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

A Suitable Husband

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By S.B. Lerner On The Edge Books 2012, 320 pages S.B. Lerner tells the story of Bianca, a girl who has her head in the clouds and must return to reality in order to make the most important decision of her life. Set in 1930s Poland, the plot focuses on the Libors, a poor family… Read More

Crazy Women Creek

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Virginia Hull Welch Virginia Welch 2013, 400 pages James Rose rode into the Wyoming prairie one stormy Saturday night in 1880 and did not return. Did his wife kill him, was he teaching her a lesson, or did he have an enemy he was trying to escape? You will be hooked from the first page,… Read More

King of the Class

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Gila Green Now Or Never Publishing 2013, 237 pages Imagine an Israel in the not-so-distant future — post-traumatic religious civil war resulting in two states: Shalem, an observant land ruled by halacha, and Israel, a secular land complete with kibbutzniks. Both are still at the mercy of hostile nations in their region. This is the… Read More

“Sinners and the Sea”

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“Sinners and the Sea” Howard Books, 2013; 352 pages   If one of Rebecca Kanner’s goals in “Sinners and the Sea” was to paint a vivid picture of the depravity that made up antediluvian society, she succeeded. Using the unnamed and scorned wife of Noah as first-person narrator, Kanner creates a society virtually lacking in… Read More