available as an e-book.
Join Andee and her cat, Happy , as they follow their curiosity seeking out a hidden, righteous mystical Lamed Vavnik in their community. On this spiritual quest of self-discovery, Andee practices breathing through her fears and begins understanding her own powers as a Vavnik, using ‘And’ instead of ‘but’. Andee experiences the wisdom of not having to be perfect or needing to agree with everything, and to respond with love and kindness to herself and others. This is two books in one: readers will also enjoy learning with Andee about two Hebrew letters, the Lamed & the Vav.
To purchase call (336) 456-6259. $30.00 plus shipping; thesocietyofthevav.com.
This book reveals a little-known side of Elvis Presley, his deep affinity to Jews, despite growing up in a poor, fundamentalist Christian family in the Deep South. The book contains stories of Presley’s relationships with Jews in Memphis, including merchants and members of his inner circle, and those he met in the music and movie industries. Also provided is evidence of Presley’s Jewish heritage. Hal Lansky of Lansky Brothers, “Clothier to the King,” said, “I have read many articles and books about Elvis. However, none kept me wanting to read and read until I finished the book.”
Available from Amazon.
Imaginary — but true to character — rollicking look at Trump’s attempts to make the Jewish people greater than ever… by naming gefilte the U.S. national fish… swapping Borscht Belt humor with Ukraine’s Zelinsky (“take my wives, please“)… critiquing the Six Commandments (all he might observe)… and making Tisha b’Av fun again.
Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Kirkus Review: “A multifaceted tale of faith and perseverance.” “Compelling reading.” Historical Fiction: The lives of Rabbi Chani and Marc Cohn become tumultuous following a secret mission Marc undertakes for Israel. Concomitantly, Chani is diagnosed with Raynaud’s Disease, and then unearths a family mystery at Yad Vashem. These situations lead the couple on a journey of discovery that culminates with opening a museum in Alaska honoring more than thirty Holocaust heroes, including the Nebraska philanthropist who saved eighty Jewish families from destruction, the group in the Philippines who saved 1,300 Jews, and the teenager who saved 15,000 French Jews.
Paperback 362 pages $12.95; Kindle & ebook -$2.99. Available from Amazon.com and other booksellers .
When matriarch Ida escapes a pogrom in Ukraine determined to save her family, she cannot foresee the struggles of her descendants. Through war, mental illness, secrets and betrayal, each generation’s actions impact the lives of the next. As family members grapple with differences, they discover that loyalty to family anchors them in the world and helps them make a life. A great book club pick.