Hadassah Magazine's Guide to Jewish Literature – May/June 2021
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
Kings, pirates, conspiracies of wives; scenes of Tiberias, Acco, Malta all woven together when beautiful Tamar of Aleppo and the King of Galilee cross paths. Daher el Omar, 18th century Bedouin king, rebuilds the Galilee and invites Jews to return to the land of their forefathers. Tamar must choose. Will she reciprocate the King’s feelings, or will she flee, to preserve her Jewish identity?
Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Book Depository in paperback and as an e-book.
Strivings is the autobiography of a man who has tried to bring Jewish values to a life of public service and healing. Written as a testament for family, this is important reading for anyone striving to live a life of concern for social justice.
Paperback, 201 pages. Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kindle.
Commentary’s poetry captures the perspective of Columbus author, educator, and Jewish musician, Barbara Dowell, as she reflects on her life experiences. Her interactions with family, friends, teaching, performing and religious affiliation colored her life. Her third book of poetry relates warm childhood memories, the role fate played in meeting her husband, presenting the funny side of motherhood, sharing stories that are easy to relate to and uplifting to read. While the book speaks about her life experiences, readers will identify and find themselves within the pages of the book.
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
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.
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.
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.
This diverse neighborhood in the shadow of LaGuardia Airport, once called “Manhattan’s Bedroom.” Famous comedians, actors, physicians, scientists and business leaders once called it “home,” played stickball in its streets and handball in its schoolyards. The roster of alumni includes comedians John Leguizamo and Don Rickles, NASA scientist Dr. Willey Ley, shock jock Howard Stern, actor Mercedes Ruehl, rock musician Gene Simmons of KISS – and me, Cary Silverstein! Join me as I share stories of my youth, my family, and why growing up in Jackson Heights had such a profound impact on my life and the lives of my friends.
Torn Lilacs is an amazing true story of love, defiance and hope, a must read. Released to rave reviews, readers call Torn Lilacs, “an epic 20th Century odyssey, a page tuner, riveting” and Fela, my mother, a heroic literary figure for our times. Story takes place primarily in Siberia and Kazakhstan, an unbelievable story.
Two women living 300 years apart are bound by mysterious circumstances. Twenty-first century Hanna keeps uncovering evidence left by 17th century Jewess Anna. Both experience romance, adventure, and tragedy as the reader witnesses them becoming more and more connected.
From Brandeis University Press, with an introduction by Joe Lieberman and an afterword by Megan McCain. “Lieberman’s new memoir is a candid, thoughtful, and moving account of her journey from warshattered Czechoslovakia to the heights of US politics. Its pages capture Hadassah’s love of family, respect for tradition, and deep devotion to her adopted country.”—Madeleine K Albright. “Drawing on both her personal and familial experiences, Lieberman has written a moving and insightful memoir.”—Henry A Kissinger.
HBI Series on Jewish Women, Cloth $27.95.
A feel-good read for troubled times. A Jewish day school director shakes up and unifies the community. “This …will sing to your soul…read this, absorbing its hauntingly beautiful melody in its message.” BookReviewCrew. “… profoundly funny meditation on how one can find strength in religion.” Kirkus. “Smart, humorous, and socially conscious… Dazzling.” Prairiesbookreview.
E-book 99 cents on Amazon.
From the author of Murder in the Kollel. The ultra-Orthodox sleuths – Shimon Lincoln and Dafna Lachler – once again use their sechel to catch the culprit responsible for killing a local rabbi. Earned 5 Stars from Reader’s Favorite and Heidi Slowinski reviews. The Jewish Press review “… a good kosher read … The Kosher Butcher delivers.”
“Wise and ebullient.” – Dwight Garner, The New York Times. The first definitive biography of Richard Avedon, who struggled against anti-Semitism in his early life to eventually become the monumental photographer of the twentieth century, from award-winning photography critic Philip Gefter. Includes more than 40 photos of Avedon at work and on the town.
Hardcover, 672 pages. To order, visit the Harper Collins website.
Gospel writers had Roman Governor Pilate asking Jewish peasants what he should do with Jesus. Later Gentiles inserted punctuation into punctuation-free Ancient Greek to blame Jewish peasants for Rome’s crucifixion. Original: THEYCRIEDCRUCIFY
HIMPILATESAID… Here’s later Gentile writers’ anti-Semitic spin: “THEY CRIED, ‘CRUCIFY HIM!’ PILATE SAID…” “They” meaning “Jews.” Here’s Truth: “THEY CRIED. ‘CRUCIFY HIM!’ PILATE SAID.” It was Pilate, not weeping Jews, who yelled out “CRUCIFY HIM.” The tragic racial-religious prejudice their switching a ‘comma for a period’ (after “CRIED”) has created, is mind-boggling.
Paperback $15, Kindle $ 4.99. Amazon.com.
“Truly thrilling.” —Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow. A suspenseful, shocking, and at times gut-wrenching true story of one man’s search to find a missing person in Syria over twenty tense days. As hope dwindles with each passing minute, author Daniel Levin navigates the power dynamics of the Middle East and the true cost of our forever wars.
Hardcover, 288 pages. Available wherever books are sold. $26.95.
“A magisterial and provocative study of the origins and early history of the modern Jewish revolutionary consciousness.”—Daniel B. Schwartz, author of The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image. “Professor Jonathan Israel is one of the most distinguished and prolific historians of early modern Europe.”—Reviews in History.
Hardcover, $39.95. Available for sale online at uwapress.uw.edu, by calling (800) 537-5487, or by visiting your favorite bookseller.