2008-2009

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People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
The author breaths life into the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah offering weeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity as the story follows the journey of this rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript through centuries of exile and war.

Awake in the Dark: Stories by Shira Nayman
Provocative and haunting, Shira Nayman’s novel is a wonderful work of fiction about who we are and how we are formed by history. Examining the contemporary lives of the children of Holocaust victims and perpetrators as they struggle with the legacy of their parents – their questions of identity, family and faith. Presented as part of Holocaust Education Week.

A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev
Presented by Janna Nadler The latest novel translated into English from
the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer. A mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion.

Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander
Set during Argentina’s Dirty War, in a world turned upside down, where the past and the future, the nature of truth itself, all take shape according to a corrupt government’s whims. Where one man fights to overcome his history and his name, and – if for only once in his life – to put things right.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

The novel pitches the reader between the  past and the present, between a magical-realist historical chronicle and the first-person reflections of a Ukrainian translator who makes hilarious mincemeat of the English language. How does such a story get transformed from the page to the screen? What stays, what is cut and how does a film maker stay true to the author’s vision?

Auslander, Shalom. Foreskins Lament: A Memoir. New York: Riverhead, 2007. 320p. ISBN: 1594489556.
Foreskin’s Lament reveals Auslander’s youth in a strict, socially isolated Orthodox community, and recounts his rebellion and efforts to make a new life apart from it.

Brooks, Geraldine. People of the Book: A Novel. New York: Viking, 2008. 384p. ISBN: 067001821X.
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is charged with analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah. Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding, and begins to unlock the book’s mysteries.

Gregory, Phillipa. The Queen’s Fool: A Novel. New York: Touchstone, 2004. 512p. ISBN: 0743269829.
Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. Caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, Hannah must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

Hirsch, Sherre. We Plan, God Laughs: Ten Steps to Finding Your Divine Path When Life is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted. Doubleday, 2008. 208p. ISBN: 0385523610.
Addressing serious spiritual issues, Hirsch takes readers through ten basics steps for formulating a plan that reflects who we are now and who we want to be—a plan that is alive, organic, and in sync with God.

Idlibym, Ranya, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner. The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian and a Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding. Free Press, 2007. 416p. ISBN: 0743290488.
In the wake of 9/11, Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, sought out fellow mothers of the Jewish and Christian faiths to write a children's book on the commonalities among their respective traditions. In their first meeting, however, the women realized they would have to address their differences first.

Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time. New York: Penguin, 2007. 368p. ISBN: 0143038257.
Mortenson vowed to build a school for the children in a remote mountain village of Pakistan. He faced daunting challenges to eventually build 55 schools in Taliban territory.

Nemirovski, Irene. Suite Française. New York: Vintage, 2007. 448p. ISBN: 1400096278.
These are historical novellas written while the author lived through the events of the German occupation of France. Nemirovski and her husband were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Her manuscript was rescued and published 60 years later.

Nemirovski, Irene. Fire in the Blood. New York: Vintage, 2008. 160p. ISBN: 030738800X.
Written in 1941, Describes the intertwined lives of an insular French village in the years before the war.

The Hiding Place (Movie) 2008. With Jeanette Clift and David deKeyser.
With the WWII Nazi invasion of Holland, the ten Boom family joins the underground resistance to help save persecuted Jewish families, then, are arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps themselves.

Shalev, Meir and Evan Fallenberg. A Pigeon and a Boy: A Novel. New York: Shocken, 320p ISBN: 0805242511.
During the 1948 War of Independence, a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war.

Auslander, Shalom. Foreskins Lament: A Memoir. New York: Riverhead, 2007. 320p. ISBN: 1594489556.
Foreskin’s Lament reveals Auslander’s youth in a strict, socially isolated Orthodox community, and recounts his rebellion and efforts to make a new life apart from it.

Brooks, Geraldine. People of the Book: A Novel. New York: Viking, 2008. 384p. ISBN: 067001821X.
Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is charged with analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah. Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding, and begins to unlock the book’s mysteries.

Gregory, Phillipa. The Queen’s Fool: A Novel. New York: Touchstone, 2004. 512p. ISBN: 0743269829.
Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. Caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, Hannah must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

Hirsch, Sherre. We Plan, God Laughs: Ten Steps to Finding Your Divine Path When Life is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted. Doubleday, 2008. 208p. ISBN: 0385523610.
Addressing serious spiritual issues, Hirsch takes readers through ten basics steps for formulating a plan that reflects who we are now and who we want to be—a plan that is alive, organic, and in sync with God.

Idlibym, Ranya, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner. The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian and a Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding. Free Press, 2007. 416p. ISBN: 0743290488.
In the wake of 9/11, Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, sought out fellow mothers of the Jewish and Christian faiths to write a children's book on the commonalities among their respective traditions. In their first meeting, however, the women realized they would have to address their differences first.

Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time. New York: Penguin, 2007. 368p. ISBN: 0143038257.
Mortenson vowed to build a school for the children in a remote mountain village of Pakistan. He faced daunting challenges to eventually build 55 schools in Taliban territory.

Nemirovski, Irene. Suite Française. New York: Vintage, 2007. 448p. ISBN: 1400096278.
These are historical novellas written while the author lived through the events of the German occupation of France. Nemirovski and her husband were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Her manuscript was rescued and published 60 years later.

Nemirovski, Irene. Fire in the Blood. New York: Vintage, 2008. 160p. ISBN: 030738800X.
Written in 1941, Describes the intertwined lives of an insular French village in the years before the war.

The Hiding Place (Movie) 2008. With Jeanette Clift and David deKeyser.
With the WWII Nazi invasion of Holland, the ten Boom family joins the underground resistance to help save persecuted Jewish families, then, are arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps themselves.

Shalev, Meir and Evan Fallenberg. A Pigeon and a Boy: A Novel. New York: Shocken, 320p ISBN: 0805242511.
During the 1948 War of Independence, a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war.

Antler, Joyce. You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN: 0195147871. $24.95.
From the publisher's website: “Joyce Antler provides an illuminating and often amusing history of one of the best-known figures in popular culture--the Jewish Mother. Whether drawn as self-sacrificing or manipulative, in countless films, novels, radio and television programs, stand-up comedy, and psychological and historical studies, she appears as a colossal figure, intensely involved in the lives of her children.“

Blum, Jenna. Those Who Save Us. New York: Harcourt, c2004. ISBN: 0156031663. $14.00.
A novel of survivors and collaborators during and after the Holocaust, told from the viewpoint of  a daughter investigating her immigrant mother’s secret past.

Brooks, Geraldine. People of the Book. New York: Viking, 2008. ISBN: 067001821X. $25.95.
Through a story of an Australian conservator hired to restore the Sarajevo Haggadah, this novel traces the history of the Haggadah and the people who created it from before the Inquisition through the Second World War.

Horn, Dara. The World to Come. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. ISBN: 0393051072. $13.95.
From the Powell's Books website: “Inspired by the real-life theft of a Chagall painting, Dara Horn spins a dazzling story encompassing Russian history, Yiddish lore, art forgery and scripture into a stunning (and funny!) novel you will be pressing on friends long after putting it down.“

Kamenetz, Roger. The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India. New York: HarperCollins, c1994. ISBN: 0061367397. $14.95.
From The New York Times Book Review: “A book for anyone who feels the narrowness of a wholly secular life or who wonders about the fate of esoteric spiritual traditions in a world that seems bent on destroying or vulgarizing them.“

Lagnado, Lucette. The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Familys Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World. New York: Ecco, 2007. ISBN: 0060822120. $25.95.
A Wall Street Journal investigative reporter tells the story of her wealthy Jewish family's life in Egypt, its harrowing journey to the U.S. after Farouks fall, and its adjustment to life in New York without money or connections.

Lansky, Aaron. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Jewish Books. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004. ISBN: 1565124294. $24.95.
In 1983, Lansky, then a student, set out to rescue the abandoned Yiddish books of the world. His appeal for unwanted Yiddish books received an overwhelming response.  He tells of his adventures in rescuing them, including portraits of the characters he met along the way.  Lansky went on to found the well-known National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.

Nuland, Sherwin. Maimonides. New York: Schocken, 2005. ISBN: 0805242007. $12.95.

Nuland, a physician, tells the story of the renowned twelfth century physician, rabbi, and philosopher Moses Maimonides.  Our synagogue is reading this book as part of its One Synagogue, One Book program.

 

Shalev, Meir. A Pigeon and a Boy. New York: Schocken Books, 2007. ISBN: 0805242511. $25.00.

The combination of two love stories set in Israel, separated by half a century:  One at the time of the War of Independence, one in modern times.  You also learn about pigeon training from this book.

Bloom, Amy. Away. New York: Random House, 2007. ISBN: 9781400063567. $23.95.
Lillian Leyb is a heroine you are not likely to forget in this far-flung story of the immigrant experience in the 1920s. As Lillian seeks Sophie, her young daughter from whom she was separated during a pogrom, she journeys from Russia to New York City, across the continental United States and into Alaska. Bloom’s deft description of imaginative characters saves a rather unusual plot from disintegrating into a soap opera.

Englander, Nathan. For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. New York: Vintage, 1999. ISBN: 9780375704437. $13.95, pb.
An award winning collection of nine short stories about being Jewish during the 20th century. Both witty and tragic, Englander’s writing enchanted some and mystified others. Most members did find a few stories that they really liked.

Franklin, Ariana. Mistress of the Art of Death. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007. ISBN: 9780399154140. $25.95.
Fascinating, albeit at times a bit gory, tale of 12th century England, when King Henry II looks for a physician to determine who murdered four Cambridge children, deeds being blamed on the local Jewish populace. Henry’s cousin, the King of Sicily, sends Adelia, a Jewish prodigy at the University of Salerno who is the “mistress of the art of death” and whose forensic insights and adventures make this thriller a spellbinding experience.

Idliby, Ranya; Oliver, Suzanne; Warner, Pamela. The Faith Club. New York: The Free Press, 2006. ISBN: 97807432904070. $25.00.
In this non-fiction work that is the voice of three New York City area women, Ranya, whose family came from Palestine and who grew up in Dubai, seeks an opportunity to discuss her faith with a Christian and a Jew after her children ask questions about their religion post 9/11. Ranya, Suzanne, and Pamela plan to write a children’s book together but their sessions create an intense opportunity to talk about Islam, Christianity and Judaism – what brings them together and where they differ. Book contains ways to start a Faith Club.

Nemirovsky, Irene. Suite Française. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN: 9781400044733. $25.00.
Although there is no specific Jewish content, this mesmerizing work of two novellas, Storm in June and Dolce, portraying French citizens at the beginning of World War II, was written while the author and her family had to flee Paris and were trying to escape the Nazi occupation. The manuscripts, recently discovered and translated, were in a suitcase kept by Nemirovsky’s daughter for more than 60 years. Nemirovsky captures the terror and the confusion of what was happening to ordinary people in those extraordinary times.

Patterson, Richard North. Exile. New York: Henry Holt, 2007. ISBN: 9780805079470. $26.00.
David Wolfe, an attorney aspiring for public office, decides to defend a former girlfriend, Hana Arif, a Palestinian accused of assassinating the Israeli prime minister. Patterson tackles contemporary Middle-East problems in this suspense-filled novel.

Ragen, Naomi. The Saturday Wife. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780312352387. $24.95.
Fans of Naomi Ragen will appreciate her story of an unorthodox Orthodox rabbi’s wife and how she relates to her husband’s congregants in suburbia. Delilah dreams of a better life but her attempts create disastrous results in this satiric novel.

Reich, Tova. My Holocaust. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. ISBN: 97800611773455. $24.95.
A scathing volume about what can happen when people fundraise for a good cause, in this case, Holocaust memorials, and end up promoting themselves. Upsetting, funny, biting, outrageous and very controversial, but well-written. Definitely raises ethical issues.

Sofer, Dalia. The Septembers of Shiraz. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2007. ISBN: 9780061130403. $24.95.
In this lyrically-written, partly autobiographical novel which takes place during the Iranian Revolution, Sofer brings to life the conditions that prevailed for Iranian Jews and others who were wrongly accused of treason. She also provides cultural and literary scenes that are not often pictured in the lifestyle families had to relinquish in order to survive.

Weber, Katharine. Triangle. New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2006. ISBN: 9780374281427. $23.00.
The “triangle” is the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, as well as triangular relationships describing Esther, the last living survivor of the 1911 fire, her children, her granddaughter Rebecca, Rebecca’s partner, and the historian Ruth Zion. This novel is an interesting twist on an event that is the focus of several recent books for adults and youth.

Yellin, Tamar. The Genizah At The House of Shepher. New Milford, CT: The Toby Press, 2005.  ISBN: 9781592640850. $19.95.
Shulamit Shepher, an English-born biblical scholar, discovers family secrets in Israel while grappling with her own identity in this novel of the contrasts between Jewish life in the East and West during four generations of Shephers. Yellin’s command of the English language carries this award winning book rooted on incidents in her own life.

Zweibel, Adam. The Other Shulman. New York: Villard, 2005. ISBN: 9780812972832. $13.95, pb.

Shulman is an overweight stationery store owner who is having business and personal problems and decides to train for and run in the New York City Marathon. Told in 26 chapters, Shulman reviews his life and confronts “The other Shulman” a more ambitious thinner version of himself as he defines what is important to him. Funny, generally light novel for summer reading.

The Four Mothers (Arba Imahot)-Shifra Horn
A bestselling novel in Israel about a family saga of five generations of women over 100 years in Jerusalem

Fire in the Blood-Irene Nemirovksy
Another posthumous novel by Nemirovsky.  Brief and highly recommended by those who have read it.

Daniel Deronda-George Eliot
The last novel by the leading Victorian writer.  Themes in the book include
the emerging Zionist movement and Victorian attitudes toward anti-Semitism.

The Yiddish Policeman's Union-Michael Chabon
A page turning and humorous alternative history novel set in Alaska.

Heir to the Glimmering World - Cynthia Ozick

A novel set in the 1930’s about a recently orphaned girl who becomes typist for Professor Mitwasser, who is reasearching the Karaites, ninth century Jewish scholars who reject rabbinic Judaism.

Bohjalian, Chris. Skeletons at the Feast. New York: Shaye Areheart Books, c2008. 363p. ISBN: 978-0307394958.
During the final months of World War II, a small group of people--including teenager Anna Emmerich, daughter of Prussian aristocrats; Callum Finnela, a twenty-year-old POW; and a young Wehrmacht corporal hiding his true Jewish identity--make their way westward across a ravaged Europe in a desperate attempt to reach British and American lines.

Brooks, Geraldine. People of the Book. New York: Viking, c2008. 372p. ISBN: 9780670018215.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries' old, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.  

Etzioni-Halevy, Eva. The Triumph of Deborah. New York : Plume, c2008. 358p. ISBN: 9780452289062.
A vivid portrait of the biblical heroine, Deborah, describes how this powerful and respected leader saves the Israelites from destruction at the hands of their Canaanite enemies, coercing the warrior Barak to launch a preemptive strike in which he succeeds against all odds.

Fallenberg, Evan. Light Fell. New York: Soho Press, c2008.  229p. ISBN: 1569474672.
The central character, a father of five, is drawn into a close emotional and physical relationship with his idol, a highly regarded man who is a religious scholar. The repercussions on both of the families form the focus of this spellbinding and sensitive novel taking place in Israel.

Hershon, Joanna. German Bride. New York: Ballantine Books, c2007. 304 p. ISBN: 9780345468451.
In 1865, a secret affair with the artist hired by her German Jewish father to paint his daughters' portraits forces Eva into a quick marriage and drives her to leave Berlin to seek a new life on the frontier of the American Southwest.  

Khadra, Yasmina. The Attack.  New York: Doubleday, c2006. 257 p. ISBN: 0385517483.
Dr. Amin Jaafie, an Arab-Israeli citizen working as a respected surgeon at a Tel Aviv hospital, finds his life torn apart in the wake of a horrific terrorist bombing at a local restaurant, as he not only works to help the shattered survivors of the attack, but also must deal with the discovery that his own wife was the suicide bomber responsible.  

Lagnado, Lucette.  Man in the White Sharkskin Suit. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, c2007. 340p. ISBN: 9780060822125.
The daughter of a once-successful Jewish boulevardier traces her youth in post-World War II Cairo before and after Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalization of Egyptian industry, an event that caused her family to lose everything and forced them to flee to America.  

Taubman, A. Alfred. Threshold Resistance: the Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer. New York: Collins, c2007.  211p. ISBN: 9780061235375.
Alfred Taubman is founder of Taubman Centers, Inc., one of the nation's leading real estate developers and operators of regional shopping centers in the U.S. He traces the ups and downs, gains and losses, victories and defeats in his life and career--including his conviction in an international price fixing scandal involving Christie's and Sotheby's.


Lagnado, Lucette.
The Man in the white sharkskin suit -- my family's exodus from Old Cairo to the New World / Lagnado, Lucette. -- NY : Ecco, 2007.

Autobiography of the author’s childhood in Egypt and how, after the fall
of King Farouk, her eventual escape to New York.

Silver, Marisa.

The God of war -- a novel /  Silver, Marisa. -- NY : Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Novel set in California in 1978 about a 12-year-old boy with an active

imagination who is thrust into the role of taking care of his family.

           

Sofer, Dalia.

The Septembers of Shiraz /  Sofer, Dalia. -- NY : HarperCollins, 2007.

Novel set in Iran and New York after the Iranian revolution about a

Jewish family and the problems they face in both countries.

Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America by Stephen G. Bloom (2000). Today’s headlines make worthwhile a visit (or revisit) to Bloom’s study of the earliest adjustments and fallout when Orthodox Judaism and a kosher slaughterhouse first moved into Postville, Iowa.

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race and American Identity by Eric L. Goldstein.
“In this original, boldly conceptualized and well-researched inquiry into the complicated intersections of 'race' and Jewish-American identity, Goldstein explores how Jewish immigrants gradually began to understand themselves as 'white' (i.e., fully European) when most of America did not.” (Publishers Weekly)

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
“One of the authentic and touching testaments of the struggle of Jewish immigrants, especially Jewish women, to find their way in the new world.” (Irving Howe)

John and Anzia: An American Romance by Norma S. Rosen.
“Rosen bases her love story on archival evidence that renowned philosopher and teacher John Dewey had an affair in 1917 with a Polish immigrant half his age, Anzia Yezierska.” (Publishers Weekly)

Maimonides  by Sherwin B. Nuland
“Nuland writes sympathetically, one Jewish doctor considering this most extraordinary of Jewish doctors . . . His book is a guide for those perplexed by Maimonides, as well as those ignorant of him.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Memoirs of Glueckel of Hameln
Gluckel’s memoirs constitute a rich source of information on Jewish society in 17th/18th century Germany. She touches on a variety of subjects providing an overall social, economic, political, and cultural view of her time.

Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son’s Return to His Jewish Family by Stephen J. Dubner. “Dubner takes a searing and poignant look at his upbringing in a large, boisterous and fiercely devout Catholic family and his subsequent conversion to Judaism, the faith his parents discarded in their youth.” (Publishers Weekly)

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
“This novel will make readers yearn to share it with others, to read sentences and entire passages out loud, to debate its message, to acknowledge its wisdom.” (Publishers Weekly)

Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
Rated outstanding by all major reviewing journals, e.g.,  “Well-crafted plotting and crackling wit make this debut novel by Seattle author Kallos a delight to read and a memory to savor. The compelling story highlights the losses and disjointedness of life and the many paths back to healing for those who seek the way...Book groups will enjoy discussing the layers of meaning, the stylistic nuances, and the powerful message of hope secreted in these pages.” (Booklist)
       

Bernstein, Harry. The Invisible Wall. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-345-49610 $14.00 PB. The Dream. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-345-50374-9. $24.00 HC
Memoirs of a struggling family, written when the author was in his 90s. The Invisible Wall begins in England on the eve of World War I. His father drinks and gambles, while his mother survives on her dreams. When Harry’s sister falls for a Christian boy, Harry must choose between what he’s been taught and what he knows to be true. The Dream continues their story in America, where Harry falls in love, achieving a joyful 67-year marriage.

Brooks, Geraldine. People of the Book. New York: Viking Adult, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-670-01821-5. $25.95 HC
Australian Hanna Heath is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the Sarajevo Haggadah. Rescued from the Bosnian war, the Haggadah is one of the earliest illuminated Jewish volumes. Within its ancient binding, she discovers tiny artifacts that lead her to begin to unlock the priceless book’s mysteries.

De Rosnay, Tatiana. Sarah’s Key. New York: St. Martin’s, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-312-37084-8.  $13.95 PB
Sarah, 10, is arrested with her family in the 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. Thinking she would return home quickly, she hides her young brother in a cupboard in their Paris apartment. Years later, journalist Julia Jarmond is writing an article about the 60th anniversary of this black day in France's past when she stumbles on a trail of hidden secrets that connect her to Sarah.

Fallenberg, Evan. Light Fell. New York: Soho Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-569-47467-9.  $22.00 HC
Joseph left behind his wife and sons, father, and the religious Israeli farming community where he grew up, when he fell in love with a genius rabbi. Twenty years later, the long ago affair still echoes through their lives in unpredictable ways.

Godwin, Peter. When A Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa. New York: Back Bay Books, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-316-01871-5.  $14.99 PB
When his father suffers a heart attack, journalist Peter Godwin returns to Africa to learn that his father is not British, but a Polish Jew who lost his mother and sister in Treblinka. As his father’s health deteriorates, so does Zimbabwe, as Robert Mugabe, self—proclaimed president for life, throws white farmers off the land they’ve cultivated for generations consequently sending the economy into free fall. Godwin’s story is a searing portrait of unspeakable tragedy and exile, but also proof of the strength of the human spirit and the power of love.

Leshem, Ron. Beaufort. New York: Delacorte Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-553-806823.  $24.00 HC
Beaufort. To the handful of Israeli soldiers occupying the ancient crusader fortress, it is a little slice of hell—a forbidding, fear-soaked enclave perched atop two acres of land in southern Lebanon, surrounded by an enemy they cannot see. And to the thirteen young men in his command, twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Liraz “Erez” Liberti is a taskmaster, confessor, and the only hope in the face of attacks that come out of nowhere and missions seemingly designed to get them all killed.

Sabar, Ariel. My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-56512-490-5. $25.95 HC
UCLA professor Yona Sabar came from a community of Kurdish Jews so isolated that they still spoke Aramaic. In the 1950s, Yona’s family emigrated to Israel. Almost overnight, their exotic culture and language were doomed. With his American son Ariel, Yona travels to present day Iraq, as Ariel brings to life the ancient town of Zakho, telling his family's story and discovering his own role in this sweeping saga.

Sofer, Dalia. The Septembers of Shiraz. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-06113-041-0. $24.95 HC $13.95 PB
In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is arrested and accused of spying. As he navigates the terrors of prison, his family struggles with the realization that they may soon be forced on a journey of incalculable danger.


The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado

The Septembers of Shiraz, Dalia Sofer

Exile, Richard North Patterson

Selections from Awake in the Dark, Shira Nayman

When a Corcodile Eats the Sun, Peter Godwin

People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks

The Ministry of Special Cases, Nathan Englander

Away, Amy Bloom

Beaufort, Ron Leshem

A Dream of Zion, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin

Appelfeld, Aharon. The Conversion. Schocken, 1999. ISBN: 0805210989. $15.00. 
An apostate, a young Jewish man converts to Roman Catholicism to advance his career as a civil servant in the waning years of the Hapsburg empire and learns some painful lessons in the value of religious identity.

Gutfreund, Amir. Our Holocaust. Toby Press, 2006. ISBN: 1592641393.
$24.95.

The Third Generation, the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors living in Israel, try to fathom what happened during the Shoah and try to decode the stories of their families and neighbors.

Kazin, Alfred. A Walker in the City. Harvest Books, 1969. ISBN: 0156941767.  $14.00.
Alfred Kazin’s memoir is a sensory memory of his boyhood in the Brownsville district of Brooklyn.

Krauss, Nicole. The History of Love. W. W. Norton & Company, 2005. ISBN: 0393060349.  $23.95.
This novel spans more than 60 years and revolves around three characters and the inspirational book that connects them.

Lagnado, Lucette. The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit.  Ecco, 2007. ISBN: 0060822120.  $25.95
The author’s father escaped the Anti-Semitic environment in Nasser’s Egypt, but never could attain his status or comfort in the United States.

Shalev, Meir. A Pigeon and A Boy. Schocken, 2007. ISBN: 0805242511. $25.00.
The novel explores the search for home and love and incorporates the tale of a mysterious soldier and pigeon-handler who died during Israel’s war of independence.

Sofer, Dalia. The Septembers of Shiraz. Ecco, 2007. ISBN: 0061130400.
$24.95.

What happens after the father of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran is arrested after the Iranian revolution.

Yehoshua, A. B. The Liberated Bride. Harcourt, 2003. ISBN: 0151006539.
$27.00

A dark and comic novel that presents the two worlds of Israel's two nations, the Jews and the Arabs, and the travels in both of them by an Israeli professor whose magnificent obsession is finding out why his son's marriage to a rich young woman failed to endure.

Yellin, Tamar. The Genizah at the House of Shepher. Toby Press, 2005. ISBN: 1592640850. $19.95.      
An English biblical scholar returns to her grandparents' home in Jerusalem. Immersed in a simmering family feud concerning the Shepher Codex.  The story covers a multigenerational family history.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. Knopf Books For Young Readers, 2006. ISBN: 0375831002. $16.95.

Death is the narrator in this intriguing story of a young girl in Germany during World War II. Reading and the power of words play pivotal roles in her life and in her survival.