Guide to Jewish Literature Sept/Oct 2022
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
Inspired by a real-life incident. When a favorite teacher gives an assignment requiring students to pretend they’re Nazis and debate the Final Solution, two brave teens speak up and refuse to participate. The situation explodes, forcing the school and larger community to confront antisemitism and bigotry. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail? Find out in this riveting, fast-paced, multi-award-winning novel.
Available in hardcover, e-book, paperback, and audio wherever books are sold. Free curriculum guide through Penguin Random House. Liza will speak to Hadassah chapters, synagogues, schools, and other groups. Visit lizawiemer.com for more information.
A musical story celebrating and honoring the special relationship between grandparents and a grandchild. This new re-designed hardcover edition features fresh lyrics, a toe-tapping memorable melody and colorful illustrations that mirror moments of joy this special bond brings. Use the digital download code printed inside the book to download the song. Reading, listening and singing together, will create memories that will last a lifetime!
Available from www.elaineserling.com. 800-457-2157; $19.95 + $3 shipping.
“Fast paced with an original, exotic setting, HIP SET is an unstoppable read from first page to last.” Faye Kellerman, best-selling author. A noir thriller set in modern-day Tel Aviv, HIP SET begins with what appears to the police to be a simple murder but swiftly takes our heroes through the hidden lives of Sudanese refugees and the violent underground economy of Russian gangsters, in search of an ancient mystery, lying untouched in the desert for millennia, that has been troubling scholars since it first appeared in the Old Testament itself.
Days are bad in the Great Depression of the 1930s. But for little Willie Mittleman and the Mittleman clan in their Bronx, NY neighborhood, life is still good, proving that laughter and love will always be the lifesaving forces to rescue us from adversity and pain. A big-hearted gem. Funny, touching and insightful. For readers of all ages.
Available on Amazon.com.
Palestine – 1944. Gold Dust Magazine, London: “… refuses to demonize or propagandize … fast-paced … vivid … you won’t find a dull paragraph in this work.” Despite her love for Amos, Tonia longs to flee Palestine, not sharing her father’s confidence that: “the world that has trampled us into the dust will someday wonder at – and no doubt resent – our strength. The strength into which our mad illusions will forge themselves. Would you, with the Gentiles, believe that we’re too weak, too unworthy, to seize for ourselves a common destiny?”
Available by e-book and Amazon.
Illustrated by Tammie Lyon. “It’s much too soon for dreidels. The shofar has been blown. But look—Sukkot is coming! Let’s eat—say yes by phone.” Shelley and Jimmy help to build and decorate a sukkah, prepare a holiday lunch, and handle four unexpected (green) guests with care. A mitzvah, a lost tooth, and a note from the tooth fairy add warmth and charm to this rhyming tale. Includes a glossary, an “All About Sukkot” page, sheet music, and recipes. $12.95 (paperback); $19.95 (hardcover).
Available online, in bookstores, and here: www.MBPublishing.com/sukkah-doodle-doo.
#1 NEW RELEASE ON AMAZON! BE SAVAGE, NOT AVERAGE! POW! Not your grandkid’s comic book! Real-life daughters of Holocaust survivors morph from real housewives into superheroines to battle antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and Holocaust denial from the halls of Congress to the local classroom and beyond. Watch these powerful ‘women who do’ kick antisemitism’s a$$! Author of the wildly popular 94 Maidens, Rhonda Fink-Whitman is an approved Hadassah speaker. www.94maidens.com
A family saga set in Poland, Sweden and the U.S., hidden from view for nearly a lifetime, is resurrected through six years of meticulous research as a son struggles to understand the effects of surviving the Holocaust on his parents, himself, his sister and future generations. He uncovers startling surprises as we meet two people who discover a complex kinship in the midst of unbearable pain. Kirkus Reviews notes its “engaging readability” and calls Painful Joy “a sweeping and nuanced story of living with the effects of trauma.”
Awake, Awake Deborah! is about a woman coming of age during the tumultuous Iron Age in Israel. As witness to rape, kidnapping, and murder, Devash transforms into Deborah, to help save her people – forging an unusual marriage, and an alliance with an attractive warrior, as she rises to lead her people in a climactic fight.
Buy at lulu.com or Amazon.com.
As the daughter of a powerful man who wielded influence with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Basseva thought she was safe. But without warning, she is arrested, accused of a capital crime, and is thrust into a terrifying world of lies, bigotry, torture, and execution. Expulsion is an historical novel about the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, the Edict of Expulsion, and one woman’s attempt to survive them both. Author is available for book groups and as a speaker; contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Information at www.sherryvostroff.com.
Available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com. Audiobook out soon.
Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the women’s homes that existed during World War II, when thousands of babies were taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. In Cradles of the Reich three women’s fates are irrevocably intertwined and their stories prove that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn’t know we had within us.
In this biography, Pnina Lahav re-examines the life of Golda Meir through a feminist lens, focusing on her recurring role as a woman standing alone among men. The Only Woman in the Room is the first book to contend with Meir’s full identity as a woman, Jew, Zionist leader, and one of the founders of Israel, providing a richer portrait of her persona and legacy.
Purchase at press.princeton.edu.
An intimate look at the awe-inspiring president of Ukraine—Volodymyr Zelensky, the new hero of the West—through an expansive book of his quotations covering his stance on a wide variety of issues, from acting and climate change to war and peace. A nuanced picture of this man who has enthralled and inspired people around the world, edited by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Rogak and award-winning translator Daisy Gibbons.
Available wherever books and ebooks are sold and at www.pegasusbooks.com.
In this high-interest accessible novel for middle-grade readers, twelve-year-old Elsie plans to dress up as the fierce and smart Queen Esther, who saved all the Jewish people. But when financial hardship and a terrible incident of hate-inspired vandalism threaten not only the party but the synagogue too, Elsie, like Queen Esther, takes action to bring her entire community—Jewish and non-Jewish alike—together.
Purchase at www.orcabook.com/The-Book-of-Elsie.
What if your first love was a forbidden one? Author Felice Cohen, known nationally and internationally as the woman who lived in one of the world’s smallest apartments, reveals her first love three decades later, with a woman 34 years older. In this candid coming-of-age memoir—as compelling as a novel—Felice chronicles the happiness and heartbreak of an age-gap love affair while struggling to figure out the direction of her future. Ultimately, this is a story about navigating life’s unpredictable path while following one’s heart and finding acceptance.
A powerful autobiographical account of the loss of the author’s husband at an early age and how she managed to move forward through her grief. Then when a second chance at romance appears, Goldblum must maneuver blending two families together.
Readers who wish to experience this potent work can purchase “A Young Widow’s Twenty-Year Journey: Navigating the New Normal” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iBooks Store, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Palm Beach’s glorious Breakers Hotel became an army hospital in WWII, where over a dozen babies were born. Passions and fires, both figurative and literal, will forever change the lives of three women whose heartrending journeys weave through the timeline of the resort, beginning with Rebecca, an alluring Russian Jewish immigrant in the 1920’s whose fiance disappears when she follows him to America. A compelling historical fiction tale of love and loss, separations and reunions, guilt and absolution – the story of the American Dream and the power of passion. By the author of Pictures of the Past.
A delightful romantic comedy set in New York City. Sophie’s boyfriend abandons her at a time of crisis. Meanwhile, her widowed mother has become a femme fatale, acquiring a lover on the internet who may be spending all her money. So Sophie sees Dr. Kisselstine, as bland and beige as his office, who nevertheless has the capacity to surprise her and complicate her life. Recovering from a broken heart, Sophie is not alone: her irrepressible mother, two amusing best friends and the enigmatic Dr. K. are with her every step of the way.
This is the largely untold story of unprecedented and improbable partnerships between Syrians and Israelis, sworn enemies, who rose above mutual suspicion and hatred to alleviate terrible suffering. That human story is told against the backdrop of geopolitical obstacles that threatened their work at every turn. This is a guide for anyone who wants to find ways to help, but doesn’t know how to get started.
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and local booksellers.
This is the story of Malkah, when she starts to learn her Aleph-Bet letters and how to read the Torah. As Malkah reads, her questions multiply. These questions take her on a journey deeper into the Hebrew letters, Jewish mystical texts, far-off places, archaeological digs, and ultimately, the nature of existence itself. Told in short verse and coupled with highly evocative illustrations, the book takes readers on a journey through mystical Judaism. Guided by the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, Malkah begins to understand her creation story, and that of the entire universe.
In this gorgeously illustrated, deeply moving picture book, a young girl learns about the practice of sitting shiva after her mother dies. Sitting Shiva is a beautiful, heartfelt story about grief and loss, but also about comfort and community. It shows that no matter what religion you practice, we are all more similar than we are different.
Available from Orca Book Publishers.
The Sun Will Come Out is a funny and heartwarming account of a shy girl’s first summer away from home. When Bea meets a friend named Harry and finds the courage to take part in the camp production of Annie, she learns she really can do anything and that silver linings can be found just about anywhere.
Available from Orca Book Publishers.
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