The titles listed below, ordered by the author’s last name, are available free of charge to Bay Area book groups through the Jewish Community Library’s Book Club in a Box program. Click on the title for a link to a description, reviews, articles, discussion questions, and other resources. A pdf listing all of the titles with descriptions may be downloaded here. You can also find a listing of the eBooks that may be borrowed by your book group here. Contact us for more information.

S. Y. Agnon: A Simple Story

(Fiction, 246 pp. Hebrew, 1935; English translation, 1985) By no means simple, this quasi-love story and portrait of bourgeois life by the only Nobel laureate to write in Hebrew renders with deft, comic touches the microcosmic inner workings of a small town in Ukraine at the turn of the 20th century.    Guide from the Yiddish Book Center’s Jewish Reader, January 2003 Review by Bezalel Stern, JBooks.com Video session on the book led by Rabbi Jeffry Saks Review by Robert Alter, New York Times Book Review, 12/22/1985 Agnon’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

S. Y. Agnon: To This Day

(Fiction, 177 pp. Hebrew, 1952; English translation, 2008) This comic tale of a Galician Jew who has lived in Palestine, returns to Europe on the eve of WWI and gets stranded in Berlin evolves into a profound commentary on exile, Zionism, divine providence, and human egoism.   Review by Tsipi Keller, Words Without Borders, 2008 Review by Hillel Halkin, Commentary, May 2008 Review by Joshua Cohen, Forward, April 18, 2008 Agnon’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

Naomi Alderman: Disobedience

(Fiction, 240 pp. 2006) Ronit, a thirty-something single lawyer living in Manhattan, reluctantly returns to London after the death of her estranged father, a prominent rabbi, where she must face the small, tight-knit Orthodox community she fled many years ago Discussion Questions from Simon and Schuster.com Review by Lisa Gee, The Independent, February 4, 2006 Review by Haim Watzman, South Jerusalem, July 25, 2008 Review by David Mattin, The Independent, March 12, 2006 Review by Dina Rabinovitz, The Guardian, March 3, 2006 Aida Edemariam interviews Naomi Alderman,The Guardian, February 20, 2006 Cara Wides interviews Naomi Alderman Video Interview (4 minutes) (in English, with Italian subtitles) Links to additional resources

Molly Antopol: The UnAmericans

(Short Stories, 288 pp. 2014) Spanning “the entire Ashkenazi Jewish universe, from New York to Belarus to Israel and Los Angeles,” Molly Antopol’s debut collection explores the link between individual choices and the larger forces of human history, deftly depicting the everyday anxieties of immigrant lives and the intimate links between family and history.  Kirkus Review Review by Tahneer Oksman and discussion questions, Jewish Book Council Review by Dwight Garner, New York Times, March 18, 2014 Review by Carmela Ciuraru, San Francisco Chronicle, February 7, 2014 Review by Meg Wolitzer, NPR, February 12, 2014 Review by Catherine Taylor, Telegraph, July 1, 2015 Review by Tom Zelman, Star Tribune, February 27, 2014 Hannah Gersen Interviews Molly Antopol, The Millions, February 11, 2014 Lauren O’Neal interviews Molly Antopol, The Rumpus, February 17, 2014 Naom Firestone-Teeter interviews Molly Antopol, Jewish Book Council, February 17, 2015 Rich Fahle interviews Molly Antopol, 2014 (8 min. video)

Aharon Appelfeld: The Iron Tracks

(Fiction, 208 pp. Hebrew, 1991; English translation, 1998) Each year, Erwin Siegelbaum takes to the rails for months on end, canvassing the small towns of Austria in quest of Jewish ritual objects that have survived their owners. In an extended monologue related over the course of one such journey, Siegelbaum reveals the memories that haunt him, his growing isolation as fellow survivors die out, and his persistent fantasy of revenge.   Review by Jonathan Rosen, New York Times, February 15, 1998 Review from Kirkus, Dec. 1, 1997 Review by Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 1998

Aharon Appelfeld: Blooms of Darkness

(Fiction, 279 pp. Hebrew, 2006; English Translation, 2010) When the Nazis begin to liquidate the Ukrainian ghetto, a mother leaves her11-year-old son with her best friend Mariana, a prostitute. Confined to Mariana’s room by day and locked in her closet by night, the boy clings to family memories while witnessing Mariana’s depression, alcoholism, abrupt disappearances, and abuse by visiting soldiers.  This haunting coming-of-age novel depicts – with powerfully sparse prose – loss, love, and the resilience of the human spirit.   Review by David Leavitt, New York Times Book Review, March 21, 2010 Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, Forward, March 10, 2010 Philip Roth interviews Aharon Appelfeld, New York Times, February 28, 1988 David Green interviews Aharon Appelfeld, Haaretz, April 5, 2010

Jami Attenberg: The Middlesteins

(Fiction, 288 pp. 2012) After thirty years of marriage in the suburbs of Chicago, Richard Middlestein leaves his wife, Edie, as she awaits surgery to address complications of her excessive eating. It is up to their adult children to attend to the crisis, but nobody is up to the challenge.    Review: Kirkus, April 29, 2012 Review by Susannah Meadows, New York Times, October 24, 2012 Review by Maureen Corrigan, NPR, November 20, 2012 Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, October 23, 2012 Review by Adam Kirsch, Tablet, October 17, 2012 Teddy Wayne interviews Jami Attenberg, Huffington Post, October 22, 2012 Video: “Making Pickles with Jami Attenberg and Jeffrey Yoskowitz” (6 min.)

Ronald Balson: The Girl from Berlin

(Fiction, 352 p. 2019) Dragged into an Italian property dispute, a couple uncover a handwritten memoir by Ada Baumgarten, a young Jewish violin prodigy in Berlin between the wars. Alternating between present and past, the novel involves mur­der, decep­tion, and greed as it offers the beau­ty of music and love, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of redemption. Discussion questions from Ronald Balson Review by Barbara M. Bibel, Jewish Book Council, October 1, 2018 Interview by Elise Cooper, Crimespree Magazine, February 2, 2019

Giorgio Bassani: The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

(Fiction, 200 pp. Italian, 1962, English translations, 1965, 2007, 2011) The classic novel, adapted into an award-winning film by Vittorio De Sica, chronicles the relationships between the young middle-class narrator and the children of a wealthy, assimilated family in the provincial city of Ferrara. The events take place on the eve of WWII, against the background of the anti-semitic legislation and policies of the Italian fascist state. Review by Adam Kirsch, Tablet, January 4, 2012 Essay by John Champagne: “Bassani’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and Italian “Queers”.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 12.1 (2010) Review by Simon Mawer, The Independent, May 12, 2012 Obituary by Jonathan Keates, The Guardian, April 13, 2000

Louis Begley: Matters of Honor

(Fiction, 307 pp. 2007) Henryk Weiss, a young Polish Holocaust survivor, has reinvented himself at Harvard as Henry White. In a world governed by genteel prejudice and strong class values, both Archie and Sam, his non-Jewish roommates, have secrets of their own. Narrated by Sam, this novel probes the inner workings of self-identity, the cost of pursuing external rewards, and thwarted love Discussion questions Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, January 28, 2007 Review by Michael Gorra, New York Times, February 4, 2007 Review by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, January 11, 2007 Review by Steven G. Kellman, Forward, February 23, 2007 Review by Adam Kirsch, New York Sun, January 24, 2007 Review by Harvey Freedenberg, BookReporter.com Review by Rebecca Goldstein, New York Observer , January 29, 2007 Profile by Esther B. Fein, New York Times, April 14, 1993 Profile by Alexandra N. Atiya, Crimson, June 7, 2004

Saul Bellow: Seize the Day

(Fiction, 118 pp. 1956) A day in the life of Tommy Wilhelm, an unemployed salesman who is estranged from his wife and children, is living in a hotel with his cold and disapproving father, and has given his last dollars to a questionable character for speculation in the commodities market.  Bellow’s novella paints a memorable picture of the inner turmoil of a man on the brink.   Reader’s Guide from Penguin Random House Article: “Saul Bellow’s Doctor Adler: The Achieving Medical Father and His Non-Achieving Son” by Solomon Posen, Hektoen International, April 2009 Video interview with Saul Bellow about Chicago in the 1920s (5 min.) 2009

David Bezmozgis: The Betrayers

(Fiction, 256 pp. 2015) The Betrayers spans one momentous day in the life of powerful Israeli politician Baruch Kotler, a former Soviet refusenik. Fleeing to the Crimea in the wake of political pressure and blackmail, he unexpectedly comes face to face with the man who denounced him to the KGB forty years earlier.  In prose that is elegant, sly, precise, and devastating in its awareness of the human heart, David Bezmozgis has created a powerful morality tale for modern times that poses profound questions about ethics and forgiveness. Evoking biblical themes while casting attention to the plight of Jews in both Israel and Ukraine, it is both a timely and timeless book that will provoke lively discussion. Reading group guide and a conversation with David Bezmozgis, produced by Little, Brown and Company Guide to Jewish themes in The Betrayers from the Jewish Community Library A listing from the Jewish Community Library of other books by Russian Jewish resemig The Novel as Writerly Returning: a response to The Betrayers by Rabbi Aubrey L. Glazer of Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco Reviews Arts Fuse by Harvey Blume The Book Reader (video) by Bari Weiss of the Wall Street Journal Boston Globe by Brock Clarke Commentary by Marat Grinberg Fashioning Fiction by Kelsey Manning The Financial Times by Amy Waldman The Guardian by Marcel Theroux Haaretz by Shana Rosenblatt Mauer The Independent by Barry Forshaw J.:the Jewish newsweekly by Lyn Davidson The Jewish Chronicle by David Herman Kirkus Review National Post by Philip Marchand New Republic by Sasha Senderovich New York Times by Boris Fishman The Oregonian by Alexis Burling Publishers Weekly Tabletby Adam Kirsch The Times of Israel by Renee Ghert-Zand The Toronto Star by Emily Donaldson The Wall Street Journal by Sam Sacks Articles by David Bezmozgis and interviews about The Betrayers The Novel in Real Time by David Bezmozgis in The New Yorker, March 2014 Interview with David Bezmozgis in The Observer, August 2014 Interview with David Bezmozgis in The Toronto Star, September 2014 The End of Jewish American Literature, Again in Tablet, September 2014 For David Bezmozgis, Fiction Must Go Far Beneath the Surface by Gal Beckerman in The Forward, October 2014 Suggested Articles, Essays, and Websites Jewish History in Crimea Before Crimea Was an Ethnic Russian Stronghold, It Was a Potential Jewish Homeland in Tablet, by Jeffrey Veidlinger, March 2014 When Jews ‘Colonized’ Crimea, in Virtual Jerusalem, March 2014

David Bezmozgis: The Betrayers

(Fiction, 256 pp. 2015) The novel pans one momentous day in the life of powerful Israeli politician Baruch Kotler, a former Soviet refusenik. Fleeing to the Crimea in the wake of political pressure and blackmail, he unexpectedly comes face to face with the man who denounced him to the KGB forty years earlier.  Evoking biblical themes while casting attention to the plight of Jews in both Israel and Ukraine, The Betrayers poses profound questions about ethics and forgiveness. Reading group guide and a conversation with David Bezmozgis, produced by Little, Brown and Company Guide to Jewish themes in The Betrayers from the Jewish Community Library A listing from the Jewish Community Library of other books by Russian Jewish emigres The Novel as Writerly Returning: a response to The Betrayers by Rabbi Aubrey L. Glazer of Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco Reviews Arts Fuse by Harvey Blume The Book Reader (video) by Bari Weiss of the Wall Street Journal Boston Globe by Brock Clarke Commentary by Marat Grinberg Fashioning Fiction by Kelsey Manning The Financial Times by Amy Waldman The Guardian by Marcel Theroux Haaretz by Shana Rosenblatt Mauer The Independent by Barry Forshaw J.:the Jewish newsweekly by Lyn Davidson The Jewish Chronicle by David Herman Kirkus Review National Post by Philip Marchand New Republic by Sasha Senderovich New York Times by Boris Fishman The Oregonian by Alexis Burling Publishers Weekly Tablet by Adam Kirsch The Times of Israel by Renee Ghert-Zand The Toronto Star by Emily Donaldson The Wall Street Journal by Sam Sacks Articles by David Bezmozgis and interviews about The Betrayers The Novel in Real Time by David Bezmozgis in The New Yorker, March 2014 Interview with David Bezmozgis in The Observer, August 2014 Interview with David Bezmozgis in The Toronto Star, September 2014 The End of Jewish American Literature, Again in Tablet, September 2014 For David Bezmozgis, Fiction Must Go Far Beneath the Surface by Gal Beckerman in The Forward, October 2014 Suggested Articles, Essays, and Websites Jewish History in Crimea Before Crimea Was an Ethnic Russian Stronghold, It Was a Potential Jewish Homeland in Tablet, by Jeffrey Veidlinger, March 2014 When Jews ‘Colonized’ Crimea, in Virtual Jerusalem, March 2014 Photo exhibition on Jewish agricultural colonies and industrial schools in Ukraine and Crimea in 1920s and 1930s from JDC Crimeafrom Jewish Virtual Library Current Events in Crimea Apprehension Grips the Crimean Jewish Community in Haaretz, March 2014 In Crimea, Some Jews Feel Safer After Russian Intervention, from Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 2014 Crimea’s Sole Rabbi Advises Jews ‘Not to Become Targets’ in The Times of Israel, March 2014 Ukrainian Jews Split Over Russian Action in Crimea, in J Weekly, March 2014 Contemporary Russian Jewish Emigre Fiction Russian Jewish American Lit Goes Boom! by Sasha Senderovich, in Tablet, June 2014 The Russification of Jewish-American Fiction by Andrew Furman, in Zeek, April 2008 The Ancestral Faith, With a Side of Salami by Boris Fishman in The Forward, October 2004 The Year of the Former Soviet Author by Yevgeniya Traps in The Forward, December 2014 Forgiveness in Judaism The Limits of Forgiveness by Rabbi Gideon Sylvester in The Jewish Chronicle Ask the Rabbis on forgiveness from Moment Magazine King David Bill Clinton’s “King David Defense” in Monica Lewinsky Scandal in The Forward, October 2014 King David as ‘Collage‘ andKing David, ‘A VProblematic Characterery Problematic Character’ in The […]

David Bezmozgis: The Free World

(Fiction, 354 pp. 2011) In 1978 thousands of Soviet Jews landed in Ladispoli, a way station outside Rome, waiting to secure visas for new lives in the West. Bezmozgis’s debut novel chronicles six months in the lives of three generations of the Krasnansky family as, stuck in Ladispoli, they experience love affairs and hustles, the frustration of dislocation, and feelings of nostalgia and aspiration.    Review by Adam Langer, The New York Times, April 10, 2011 Review by Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times, April 1, 2011 Review by Irina Reyn, Forward, April 8, 2011 Review by Aaron Their, Nation, April 18, 2011 Review by Colin Greenland, The Guardian, April 16, 2011 Review by Juliet Lapidos, Slate.com, March 30, 2011 Paul Morton interviews David Bezmozgis, The Millions, June 30, 2011 “HIAS” Wikipedia Irina Aleksander interviews David Bezmozgis, The Paris Review Daily, April 5, 2011 Video interview (5 min.)

David Bezmozgis: Natasha and Other Stories

(Short Stories, 147 pp., 2004) Bereft of money or English skills, the Bermans have departed Brezhnev-era Riga to settle in Toronto.  Told in the restrained but slyly humorous voice of their son Mark, these seven stories span two decades, recording the narrator’s growth and the family’s efforts to adjust to their new life and cope with its disappointments.   Discussion questions from Macmillan Books Review by Daniel Schifrin, Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2004 Review by James Wood, London Review of Books, December 16, 2004 Review by Meghan O’Rourke, The New York Times, Jun 27, 2004 Review by Richard Eder, The New York Times, Jun 8, 2004 Review by Harvey Gorssinger, Houston Chronicle, July 22, 2004 Review by Keith Gessen, The Washington Post, June 20, 2004 Interview

Rachel Biale: Growing Up Below Sea Level: A Kibbutz Childhood

(Memoir, 256 pp. 2020) Biale’s memoir is composed of linked stories about growing up on Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin in Israel’s Jezreel Valley in the 1950s and 60s, when children spent most of their time living apart from their parents in a Children’s House. Review by Jonathan Kirsch, J: The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, April 21, 2020 Review by Aaron Leibel, Washington Jewish Week, May 12, 2020 Interview with Rachel Biale by Judy Bolton-Fasman, Jewish Boston, June 30, 2020 Radio Interview with Rachel Biale, Talk Radio Europe, May 29, 2020 Zoom program with Rachel Biale and Sue Fishkoff, Jewish Community Library, May 24, 2020

Geraldine Brooks: People of the Book

(Fiction, 372 pp. 2008) One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. Brooks has turned the intriguing but sparely detailed history of this precious volume into an emotionally rich fictionalization that retraces its turbulent journey. Discussion questions from Penguin Discussion questions from Reading Group Guides Kirkus Review Review by Lisa Fugard, New York Times, January 20, 2008 Review by Ursula K. LeGuin, The Guardian, January 19, 2008 Review by Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, January 3, 2008 Review by Carrie Brown, Boston Globe, January 13, 2008 Author bio from litlovers Reading (41 min. video)

Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord

(Fiction, 316 p. 2015) This inventive reimagination of one of literature’s most iconic and enigmatic figures renowned in history and legend, goes beyond the myth to bring David the man to life in Second Iron Age Israel. Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. Discussion questions from LitLovers Kirkus Review Review by Alice Hoffman, Washington Post, September 28, 2015 Review by Alana Newhouse, New York Times, October 22, 2015 Review by Meredith Jaffe, Guardian, October 7, 2015 Random House interviews Geraldine Brooks Rachel Martin interviews Geraldine Brooks, NPR, October 14, 2015 (7 min. audio)

Jennifer S. Brown: Modern Girls

(Fiction, 384 pp. 2016) As an immigrant mother and her modern girl daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices in 1935 New York, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same. Discussion questions from Penguin Random House Kirkus Review Review by Sophie Siegel, Jewish Book Council Review by David Cooper, New York Journal of Books Hannah N. Neier interviews Jennifer S. Brown, Lilith blog, April 5, 2016 Author profile

Ruth Calderon: A Bride for One Night: Talmud Tales

(Midrash, 184 pp. Hebrew, 2001; English translation, 2014) Knesset member, scholar, and teacher Calderon offers a passionate reading and literary retelling of seventeen passages from rabbinic literature, with a particular emphasis on restoring the voice of women. Each chapter begins with the actual Talmudic text, followed by Calderon’s imaginative expansion and reflections.  Review by Daniel Rosenberg in H-Net Video of Ruth Calderon on A Bride for One Night, Temple Emanu-El, New York City, 2014 Review, Jewish Book Council

Doreen Carvajal: The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity and the Inquisition

(Memoir, 320 p. 2012) Moving to Arcos de la Frontera in the Spanish province where her father’s family had originated, the author explores the fascinating, fraught — and ultimately personal — history of the Sephardic Jews who had been forced to become Catholic converts or exiles.  Discussion questions Kirkus review Review by Linda F. Burghardt, Jewish Book Council, April 23, 2012 Profile of Doreen Carvajal by Janet Silver Ghent, J Weekly, November 8, 2012 David B. Green interviews Doreen Carvajal, Ha’aretz, August 2012 Book trailer (3 min.)

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

(Fiction, 656 pp. 2000) Two cousins, one from Prague, one Brooklyn-born, come of age during World War II and spin their fantasies, dreams, and fears into a wildly popular comic book series. See for yourself why this panoramic novel won the Pulitzer Prize.   Discussion questions from the Yiddish Book Center Discussion questions from the Union of Reform Judaism Discussion questions from LitLovers Review by Amy Benfer, Salon.com, September 28, 2000 Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, September 21, 2000 Review by Daniel Mendelsohn, New York magazine, September 25, 2000 “Real Kavaliers and Clays” More reviews and interviews Plot Summary from Wikipedia Video: Robert Alter interviews Michael Chabon (90 min.) “Jews in Comic Books” by Arie Kaplan “The Bisexual Mysteries of Michael Chabon,” by Japhy Grant, Queerty, (April 9, 2009)

Michael Chabon: Moonglow

(Fiction, 430 pp. 2016) Masked as a memoir, Chabon’s playful novel unfolds as the final confession of the narrator’s grandfather, whose tongue has been loosened by painkillers and whose memory has been by stirred by the imminence of death. It reflects on the difficulties of love and family, the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American space program, and the importance of stories told and untold. Resources from the Jewish Community Library Discussion questions from the Jewish Community Library Guide to themes in Moonglow and timeline of events from the Jewish Community Library Moonglow or Gaslight? Thinking about Truth, Fiction, and the Contract between Reader and Writer from the Jewish Community Library Selected Moonglow Reviews and Articles ●     Chabon, Safran Foer, and the Great American Jewish Novel, by Ari Hoffman, Lehrhaus, Mary 15, 2017 ●     The Question of What We Do With Our Past by Mymes Werntz, In All Things, May 5, 2017 ●     The True Meaning of Nostalgia by Michael Chabon, The New Yorker, March 25, 2017 ●     Bethanne Patrick on Moonglow on the National Book Critics Circle blog, March 1, 2017 ●      Review of Moonglowby Marty Roth, Jewish Currents, February 18, 2017 ●      Michael Chabon’s Novel ‘Moonglow’ Illuminates as Much as It Obscures by Andrew Esensten, Haaretz, January 24, 2017 ●      Michael Chabon, Daniel Gordis Among Big Winners at 2016 National Jewish Book Awards, Haaretz, January 12, 2017 ●      Moonglow -– much more than a memoir by Alex Preston, The Guardian, January 10, 2017 ●      Michael Chabon’s ‘Moonglow’ explores the ‘unbreakable habit of loss by Steven Whitton, The Anniston Star, January 1, 2017 ●      In His Expansive New Novel, Michael Chabon Blurs the Line Between Fact and Fiction by Robert Christgau, The Village Voice, December 7, 2016 ●      The Scheherazade of the East Bay by Katy Waldman, Slate, November 30, 2016 ●      Wonder Boy Michael Chabon Grows Up in ‘Moonglow’ by Talya Zax, The Forward, November 25, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon’s Age of Heroes by Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon’s ‘Moonglow’ an ingenious, intoxicating fictional memoir by David Wright, The Seattle Times, November 24, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon and his new novel, ‘Moonglow’ by Kate Tuttle, The Los Angeles Times, November 24, 2016 ●      Shattering pain by Elaine Margolin, The Jerusalem Post, November 24, 2016 ●      Magical family narrative’ drives Michael Chabon’s latest novel by Robert Nagler Miller, The J Weekly, November 23, 2016 ●      Rocketing through memory by Diane Cole, The Jewish Week, November 23, 2016 ●      Chabon’s ‘Moonglow’ reflects Jewish experience by Kevin Nance, USA Today, November 22, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon’s ‘Moonglow‘ is a cunning dance with autobiography by Ron Charles, The Washington Post, November 21, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon’s Blurred Lines by Gal Beckerman, The New Republic, November 21, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon Sees the Future by Juliet Litman, The Ringer, November 21, 2016 ●      In “Moonglow,” Michael Chabon Builds a Scale Model of the Broken World by Cody Dellstraty, The New Yorker, November 20, 2016 ●      Michael Chabon Returns With a Searching Family Saga by A.O. Scott, The New York Times, November 20, 2016 ●      ‘Moonglow’ by Michael […]

Michael Chabon: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

(Fiction, 414 pp. 2007) It’s bad enough that the Jewish mini-state established in Alaska for survivors of Hitler is about to revert to US control after sixty years. Now Yiddish-speaking cop Meyer Landsman has to solve a tragic murder that pits him against his ex-wife boss, an assortment of odd relatives, and a swarm of corrupt Hasidim with apocalyptic dreams.   Discussion questions from Yiddish Book Center Discussion questions from HarperCollins Review by Jenny Diski, The Guardian, June 8, 2007 Review by Danielle Granville, Oxonian Review, June 15, 2007 Review by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, May 1, 2007 Review by Gavriel Rosenfeld, Jewish Daily Forward, April 20, 2007 Review by Daniel Schifrin, Jewish Week, June 29, 2007 Review by Mark Oppenheimer, Jewish Daily Forward, April 20, 2007 Review by Ruth R. Wisse, Commentary, July/August 2007 “The Imaginary Jew” by William Deresiewicz, The Nation, May 28,2007 Todd Hasak-Lowy interviews Michael Chabon, Jbooks.com “Say it in Yiddish” by Michael Chabon “Holy Yiddishkeit, Batman” by Jeffrey Shandler, Jbooks.com Daniel Greene interviews Michael Chabon (7 min. audio and transcript) March 13, 2008 Glossary “Sitka, Alaska” from Wikipedia “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” from Wikipedia Lecture (25 min.)

Roz Chast: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

(Graphic memoir, 228 pp. 2014) The New Yorker cartoonist describes the last several years of her aging parents’ lives, told through colorful cartoons and family photos. With her signature wit she offers laughs, tears, comfort and profound insights.  Discussion questions Kirkus Review Review by Alex Witchel, New York Times, May 30, 2014 Review by Rachel Cooke, The Guardian, July 13, 2014 Review by David Hadju, New Republic, July 20, 2014 Tahneer Oksman interviews Roz Chast, Jewish Book Council, August 13, 2014 Review by Tahneer Oksman, Jewish Book Council, August 13, 2014 (includes discussion questions) Discussion by Emily Bazelon, Dan Kois, and Hanna Rosin, Slate, (48 min. audio) Biographical sketch Jeffrey Brown interviews Roz Chast, Miami Book Fair, November 23, 2014 (10 min.)

Edmund de Waal: The Hare with Amber Eyes

(Nonfiction, 368 pp. 2010) The Ephrussis were one of the wealthiest Jewish dynasties in Europe, only to lose nearly everything with the Nazi conquest of Europe. Descendent de Waal traces the family’s tale from Odessa to Paris, Vienna, and London through a collection of Japanese netsuke carvings acquired by the family in the 1870s.   Reading Guide (includes interview, discussion questions, online resources, etc.) Discussion questions from Litlovers Article: “Edmund de Waal on Proust: The writer behind the hare” The Telegraph, April 1, 2011 About Edmund de Waal Review by Elaine Margolin, Jewish Daily Forward, September 30, 2010 Review by Michael Dirda, Washington Post, September 2, 2010 Review by Rachel Cook, The Observer, June 5, 2010 Review by Richard Cohen, New York Times, September 3, 2011 Netsuke from Wikipedia Author biography Video: Edmund de Waal on netsuke and the memoir (4 min.)

Shulem Deen: All Who Go Do Not Return

(Memoir, 288 pp. 2015) The author reflects on growing up in, and leaving, New York’s Skverer Hasidic community—an escape that ultimately results in his separation from his wife and children. Kirkus Review Review by Ezra Glinter, The New Republic, March 18, 2015 Review by Jay Michaelson, Religion News Service, March 17, 2015 Jenni Frazer interviews Shulem Deen, The Guardian., June 10, 2017. Interview with Shulem Deen, Jewish Standard , June 8, 2015 Shulem Deen at London Jewish Book Week, February 26, 2015(60 min., video) Interview in Yiddish with Shulem Deen, April 6, 2015, Forverts(17 min., video)

Irene Dische: The Empress of Weehawken

(Fiction, 307 pp. 2007) Frau Professor Doktor Elisabeth Rother is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. A German army nurse in WWI, she marries a Jewish surgeon after he converts to Catholicism. To Elisabeth’s dismay, their racially impure daughter, grows up, marries a Jewish professor and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter. In the formidable voice of her grandmother, the author pushes the boundaries of autobiographical fiction in a novel that is and is not based on her family history. Reading group guide Review by Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, September 28, 2007 Review: Kirkus Review by Sasha Weiss, Jewish Daily Forward, October 27, 2006 Evelyn Shih interviews Irene Dische

Elizabeth Ehrlich: Miriam’s Kitchen

(Memoir, 384 pp. 1997) Ehrlich describes her mother-in-law Miriam, a Holocaust survivor born in a small village in Poland, thus: “A keeper of rituals and recipes, and of stories, she cooks to recreate a lost world, and to prove that unimaginable loss is not the end of everything.” Ehrlich assembles recipes, stories, and traditions from Miriam’s family, as well as from her own, into a vibrant collage that evokes Jewish life past and present. Discussion questions Review by Peter Kaminsky, New York Times, October 19, 1997 Review by Lauren F. Winner, Christianity Today, August 10, 1998 Review: Compelling Jewish Stories

Nathan Englander: Kaddish.com

(Fiction, 224 p. 2019) A lapsed Jew returns to the fold and becomes obsessed with redeeming a spiritual mistake made 20 years earlier. Readers Guide  Kirkus Review  Review by Bob Goldfarb, Jewish Book Council  Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, March 25, 2019 Nathan Englander discusses Kaddish.com (3:38 min. video)

Nathan Englander: What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

(Short Stories, 224 pp. 2012) In his first collection since For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, Englander offers eight expertly crafted stories that paint humorous, irreverent, and unflinching portrayals of Jewish life in America and Israel.   Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by Michuko Kakutani, New York Times, February 9, 2012 Review by Dan Friedman, Forward, February 14, 2012 Review by James Lasdun, The Guardian, February 1, 2012 Presentation (1.5 min.) Chris Schluep interviews Nathan Englander (16 min.)

Helen Epstein: Where She Came From

 (Memoir, 322 pp. 1997) A masterful work of family archaeology that chronicles the lives of the author’s mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Epstein’s quest began in 1898, after the death of her mother, a Holocaust survivor, and after the opening of Czechoslovakia to the West.    Review: Kirkus Review by Elissa P. Benedek, American Psychiatric Association, August 2000 Review by Ruth Gay, New York Times, November 2, 1997 Amy Yelin interviews Helen Epstein, February 2005

Nomi Eve: Henna House

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2014) Following the travails of a young Jewish woman in difficult circumstances in early twentieth century Yemen, Eve’s novel illuminates the rituals and conditions of life in a community that no longer exists. Reading Group Guide from Simon & Schuster Kirkus Review Review by Suri Boiangiu, Jewish Book Council

Lillian Faderman: Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death

(Biography, 304 pp. 2018) Contextualizing the local icon — eloquent, charismatic, and a smart-aleck— in a Jewish milieu, this biography chronicles his upbringing and careers before being elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. His assassination at the age of forty-eight made him the most famous gay man in modern history. Activist scholar Faderman "brings to light material that had been suppressed or considered unimportant because it didn’t support the reigning narrative. Kirkus Review Review by Jay Michaelson, Moment Magazine, May 14, 2018 Review by Helene Meyers, Tablet Magazine, May 29, 2018 Review by Karen Iris Tucker, Washington Post, June 22, 2018 Review by Renée Graham, Boston Globe, June 3, 2018

Boris Fishman: A Replacement Life

(Fiction, 321 pp. 2014) Russian-born Slava Gelman, a frustrated young Manhattan writer, is attempting to distance himself from the rest of his immigrant family in Brooklyn.  When his grandfather asks him to compose a fraudulent application for German reparations for Holocaust survivors, Slava becomes entrenched in ethical conflicts and the difficulties of navigating his American and Russian identities. Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by Patricia T. O’Conner, New York Times, June 6, 2014 Review by Apollinaire Scherr, New York Times, June 2, 2014 Review by Mark Athitakis, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 21, 2014 Review by Meredith Maran, Chicago Tribune, May 30, 2014 Jeremy Hobson interviews Boris Fishman, NPR’s “Here and Now” (audio: 9 min.), Leonard Lopate interviews Boris Fishman, WNYC (audio: 15 min.) Mia Alvar and Sara Novic interview Boris Fishman, Barnes and Noble Review, June 23, 2015 Elyse Moody interviewsBoris Fishman, Publishers Weekly, February 17, 2014 Sandee Brawarsky profiles Boris Fishman, Jewish Week, June 18, 2014 Essay: “Russian Jewish American Lit Goes Boom!” Sasha Senderovich, Tablet Magazine, June 16, 2014 Biographical sketch

Judith Frank: All I Know and Love

(Fiction, 432 pp. 2014) When domestic partners Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, and that they have been designated to raise the deceased couple’s children in Massachusetts, their relationship faces major challenges. Discussion Guide from HarperCollins Kirkus Review Review by James McDonald, Lambda Literary Review, August 10, 2014 Review by Jan Brogan, Boston Globe July 21, 2014 Review by Elise Cooper, Jewish Book Council Elise Cooper interviews Judith Frank, Jewish Book Council Kate Tuttle profiles Judith Frank, Boston Globe, July 19, 2014 Judith Frank describes All I Know and Love (video: 2 minutes)

Matti Friedman: The Aleppo Codex: A True Tale of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible

Nonfiction, 320 pp. 2012 The 10th century Aleppo Codex, named for the Syrian city in which it was kept, is considered the most accurate manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. However, a large portion of it went missing in the mid-20th century. Investigative journalist Friedman’s account of the document’s strange path over time feels like a detective thriller, with equal parts history and mystery, conspiracy and convolutions. Discussion Questions from the Jewish Book Council Review by Paul Sanders for Academia.edu Review, Times of Israel

Matti Friedman: Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel

(Nonfiction, 272 p. 2019) The four spies at the center of this true story were part of an undercover unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine, and emerging as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency. Kirkus Review, March 5, 2019 Review by Ian Shapira, Washington Post, March 22, 2019 Review by Neal Bascomb, New York Times, March 22, 2019 Review by Lily Myer, NPR, March 7, 2019 Review by Daniella Greenbaum Davis, Commentary, February, 2019 [Critical] Review by Raphael Magarik, Forward, March 8, 2019 Matti Friedman in conversation with Lucette Lagnado (126 min. video) About Matti Friedman

Marra Gad: The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl

Memoir, 256 pp. 2019 Gad reflects on her experiences as an American biracial Jew. Much of the focus is on her caring for her racist great-aunt, who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Invoking the Hebrew word yerusha (inheritance), this memoir explores the inheritance of identity, disease, melanin, hate, and love. Kirkus Review Review by Ada Brunstein, Jewish Book Council, February 3, 2020 Review by Raphael Magarik, JewSchool, November 19, 2019 Review by Rivkah Lambert Adler, Jerusalem Post, March 20, 2020 Kate Bigam Kaput interviews Marra Gad, Reform Judaism., December 4, 2019. Judy Bolton-Fasman interviews Marra Gad, Jewish Boston , January 6, 2020 Brenda Madden interviews Marra Gad (28 min. video)

Romain Gary (Emile Ajar): The Life Before Us

 (Fiction, 191 pp. French, 1975; English translation, 1978) Momo, an orphaned Arab adolescent, has been raised by his ailing surrogate mother, Madame Rosa, a survivor of Auschwitz and former lady of the night. A streetwise kid in Belleville, Paris’ immigrant slum neighborhood, Momo narrates a world filled with pimps, prostitutes and witch doctors as he takes care of Madame Rosa. This moving story, told with sensitivity and black humor, won the Prix Goncourt, France’s premier literary prize, and was the basis for Madame Rosa, the 1977 film starring Simone Signoret.  Review by Emma Garman, Tablet, October 31, 2007 Article by Joyce Carol Oates, “Success and the Pseudonymous Writer,” New York Times Book Review, December 7, 1987

Assaf Gavron: Almost Dead

(Fiction, 328 pp. Hebrew 2006; English translation, 2010) Eitan Enoch, a Tel Aviv tech company worker, achieves accidental celebrity when he survives three terror attacks, becoming a hero to many Israelis and a thorn to the Palestinian radicals behind the attacks. Part thriller, part black comedy, the novel is narrated from the dual perspectives of Eitan and the Palestinian Fahmi, whose connection to Eitan gradually unfolds.   Review by James Smart, The Guardian, February 5, 2011 Review by Shoshona Kordova, Haaretz.com, November 5, 2010 Review by Jonathan Papernick, The Globe and Mail, June 29, 2012 Review by Nick Curley, Jewcy, May 21, 2010 Review by David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2010 Review by Volker Kaminski Qantara.de, February 29, 2008 Biography Interview by Shoshana Kordova, StyleMag.net, November 5, 2010

Assaf Gavron: The Hilltop

Review by Ian Sansom, The Guardian, December 19, 2014 Review by Ruth Margolit, Ha’aretz, November 3, 2014 Review by David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2014 Beth Kissileff interviews Assaf Gavron, Jewish Book Council Tom Teicholz interviews Assaf Gavron, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 6, 2016

Ruth Gilligan: Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan

(Fiction, 352 pp. 2017) Three intertwining voices span the twentieth century to tell the unknown story of the Jews in Ireland, in this heartbreaking portrait of what it means to belong, and how storytelling can redeem us all. Kirkus Review Review by Mike Broida, Los Angeles Review of Books, February 2, 2017 Review by Oona Frawley, The Guardian, July 1, 2016 Review by Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times, July 9, 2016 Research Notes by Ruth Gilligan Ruth Gilligan speaks at the New York State Writers Institute, 2017 (5 min. video) Ruth Gilligan on The Irish and the Jews (25 min. video)

Peter Godwin: When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa

(Memoir, 341 pp. 2007) As journalist Godwin records the collapse of his native Zimbabwe, he is confronted with his father’s deathbed confession. The elder Godwin, who had always claimed to have been British, reveals himself to be a Polish Jew whose mother and sister were killed in Treblinka. Discussion questions Review: Kirkus, Feburary 1, 2007 Review: Joshua Hammer, Washington Monthly, 2007 Review by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, May 5, 2007 Review by Mark Gevisser, New York Times, June 17, 2007 Review by Jason Cowley, The Observer, March 3, 2007 Review by Arlene Getz, Newsweek, June 4, 2007 “Zimbabwe” from Wikipedia Video lecture part 1 of 7 parts (14.31 min.) [Peter Godwin begins at 8:30]

Myla Goldberg: Bee Season

(Fiction, 275 pp. 2000) In this absorbing debut novel, an eccentric Jewish family is shaken apart by a small but unexpected shift in the prospects of one of its members, while recognizing congruencies between the elementary school spelling-bee circuit, Jewish mysticism, Eastern religious cults and compulsive behavior.   Discussion questions Review by Dwight Garner, New York Times, June 18, 2000 Review by Michael Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times, June 12, 2000 Review by Gavin McNett, Salon, July 5, 2000 Video lecture (25 min.) (Part 1 of 2)

Paul Goldberg: The Yid

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2016) With elements of Shakespeare and Yiddish theater, a rag-tag group decides to assassinate Stalin just before the 1953 Soviet pogroms are to begin. This satirical mad-cap adventure tale effectively blends historical events, family stories and ingenious imagination. Reading guide:  Kirkus review Review by Jane Ciabattari, NPR, March 3, 2016 Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, January 21, 2016 Review by Glen David Gold, Washington Post, January 25, 2016 Review by Gary Katz, Jewish Book Council Leonard Lopate interviews Paul Goldberg, WNYC, (audio, 15 min.) “Claiming the Yid: Why I Gave My Novel Such an Offensive Title” by Paul Goldberg, Slate, January 25, 2016

Rebecca Goldstein: Betraying Spinoza

(Nonfiction, 287 pp. 2006) Baruch Spinoza, son of Portuguese immigrants to Holland, was excommunicated by the Amsterdam Jewish Community in 1656. Investigating Spinoza’s background, education, and his own writings, Goldstein reveals how this yeshiva student became an influential philosopher and possibly the Western world’s first secular Jew. Discussion questions Review by Michael Dirda, Washington Post, May 21, 2006 Review by Harold Bloom, New York Times, June 18, 2006 Review by Daniel B. Schwartz, Forward, June 30, 2006 Review by Laura Miller, Salon, June 17, 2006 Review by Fred Baumann, New York Sun, May 31, 2006 Essay by Allan Nadler, “Romancing Spinoza,” Commentary, December 2006 Paul Comstock interviews Rebecca Goldstein, California Literary Review, March 30, 2007 Stephen Vider interviews Rebecca Goldstein, Tablet, May 15, 2006 Op-ed by Rebecca Goldstein, New York Times, July 29, 2006 Audio interview (6 min)

Lev Golinkin: A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka

(Memoir, 320 pp. 2014) In the twilight of the Cold War, nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, $600, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Golinkin, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family’s long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past. Kirkus Review Review by William Grimes, New York Times, November 23, 2014 Review, Jewish Book Council Review by Gal Beckerman, Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2014 Review by Joshua Dill, Commonweal, March 26, 2015 Review by Elizabeth Kiem. Post-Gazette, November 23, 2014 Video: Lev Golinkin speaks, HIAS headquarters, New York City, December 22, 2014 (45 min.)

Allegra Goodman: Paradise Park

(Fiction, 368 pp. 2000) Hate her or love her, anti-heroine Sharon Spiegelman will take you from Massachusetts to Hawaii and back again on an exhaustive, sometimes exhausting, and frequently comical tour of practically every spiritual path known to humankind.  Discussion Questions Review: Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, March 11, 2001 Essay by Allegra Goodman on writing Dave Weich interviews Allegra Goodman Alden Mudge interviews Allegra Goodman Video lecture by Allegra Goodman on The Cookbook Collector (24 min.)

Vivian Gornik: Fierce Attachments: A Memoir

(Memoir, 203 pp. 1987) A divorced writer and her mother take long walks through New York City, during which they talk, remember and reveal the difficult heart of their intense and tangled relationship. Starting with her childhood in the 1940s, Gornik compellingly recounts forty years of passion, rage, devotion, and connection between two strong-willed women, both with powerful stories to tell.   Discussion questions Review by Mona Simpson, New York Times, April 26, 1987 Review by Daphne Merkin, Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1987 Excerpt from Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story (p.20-23) Article by Terry Greene Sterling, “Confessions of a Memoirist,” Salon, August 1, 2003 Article by Vivian Gornick, “A Memoirist Defends her Words,” Salon, August 12, 2003 Article by Maureen Corrigan, “You, as a Reader, are a Dope,” Salon, January 6, 2007 Biographical sketch

Amy Gottlieb: The Beautiful Possible

(Fiction, 336 p. 2016) Spanning seventy years and several continents—from a refugee’s shattered dreams in 1938 Berlin, to a discontented American couple in the 1950s, to a young woman’s life in modern-day Jerusalem—this novel follows a postwar love triangle between an American rabbi, his wife, and a German-Jewish refugee. Kirkus review Reading guide Review by Evie Saphire-Bernstein, Jewish Book Council Profile by Robert Miller, J Weekly, March 24, 2016

David Grossman: Her Body Knows

(Fiction, 264 pp. Hebrew, 2002; English translation, 2005) Two novellas of searing psychological intensity deal with the pain of betrayal. In Frenzy, Shaul confides to his sister-in-law that he knows about his wife’s ten-year love affair.  In Another Life portrays the thorny relationship between a dying woman and her emotionally blocked daughter.   Review: Kirkus, March 15, 2005 Review by Judy Goldman, Washington Post, May 29, 2005 Review by Tova Mirvis, New York Times, May 15, 2005 Article by David Grossman, “Writing in the Dark,” New York Times, May 13, 2007 Jonathan Shainin interviews David Grossman, Paris Review, 2007 Biographical sketch

David Grossman: To the End of the Land

(Fiction, 576 pp. Hebrew 2008; English translation, 2010) Grossman’s epic novel follows Ora, the mother of an Israeli soldier on active duty, as she journeys away from home in order to evade delivery of the news that she fears: that her son has been killed in action.  Reader’s Guide from Random House (including discussion questions) Review by Jacqueline Rose, The Guardian, September 17, 2010 Review by Sasha Weiss, Ha’aretz, October 8, 2010 Profile by George Packer, New Yorker, September 27, 1010 Interview: Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 2011 “Israel National Trail” from Wikipedia Links to a dozen international reviews from CompleteReview.com

David Grossman: A Horse Walks into a Bar

(Fiction, 208 pp. Hebrew, 2014; English translation, 2017) Winner of the 2017 Man Book International Prize and National Book Award, this caustic short novel explores the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape. Discussion Guide from Reading Groups for Everyone Review from Kirkus Reviews, February 28, 2017 Review, The Guardian, November 5, 2016 Review by Ian Sansom, The Guardian, December 9, 2016 Review by Michael Schaub, NPR, February 23, 2017 Review by Ellen Battersby, Irish Times, October 29, 2016 Review by Stephen Greenblatt, New York Review of Books, April 20, 2017 Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, Jewish Book Council, Review by Gary Shteyngart, New York Times, February 27, 2017 David Grossman in conversation with Nicole Krauss at the 92nd Street Y, February 2, 2017 (74 min.)

James A. Grymes: Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust—Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour

(Nonfiction, 336 p. 2014) The remarkable story of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust and the Israeli violin maker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life offers a stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music. Violins of Hope Project  Kirkus Review  Review by Rabbi Israel Zoberman, Virginian-Pilot, January 24, 2016 Review by  Bar­bara Andrews, Jewish Book Council, April 30, 2014  Profile by Julie Rose, NPR, April 15 2012 Trailer (video: 2.5 min.)  Assorted reviews

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: One Night, Markovitch

(Fiction, 383 pp, Hebrew, 2012 ; English translation, 2015) Two men cross the sea to marry women they have never met in order to help them escape war-torn Europe for the Jewish homeland. Their changing fortunes take them through war, upheaval, terrible secrets, tragedy, joy and loss. Vital, funny and tender, this debut novel fuses personal lives and epic history in a story of hopeless longing and the desperate search for love. Review by Philip Womack, Telegraph, April 9, 2015 Review, Times of Israel, February 15, 2015 Review by Jane Housham, The Guardian, February 20, 2015 Review by David Herman, Jewish Chronicle, February 26, 2015 Review by Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times, February 6, 2015

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: Waking Lions

(Fiction, 352 p. Hebrew, 2014 ; English Translation, 2017) After one night’s deadly mistake, a man will go to any lengths to save his family and his reputation in this gripping, suspenseful, and morally devastating drama of guilt and survival, shame and desire. Kirkus Review Review by Ayelet Tsabari, New York Times, March 15, 2017 Review by Maureen Corrigan, NPR, March 1 2017 Review by Suri Boiangiu, Jewish Book Council Review by Ruth Gilligan, Guardian, March 30, 2016 Review by Adam Kirsch, Tablet, February 22, 2017 Review by David Cooper, New York Journal of Books  JP O’ Malley interviews Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Times of Israel, May 2017 Video of Gundar-Goshen discussing Waking Lions, June 2018

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: The Liar

(Fiction, 288 p. Hebrew, 2017; English translation, 2019) When a painfully average teenaged girl’s scream — and the false assumption of sexual assault that comes from it — radiates from a Tel Aviv ice cream parlor where she works, many lives are turned upside down.   Kirkus Review  Review by Keren David, Jewish Chronicle, April 11 2019  Review by Lucy Scholes, Financial Times, April 5, 2019 Review by Erin Britton, NB, May 8, 2019 BBC HARDtalk interview by Stephen Sackur (23 min. video)

Yossi Klein Halevi: Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

(Nonfiction, 224 p. 2018) A series of letters to an imagined Palestinian neighbor that include both concise histories—of such topics as the history of modern Zionism and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza—and Halevi’s own memories of growing up an American Jew afraid that Israel would be destroyed in 1967, moving to Israel, and how his romance with the settlement movement ended. Discussion resources from Shalom Hartman Institute Kirkus Review Review by Liel Leibovitz, Tablet Magazine, May 4, 2018 Review by Anna Porter, The Globe and Mail, May 15, 2018 Review by Daphne Merkin, Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2018 (paywall may block access) Review by Brian Stewart, National Review, July 7, 2018 Review by Raja Shehadeh, New York Times, August 24, 2018 Review by Philip Graubart, The Forward, June 23, 2018 Rachel Martin interviews Yossi Klein Halevi, NPR, June 28, 2018 (6:41 audio and transcript)

Ehud Havazelet: Like Never Before

(Fiction, 268 pp., 1998) Arranged as a series of interlocking short stories, this “broken novel” chronicles three generations of a family in war-torn Europe, the Orthodox communities of Brooklyn, and rural Oregon as they struggle to hold together in the face of “changing cultures and shifting fortunes.”  Review: Kirkus Review by Sanford Pinsker, Washington Post, October 25, 1998 Review by Michael Frank, Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1998 Review by Craig Seligman, New York Times, November 1, 1998 Eric WassermaninterviewsEhud Havazelet

Zoë Heller: The Believers

(Fiction, 352 pp. 2009) After a prominent civil rights lawyer is left in a coma, his wife of forty years and their two daughters and adopted son are called upon to examine their lives together and their identities as individuals. When a dark secret involving the paterfamilias is revealed, the complex characters in this bitingly comic novel struggle to rediscover themselves.

Alice Hoffman: Marriage of Opposites

Fiction, 384pp. 2015) Set in the 19th-century Jewish community on a West Indian island, this fictional recreation imagines the complicate life of historical character Rachel Manzana Pomié, the Creole mother of French impressionist painter Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro. Discussion guide including questions and interview Kirkus Review Review by Sandra McElwaine, Washington Times, September 17, 2015 Review by Carol Memmott, Star Tribune, September 1, 2015 Review by Hillary Kelly, New York Times, August 14, 2015

Alice Hoffman: The World That We Knew

(Fiction, 284 pages, 2019) Set in Germany and France in the 1940s, a young Lea Kohn finds her way to a renowned rabbi whose daughter, Ettie, creates a mystical golem to protect Lea in her escape to France. The three become enternally entwined in this tale of the power of resistance, perseverance and enduring love in dark times. Reading group guide from Simon and Schuster Review by Mary Pols, New York Times, September 24, 2019 Review By Nancy Pate, Star Tribune, September 13, 2019 Kirkus Review Alice Hoffman shares what inspired her to write the novel (2:00 min.video)

Eva Hoffman: Lost in Translation

(Memoir, 280 pp. 1989) When her family relocated from Krakow to Canada during her adolescence in the 1950s, Eva Hoffman lost the place, people, and language that were central to her identity. This penetrating memoir recalls Hoffman’s difficult adjustment to her new life as an outsider in North America, focusing on the role of language in mediating her experience. Review: Kirkus Profile by Andrew Brown, The Guardian, April 28, 2001 Harry Kreisler interviews Eva Hoffman (transcript) Harry Kreisler interviews Eva Hoffman (54 min.)

Dara Horn: A Guide for the Perplexed

(Fiction, 342 pp. 2013) After Josie Ashkenazi develops Genizah, a digital archive that collects and organizes every single moment of the user’s life, her sister Judith persuades her to take leave of her devoted husband, inquisitive daughter, and thriving business to accept a brief consulting gig in Egypt. Interwoven are episodes from the lives of Solomon Schechter, a 19th century professor obsessed with uncovering the repository of sacred Hebrew texts, and the scholar and physician Maimonides, forcing cutting-edge technology to intersect with ancient questions about fate and free will, family and destiny.  Reading guide with discussion questions from the Jewish Community Library Reading guide with discussion questions from W.W. Norton Bibliography from the Jewish Community Library (pdf) Essays by Bay Area Jewish educators in response to A Guide to the Perplexed: The How and Why of Maimonides’ Medicine by Patricia Hellman Gibbs, MD On Breath in Dara Horn’s A Guide for the Perplexed by Julie Emden Excavating Jewish Texts Without Digging in the Dirt by Nechama Tamler Maimonides and Yourmonides: A Personal Encounter with the Guide for the Perplexed by Sidney Keith Multimedia Binah audio podcast of Dara Horn’s appearance at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco,  9/23/13 Video of Dara Horn’s appearance at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., 9/30/13 Video of discussion of A Guide for the Perplexed led by Rabbi Menachem Creditor at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, 11/15/13 Reviews, articles, and interviews Boston Globe by Saul Austerlitz J Weekly by Emma Silvers Jewish Book Council by Miriam Bradman Abrahams Jewish Daily Forward by Steven C. Kellman New York Journal of Books by Karl Wolff The New York Times Book Review by Jami Attenberg Rhapsody in Books (blog) Tablet Magazine by Saul Austerlitz The Times of Israel by Renee Ghert-Zand Religion & Politics interview with Dara Horn Suggested Articles, Essays, and Websites Memory “When We Save Every Memory, We Forget Which Ones Are Special“ by Dara Horn in The Washington Post (September 19, 2013) “Jews and Memory: How Judaism Perpetuates Memory And Activates Our Neural Networks: An Interview with Joshua Foer” in Moment Magazine (May/June 2011) “Living a Life That Matters Through Selective Memory“  by Rabbi Edward C. Bernstein (includes discussion of A Guide for the Perplexed) (September 5, 2013) Memory in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jewish in Eastern Europe Joseph Story and Sibling Rivalry “Playing Favorites”  by Marjorie Ingall in Tablet Magazine “The Favored Child  by Adriane Leveen in The Jewish Week Cairo Genizah Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University, including their fascinating fragment of the month Searchable catalogue of Cairo Genizah fragments in Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries The Friedberg Genizah Project “Treasures in the Wall” by Emily Greenhouse in The New Yorker (March 1, 2013) “Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Genizah“ by Joel Shurkin in The Jewish Daily Forward (November 18, 2011) Maimonides “Maimonides, Medieval jewish Scholar, Enjoys a Postmodern Revival” in the Jewish Daily Forward(February 7, 2014) Maimonides’ Philosophy in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The Perplexing Nature of the Guide for the Perplexed“ by Mark Daniels in Philosophy Now(September/October 2013) “Perplexed by Maimonides?” in the Jewish Daily Forward (February 4, 2014) Technology “The Visionary: A Digital Pioneer Questions What Technology Has Wrought” by Jennifer Kahn in The New Yorker (July 11, 2011) “Will Google Glass Help […]

Marjorie Agosín, editor: The House of Memory: Stories by Jewish Women Writers of Latin America

(Short Stories, 272 pp. 1999) These 22 selections from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, and Costa Rica, paint a rich picture of Jewish women’s experiences in diverse settings.  The protagonists often struggle to maintain ties with their Jewish heritage while trying to become part of a New World society suffused with Catholicism. Biography of Marjorie Agosin Review (Kirkus) Video: Presentation about Poetry, University of Massachusetts 2011 (21 min.)

Howard Jacobson: The Finkler Question

(Fiction, 307 pp. 2010) This brash, irreverent novel tackles the anxiety of Jewish life in Britain today through the lives of two Jewish widowers and their close non-Jewish friend.  At times uncomfortable, always witty, this winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize offers a darkly satiric perspective on Jewish identity, anti-Semitism, shifting attitudes towards Israel, and the nature of male friendship. Discussion questions Discussion questions Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, October 21, 2010 Review by Leo Robson, New Statesman, July 30, 2010 Review by Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2010 Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, October 13, 2010 Review by Edward Docx, The Observer, August 15, 2010 Article by Nicholas Lezard, “Is Howard Jacobson the only person writing British Jewish novels?,” The Guardian, October 15, 2010 Article by Mark Brown, “Howard Jacobson wins Booker Prize 2010 for The Finkler Question,” The Guardian, October 12, 2010 “Seven Jewish Children” from Wikipedia “British Jews” from Wikipedia Article by Donald Weber, “Anglo-Jewish Literature Raises Its Voice” Article by Howard Jacobson, “Anti-Zionism: Facts (and Fictions),” Jewish Chronicle, July 28, 2010 Video interview (4 min.)

Julie Orringer: The Invisible Bridge

(Fiction, 624 pp. 2010)In Fall 1937 Andras Lévi leaves Hungary to study architecture in Paris, and his brother Tibor leaves for medical school in Italy. Both men eventually return to Hungary with their wives until the war upends their world. This intricate mélange of historical events and personal drama is an unforgettable story of love, courage, and survival.  Discussion Questions Review by Andrew Ervin, New York Times, May 30, 2010 Review by Art Winslow, Chicago Tribune Review by Donna Rifkind, Washington Post Review by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2010 VIdeo: Gabriel Sanders interviews Julie Orringer (9 min.)

Peter Stephan Jungk: Crossing the Hudson

(Fiction, 219 pp. German, 2005; English translation, 2008) In this inventive, comic and dreamlike novel, a devoted son and his overbearing mother drive out of Manhattan on a Friday afternoon and are caught in a traffic jam on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Determined to observe the Orthodox stricture to cease driving before the Sabbath begins, he finds himself in conflict with his nonobservant mother as they reexamine their lives and their relationships with the family’s recently deceased patriarch.   Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by Michael Lando, Haaretz, March 8, 2009 Review by M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review, April 28, 2009 Review by Mark Athtakis, Star Tribune, March 27, 2009 Review by Barbara Ardinger, The Forward, February 11, 2009 “Robert Jungk” from Wikipedia “Peter Ulrich Weiss” from Wikipedia “Tappan Zee Bridge” from Wikipedia Biographical sketch of Peter Jungk Biographical timeline of Peter Jungk Michael March interviews Peter Stephan Jungk (30 min.)

Rachel Kadish: The Weight of Ink

(Fiction, 592 pp. 2017) A mysterious collection of papers hidden in a historic London home sends two scholars of Jewish history on an unforgettable quest. Discussion questions Kirkus Review Review by Kristin Gibbons, Jewish Book Council Review by Josephine Livingston, New Republic, May 31, 2017 Sandee Brawarsky interviews Rachel Kadish, Time of Israel, July 25, 2017 Amy Shearn interviews Rachel Kadish, JStor Daily, October 10, 2017 Mass Cultural Council interviews Rachel Kadish, August 7, 2017 Writing Fun interviews Rachel Kadish (30 min. video) Leonard Lopate interviews Rachel Kaddish (14 min. audio)

Mitchell James Kaplan: By Fire, By Water

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2010) As the kingdoms of Spain are being unified under Christian rule at the end of the 15th century, Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the king of Aragon, agrees to finance Cristóbal Colón’s imminent voyage to the “Indies.” A converso examining his complicated relationship with Judaism, de Santángel finds himself increasingly under scrutiny by the Inquisition and attracted to a beautiful Jewish silversmith in Granada, the last part of Spain under Muslim rule. Discussion questions Review: Lee Chottiner, Jewish Chronicle, September 2, 2010 Review: Kirkus Review by Matt Beynon Rees, Haaretz, September 3, 2010 Biographical essay Article by Ronen Bergman, “High Holy Whodunit,” New York Times, July 25, 2012 Interview with Mitchell Kaplan (5 min.) Publisher’s promotional video (2 min.) Profile by Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune, September 5, 2010 “Toledot Yeshu” from Wikipedia “Luis de Santangel” from Wikipedia

Sayed Kashua: Dancing Arabs

(Fiction, 227 pp. Hebrew, 2002; English translation, 2004) This slyly subversive, semi-autobiographical account of Arab Israeli life recounts the story of a Palestinian boy who wins a prestigious scholarship to a Jewish high school but slips into listless malaise as an adult, despising himself, scorning his fellow Arabs, and resenting Jewish Israelis.    Discussion questions from Grove Atlantic (scroll to bottom) Review by Isabel Kershner, New York Times, January 7, 2008 Review: Laila Lalami, June 2, 2004 Review: Laila Lalami, Boston Review, September/October 2006

Sayed Kashua: Second Person Singular

(Fiction, 352 pp. Hebrew, 2011; English translation, 2013) When an ambitious Arab lawyer in Jewish Jerusalem unexpectedly discovers a love letter from his wife, his hunt begins for the other man. The creator of the Israeli sitcom, Arab Labor, spins a complex psychological mystery, a searing dissection of the individuals that comprise a divided society.  Review: Kirkus Review by Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2012 Review by Jo-Ann Mort, Tablet Magazine, April 5, 2012 Review by Sarah Young, Three Percent Review (University of Rochester) Review by Ayman Sikseck, Haaretz, July 1, 2010 Alice Greenberg interviews Sayed Kashua, Paris Review, April 29, 2013

Etgar Keret: Fly Aready

(Fiction, 224 p. 2019)  Despite the thread that weaves these stories together — our inability to communicate, to see so little of the world around us and to understand each other even less —  the author’s love for humanity and our hapless existence shines a bright light through sparking our universal connection to each other. Kirkus Review  Review by Michael Schaub, NPR, September 2, 2019  Review by Marion Wink, Star Tribune, September 6, 2019  Review by Daneet Steffens, Boston Globe, August 29, 2109  Ari Shapiro interviews Etgar Keret, NPR, September 4, 2019 (8 min. audio)

Etgar Keret: Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

(Short Stories, 188 pp. Hebrew 2010; English translation, 2012) Keret is the most popular Israeli writer of his generation, with a style and focus that mark a new direction in the nation’s literature. The 35 brief stories in this new collection focus on everyday life, leavened with the author’s legendary taste for the absurd and the impossible. Publisher’s webpage (including discussion questions) Review by Steve Almond, New York Times, April 13, 2012 Review by Carolyn Kellog, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2012 Interview, New Yorker, December 26, 2011 Interview, Words Without Borders, April 10, 2010 Interview, Paris Review, May 1, 2012 Author’s website

Etgar Keret: Seven Good Years

(Memoir, 292 pp. Hebrew, 2015; English translation 2015) The seven years between the birth of his son in the midst of a terrorist attack and the death of his father from cancer are the ostensible subject of Keret’s first nonfiction book published in America.  The short vignettes and ruminations are filled with wonder and life and love, poignant insights, and characteristically dark humor. Review by Adam Wilson, New York Times, July 2, 2015 Review by Rachel Cooke, The Guardian, July 19, 2015 Review by Becca Kantor, Jewish Book Council Becca Kantor interviews Etgar Keret, Jewish Book Council Yanai Yechiel interviews Etgar Keret, Newsweek, August 1, 2015 Ramona Koval interviews Etgar Keret (57 min. video)

Yossi Klein Halevi: At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for Hope with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land

(Nonfiction, 336 p. 2001) In 1998 the American-born Israeli Halevi, an Orthodox Jew, embarked on a spiritual quest to engage with believing Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land and transcend his own prejudices and resentments. Integrating spirituality with politics, history, psychology, and theology, he creates an engaging, empathetic, and enduring perspective on the possibilities of reconciliation and healing.  Review by Hillel Halkin, Commentary Magazine Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spiritualityandpractice.com Marc Brettler interviews Yossi Klein Halevi, April 8, 2014, Hartman Institute, Jerusalem “An Islam Much Forgotten” by Yossi Klein Halevi, New York Times, August 10, 2001

Nicole Krauss: Forest Dark

(Fiction, 304 pp. 2017) This hybrid work of fiction, memoir and literary criticism alternates between two distinct stories about two Americans who travel to Tel Aviv searching for something they cannot articulate: a New York lawyer named Epstein in the final stages of giving away his fortune; a critically acclaimed American novelist named Nicole, suffering a mixture of writer’s block, insomnia and restlessness. Kirkus Review Review from Jewish Women’s Archive Review by Maron L. Waxman, Jewish Book Council Review by Emily St John Mandel, The Guardian, August 18, 2017 Review by Anna E. Clark, Los Angeles Review of Books, September 19, 2017 Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, September 12, 2017 Review by Peter Orner, New York Times, September 12, 2017 Alex Dueben interviews Nicole Krauss, The Rumpus, September 25, 2017

Nicole Krauss: The History of Love

(Fiction, 252 pp. 2005) Covering over 60 years and taking the reader from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach, this haunting novel deals with issues of loneliness and the need to fill a void left by lost love. Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by David Mogolov, JBooks.com Review by Laura Miller, New York Times, May 1, 2005 Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, April 25, 2005 Review by Natasha Walter, The Guardian, May 21, 2005 “The History of Love” (includes plot summary) from Wikipedia “Isaak Babel” from Wikipedia “The Street of Crocodiles” from Wikipedia “Miguel de Cervantes” from Wikipedia “Antoine de Saint-Exupery” from Wikipedia Profile by Boris Kachka, New York, May 21, 2005 Profile Rachel Aviv, Village Voice, April 25, 2005 Interview (1 min.)

Ilana Kurshan: If All the Seas Were Ink

(Memoir, 320 p. 2017) At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Kurshan adopted the practice of daf yomi: reading a page a day of the Talmud. Undaunted by the idea that it would take more than seven years to complete the full text on Jewish law, she adapted to its pace, attuned her ear to its poetry, and discovered her passions in its pages. Study Guide from Ilana Kurhsan Kirkus Review Review by Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, lehrhaus.com Review by Sarah Rindner, Jewish Review of Books, Fall 2017 Ilana Kurshan (2.5 min. video)

Tony Kushner: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

(Play, 289 pp. 1995) Sprawling in scope, this award-winning play combines historical figures Roy Cohn and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg with contemporary characters, as they navigate an AIDS- and Reagan-infected 1980s America. The humorous and visionary drama graphically explores the themes of loss, betrayal, and redemption. Discussion questions “Angels in America” from Wikipedia Essay by Alisa Solomon, “Wrestling with Angels: A Jewish Fantasia” Introduction,” Warren Hoffman, The Passing Game: Queering Jewish American Culture Video: “Tony Kushner: Angels in America” (8 min.)

Lucette Lagnado: The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

(Memoir, 352 pp. 2007) This award-winning memoir by a Wall Street Journal reporter chronicles her Jewish family’s traditions, tragedies and triumphs in their epic exodus in 1963 from the splendor of cosmopolitan Cairo, to Paris, and finally Brooklyn.   Discussion questions Kirkus Review Review by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, August 10, 2007 Review by Alana Newhouse, New York Times, August 12, 2007 Biographical sketch Caroline Lagnado interviews Lucette Lagnado, Jewish week, March 15, 2011 Steve Pollack interviews Lucette Lagnado Video presentation (11 min.) Video lecture (76 min.)

Aaron Lansky: Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books

(Nonfiction, 328 pp. 2005) In 1980, a twenty-three-year-old student set out to rescue abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Filled with poignant and often humorous anecdotes from Lansky’s travels across the country as he collected books from older Jewish immigrants, Outwitting History also shows how an almost-lost culture of Yiddish writers was preserved by the founding of the National Yiddish Book Center.   “National Yiddish Book Center“ from Wikipedia National Yiddish Book Center website Essay by Aaron Lansky, “Flip Side: the Yiddish Book Center’s Next Great Adventure,” September 2011

Elena Lappin: What Language Do I Dream In?

(Memoir, 310 pp. 2017) In this rich family mosaic, Moscow-born, London-based writer and editor Elena Lappin explores the impact of her peripatetic, multilingual background on the development of her identity and her sense of home and self. As she reconstructs the stories and secrets of her parents and grandparents, each language — Russian, Czech, German, Hebrew, and finally, English — is a link to a different piece of Lappin’s struggle to find a voice in a language not her own. Review from Kirkus Reviews Review by Elka Weber, Jewish Book Council Review by John Gallagher, The Guardian, January 28, 2017 Profile by Amanda Craig, The Guardian, June 19, 2016

Erik Larson: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

(Nonfiction, 464 pp. 2011)Larson’s gripping nonfiction work depicts the Nazis’ consolidation of power and increasing restrictions on Jews chiefly through the eyes of American ambassador William Dodd and his freewheeling daughter, Martha. While Ambassador Dodd’s perspective quickly moves from admiration to alarm, the United States State Department shows little willingness to take his warnings seriously. Teacher’s Guide from Penguin Random House Discussion Questions from LitLovers Review: Kirkus Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, May 19, 2011 Review By Sandra McElwaine, The Washington Times, July 15, 2011 Review by Jeff Bailey, Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2011 Video: Erik Larsen presentation (50 min.)

Michel Laub: Diary of the Fall

(Fiction, 240 pp. Portuguese 2011; English translation 2014) This Brazilian novel about memory and identity covers three generations: a grandfather who survived Auschwitz and spent the rest of his life trying to forget it; a father in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease who is fighting to remember everything; and the 40-year-old narrator who remains haunted by his role decades earlier in a brutal prank on a fellow student. Discussion questions Review from Kirkus Reviews Review by Nat Bernstein, Jewish Book Council Review by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times, May 16, 2014 Review by Dorothy Reno, Washington Independent Review of Books, August 8, 2014 Review by Chad Meadows, The Literary Review

Lia Levi: The Jewish Husband

(Fiction, 176 pp. Italian, 2001, English translation, 2009) Set in 1930s fascist Rome, this epistolary novel follows the relationship of Catholic Sonia and her suitor Dino, who has concealed that he is Jewish.  Once his identity is discovered, Dino enters into a compromise with Sonia’s father, effectively denying his heritage in order to secure her hand.  The consequences of this bargain escalate for the couple, their extended families, and their young son as the Fascist regime imposes increasingly restrictive laws on Italian Jews.    Review: Kirkus Review, Jewaicious, August 9, 2012 Review by Cynthia Good, Toronto Globe and Mail, September 23, 2010 Review, Bookslut, September 24, 2009 Biographical profile Paolo Sergi interviews Lia Levi Alessandro Cassin interviews Lia Levi

Primo Levi: The Periodic Table

(Memoir, 233 pp. Italian, 1975; English translation, 1984) A complex and beautifully rendered memoir by the author of Survival in Auschwitz.  A chemist by profession, Levi uses the elements as a frame for stories of his childhood in the Jewish community of Turin, his work with the Partisans, and some extraordinary experiences after the War. Download the Jewish Community Library’s Guide to The Periodic Table with Discussion Questions The Periodic Table Reviews and Articles ●    Review by John Gross, New York Times, November 29, 1984 ●     Review by Alvin H. Rosenfield, New York Times, December 23, 1984 ●     Review by Charles Forgy in The Quantum Chymist ●     Article by Ian Thomson, The Independent, April 7, 2012 Essays on Individual Stories in The Periodic Table ●      Primo Levi, Linguist by George Jochnowitz (CUNY) (focuses on “Argon”) ●      Margot Singer (Denison University) on Relics, Alchemy, and Primo Levi’s “Chromium” in Essay Daily, May 20, 2013 ●     Audio lecture by Al Filreis (University of Pennsylvania) on “Iron” and “Carbon” ●      Video presentation by Al Filreis (University of Pennsylvania) on “Iron” ●      Primo Levi’s “Small Differences” and the Art of The Periodic Table: A Reading of “Potassium” by Murray Baumgarten (UC Santa Cruz) ●      Primo Levi’s ‘Carbon’ performed in dance by the Chitraleka Dance Company Primo Levi and Science ●      Calls for New Chemical Element to be Dedicated to Primo Levi in La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, January 15, 2016 ●     Building with Light: Primo Levi, Science, and Writing by Nick Lane ●      Article by Tim Radford, The Guardian, October 8, 2009 ●      The Periodic Table named the best science book ever, The Guardian, October 21, 2006 Selected Articles on Primo Levi ●     The Prophecy of Primo Levi by Joel Bellman, The Jewish Journal, April 27, 2016 ●     Free, but Not Redeemed: Primo Levi and the Enigma of Survival by James Marcus, Harper’s, December 9, 2015 ●     A Celebration of Primo Levi by Matt Hanson in BooksWorld, November 19, 2015 ●     Taking the Full Measure of Primo Leviby Jerome Chanes in Jewish Week, November 18, 2015 ●     Online video of tribute to Primo Levi at the JCCSF, November 2, 2015 ●      How the Nazis Accidentally Turned Primo Levi into a Philosopher and a Much-loved Author by Robert Fulford, The National Post, October 26, 2015 ●       ‘Collected Works’ Makes Case for Primo Levi’s Singular Art by John Timpane, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 4, 2015 ●      The Art of Witness: How Primo Levi Survived by James Wood, The New Yorker, September 20, 2015 ●      Primo Levi’s Suicide Haunts His Lasting Work by Adam Kirsch, Tablet, September 21, 2015 ●      ‘The Complete Works of Primo Levi’: A Literary Treasury on Humanity by Michael Dirda, The Washington Post , September 23, 2015 ●      Primo Levi’s Defiant Humanism by Toni Morrison, The Guardian, September 5, 2015 ●      In Memory of Primo Levi by Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times, January 27, 2015 ●     Great Lives: Primo Levi with Edmund de Waal and Ian Thomson, BBC 4 Radio, May 21, 2013 ●      Primo Levi: A Catalyst for Genius by Ian Thomson, The Guardian, September 15, 2000 ●      Primo Levi’s Last Moments by Diego Gambetta, Boston Review, June 1, 1999 ●      Gabriel Motola interviews Primo Levi, The Paris Review, Spring 1995 ●    Obituary by John Tagliabue, New York Times, April 12, 1987 ●      Video profile of Primo Levi (4 min.) Selected Essays and Resources on the Periodic Table of Elements ●      My Periodic […]

Primo Levi: The Reawakening

(Memoir, 222pp. Italian, 1963; English translations, 1965, 2015) Also published as The Truce, Levi’s memoir describes his strange and eventful thirty-five-day journey home to Italy by way of the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Romania following his liberation from Auschwitz. Guide from the Wollheim Memorial

Joan Leegant: Wherever You Go

(Fiction, 253 pp. 2010) Three young American Jews—a Talmud teacher, a college dropout, and a secular New Yorker estranged from her ultra-religious sister—are drawn to Israel for different reasons.  Their lives intersect unexpectedly in Jerusalem when they become caught in the vortex of religious and political extremism. Discussion questions Review by Alana Newhouse, New York Times, September 3, 2010 Review by Beth Kissilef, Forward, June 2, 2010 Interview (4 min.)

Savyon Liebrecht: A Man, a Woman, and a Man

(Fiction, 256 pp. Hebrew, 1998; English translation, 2001) This novel by one of Israel’s most celebrated writers reveals the complex underpinnings of an adulterous romance. Hamutal and Saul’s liaison blossoms unexpectedly in the Tel Aviv nursing home where they come to visit their ailing parents, offering them emotional shelter as they struggle with their relationships with their families.   Review: Kirkus Review: Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature Biography

Eleanor Lipman: The Inn at Lake Devine

(Fiction, 253 pp. 1998) In this updated screwball comedy, Lipman employs a deft and light-handed manner to tackle anti-Semitism, intermarriage, and her heroine’s quest for inner growth and separation from family. Discussion questions Review by Lore Dickstein, New York Times, July 19, 1998 Review by Liesel Litzenburger, Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1998 Biography “Kutsher’s Hotel” (model for “Hotel Halseeyon”) from Wikipedia

Lynda Cohen Loigman: The Two-Family House

(Fiction, 304 p. 2016) Two families in post-war Brooklyn are inextricably linked by blood, marriage, and a long-held secret. This debut novel is permeated with hope, happiness, heartbreak, betrayal, yearning, and disappointment. Discussion guide from the Jewish Book Council Kirkus Review Review by Evie Saphire-Bernstein, Jewish Book Council Review by Rivkah Lambert Adler, The Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2016 [requires registration] Author’s Note: Leslie Lindsay interviews Lynda Cohen Loigman

Michael Lowenthal: The Paternity Test

(Fiction, 288 pp. 2012) Having relocated from New York City to a cottage in Cape Cod, two men in a long-term relationship enlist a Brazilian Jewish immigrant to serve as a surrogate mother. Complications ensue as this character-driven novel sensitively and humorously explores gay marriage, Jewish identity and continuity, family dynamics, sexuality and fidelity.   Discussion questions and review by Wayne Hoffman Review by Eric Liebetrau, Boston Globe, October 8, 2012 Review by David-Matthew Barnes, Lambda Literary Review, November 4, 2012 Michael Graves interviews Lowenthal Judy Bolton-Fasman interviews Lowenthal Essay by Michael Lowenthal, “Behind the scenes”

Michael David Lukas: The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

(Fiction, 288 pp. 2018) The story of a Berkeley literature student exploring his Jewish mother and Muslim father’s tangled roots in the history of Cairo’s ancient synagogue is intertwined with that of British twin sisters, Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart Cambridge on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue. Kirkus Review Review by Esther Nussbaum, Jewish Book Council Review by Natalie Bakopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2018 Review by Brandon Yu, East Bay Express, March 14, 2018 Lydia Kiesling interviews Michael David Lukas, The Millions, March 13, 2018

Michael David Lukas: The Oracle of Stamboul

(Fiction, 304 p. 2011) Set in the heart of the Ottoman Empire during the first years of its chaotic decline, this debut novel follows a gifted young girl who dares to charm a sultan—and change the course of history. As the sultan’s interest in her grows, so, too, does her reputation and importance, thoughEleonora is unsure if her new role is what she wants from life. Book discussion guide (by Reading Circle) Book discussion guide (Jewish Book Council) Kirkus Review Review by Jane Ciabattari, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2011 Review by Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., Jewish Book Council Review by James Hynes, New York Times, February 27, 2011. Martha Woodroof profiles Michael David Lukas, NPR, March 1, 2011 Michael Krasny interviews Michael David Lukas, April 25, 2012 (58 min, video)

Bernard Malamud: The Assistant

(Fiction, 246 pp. 1957) Plagued by guilt after taking part in the robbery of a small New York grocery, Italian-American Frank Alpine tries to make good by taking a job helping the struggling shop’s poor Jewish owner.  As he works through his moral debt and falls in love with the grocer’s daughter, Frank undergoes a painful struggle to transcend the base instincts that engendered his criminal behavior. Discussion Guide from ReformJudaism.org Review by William Goyen, New York Times, April 13, 2007 Review: Kirkus Study Guide from SparkNotes.com Plot synopsis from Wikipedia Critical Essay by Helge Normann Nilson, International Fiction Review, 1988

Bernard Malamud: The Fixer

(Fiction, 352 p. 1966) Malamud won both the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for his novel set in Kiev in 1911. During a period of heightened anti-Semitism, an apolitical, nonobservant Jewish handyman is arrested and imprisoned for the ritual murder of a young Russian boy. Refusing to confess to a crime that he did not commit, the “fixer” vacillates between despair, outrage, and hope for justice.  Discussion questions Kirkus review Review by Eliot Fremont-Smith, New York Times, August 29, 1966 Wikipedia article

Kirsty Manning: The Song of the Jade Lily

(Fiction, 471 p. 2019) Eleven-year old Romy and her parents flee 1938 Vienna to Shanghai, and in 2016 her granddaughter Alexandra rushes from England home to Melbourne, Australia, to be with her dying grandfather. This historical novel deals with friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all. The Library’s copies include book group discussions questions. Review by Shi­ra R. London, Jewish Book Council, September 16, 2019 Review by Susan Blumberg-Kason, Asian Review of Books,  September 4, 2019     Kirsty Manning introduces The Song of the Jade Lily (video, 1:41 min.) Review, Publishers Weekly

Anouk Markovits: I Am Forbidden

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2012) This multilayered story is a sensitive consideration of tradition and commitment, and the conflict between individual independence and the obligations of faith. It follows four generations of the Stern family, members of the Satmar Hasidic sect, from Transylvania to Paris and Brooklyn, focusing on the diverging paths of two daughters, close friends until one wants more than her proscribed world can offer. Review by Susannah Meadows, New York Times, May 15, 2012 Review by Zackary Sholem Berker, Unpious, June 3, 2012 Review by Catherine Taylor, Telegraph, June 21, 2012 Author’s website (includes links to many more reviews) David Green interviews Anouk Markovits

Alice Mattison: In Case We’re Separated

(Fiction, 226 pp. 2005) Thirteen linked stories imitate in prose the complex poetic form called a sestina, inviting readers into the lives of four generations of a Jewish family, once from Russia and now scattered across North America. Moments of joy, despair, hope, and puzzlement weave through stories that move back and forth in time.    Discussion questions Review by Sue Halpern, New York Times, October 16, 2005

James McBride: The Color of Water

Memoir, 256 pp. 1995 Ruth McBride Jordan narrates the hardships she overcame as a Polish Jewish immigrant in rural Virginia who chose to marry a black man in 1942 and convert to Christianity. Her account is interspersed in alternating chapters with her son’s struggle to discover his mother’s past and develop his own identity. Discussion Questions Kirkus Review Reviewby H. Jack Geiger, New York Times, March 31, 1996 John Bersia interviews James McBride, Global Perspectives, May 16, 2012 (15 min. video)

Aharon Megged: Foiglman

(Fiction, 277 pp. Hebrew, 1987; English translation, 2003) When an Israeli historian agrees to find a translator for a passionate Yiddish poet and Holocaust survivor whom he barely knows, he unwittingly throws his marriage and personal life into tragic confusion.  Winner of a Koret Jewish Book Award, this rich novel of ideas concentrates on language and identity to play out the unresolved conflicts between the Israeli and the Diaspora Jew. Review by Jean Sered, J Weekly, May 28, 2004 Essay by Eyal Megged, “The Mystery of Meggid” Ha’aretz, September 16, 2010

Sami Michael: A Trumpet in the Wadi

(Fiction, 244 pp. Hebrew, 1987; English translation, 2003) Set in 1982 in the Arab quarter of Haifa, the Iraqi-born author’s bestseller paints a sensitive picture of a Christian Arab family, one of whose daughters enters into a romance with the Russian Jewish immigrant who moves upstairs.  Contending with this unlikely turn of events, the protagonists and their families wrestle with complex questions of loyalty and identity. Review: Kirkus Review by Dara Horn, Forward, August 8, 2003 Profile by Gabrielle Birkner, Forward, August 8, 2003 Profile by Joe Eskenazi, Jweekly, November 6, 2003

Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman

(Play, 448 pp. 1996) Miller’s award-winning 1949 play about traveling salesman Willy Loman, his wife, and their two sons is accompanied by essays contextualizing and elucidating the play. Discussion questions Review by Brooks Atkinson, New York Times, February 11, 1949 Essay by Arthur Miller on the first anniversary of “The Death of a Salesman,” New York Times, February 5,1950 Obituary: New York Times, February 11, 2005 Video: Jonathan Miller interviews Arthur Miller about atheism (29 min.)

Arthur Miller: Focus

(Fiction, 240 p. 1945) A reticent personnel manager living with his mother shares the prejudices of his times and of his neighbors, until he begins wearing glasses, and others begin to mistake him for a Jew. Miller’s only novel investigates the insidious effects of increasing anti-Semitism in New York in 1945. Kirkus Review Review by Charles Poore, New York Times, November 24, 1945 Review by Evelyn Sheffner, Commentary Magazine, February 1, 1946 Arthur Miller’s Focus by Ami Eden, excerpted and reprinted from “A World in WhichEverything Hurts” published in the Forward (July 30, 2004).

Tova Mirvis: The Outside World

(Fiction, 304 pp. 2005) This humorously insightful novel follows Tzippy, a 22-year old modern Orthodox woman eager to marry, who unexpectedly falls for Bryan, who, following a year in yeshiva in Israel, has become stringently observant and now calls himself Baruch.  The couple moves to the small Orthodox community of Memphis, Tennessee, where they and their parents deal with issues of isolation and assimilation, faith and doubt, destiny and true love.  Discussion questions Kirkus Review Review by Alys R. Yablon, Forward, April 23, 2004 Essay by Wendy Shalit, New York Times, January 30, 2005 Tova Mirvis responds to Wendy Shalit, Forward, February 4, 2005 Chana Rosenblatt-Mayesfsky interviewsTova Mirvis, Publishers Weekly, March 1, 2004 Biography

Tova Mirvis: The Ladies Auxiliary

(Fiction, 336 pp. 1999) Narrated from the collective perspective of a synagogue’s Ladies’ Auxiliary, Mirvis’s inspired debut depicts the perceived threat that the arrival of free-spirited Batsheva poses to the insular Orthodox community of Memphis, Tennessee. The intergenerational conflict that ensues illuminates the difficulty of maintaining tradition while honoring personal freedom. Discussion questions Review by Roy Hoffman, New York Times, October 17, 1999 Review: Kirkus

Wendy Mogel: The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

(Nonfiction, 287 pp. 2001) Child psychologist Wendy Mogel brings together classical Jewish texts and insights from her work with families to craft a guidebook helping parents educate their children to be flexible and independent. Grounded in the Jewish values of moderation, celebration, and sanctification, each chapter offers practical and humorous guidance for empowered yet sensitive parenting. Discussion questions (developed by Dr. Mogel for parenting groups, but might well work for book discussion groups) Review by Ann Miller, Philadelphia Jewish Voice, June 2006 Profile by Emily Bazelon, New York Times, October 1, 2006 Biography Video presentation (2:45 min.)

Sélim Nassib: The Palestinian Lover

(Fiction, 164 pp. French, 2004; English translation, 2007) This novel, by a Lebanese-Jewish writer, tells the story of a rumored secret love affair between Golda Meir and a Palestinian aristocrat. Meir is young, married, the lone woman among the inner core of Zionist men. Her chance encounter with an Arab gentleman has repercussions far beyond her own family, vividly told against the backdrop of Mandate Palestine. Review by Jay Trachtenberg, Austin Chronicle, February 23, 2007 Kirkus review Profile by Natasha Lehrer, Tablet Magazine, February 6, 2008 Review by Mary Whipple, MostlyFiction.com, April 12, 2007 Golda Meir’s Obituary, Wahington Post, December 9, 1978 “Jaffa: Land of Sad Oranges” by Selim Nassib, Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2004

Eshkol Nevo: Three Floors Up

(Fiction, 304pp. Hebrew 2015; English translation 2017) Three tenants in a suburban Tel Aviv apartment building each tell their stories, and in the process explore the connections between identity, memory and loneliness. The first in an urgent conversation with an old friend, now a writer, in a restaurant; the second in a rambling letter to an old friend now in the U.S.; and the third in short clips to an answering machine. Discussion questions: Kirkus Review Review by Maron L. Waxman, Jewish Book Council Review by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, New York Times, January 5, 2018 Profile by Sandee Brawarsky, New York Jewish Week, December 5, 2017 Ranen Omer-Sherman interviews Eshkol Nevo Interview with Eshkol Nevo (video 6 min.)

Eshkol Nevo: Homesick

Fiction, 374 p. Hebrew, 2004; English translation, 2010) Narrated from multiple perspectives this novel follows a handful of neighbors in the town of Mevasseret, just outside Jerusalem, whose Arab inhabitants were displaced in 1948. Nevo masterfully explores the dualities of life in Israel, and delicately draws out the hope and love submerged in the hearts of its citizens.  Review and interview by Bob Goldfarb, Jewish Book Council Review by Julia Pascal, The Independent, February 21, 2008 Review by Akin Ajayi, The Forward, March 24, 2010 Review by David Cooper

Achy Obejas: Days of Awe

(Fiction, 357 pp. 2001) The protagonist of this semi-autobiographical novel was born in Cuba and grew up in Chicago in a community of refugees who nurtured the hope that they might eventually return to their homeland. When her job takes her back to Cuba, she discovers that her ostensibly Catholic ancestors are actually conversos who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. Enlightened by a revised understanding of her past and her culture, she uncovers new truths about relatives who struggled with their own identities so long ago.   Discussion questions Review by Marika Preziuso, Sx Salon, October 2010 Kirkus review Review by Paula Friedman, Los Angeles Times Review by Amos Lassen, AmosLassen.com, May 23, 2012

Anne-Marie O’Connor: The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

(Nonfiction, 368 pp. 2012) Often referred to as the “Austrian Mona Lisa,” Gustav Klimt’s gold-leafed portrait of Jewish art patron Adele Bloch-Bauer has a complicated and controversial history.  O’Connor relates the story of the painting, casting light on its creation during the Viennese Belle Epoque, its confiscation under Nazi rule, and the long struggle over its ownership after World War II.     Kirkus review Biographical note Reader’s Note and Cast of Characters Review by Hugh Eakin, Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2012 Review by Kathryn Lang, Washington Post, March 16, 2012 Lecture (46 min.)

Amos Oz: Panther in the Basement

(Fiction, 155 pp. Hebrew, 1994; English translation, 1997) It is the summer of 1947 in Palestine under the British Mandate. A 12-year-old Jewish boy befriends a British soldier to improve his English, only to find himself branded as a traitor by his friends. A coming of age novel with a difference. Review by Lee Siegel, New York Times, October 26, 1997 Amy Wilentz interviews Amos Oz, The Nation, January 6, 2005 David Remnick profiles Amos Oz, New Yorker, November 8, 2004 Biography Biography

Amos Oz: A Tale of Love and Darkness

(Memoir, 560 pp. Hebrew, 2002; English translation, 2004) Past and present spiral in this dense memoir of growing up in Jerusalem in the years before and after Israeli independence. Oz’s richly colored tales of his European immigrant family trying to recreate itself in an alien landscape allow readers to know the inner workings of a distinguished writer and gain insight into what impelled him toward his craft.  Discussion questions Review by Linda Grant, The Guardian, September 10, 2004 Review by John Leonard, New York Times, December 12, 2004 Review by Amy Wilentz, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2004 Review by David Isaacson, Daily Telegraph, September 4, 2004 Review by Alberto Manguel, Washington Post, November 7, 2004 Review by David Bernstein, The Age, November 6, 2004 Amy Wilentz interviews Amos Oz, The Nation, January 6, 2005 David Remnick profiles Amos Oz, New Yorker, November 8, 2004 Essay by Eran Kaplan,“Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness and the Sabra Myth,” Jewish Social Studies, Fall 2007 Biography Video presentation (65 min.)

Amos Oz: Between Friends

(Short Stories, 192 pp. Hebrew 2012; English translation, 2013) This group of connected stories set on a fictional agricultural kibbutz in the late 1950s offers revelatory glimpses into the members’ secrets, longings, and dissatisfactions. Review by Alberto Manguel, the Guardian, May 8, 2013 Review by Liam Hoare, Los Angeles Review of Books, December 4, 2013 Review by Julia M. Klein, Chicago Tribune, September 22, 2013 Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, Forward, September 26, 2013 Review by John Gross, Telegraph, September 5, 2004 Review by Julia Pascale, Independent, July 10, 2013 Michel Krielaars interviews Amos Oz (87 min.) Niva Lanir interviews Amos Oz, Haaretz, March 15, 2012 Video message from Amos Oz (2 min.)

Amos Oz: Judas

(Fiction, 320 pp. Hebrew, 2014; English translation, 2016) In 1959 Jerusalem, a young scholar finds work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man. In the house is also an alluring widow, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader. This love story and coming-of-age novel is also an allegory for the State of Israel and for the New Testament tale from which it draws its title. Review from Kirkus Reviews Review by Emily Barton, New York Times, December 7, 2016 Review By Ron Charles, Washington Post, November 28, 2016 Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, The Forward, November 7, 2016 Review by Benjamin Balint, Haaretz, December 26, 2016 Review by Peter Stanford, The Guardian, September 5, 2016 Gal Beckerman interviews Amos Oz, New York Times, November 19, 2016 Robert Siegel interviews Amos Oz, NPR, November 14, 2016 (6 min. audio, with transcript) Leonard Lopate interviews Amos Oz, WNYC, November 15, 2016 (17 min. audio)

Cynthia Ozick: The Puttermesser Papers

(Fiction, 256 pp. 1997) In a modern urban version of a classic Jewish myth, Ozick offers her take on the Golem. Visionary and malcontent Ruth Puttermesser stars in this surrealistic tale of destruction and rebirth.   Discussion guide: The Jewish Reader, February 2002 (including review by Shoshana Marchand, Philip Graubart interviews Cynthia Ozick, and discussion questions) Review: Kirkus Review by Jack Miles, New York Times, June 15, 1997 Biographical sketch by Joseph Lowin Video: Conversation with Cynthia Ozick (about The Shawl first 13 minutes are about Ozick’s early life) (23 min.)

Grace Paley: A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays, and Poetry

(Short Stories, 400 pp. 2017) Fifteen of Paley’s most famous stories, nineteen essays and thirty-four poems, all dealing with her characteristically large subjects: war, men, marriage, children, life and death.  Kirkus Review Reading Resources (Yiddish Book Center) Review by Alexandra Schwartz, New Yorker, May 8, 2017. Review by Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, April 13, 2017 Review by Maggie Doherty, The Nation, June 27, 2017

Edith Pearlman: Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories

(Short stories, 375 pp. 2011) Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these selected stories continue Edith Pearlman’s favorite theme of accommodation, as well as young love, old love, thwarted love, and love denied; of Jews and their dilemmas; of marriage, family, death, and betrayal. The settings are Maine, Central America, Hungary, Tsarist Russia, and the fictional town of Godolphin, Massachusetts. These locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with tenderness and incisiveness. Kirkus Review Review by  Marcela Valdes, Washington Post, November 4, 2011 Review by Mark Lawson, The Guardian, February 28, 2013 Review by Leah Hager Cohen, Boston Globe, April 10, 2012 Review by Roxana Robinson, New York Times, January 16, 2011

Edith Pearlman: Honeydew

(Short Stories, 277 pp. 2015) Set primarily in a fictional suburb of Boston, this collection of splendidly crafted short fiction reflects Pearlman’s mastery in exploring the interior lives of her characters and shining light on the meaning found in everyday existence. Review by James Wood, New Yorker, February 6, 2015 Review by Laura Van den Berg, The New York Times, December 31, 2014 Review by Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio, January 22, 2015 Review by David Ulin, Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2015 Review by Josh Cook, The Millions, January 8, 2015

Elizabeth Poliner: As Close to Us as Breathing

(Fiction, 368 p. 2016) A multigenerational family saga about the long lasting reverberations when a terrible accident transforms a summer of hope and self discovery into a lifetime of atonement and loss for members of this close knit clan. Discussion Questions from Elizabeth Poliner Kirkus Review Review by Eli Gottlieb, New York Times, March 25, 2016 Review by Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council Review by Heller McAlpin, NPR, March 15, 2016 Review by Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine, March 10, 2016

Chaim Potok: The Gift of Asher Lev

(Fiction, 369 pp. 1990) When Asher Lev, an internationally famous painter, returns from exile in France to his native Brooklyn to attend his uncle’s funeral, he begins a struggle with his own destiny : his devotion to his family and his religious beliefs are pitted against his artistic survival. Kirkus Review Review by Eli Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1990

Dorit Rabinyan: All the Rivers

(Fiction, 288 p. Hebrew 2014 ; English translation 2017) This controversial novel, boldly portraying the strains—and delights—of a forbidden relationship, is a love story and a war story, a New York story and a Middle East story, an unflinching foray into the forces that bind us and divide us. Discussion Questions from Jewish Women’s Archive Review by Steven G. Kellman, The Forward, May 9, 2017 ”The Day Israel Banned My Book From Schools” by Dorit Rabinyan, Time Magazine, Apr 27, 2017 Article by Ian Fisher, New York Times, May 3, 2017 Peter Beaumont interviews Dorit Rabinyan, The Guardian, April 8, 2017 Video (2 min.)

Irina Reyn: What Happened to Anna K.

(Fiction, 244 pp. 2008) Overly romantic thirty-seven-year-old Anna K. is comfortably married to an older businessman from her tight-knit Russian-Jewish immigrant community in Queens, but her longing for escape is ignited when she meets her cousin’s young boyfriend. This fresh reinvention of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina masterfully explores issues of identity, fidelity, and community in a contemporary setting.   Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by Elizabeth Gold, San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 2008 Review by Diana Wagman, Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2008 Review by Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor, Ausut 20 2008 “Anna Karenina” from Wikipedia “Bukharan Jews” from Wikipedia Essay: “Bukarian Jews: Preserving Identity,” Hadassah Magazine, August/September 2008 Cynthia Crossen interviews Irina Reyn Video interview with Irina Reyn (26 min.)

Mordecai Richler: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

(Fiction, 377 pp. 1959) A man must pursue his dreams, and Duddy has big dreams. You will be charmed by him, you will hate him, and you will most certainly keep reading as his scheme to get out of Montreal’s Jewish ghetto and buy a piece of land does battle with his moral principals. Discussion questions Review by Florence Crowther, New York Times, June 1, 1997 Essay by Meredith Snyder, July 2003 Obituary by Robert Fulford, The National Post, July 4, 2001 Essay by J. A. Wainwright, “Neither Jekyll Nor Hyde: In Defence of Duddy Kravitz” Plot synopsis and characters from Wikipedia “History of the Jews in Canada” from Wikipedia Video interview (13 min.)

Stuart Rojstaczer: The Mathematician’s Shiva

(Fiction, 384 p. 2014) Sasha Karnokovitch and his family would like to mourn the passing of his mother, Rachela, with modesty and dignity.  But Rachela, a brilliant Polish émigré mathematician, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millenium Prize problem, and spitefully taken the solution to her grave. A motley group of socially challenged mathematicians arrives to crash the shiva, vowing to do whatever it takes to find the solution.  Discussion guide including introduction, interview and questions Kirkus review Review by Miriam Bradman Abrahams, Jewish Book Council Review by Larry N. Mayer, Forward, January 13, 2015 Essay: “Why I’m a Jewish Writer” by Stuart Rojstaczer, September 09, 2014 Play: “The Author Talks To His Mom About The Mathematician’s Shiva” Thursday, September 11, 2014 Juli Berwald interviews Stuart Rojstaczer, Jewish Book Council, October 1, 2014 Steven Bertrand interviews Stuart Rojstaczer (audio, 11 min.)

Fred Rosenbaum: Cosmopolitans: A Social and Cultural History of the Jews of the San Francisco Bay Area

(Nonfiction, 462 pp. 2009) Presents a rich history of Bay Area Jews from the Gold Rush through the present day, with an emphasis on the values—such as an embrace of social justice and an affinity for the arts—that have often animated the community. Review by Ava Kahn, San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2012 Review by Dan Pine, J: The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, January 29, 2010 Review by Sydelle Shamah, Jewish Book Council, September 7, 2011 Radio Interview with Fred Rosenbaum about Cosmopolitans on Michael Krasne’s Forum, KQED, May 4, 2010

Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum: A Day of Small Beginnings

(Fiction, 368 pp. 2006) The relationship between the spirit of the elderly, childless Friedl and three generations of a secular Jewish family whose “faithless” patriarch fled Poland for America in 1906 permeates this novel, which interweaves history, mysticism, and magic realism with the reality of anti-Semitism and spiritual redemption.  Discussion Questions and Reader’s Guide Kirkus Review Review by Laurel Maury, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2006 Review by Irina Reyn, Forward, December 8, 2006 Review by Christine Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, December 18, 2006 Stephanie Pervos Bregman interviews Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum, Chicago Jewish United Fund, October 31, 2011 Connie Martinson interviews Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum (video 28 min.)

Francine Prose: Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife

(Nonfiction, 336 pp. 2009) The second most widely-read book in the world, Diary of a Young Girl has a fascinating history from its origins in the secret annex to publication in more than fifty languages and controversial stage and screen adaptations. Prose chronicles Frank’s process to create a deliberate work of art intended for publication, offering a literary and historical analysis of an iconic work. Review by Anne Karpf, Guardian, August 20, 2010 Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, October 1, 2009 Review: Kirkus Review by Carole Angier, The Independent, July 30, 2010 Review by Tova MIrvis, The Forward, September 29, 2009 Review by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Washington Post, November 8, 2009 Scott Simon interviews Francine Prose, NPR, September 26, 2009 Cynthia Crossen interviews Francine Prose, Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2009 Essay by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, “Anne Frank and the Future of Holocaust Memory,” US Holocaust Memorial Museum, October 14, 2004 Essay by Francine Prose, “The Voice of Anne Frank,” Los Angeles Times, 2009 Video presentation (66 min.)

Fran Ross: Oreo

(Fiction, 212 pp. 1974) This picaresque novel, deemed ahead of its time and now considered a cult classic, satirically chronicles the adventures of a young woman born to a black mother, in her quest to find her Jewish father in New York City. The myth of Theseus is updated, using a mix of vernacular dialects, bilingual and ethnic humor, inside jokes, neologisms, verbal quirks, and linguistic oddities. Kirkus Review Review by Dwight Garner, New York Times, July 14, 2015 Review by Edwin Turner, Biblioklept, July 26, 2020 Review by Mat Johnson, National Public Radio, March 9, 2011 Review by Danzy Senna, The New Yorker, May 7, 2015 Review by Marlon James, The Guardian, July 7, 2018 Article about Fran Ross by Scott Saul, Los Angeles Review of Books, July 22, 2019

James Ross: Fragile Branches: Travels through the Jewish Diaspora

Nonfiction, 229 pp. 2000) Journalist Ross introduces six isolated communities in India, Peru, Brazil, Israel, and Uganda that embrace Judaism despite enormous obstacles.  Offering new perspectives, encouraging reexamination of relationships with tradition, and reminding us of the richness and diversity of Jewish life, the book also poses the ever-perplexing question of who, exactly, is a Jew.    Review on beliefnet.com Review: Baltimore Sun, August 25, 2009 Review by Maria Caelesti, GoodReads.com, October 2007 “Who is a Jew?” from Wikipedia

Philip Roth: American Pastoral

(Fiction, 432 pp. 1997) The first in Roth’s trilogy of novels exploring the life of American Jews of his generation, American Pastoral paints a masterful portrait of the perfectly assimilated Seymour “the Swede” Levov, whose perfectly constructed world falls apart when his daughter gets involved in radical politics.   Discussion questions Review by Michael Wood, New York Times, April 20, 1997 Review: Kirkus Review by Paul Berman, Slate, May 21, 1997 Review: The Economist, May 22, 1997 Review by James W. Tuttleton, New Criterion, May 1997 Benjamin Taylor interviewsPhilip Roth (28 min.)

Philip Roth: The Plot Against America

(Fiction, 416 pp. 2004) Roth’s stirring work of historical fiction depicts the impact on a New Jersey Jewish family of Charles Lindbergh’s defeat of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 Presidential election.   Discussion questions from Houghton-Mifflin publishers Discussion questions from Reading Group Guides Review by Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor, September 29, 2004 Review by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, September 21, 2004 Review by Jacob Risinger, The Oxonian Review, December 15, 2004 Review by Paul Berman, New York Times, October 3, 2004 Review by Daniel Handler, San Francisco Chronicle, October 3, 2004 Review by Mark Schechner, The Forward, October 1, 2004 Review by Steve Almond, Jbooks.com “Alternate History”from Wikipedia Essay by Philip Roth, “The Story Behind The Plot Against America,” New York Times, September 19, 2004 Video: Katie Couric interviews Philip Roth (6 min.) Review by Edward Morris, BookPage, January 2003 Review by Felice Aull, NYU School of Medicine, July 2, 2004 Presentation by Sherwin Nuland, CSPAN (58 min.)

Philip Roth: Nemesis

(Fiction, 304 pp. 2010) Bucky Cantor is a vigorous young playground director when a polio outbreak mysteriously begins to ravage 1944 Newark. Faced with an opportunity to leave the city for work in a Catskills summer camp, Bucky is torn between personal safety and professional duty in this modern American morality tale.   One Book/One Paltz reading guide with questions Review: Kirkus Review by Edward Docx, Observer, October 2, 2010 Review by Leah Hagar Cohen, New York Times, October 8, 2010 Review by Nicholas Lezard, Guardian, Sept. 27, 2011 Additional reviews Philip Roth’s Epidemic and Ours by Samuel Freedman, Washington Post, June 26, 2020 The Eerie Familiarities of Philip Roth’s Novel of a Polio Epidemic by Richard Brody, The New Yorker, April 3, 2020 Essay by Igor Webb, “Four Questions About ‘Nemesis’ Answered” Forward May 25, 2011 Philip Roth’s Nemesis: The Case Against God and Man, by Robert Loss, PopMatters, October 11, 2010 Video: Philip Roth reading from Nemesis (10 min.) Video: Nemesis and the Covid-19 Pandemic from the Newark Public Library (57 min.) Video: Lucia Guimaraes interviews Philip Roth (3 min.)

Moriel Rothman-Zecher: Sadness is a White Bird

(Fiction, 288 p. 2018) A 19-year-old Israeli soldier whose best friends are Palestinian twins is driven to the breaking point by conflicting loyalties. This passionate, poetic coming-of-age story set in a mine field, brilliantly captures the intensity of feeling on both sides of the conflict. Reading Group Guide (Simon & Schuster) Kirkus Review Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, Jewish Book Council Review by Philip K. Jason, Washington Independent Review of Books, March 22, 2018 Profile by Andrew Esensten, Haaretz, February 13, 2018 Profile by Jenny Singer, Forward, August 1, 2018  Rebecca Gerny interviews Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Daily Cal, March 5, 2018 “On Poetry Swallowed by Prose” blog by Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Jewish Book Council Moriel Rothman-Zecher explains his motivation (67 min. video)

Danya Ruttenberg: Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting

(Nonfiction, 320 p. 2016) Rooted in Judaism and incorporating a wide-range of religious and literary traditions, this bookshows how seeing parenting as a spiritual practice can lead to transformation. Discussion guide from Flatiron Books Review by Judy Batalion, Jewish Book Council Review by Naomi M. Gruer, Hadassah Magazine, October 2016 Danielle Leshaw interviews Danya Ruttenberg, Mutha Magazine, July 2017 Review by Dasee Berkowitz, The Forward, June 15

Ariel Sabar: My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq

(Memoir, 325 pp. 2008) Ariel Sabar’s father, Yona, was born in the northern Iraqi village of Zakho, a place so remote that the Kurdish Jews who lived there still spoke the ancient language of Aramaic. Ariel, a journalist who grew up in Los Angeles, investigates his father’s dedication to preserving the stories, traditions, and language of his past. Review with discussion questions from the Jewish Book Council Book club resources from Ariel Sabar

Sigal Samuel: The Mystics of Mile End

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2015) In Montreal’s Mile End neighborhood, shared by hipsters and Hassidic Jews, a professor of Jewish mysticism is diagnosed with an unusual heart murmur, becoming convinced that his heart is whispering divine secrets. When his frenzied attempts to ascend the Tree of Life lead to tragedy, his children set out separately to finish what he’s started. Discussion Questions from readinggroupguides.com Review by Elie Lichstein, Jewish Book Council Review by Michael Regenstreif, Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, June 22, 2015, p. 30 Review by Anna Leventhal, Montreal Review of Books, May 25, 2015 Ann Cohen interviews Elie Lichstein, Forward, October 13, 2015 Audio interview, CJSW (23 min.), June 2015

Mark Sarvas: Memento Park

When a veteran Hollywood character actor gets a call about a painting allegedly looted from his family by Nazis in 1944 Budapest, his life is thrown into personal, professional, and spiritual turmoil. Of the many questions asked — about family and identity, about art and history—a central, unanswerable predicament lingers: How do we move forward when the past looms unreasonably large? Reading Group Guidefrom Macmillan Kirkus review, March 13, 2018 Review by Adam Kirsch, Washington Post, March 8, 2018 Review by Heller McAlpin, NPR, March 14, 2018 Review by Ellen Umansky, New York Times, May 5, 2018 Review by Ingrid Vega, Zyzzyva, May 15, 2018 Profile by Agatha French, Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2018 About Mark Sarvas

Moacyr Scliar: The Centaur in the Garden

(Fiction, 216 pp. Portuguese, 1980; English translation, 1984) An outsider among outsiders, a Jewish centaur narrates his life’s journey from his birth on a farm homesteaded by his Russian immigrant family in southern Brazil through his efforts to rid himself of the equine portion of his body and take his place in contemporary Brazilian society.  Listed by the National Yiddish Book Center as one of the 100 greatest works of modern Jewish literature, this earthy tale is one you won’t soon forget.   Discussion questions Wikipedia article, Moacyr Scliar Review by Jean Franco, New York Times, June 30, 2011 Obituary by Ilan Stavans, Forward, March 18, 2011 Obituary by William Grimes, New York Times, March 14, 2011

Lore Segal: Her First American

(Fiction, 287 pp. 1994) This surprisingly comic novel follows the adventures of Ilka Weissnix, a 21-year-old Austrian Jew who has survived the War and come to the United States.  As she explores her new world, she enters into an unlikely romance with an older African-American intellectual, who also turns out to be losing a battle with alcoholism Review: Kirkus Review by Vivian Gornick, Nation, December 13, 2004 Review by Carolyn Kizer, New York Times, May 19, 1985 Biography Biograph Drew Johnson interviews Lore Segal, Bookslut, December 2011 Audio and Video: Julie Orringer interviews Lore Segal, New York Public Library, May 5, 2010 (66 min.)

Meir Shalev: The Blue Mountain

(Fiction, 378 pp. Hebrew, 1988; English translation, 1991) This imaginative novel transcends time and place as it depicts three generations of the inhabits of a rural village in Israel—from the four immigrants pioneering a new life in a new land, to their grandson Baruch, who reflects on the past with nostalgia, curiosity, and ambivalence.  Discussion questions Review by Herbert Mitgang, New York Times, August 14, 1991 Review: Kirkus Review by Elaine Kendall, Los Angeles Times, October 4, 1991 Video: Evan Fallenberg interviews Meir Shalev on “Writing, Translating and What Lies Between” (41 min)

Meir Shalev: The Loves of Judith

(Fiction, 315 pp. Hebrew, 1994, English translation 1999) Also published as Four Meals, this rich and remarkable novel recounts how, over the course of four meals that take place across several decades, a boy named Zayde learns about his mother Judith’s relationships in a rural village in British Mandate Palestine in the 1930s with her three lovers, all of whom consider him their son. Kirkus review, January 1999 Review by Andrea MacPherson , January Magazine, July 2000 Review by Bob Goldfarb, Jewish Book Council, Tom Teicholz interviews Meir Shalev, Jewish TV Network (22 min.)

Meir Shalev: My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner

(Memoir, 224 pp. Hebrew, 2009; English translation, 2011) This humorous and tender memoir about the acclaimed Israeli author’s grandmother and her obsession with cleanliness richly evokes the idealism and disappointments of the Eastern European Jews who came to Palestine in the 1920s. Review: Kirkus Review: Publishers Weekly Review by Emma Garman, Words Without Borders, 2011 Review by Ariel Balter, New York Journal of Books, October 4, 2011. Review by Saguy Green, Ha’aretz, Dec. 5, 2009 Review by Ranen Omer-Sherman, Forward, October 07, 2011 Video: Lecture by Meier Shalev (50 min.)

Meir Shalev: A Pigeon and a Boy

(Fiction, 365 pp. Hebrew, 2006, English translation, 2007) During Israel’s 1948 War of Independence a young homing pigeon handler, in his final moments, sends off one last pigeon, bearing an unusual gift to his girlfriend. Intertwined is the contemporary story of a middle-aged tour guide who falls in love again with his childhood sweetheart and uncovers a secret connection to the bird handler. Discussion questions from publisher Discussion Questions from Reading Group Guides Review: Kirkus Review: Sarah Fay, New York Times, November 25, 2007 Andrea Crawford interviews Meir Shalev, Tablet, December 12, 2007 Essay by Nirit Anderman, August 9, 2010 Video: Evan Fallenberg interviews Meir Shalev on “Writing, Translating and What Lies Between” (41 min)

Meir Shalev: Two She-Bears

(Fiction, 320 pp. Hebrew, 2013; English translation, 2016) This unconventional literary thriller about two murders — one committed as an act of vengeance and the second as an act of retribution — takes place in a small agrarian village in Israel. Spanning three generations in one family’s life, this is a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, loss, brutality and salvation. Readers Guide from Penguin Random House Review from Kirkus Reviews Review/interview by Maya Sela, July 5, 2013, Ha’aretz Review by Maron L. Waxman, Jewish Book Council Review by David Cooper, NY Journal of Books

B.A. Shapiro: The Muralist

(Fiction, 368 pp. 2015) Seventy years after an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration vanishes in New York City in 1940, her great-niece, working at Christie’s auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Discussion Questions from LitLovers Kirkus Review Review by Miriam Bradman Abrahams, Jewish Book Council Review by Carol Memmott, Washington Post, October 15, 2015 Review by Ted Kehoe, Boston Globe, November 24, 2015  “On the Writing of The Muralist“ by B.A. Shapiro

Dani Shapiro: Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love

(Memoir, 272 pp, 2019) Confronted with the stunning news that her father was not her biological father, the acclaimed novelist and memoirist explores the intersections of family secrets, memory, history, biology and identity. Discussion Guide from Penguin Random House Discussion Questions from the PBS NewsHour-New York Times Book Club Kirkus Review  Review by Heller McAlpin, NPR, January 15, 2019 Review by Ruth Franklin, New York Times, January 15, 2019 Review by Nora Krug, Washington Post, January 8, 2019 Mitchell Kaplan interviews Dani Shapiro (37 min. audio) Powell’s Books interviews Dani Shapiro Today, January 15, 2019 video(6 min.) Biographical sketch

Ari Shavit: My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

(Nonfiction, 464 pp., 2013) In this award-winning book that is both political and highly personal, veteran Israeli journalist Shavit analyzes episodes in the history of Israel and the Zionist movement through his own family’s experience, and through the eyes of fellow Israelis.  The resulting vision is a complex and challenging one that both affirms the nation’s achievements and confronts its failures.    Discussion Questions from Jewish Book Council, including review by Jack Fischel Reader’s Guide from Makom Review: Kirkus Review by Oren Kessler, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 8, 2013 Review by Leon Wieseltier, New York Times, November 21, 2013 Review by Michael Berenbaum, Jewish Journal, December 12, 2013 Review by Avraham Burg, Ha’aretz, January 24, 2014 Op-Ed: “Something for Barack and Bibi to Talk About” by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, November 16, 2013 Steve Inskeep (NPR) interviews Ari Shavit (8 min. audio and written transcript) Margaret Warner (PBS) interviews Ari Shavit (8 min. video and written transcript)

Sholem Aleichem: Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories

(Short Stories, 309 pp. Yiddish, 1894-1914; English translation, 1987) Faced with a household of daughters to marry off, pogroms, expulsions, and the erosion of the traditional ways of the shtetl, why shouldn’t a poor dairyman complain?  Tevye relates his woes in monologues peppered with wry humor, homespun philosophy, and his celebrated use and misuse of Jewish texts. Discussion Questions from LitLovers.com Discussion Questions from Union for Reform Judaism Review by Dara Horn, Jbooks.com, 2009 Ilan Stavans compares various translations. The Jewish Daily Forward, March 4, 200 “Sholem Aleichem” from Wikipedia.com

Gary Shteygart: Lake Success

(Fiction, 352 p. 2018) A hedge fund manager on the skids takes a cross-country bus trip to reconnect with his college girlfriend, leaving his wife to deal with their autistic 3-year-old in this smart, fundamentally warm-hearted, satiric novel. Discussion Questions from LitLovers Kirkus Review, September 4, 2018 Review by Dwight Garner, New York Times, August 27, 2018 Review by Ron Charles, Washington Post, August 28, 2018 Review by Bob Goldfarb, Jewish Book Council Joe Fassler interviews Gary Shteyngart, The Atlantic Emma Brockes interviews Gary Shteyngart, The Guardian, September 7, 2018 Gary Shteyngart reads from Lake Success (46 min. video):

Isaac Bashevis Singer: Enemies, A Love Story

(Fiction, 280 pp. Yiddish, 1966; English translation, 1972) Like no other love story you might have read before, this tale of a Holocaust survivor and his three wives in 1950s New York City is presented with humor and pathos in Singer’s ironic style. Review: Kirkus Profile by Linda Matchan, Boston Globe, August 25, 1985 Review (of film adaptation) by Sanford Drob, Jewish Review, March 1990 Review (of film adaptation) by Hal Hinson, Washington Post, January 19, 1990 Essay by Musharraf Ali Farooqui, Library of America, November 23, 2015 Harold Flender interviews Isaac Singer, Fall 1968 Biographical sketch Video excerpt from “Isaac in America” (7 min.) Audio excerpt: Studs Terkel interviews Isaac Singer (6 min.) Biographical sketch

Isaac Bashevis Singer: The Slave

(Fiction, 311 pp. Yiddish, 1962; English translation, 1962) Jacob, a pogrom survivor who has been sold as a slave to Polish peasants, lives a simple life in a remote village. Contrary to both Jewish and secular law, he falls in love with the daughter of his Christian owner, and together they begin a new life in another shtetl. Set in 17th century Poland, this dark and passionate allegory is considered Singer’s most lyrical and well-constructed novel.  Review: Kirkus Review by Orville Prescott, New York Times, July 6, 1962 Plot Summary from Wikipedia “Jacob” from Wikipedia “Polish Plait“ from Wikipedia Biographical sketch

Israel Joshua Singer: The Brothers Ashkenazi

(Fiction, 426 pp. Yiddish, 1937; English translation, 1980) It’s not your grandfather’s shtetl.  This epic novel about the bitter rivalry of twin brothers is set against the development of Lodz, Poland in the late 19th century from a sleepy town into an industrial center.  Family and community relationships are transformed by wealth, social divisions, and the politics of a rapidly changing world.   Review: Kirkus Review by Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2009 Biographical sketch

Dalia Sofer: The Septembers of Shiraz

(Fiction, 340 pp. 2007) Just after the Iranian Revolution, Jewish gem trader Isaac Amin is falsely imprisoned for being a spy. His wife Farnaz struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter Shirin tries to take matters into her own hands. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac’s son Parviz, though not religious, falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Sofer masterfully captures the small tensions and larger brutalities that sharply impact a family unable to conform. Reading Guides ●   Discussion Questions from the Jewish Community Library ●   Reading Guide from HarperCollins ●   Reading Guide from LitLovers ●   Reading Guide from the Religion Action Center of Reform Judaism SelectedReviews and Articles ●      Iran, the Holocaust, ‘Septembers of Shiraz’ — and Me by Curt Schleier, JTA, June 15, 2016 ●      Review by Tova Mirvis, The Jewish Reader, October 2009 ●     Transcribed interview with Dalia Sofer at Columbia University, March 3, 2009 ●      Review by Claire Messud, New York Times, August 5, 2007 ●      Review by Rebecca Milzoff, Forward, August 24, 2007 ●      Review by Caroline Miller, The Guardian, September 19, 2008 ●      Review by Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune, August 11, 2007 ●      Review by Paula Lubin, Jewish Book Council Septembers of Shiraz-related Multimedia ●      Video: “The Septembers of Shiraz: A Historic Look at the Iranian Revolution” (6 min.) Selected Articles on Iranian Jews ●     Bibliography on Persian Jewry from the Jewish Community Library ●     The Iranian Revolution Still Haunts Its Jewish Survivors by E. Gheytanchi, Forward, May 8, 2018 ●     I Want to Die in My Homeland’: Why Some Iranian Jews Stay by Majid Rafizadeh, Tablet, June 29, 2017 ●     My Ashkenazi Eyes Get a Rare Glimpse into Jewish Iran by Ron Lezell in J, the Jewish News of Northern California, March 22, 2017 ●     How Iranian Jews Are Responding to Trump’s Refugee Ban by David Wolpe, The Atlantic, Jan 31, 2017 ●     How Iran’s Jews Survive in Mullahs’ World by Larry Cohler-Esses, The Forward, August 18, 2015 ●     How Jew-Friendly Persia Became Anti-Semitic Iran by Robert S. Greenberger, Moment Magazine, June 14, 2013 ●     Iran’s Jews: Tolerance or Veiled Persecution? by Kobi Nahshoni, Ynet News, March 27, 2013 ●     Days of Darkness, Days of Light: The Unknown Story of Iran’s Jews with Dr. Houman Sarshar in Reform Judaism ●     The Jewish Community in Shiraz, from Beit Hatfutsot The Museum of the Jewish People

Ruth Sohn: Crossing Cairo: A Jewish Woman’s Encounter with Egypt

(Memoir, 272 p. 2013) Advised not to disclose their Jewish identity, the Rabbi and her family first hide, then share their secret, discovering whether it is possible to cross the barriers of language, culture, and religion to form real friendships and find a home among Egyptians. Discussion guide Video presentation with Ruth Sohn About Ruth Sohn

Alisa Solomon: Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof

(Nonfiction, 448 pp. 2013) To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Broadway musical, theater critic and scholar Solomon details how and why the story of Tevye the milkman, the creation of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, was reborn as a blockbuster entertainment and a cultural touchstone transcending ethnic and national boundaries.  Kirkus Review Review by Shelley Salamensky, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2013 Review by Tahneer Oksman, Jewish Book Council Review by Eileen Reynolds, Forward, October 24, 2013 Review by Marjorie Ingall, New York Times, December 6, 2013 “On Jewishness, As the Fiddle Played” by Alisa Solomon, New York Times, October 17, 2013 Alisa Solomon WNYC podcast About Alisa Solomon

Anna Solomon: Leaving Lucy Pear

(Fiction, 336 pp. 2016) The lives of an abandoned girl’s biological mother—a privileged Jewish pianist—and adoptive mother—a dirt-poor Irish Catholic woman—are juxtaposed with that of their little girl’s. Set on the New England coast in the 1920s, the novel investigates class, freedom, gender and the meaning of family. Reader’s Guidefrom Penguin Random House Kirkus Review Reviewby Maggie Shipstead, New York Times, August 7, 2016. Reviewby Renita Last, Jewish Book Council Review by David Cooper, New York Journal of Books

Anna Solomon: The Book of V.

(Fiction, 320 pp. 2020) In this novel, rooted in the Book of Esther, three characters’ stories in different time periods overlap and ultimately collide. Lily is a young wife and mother in contemporary Brooklyn, and Vee is the wife of an ambitious young Senator in Washington, D.C. during the early 1970s. Their narratives are interspersed with an imaginative account of the stories of Vashti and Esther, illuminating how women’s lives have and have not changed over thousands of years. Guides and Resources for Readers Discussion Questions from Macmillan Discussion Guide with Questions from LitLovers Reviews Review by Elizabeth Edelglass, Hadassah Magazine, July 2020 Review by Katherine Ouellette, WBUR, May 27, 2020 Review by Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly, May 7, 2020 Review by Jennifer Haigh, The New York Times Book Review, May 5, 2020 Review by Sara Lippmann, Washington Post, May 4, 2020 Review by Sarah McCraw Crow, BookPage, May 2020 Review by Simona Zaretzky, Jewish Book Council, April 23, 2020 Review, Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2020 Review, Kirkus, March 1, 2020 Interviews with Anna Solomon Interview with Anna Solomon, JCC Chicago, August 17, 2020 (video) Interview with Anna Solomon, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Authors in Quarantine Book Talks, July 13, 2020 (video) Interview with Anna Solomon, Fiction Advocate, June 23, 2020 Conversation with Anna Solomon, Lilith Magazine, May 31, 2020 Jewish Women’s Archive Quarantine Book Club featuring Anna Solomon, May 14, 2020 (video) JBC Authors at the Table with Anna Solomon, April 29, 2020 (video)

Abby Stein : Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman

Memoir, 272 pages, 2019) A coming-of-age memoir of a tenth-generation Chasidic Jew, descended from the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism, destined to become a rabbinic leader who — despite the consequences — embraces her identity as a woman. Kirkus Review Review by Joshua Lewis Berg, Humanist.com, 17 December 17, 2019 Review by Edith Tolchin, New York Journal of Books, November 12, 2019 Rose Minutaglio interviews Abby Stein, Elle, November 15, 2019 Alex Galbinski profiles Abby Stein, Jewish News, November 28, 2019  Video interview (7 minutes) Today Show, Nov 19, 2019

Morton Steinberg: As a Driven Leaf

(Fiction, 480 p. 1996) Rabbi Steinberg’s historical novel paints a picture of life in ancient Israel during the time of the Roman occupation, as it portrays Elisha ben Abuyah, a talmudic rabbi who repudiates Judaism and turns to Greek philosophy in search of a rational basis for faith. Discussion questions Review by Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2015

Milton Steinberg: As A Driven Leaf

(Fiction, 480 pp. 1939) This classic historical novel, written by an American rabbi, draws readers into the era of the great rabbis of the Talmud. At its center is the renegade sage Elisha ben Abuyah, whose doubts lead him to search for answers in the Greek and Roman world, with dramatic consequences. Discussion questions from Behrman House Review by Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2015 Review by Marissa Brostoff, Tablet Magazine, March 19, 2010 Article: “Milton Steinberg, American Rabbi — Thoughts on His Centenary” by Jonathan Steinberg, Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 95, no. 3, Summer 2005

Steve Stern: The Frozen Rabbi

(Fiction, 362 pp. 2010) Beginning in 1999 when a teenager discovers Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr in his parents’ freezer in suburban Memphis, Tennessee, this uproarious romp then jumps to 1899 to explain how the rabbi became encased in ice in the Jewish Pale. Through a series of surreal misadventures by a cast of comic and cosmic characters, this lovingly irreverent novel explores a century of the diaspora.   Discussion questions and “Defrosting the Past: a note from author” Review by Ben Marcus, New York Times, July 4, 2010 Review by Jess Walter, Washington Post, June 22, 2010 Review by Yael Goldstein Love, San Francisco Chronicle, May 30, 2010 Kat Zhao interviews Steve Stern, Student Life, November 21, 2008 Joshua Cohen interviews Steve Stern, Jewish Daily Forward, May 29, 2008 Shabbat sermon, Temple Israel, Memphis Tennessee, September 21, 2012 (21 min. Stern appears at 5:15 min.)

Chanan Tigay: The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible

(Nonfiction, 368 pp. 2016)  In 1883, Moses Wilhelm Shapira—archaeological treasure hunter, inveterate social climber, and denizen of Jerusalem’s bustling marketplace—arrived unannounced in London claiming to have discovered the world’s oldest Bible scroll. Tigay, an award-winning journalist, follows every lead, no matter how unlikely, in his attempts to find the treasure and solve the riddle of the brilliant, doomed antiquities dealer accused of forging it. Kirkus Review Review by David Holahan, Christian Science Monitor, April 22, 2016 Review by Julia M. Klein, The Forward, April 24, 2016 Profile by Lyn Davidson, J Weekly, April 7, 2016 Interview, JCCSF “Shapiro & I” trailer for Yoram Sabo’s documentary film (2 min.) 

Daniel Torday: The Last Flight of Poxl West

(Fiction, 302 pp. 2015) Elijah Goldstein loves his uncle, Poxl West, who has for fifty years portrayed himself as a RAF hero during World War II, but who may or may not have been all the things he claimed to be. Winner of the National Jewish Book Award for fiction, this coming-of-age story is a meditation on memory, aspiration, and truth. Reading Group Guide from litlovers.com Reading Group Guide from the Jewish Book Council Review by Teddy Wayne, New York Times. March 13, 2015 Review by Michiko Kakutani. New York Times, March 5, 2015     Review by Donald Weber, Jewish Book Council, Hilary Plum interviews Daniel Torday, Kenyon Review Terry Gross interviews Daniel Torday, NPR, March 17, 2015(31 min. audio)

Ayelet Tsabari : The Best Place on Earth: Stories

(Short Stories, 272 pp. 2016) These eleven stories, set between Israel and Canada, feature mothers and children, soldiers and bohemians, lovers and best friends, all searching for their place in the world. Tsabari’s Mizrahi characters grapple with love, violence, faith, the slipperiness of identity, and the challenges of balancing old traditions with modern times. Kirkus Review Review by Lorraine Adams, New York Times, March 25, 2016 Review by Nat Bernstein, Jewish Book Council Beth Carswell interviews Ayelet Tsabari, AbeBooks John Miller interviews Ayelet Tsabari, March 15, 2018 (58 min. video)

Anya Ulinich: Petropolis

(Fiction, 324 pp. 2007) Chubby, biracial teenager Sasha Goldberg continually disappoints her overbearing mother until she manages to escape the confines of her bleakly named Siberian town, Asbestos 2. She first lands as a mail-order bride in Phoenix, then ditches her husband and makes her way to suburban Chicago where a wealthy family adopts her as their pet. Her search for her father takes her to the mean streets of Brooklyn and back to Russia in this smart, darkly humorous, satire about coming of age in the 20th century. Discussion questions and author interview Review: Kirkus Review by Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle: March 1, 2007 Review by Donna Seaman, Chicago Tribune, February 25, 2007 Review by J. Otto Pohl, Otto’s Random Thoughts, April 21, 2007 Review by Antoine Wilson, Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2007 Essay by Anya Ulinich: “Dreaming of a Life of Privilege, but First…”, New York Times, March 11, 2007 David Stromberg interviews Anya Ulinich Interview Video: Anya Ulinich’s Introduction from the 2008 National Book Award Finalist Reading (5 min.)

Kim van Alkemade: Orphan #8

(Fiction, 416 pp. 2015) This historical novel, inspired by true events, follows a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before. Discussion questions Review by Anna Call, Lambda Literary Review, August 3, 2015 Review by Cathy Ritchie, GLBT Reviews: Book and media reviews from ALA’s Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Round Table Video interview (1.06.12.)

Angel Wagenstein: Isaac’s Torah: Concerning the Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld Through Two World Wars, Three Concentration Camps and Five Motherlands

(Fiction, 304 pp. Bulgarian, 2000; English translation, 2008) Tragedy is overlaid with Jewish humor as an affable tailor survives war and nationalism in Central Europe between World War I and the death of Stalin. This darkly ironic novel, peppered with Yiddish jokes, fables from the Kolodetz shtetl, and the unorthodox comments of sometimes atheist Rabbi Shmuel Ben-David, offers profound insights into life’s absurdities. Review: Kirkus Review by Rayyan-Shawaf, Washington City Paper, October 17-23, 2008 Review by D.G. Myers, A Commonplace Blog, November 6, 2008 Essay by Akiva Gottlieb, “Schlepics: The Fiction of Angel Wagenstein,” Nation, January 28, 2009

Wendy Wasserstein: Shiksa Goddess (or How I Spent My Forties)

(Essays, 256 pp. 2001) Thirty-five essays by the late playwright about theater, writing, family, and personal aspirations are all told with the same comic edge as that of her plays. Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Obituary by Charles Isherwood, New York Times, January 30, 2006 Biographical sketch Laurie Winer interviews Wendy Wasserstein A.M. Homes interviews Wendy Wasserstein Video: Interview (3 min.)

Wendy Wasserstein: The Sisters Rosensweig

(Play, 109 pp. 1993) This award-winning comedy follows three Jewish-American sisters in the midst of midlife transitions. Their off-stage parents, a crew of friends and lovers, and one daughter complicate their quest for love, self-definition, and fulfillment.   Review: Mel Gussow, New York Times, October 23, 1992 Obituary by Charles Isherwood, New York Times, January 30, 2006 Biographical sketch Laurie Winer interviews Wendy Wasserstein A.M. Homes interviews Wendy Wasserstein Video: Interview (3 min.)

Katharine Weber: Triangle

(Fiction, 242 pp. 2006) On March 25, 1911, 146 sweatshop workers, most of them women, perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City. The novel alternates between stories, interviews and court records to reveal the mystery behind the unlikely survival of 106-year-old Esther, and the role of her geneticist granddaughter Rebecca, Rebecca’s composer partner George, and Ruth, a feminist historian determined to unravel the contradictions in Esther’s testimony after the fire. Discussion questions from Reading Group Guides Review by Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor, June 20, 2006 Review: Kirkus Links to additional reviews Essay by Katharine Weber, “A Triangle of Influences,” Tablet Magazine, June 28, 2006 Mary Sharratt interviews Katharine Weber Article: Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, March 20, 2011 “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire“ from Wikipedia Video: “Triangle Fire” PBS documentary (53 min.)

Helene Wecker: The Golem and the Jinni

(Fiction, 496 pp. 2013) An immigrant tale that combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, this inventive historical novel describes two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899. They work to create places for themselves in this new world until they meet, becoming friends and soul mates. Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by Patricia Cohen, May 6, 2013, New York Times Review by Jane Ciabattari, Boston Globe, May 8, 2013 List of characters Interview with Helene Wecker Video introduction (2 min.) Video: Wecker reads from novel (part 1 of 4) (13 min.)

Jennifer Weiner: Mrs. Everything

(Fiction, 496 p. 2019) From the 1950s to the present, sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving America. Discussion questions from LitLovers Discussion questions from Book Club Chat Kirkus Review Review by Ariele Fredman, Off the Shelf, April 10, 2020 Jennifer Weiner website

Michael Wex: Born to Kvetch

(Nonfiction, 303 pp. 2005) So you think you know something about Yiddish? Wait till you read this book, which marries humor and scholarship to unearth the origins of Yiddish and its grown and development. Covering topics from food to cursing, from birth to death, Wex uses stories, jokes, and anecdotes to kvetch and kvell and do everything in between.  Discussion questions Review by Dovid Katz, Jewish Chronicle, October 8, 2009 Review by William Grimes, New York Times, September 28, 2005 Review by Josh Lambert, JBooks.com, 2003 Review by Allan Nadler, Forward, August 26, 2005 Review by “Philologos”, Forward, December 23, 2005 Harper Collins interviews Michael Wex Biographical sketch Video interview (3 min.)

Andrew Winer: The Marriage Artist

(Fiction, 384 pp. 2010) Winer’s audacious novel alternates between two plot lines: a present-day New York art critic is determined to discover why his wife and her artist lover jumped from a window; a creator of staggeringly beautiful ketubot (marriage contracts) achieves fame in prewar Vienna, leading to his downfall.  The two stories converge in a psycho-political-sexual puzzle exploring the mystical, memorializing powers of art and the endless hunger of love.   Discussion questions Review: Kirkus Review by John Wilwol, The Rumpus.net, November 8, 2010 Review by Jan Stuart, Boston Globe, November 17, 2010 Review by Wendy Smith, Washington Post, December 3, 2010 Profile by Ashley Breeding, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, November 4, 2010 Interview, Coast Magazine, October 27, 2010 “Hart Island, New York” from Wikipedia “Ketubah” from Wikipedia Video: Connie Martinson interviews Winer (14 min.)

A.B. Yehoshua: The Liberated Bride

(Fiction, 568 pp. Hebrew, 2001; English translation, 2004) Yehoshua focuses on the family and professional life of a Haifa professor of Near Eastern Studies to reveal a web of relationships linking characters from diverse sectors of Israeli society.  Rich in detail and humor, the novel deftly explores the deep divides in a complex country, illuminating the struggles of Jews and Arabs and husbands and wives to live together in peace.  Discussion guide from Yiddish Book Center Discussion guide from ReadingGroupGuides.com Review: Kirkus Review by Richard Eder, New York Times, February 2, 2004 Review by Susan Miron, Forward, December 5, 2003 Review by Jonathan Shainin, Nation, July 5, 2004 Biographical sketch Robert Rosenberg interviews Yehoshua, Forward, December 5, 2003 Bernard Horn interviews Yehoshua (excerpted from Facing the Fires: Conversations with A.B. Yehoshua Vered Shemtov interviews Yehoshua, Sh’ma Video: Paul Holdengräber interviews Yehoshua (95 min.)

Anzia Yezierska: Bread Givers

(Fiction, 297 pp. 1925) Bread Givers gives voice to the immigrant Jewish woman’s struggle as, in unadorned prose, the harsh world of a young woman without resources or external support is graphically represented. We cheer, we sigh, and we shake our heads in disbelief as our heroine pushes the boundaries of culture, religion, and family to survive. Discussion questions Discussion questions Review: New York Times, September 13, 1925 (excerpt) Review: Eclectic Reader, March 18, 2011 Review by Erika Dreifus, JBooks.com, 2009 Biography Biography

Joyce Zonana: Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, An Exile’s Journey

(Memoir, 223 pp. 2008) In the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the Jewish Zonanas fled Cairo with their infant daughter Joyce. They settled in Brooklyn, where Joyce grew up in Brooklyn, struggling with feelings of isolation. She eventually meets her extended family living in Colombia and Brazil, travels to Cairo to understand her parents’ past, and survives the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Review: Kirkus Review by Leila Abu-Saba, Dove’s Eye View, September 16, 2008 Autobiographical Essay “A Dream Home,” March 6, 2018 Video interview (4 min.)

Markus Zusak: The Book Thief

Fiction, 560 pp. 2006) An orphaned girl, who steals books even before she knows how to read them, comes to live with a foster family, who turn out to be hiding a Jew in their basement.   Discussion questions Discussion questions from the Union of Reform Judaism Kirkus review Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times, March 27, 2006 Review by John Green, New York Times, May 14, 2006 Main characters (from Wikipedia) About the author Interview with Markus Zukas (4 min. video)