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Jewish Community Library

Jewish literature takes a turn toward adventure in two recent novels

One does not conventionally turn first to Jewish literature to satisfy a thirst for adventure stories. Nevertheless, the past few weeks have seen the publication of two notable picaresque novels, both set in the European past, portraying Jewish protagonists on the move in a violent world....

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Family histories open new windows on historical events

What makes books on family history so compelling for me is that they offer a fresh and personal lens on historical events while simultaneously illustrating how historical circumstances have a profound impact on the development of people and their descendants....

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‘The Lost Shtetl’ and ‘The Orchard’: 2 new novels of Jewish culture shock

‘The Lost Shtetl’ and ‘The Orchard’: 2 new novels of Jewish culture shock Books coverage is supported by a generous grant from The Milton and Sophie Meyer Fund. For those attuned to the Torah reading cycle, one of the striking aspects of the Genesis narratives is that the characters are…...

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Gripping memoirs by writers who aren’t exactly famous

Gripping memoirs by writers who aren’t exactly famous – J. Books coverage is supported by a generous grant from The Milton and Sophie Meyer Fund. We tend to gravitate toward the memoirs of public figures whose lives are already of significance to us. However, as in the case of two…...

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What became of Queen Vashti? One Bay One Book program tackles ‘The Book of V.’

Whither Vashti? One Bay One Book program tackles ‘The Book of V.’ The Jewish Community Library has chosen Anna Solomon’s new novel “The Book of V.” for its next One Bay One Book program, a popular, community-wide offering served up annually by S.F.-based Jewish LearningWorks. Published in May, Solomon’s third…...

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New Israeli novels explore the weight of memory

New Israeli novels explore the weight of memory – J. Memory informs every aspect of Jewish existence. The late historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, who argued that Jews have always privileged memory over history, posited that “it is possible to see Judaism itself as a technology of memory, a set of…...

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On the Riviera, in Bolivia … Jewish historical fiction that travels

On the Riviera, in Bolivia … Jewish historical fiction that travels – J. Two new coming-of-age novels set against memorable geographical and historical backdrops remind me of what I especially value in reading historical fiction: the opportunity to learn about times and places beyond the circumstances of my life. Achilles…...

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Secrets kept, secrets revealed as the main character dies in two debut novels

Secrets kept, secrets revealed in two debut novels Books coverage is supported by a generous grant from The Milton and Sophie Meyer Fund. When somebody close to us dies, we cannot predict the shadow that the loss will cast. Two new debut novels explore the aftermath of losing a loved…...

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