Guide to Jewish Literature - March/April 2023
A selection of books to entice any reader. Everything from novels to nonfiction, memoirs to mysteries, cookbooks to kids’ books.
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.
In this innovative and insightful book focused on the relationship between humor and American Jewish practice, Jennifer Caplan calls us to adopt a more expansive view of what it means to “do Jewish,” revealing that American Jews have turned to humor as a cultural touchstone. Jewish humor operates as a system of meaning-making for many. By mapping humor onto both the generational identity of those making it and the use of Judaism within it, new insights about the development of American Judaism emerge. Caplan’s includes the work of Joseph Heller, Larry David, Seinfeld, the Coen brothers films, Broad City, and others.
184 pages; paperback ($36.99) and hardcover ($94.99) editions available. Order at wsupress.wayne.edu or by calling 800-978-7323.
Keeping kosher has never been more delicious. This exciting cookbook features 150 fun and flavorful kosher recipes inspired by dishes from around the world. Homemade Chili Crisp, Miso Matzo Ball Soup, Kishke Corndogs, Tahdig Toast, Cauliflower Kasha Varnishkes, and Brownie Bar Hamantaschen, to name a few. From quick weekday meals to unfussy holiday fare, family and friends will always be coming back for more.
Available wherever books are sold. Learn more.
From Jennifer Rosner, National Jewish Book Award finalist and author of The Yellow Bird Sings, comes a novel based on true stories of children displaced in the wake of World War II. What happens when the war ends and the children are wrenched from what they long considered their families? Or when the people who saved them refuse to let them go? Called “lush, transportive, and heartbreaking” by Kristin Harmel and heralded a “tour-de-force” by Kate Quinn, Once We Were Home raises wrenching questions of belonging and identity, good intentions and unforeseen consequences, and what it means to find home.
A biography of Henny Fletcher Aronson who survived the German invasion of Lithuania, the Kovno Ghetto, the Stutthof concentration camp and a death march. Be with Henny as she lives through the German atrocities and see her loved ones destroyed by the Lithuanians as well as the Germans. Henny’s story is one of courage, hope and the will to live. Hopefully, her story will inspire those in dire conditions and remind us of what we as humans are capable of doing.
Available in hard cover, soft cover, and audio at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
The year is 1937 in the first pages of this intriguing World War II novel, an important year for Henry Rebbenoff. He hopes to be hired as the new Cantor of Temple Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina and he meets the lovely southern Jewish belle Ada Tobias. As war comes America’s shores, Cantor Henry must make decisions that will affect him and his family. Does he make the right choices? Journey over the years with Henry through this beautifully written novel.
“Deeply inspirational. A poignant account of growing up in Iran”— Jewish Book Council. From the labyrinth of narrow alleys in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar to a Jerusalem Hadassah Hospital ward, this unforgettable memoir portrays the complicated love among mothers and daughters and the hardships and tenacity of Jewish life in Iran and a newly independent Israel. A polio diagnosis in 1940’s Iran condemned Minou to a lonely fate as a spinster. She defies prejudice and charts her own path to freedom. Minou’s story will move anyone who has braved the unknown and kept on walking.
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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. Now available in Spanish, as Judaismo y Cristianismo: Un Contraste.
Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in hardcover, paperback and in all e-book formats.
Once called “Manhattan’s Bedroom” famous comedians, actors, physicians, scientists and business leaders called this diverse neighborhood in the shadow of LaGuardia Airport, “home”. They 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.
A cartoon haggadah that follows the traditional steps of the seder. Written in a concise, contemporary style, it includes songs, games, recipes and prayers in English, Hebrew and transliterated Hebrew. It makes the seder fun and meaningful for family, guests and even for those “who don’t know how to ask.”
Softcover, 48 pages. Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, $11.95.
This art filled book, not only contains the entire traditional Hebrew text for use at a Passover seder, it has a new gender neutral translation, that is easy to read and to follow. With more than 80 collages to adorn and interpret the text, there are also useful commentaries to share. No teen need be bored at a seder again. Bringing someone unfamiliar to seder? Transliterations of basic prayers and Dayenu are included to help non-Hebrew readers participate. Ramaz graduate Marbach, who lives in England, has produced a stunning, fascinating and user-friendly seder companion.
“A masterpiece of love and survival” – James Carroll (Constantine’s Sword). “A gripping page-turner… as dramatic and powerful an account of the Holocaust era as a reader is likely to find.” Chris Leppek – Intermountain Jewish News. The Štaub family; Irene, Frici, and young son Oskar, citizens of Prešov, Slovakia, flee into the forbidding Tatra mountains in the winter of 1944. Young Osi finds the courage and resiliency to cope with physical and emotional challenges far beyond his years.
Saga of Generations is a family story of Jewish people, some who escaped the horrific murderous ways of Russia taking place in 1818, going through generations over four continents, including the World War 1. This book includes love, lust, and heartache. Read and you will feel that each of these characters are part of your family.
Available on line from Barnes & Noble, Amazon & e-books.
Embark on a journey today through 18 timeless stories from the Book of Genesis. Enriched by colorful illustrations, the text also features key phrases in the Hebrew. Learn about the context of these ancient stories – their Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Canaanite roots. Discover the connection across the millennia between these stories and the practices of Jews today. “I look forward to using this book in my Jewish Literacy courses, for both teens and adults.” – Rabbi Evette Lutman, Temple Beth-El, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The Book of Genesis is available on Amazon. See also its sequel, The Book of Exodus.
In 1661, Jacinta flees Madrid, vanishing with an awful secret. Three centuries later and a continent away, Rachel discovers old papers hidden away. As she reads, a tragic secret generations old unfolds, revealing both the reason for the flight so long ago, and the meaning of her own mother’s enigmatic dying words. Winner or finalist for awards in the categories of Best New Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Literary Fiction.
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