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

In The Courtyard Of The Kabbalist

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At times whimsical, at times scary, Ruchama King Feurman has crafted a novel portraying a panoply of occasionally realistic characters living in Jerusalem. Somewhat Oz-like, there is an expatriate — a confirmed American bachelor who gave up his life in the states and traveled to Israel to find purpose in his life. Opposite him is… Read More

My Mother’s Secret

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“My Mother’s Secret” is an intense look at four families and their struggles, fears and courage in the face of the Holocaust. Told from the perspectives of Helena, Bronek, Mikolaj and Vilheim, each with a story of their own, this novel tells the tale of Franciszka Halamajowa, a poor Polish woman, who, with the help… Read More

Peace for Peace

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Shiloh Israel Press 2013, 228 pages Welcome to the “grand illusion” is the theme of “Peace for Peace.” David Rubin clearly defines why peace in the Middle East has never happened and never will. The book provides a great history of how the Jews came to inhabit and own the land of Israel.  He defines… Read More

Yiddish Genesis

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Brick House Books, Inc., 2012, 90 pages Richard J. Fein, poet, essayist and Yiddishkeit maven, has published a compilation of his work related to the first book of Torah, Genesis. There is a play on words here as well, as Fein muses about his own relationship to Yiddish and how the language and its nuances… Read More

Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch

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Yale University Press, 2012 216 pages There have been dozens of attempts to write biographies of major biblical characters. Some attempt to delve into a character through the pshat, simple meaning of the text. Others look toward midrash, traditional and modern interpretation, to fill out a character. Still others use modern scholarly techniques to get… Read More

Rivka’s War

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By Marilyn Oser Mill City Press 2013, 262 pages “Rivka’s War” is a must-read. When I first picked up this book, I was skeptical. The storyline seemed fine from the cover’s description, but the beginning few pages were hard to endure. However, within a short while, the story encapsulated me, and I was glad I… Read More

Echoes of Eden: Sefer Shemot

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By Rabbi Ari D. Kahn OU Press 2012 Whenever I set out to read a book like this, I get nervous. In my experience, most are poorly written at best and vapid, wearisome and intellectually void at worst. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise as I read through the gems offered on every page… Read More

Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet

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Abraham H. Foxman and Christopher Wolf Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 It is rather dismaying to read this book’s first hundred or so pages. The authors painstakingly describe the types of bigotry and hate speech that are spreading online and discuss the legal and practical roadblocks in preventing the dissemination of such messages. Even defining hate speech… Read More

The Fifth Assassin

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By Brian Meltzer Grand Central Publishing 2013; 448 pages The Fifth Assassin started off with a bang, literally. I was intrigued and could not wait to keep reading. However, that enthusiasm quickly diminished. The chapters were really short, generally two to four pages, which I typically like. However, every chapter jumped to a different time… Read More