By ship and plane, I've traveled to Israel 15 times over the last 60 years and, looking back, my relationship to the Jewish state has a certain Zelig-like quality.
UCLA historian Saul Friedlander, a child Holocaust survivor, has been awarded a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his definitive account of "The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945."
The $10,000 award in the general nonfiction book category honors the 75-year-old scholar and Israeli citizen for his remarkable ability to evoke the entire Nazi era through a combination of meticulous research and a novelist's eye for personal, human detail.
Unfortunately, at least from the perspective of an editor at a Jewish newspaper, our communal leaders traditionally don't do memoirs. The result is an incomplete record of a community that operates a multibillion-dollar charity network, has helped frame the debate on domestic issues from civil rights to church-state separation and wields increasing power on the international stage.
7 Days in the Arts
Over the past 40 years, Ted Solotaroff has developed a reputation as a distinguished literary critic and editor. Then, in 1998, at 70, he suddenly appeared, full-blown, on the literary stage as a writer, winning the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction for the first volume of his memoirs, "Truth Comes in Blows."
"Mr. S, My Life With Frank Sinatra" by George Jacobs and William Stadiem is this summer's guilty pleasure. Jacobs was Frank Sinatra's valet from 1953 to 1968, and his memoirs are the excuse for a polished backstage tour of Sinatraland, a roller-coaster ride of the high life and the lowdown on almost every scandal, scoop, star, starlet, call girl and politician of the '40s '50s and '60s.
Jewish books are hot these days.
Israel has decided to release the memoirs Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann wrote prior to his execution in Israel in 1962.
Yvette Melanson is a woman who might say the Sh'ma before going to sleep, and in the morning light whisper the Navajo prayer, "May I walk happily and lightly on the earth." Both are deeply felt, authentic expressions of her soul. As she explains, "I know that I'm Jewish. I feel Jewish. I've been raised Jewish. I'm also Navajo."