The Sisters Weiss

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St. Martin’s Press 2013, 336 pages In 1950s Brooklyn, sisters Rose and Pearl Weiss grow up in a loving but strict Ultra-Orthodox family, never imagining to defy their parents or their community. Rose dreams of a world outside of her sheltered life and leaves behind her younger sister, Pearl, her family and her way of… Read More

The Boxer’s Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps

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By Nathan Shapow and Bob Harris The Robson Press 2013, 256 pages “The Boxer’s Story,” an autobiography by Nathan Shapow with sports writer Bob Harris, is really three stories. The first, Shapow’s unbelievable story of survival during the Holocaust, is important both as a story of survival and as a testament to the atrocities of… Read More

Data, A Love Story

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By Amy Webb Dulton Adult 2013, 304 pages According to an article in the New York Daily News, more than one-third of American marriages today begin with writing a profile for an online dating site. Jewish singles are as likely to use such methods as JDate, eHarmony and others to find love (and frequently heartbreak)… Read More

My Mother’s Secret

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By J.L. Witterick G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013; 195 pages This book by J.L. Witterick is a quick but very meaningful read. The story is really about a family of righteous gentiles — a mother, daughter and sons. The family lives in a little house in Poland during the Holocaust and manages to hide two Jewish… Read More

Wedding Wipeout

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By Jacob M. Appel Cozy Cat Press 2013, 249 pages “Wedding Wipeout,” a Rabbi Kappelmacher mystery, was nothing short of hilarious. And interesting. And edge-of-your-seat. Yet, it was never intense. When I started the novel, I sighed, assuming it would be some corny Jewish trash novel with little plot. But it was not long before… Read More

Front Stoops in the Fifties, Baltimore Legends Come of Age

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By Michael Olesker Johns Hopkins University Press, 248 pages To be a proud Baltimorean is to be ambivalent. There is perhaps little charm left in Charm City, and yet its people cling to past triumphs and glory days with a fierce tenacity. Michael Olesker’s latest Baltimore history “Front Stoops in the Fifties, Baltimore Legends Come… Read More

Jewhooing The Sixties: American Celebrity and Jewish Identity — Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand

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When Boston returned to normal after the marathon bombings, Neil Diamond pulled off a classy act. Knowing that the Red Sox played his “Sweet Caroline” during the seventh-inning stretch, he flew into Boston unannounced and uninvited and arrived at the first game played after Bostonians again were free to move about the city. He sang… Read More

Amidst the Shadow of Trees

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Not long from now, the last survivors of the Holocaust will have passed on. Our collective memory, those of us who were spared this horror, will become secondhand. This is why Miriam M. Brysk’s book could not have appeared at a more appropriate time. There are three basic narratives in her treatment, each of which… Read More

Goldberg Variations: A Story of Three Cousins and a Fortune

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The premise of Susan Isaacs’ latest novel could not be less Jewish. A wealthy self-made grandmother invites her three adult grandchildren, with whom she has had little contact, to her grand home in Sante Fe. After insulting her handpicked heir to her business, Gloria Goldberg Garrison is conducting a test to see which of her… Read More

How Do You Know The Word Shlep? You’re Not Jewish!

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This book is an autobiography of an ordinary woman who made unusual choices. The story describes her life from childhood to old age, without a lot of detail. I found the book very interesting and well written, but I wanted more. In a way, this story of self-exploration was almost like taking a sneak peek… Read More