Monday, May 2, 2016

Sami Rohr Prize 2016

Jewish Book Council is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature:

The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust by Lisa Moses Leff

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Monday, April 25, 2016

But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir

By Raphael Magarik for The Jewish Daily Forward   

But You Did Not Come Back: A Memoir By Marceline Loridan-Ivens
Translated by Sandra Smith

In 2015, more than 7,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel. A Jewish agency think tank began planning for 120,000 more, roughly a quarter of all the Jews in France. Jewish schoolchildren increasingly cannot attend public French schools safely. Under these circumstances, a new French Holocaust memoir cannot help but be a political manifesto. And indeed, Jewish, leftist filmmaker Marceline Loridan-Ivens includes some thoughts on France, anti-Semitism, Zionism and the like in her Holocaust memoir, “But You Did Not Come Back.”

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Monday, April 18, 2016

The Evolution of a Maverick Reform Rabbi

John Moscowitz started out as a New Left activist, then turned to Judaism, then broke with the orthodoxies of his own liberal movement. In a new book, he takes stock.

Martin Krossel for Mosaic

It’s no easy chore to find Reform rabbis who deviate from their movement’s liberal orientation on matters ranging from the revelation at Sinai to the Israel-Palestinian “peace process,” and who are unafraid to say so in public. One of them is John Moscowitz, who throughout his adult life has been out of step with friends and colleagues politically, intellectually, and theologically. His fascinating journey, from radical left-wing activist to outspoken spiritual leader of a 6,000-member congregation in Toronto, Canada, is on display in a recently published collection of his sermons, speeches, and writings entitled The Evolution of an Unorthodox Rabbi.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Seder Stories: Passover Thoughts on Food, Family, and Freedom

By Nancy Rips

Review by Maron L. Waxman for Jewish Book Council

Everybody has a story, especially a family story. At a senior center in Omaha, Nancy Rips began collecting seder stories—personal, funny, instructive, significant, embarrassing. Over the years her collection grew, and in Seder Stories she records the childhood memories of 101 Jews, familiar figures, friends, and the well-known anonymous. Grouped in chapters that speak to various aspects of the seder, the stories are entertaining in their own right; judiciously dropped into a seder, a sprinkling can provide an allowable leaven of laughter or poignancy. A glossary provides translations of Yiddish and Hebrew words and phrases.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

New Book Reviews March 2016

This week's new book reviews at Jewish Book Council:

  • The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration
  • Roman Vishniac Rediscovered
  • The Good and the Good Book: Revelation As A Guide To Life
  • White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between
  • The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial
  • The Sages: Character, Context and Creativity, Vol. IV: From the Mishna to the Talmud

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Monday, March 28, 2016

The Two-Family House: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Review by Evie Saphire-Bernstein for Jewish Book Council
Who is your family? That question is the simmering center of this novel, begging the reader to question so much of what he or she believes. Is it just your immediate family—your brothers, sisters, mother, father? Is it more than that—your cousins, your sisters-in-law, your aunt on your mother’s side? And if your family lies to you, betrays you—are they still your family? And if not, what are they? Who do they become?

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Monday, March 21, 2016

For Harry Houdini's Wife, Love Was Not a Magic Trick

By Julia M. Klein for The Jewish Daily Forward   

Mrs. Houdini By Victoria Kelly

The epigraph of this novel, a fictionalized account of the love story between the escape artist Harry Houdini and his wife, Bess, is a quotation from W.B. Yeats: “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

The Irish poet’s words serve as a warning of sorts: This is not a book for the rationalists among us, given to seeing magic merely as a trick of the mind, a sleight of hand or — as in Houdini’s case — the product of superb physical conditioning and long practice. “Mrs. Houdini” is instead a brief for the mysterious and the unknown, as well as the transcendent, death-defying power of romantic love.

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