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  • Edgar Keret: All grown up

    April 27, 2012 | 1:54 pm

    Yesterday at the ophthalmologist I realized my eye doctor was looking deep into my eyes but couldn’t see me; not at all. My husband compulsively takes the same photograph over and over again unaware that no picture looks different from any other. My son has mastered the subtle art...

  • Joseph Roth: Letters from a visionary correspondent

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 25, 2012 | 3:59 pm

    Among the many Roths who figure importantly in Jewish letters — Henry, Cecil and Philip are only the most famous — perhaps the least celebrated is Joseph Roth.  As a novelist (“The Radetzky March”) and an essayist (“The Wandering Jews”), but even more crucially as a...

  • Choicest of the choice

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 18, 2012 | 1:25 pm

    Much has changed in the book business since the Los Angeles Times launched its Festival of Books 17 years ago, but the FOB — as it is fondly known — remains the premier event of the literary calendar for the more than 100,000 readers and writers who never miss it.

    The 2012...

  • Portrait of a Jewish family avenged

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 11, 2012 | 3:04 pm

    The victims of the Holocaust are most often recalled at their moments of agony and death. But it is also our duty to recall the richness of their lives before Europe fell under the shadow of Nazi Germany. What Hitler sought to destroy, after all, was not merely 6 million human lives...

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  • Calendar Picks and Clicks: Apr. 14-20, 2012

    By Ryan Torok

    April 11, 2012 | 10:47 am

    For Yom HaShoah events, visit jewishjournal.com/yom_hashoah.

    SAT | APRIL 14

    “AN EVENING OF YIDDISH SONG”
    End Passover with Yiddish music and Chinese food. Singer-songwriter Mark Levy performs a diverse range of Yiddish music — classic folk songs, theater songs, and songs...

  • Probing the mysterious fate of the Romanovs

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 5, 2012 | 12:51 pm

    Over the many years I’ve spent bumping around the book business, I have introduced my wife, Ann, to a great many literary lions and lionesses, but nothing quite compares to the evening when we first met Dora Levy Mossanen at a book-signing for John Rechy at Dutton’s in Brentwood.

    ...
  • What we talk about when we talk about Nathan Englander’s new story collection

    March 30, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Thirteen years ago, Nathan Englander’s debut story collection, “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges,” brought its then twenty-something author his initial fame. Eight years later came the publication of a first novel, “The Ministry of Special Cases.” This year brings...

  • Jonathan Foer’s ‘New American Haggadah’:  Extremely unsurprising and incredibly similar

    By Tom Teicholz

    March 29, 2012 | 4:46 pm

    The haggadah, the user’s manual to the Passover seder, might be the world’s oldest annually practiced ritual, and the story of the Jews’ freedom from slavery in Egypt is, Jonathan Safran Foer said recently, “the best-known greatest continuously read story” in book form. And...

  • For the kids, beyond the questions

    March 29, 2012 | 4:35 pm

    “A Sweet Passover” by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by David Slonim (Abrams: $16.95).

    It turns out that little Miriam is not so different from the rest of us. By the final day of Passover, she gets sick of eating matzah and refuses to eat it ever again. Newman, a well-respected...

  • Embattled but resolute, Beinart responds to his critics

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    March 28, 2012 | 5:44 pm

    In the last two years, the ideas of Jewish journalist Peter Beinart have been at the center of the conversation over how American Jews should relate to Israel today.

    In his 2010 essay in the New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” Beinart...

  • New Haggadahs: Reform version, novelists’ take and Ethiopian flavor

    March 28, 2012 | 2:49 pm

    Leading a seder for the first time this year? There’s an app for that.

    Entries in the annual stream of new Haggadahs this year include a Reform version that comes in hardcover, paperback and iPad app editions. Two others feature a gorgeously designed Haggadah that features an...

  • Ben Marcus’ story of heartbreak and violence

    March 23, 2012 | 12:14 pm

    An epidemic that started among the forest-dwelling Jews — “genetic in nature … a problem only for certain people” — is spreading to other communities and threatening to impose an ominous silence upon the world.  The culprit is the toxic language of children.  This is the...

  • Daughter’s journey to the other side of the mechitzah

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 21, 2012 | 10:47 am

    Investigative journalists do not tend to make good storytellers. After all, they are trained to write in the taut prose of a daily newspaper, and they are constrained by the discipline of fact-checking. As a result, sometimes they cannot see the forest for the trees when it comes to...

  • Safran Foer’s New American Haggadah out of stock across web [UPDATED]

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    March 20, 2012 | 10:37 pm

    Update: An editor at Little, Brown, the publisher of The New American Haggadah, emailed me today to say that, although the first print run “quickly” sold out, the haggadah should (thanks to “two large reprints”) be back on virtual and actual shelves in time for Passover. So fret not....

  • How Hollywood’s biggest politicos leaned right, not left

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 14, 2012 | 10:54 am

    Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple, Sony Bono, George Murphy and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all entertainers who launched their political careers in California, and they are all Republicans. Indeed, aside from Al Franken, no prominent Democratic officeholder on the scene today started out...

  • Connie Rice and the Ayecha challenge

    March 14, 2012 | 10:50 am

    “Where are you?” This is the first question in the Torah. Asked by God, directed to Adam, this foundational question — ayecha in Hebrew — echoes as more than mere inquiry about physical location. Ayecha is a piercing question about character: “What matters to you?”...

  • Psychotherapy and philosophy intersect in ‘Spinoza problem’

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 7, 2012 | 2:54 pm

    Around our house, Irvin D. Yalom is a familiar name, and for more than one reason.

    I first heard about Yalom, author of “Love’s Executioner,” from my wife, Ann, who explained where he fits in the pantheon of theorists and practitioners in her field of psychotherapy.  Then I...

  • The elusive essence of Jew-ness

    By Danielle Berrin

    March 2, 2012 | 3:30 pm

    More than two decades after Neal Gabler published his magnum opus, “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood,” audiences haven’t tired of hearing about Hollywood’s Jewish history. On Feb. 28, the author returned to the topic at Temple Israel of Hollywood,...

  • Sari Nusseibeh – Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life – A Must Read

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    March 1, 2012 | 10:58 am

    It has taken me five years to read Sari Nusseibeh’s autobiography since it was first published in 2007. I now recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the Palestinian experience during the past 45 years. That experience is brought to light by this brilliant and sensitive...

  • Love beyond others’ reach

    February 28, 2012 | 2:44 pm

    “On 13 October 1991 my grandparents killed themselves.” So begins Johanna Adorján’s stunning book, “An Exclusive Love: A Memoir” (W.W. Norton, $14.95; trans. Anthea Bell). It’s a slim volume, appearing even less assuming in its new paperback edition. But it is...

  • The 17th century hero behind the separation of church and state

    February 27, 2012 | 10:15 am

    From the vantage point of 2012, the state of Rhode Island is an afterthought, except perhaps for those who reside within its borders. It is small geographically and seems to lack influence in just about any realm imaginable.

    Yet during the seventeenth century, Rhode Island became a...

  • A celebration of women visionaries

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 23, 2012 | 10:47 am

    A rich but provocative irony suffuses Angella M. Nazarian’s latest book, “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World” (Assouline: $45).

    Recent headlines across the world, in America no less than Israel and the Islamic world, confirm that women are...

  • Author of Bernstein bio wins Jewish book honors

    February 15, 2012 | 5:56 pm

    Susan Goldman Rubin, the Los Angeles-based author of many nonfiction books for young people, has won the 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Award for her engaging biography “Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein” (ages 10 and up). Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries, the award...

  • Journalist Gal Beckerman wins Rohr Prize

    February 15, 2012 | 10:48 am

    Journalist Gal Beckerman has been awarded the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his first book.

    Beckerman will receive the Jewish Book Council’s first prize award of $100,000 for “When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry.” The...

  • Wolpe vs. Beinart

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    February 13, 2012 | 11:03 am

    Announcing his new book in a hucksterish e-mail to J street members, Peter Beinart details the truths vouchsafed to him and his fellow enlightened acolytes. A brief sampler:

    “I’m looking forward to being with all of you at J Street, since you understand that an American Jewish...

  • Leaving the an insular, Hasidic world

    February 10, 2012 | 12:22 pm

    “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” by 25-year-old Deborah Feldman (Simon & Schuster: $23.00) is painfully good. Through a narrative voice that is almost hypnotic, she puts you immediately in the center of her chaotic world.  Flashes of adult wisdom seem...

  • A Jesus even Jews can love?

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 9, 2012 | 3:40 pm

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has been accused of nothing less than apostasy by at least one of his fellow rabbis, all thanks to his newly published book, “Kosher Jesus” (Gefen Publishing House: $26). And I am confident some Evangelical Christians will reach the same conclusion if only...

  • “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund DeWaal – Book Recommendation

    By Rabbi John Rosove

    February 8, 2012 | 1:57 pm

    On a long flight to Israel this past week I read a beautifully written memoir called “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund DeWaal.  This thoroughly researched work tells the story of four generations of the Ephrussi family, among the most prominent and wealthy Jewish families in...

  • Shalom Auslander’s ‘Hope: A Tragedy’

    February 3, 2012 | 1:35 pm

    Shalom Auslander’s memoir, “Foreskin’s Lament,” chronicled the author’s shaky departure from his dysfunctional ultra-Orthodox home in Monsey, New York.  Readers will recall how Auslander was somehow able to blend sadness and compassion with biting humor and anger into his...

  • Himmler: An ordinary man turned villain

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 1, 2012 | 5:38 pm

    No matter how much is written about Nazi Germany, there is always some new horror to behold and some new paradox to ponder. That’s how I felt when I opened a remarkable and wholly fascinating new book by Peter Longerich, a German historian who is among the world’s leading...

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