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

Mideast Nuclear Holocaust

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The Last Israelis by Noah Beck After constant exposure to critically important news, it begins to lose all meaning and sense of urgency. Hearing the same warnings over and over again — especially when the status quo seems static — can cause a certain desensitization, a resigned apathy that ignores the warnings in the wishful… Read More

Journey to the Ends of the Earth

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This tells the story of three generations of Rivka Cohen’s family, whose lives were turned upside down by the Holocaust. We learn about their travels from pre-World War I Hungary to post-World War II Israel though a series of personal stories. The stories are illustrated with family photographs, which add to the narratives, and drawings… Read More

A Vision of Angels

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One plot, four viewpoints. A terrorist attack in Jerusalem is planned for Easter Sunday. This is the story of an Israeli war veteran, an American war journalist, a Palestinian farmer and an Arab Christian grocer. Their lives are interwoven by the events. Major Levy gets word of a suicide-bomb plot and orders the closure of… Read More