“The Elephant and the Jewish Problem” is the punchline to a hoary old Jewish joke, the point of which is that there is a Jewish perspective on every subject imaginable. The same point is made in a remarkable work of scholarship, “A Jew’s Best Friend? The Image of the Dog Throughout Jewish History,” edited by Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman and Rakefet Zalashik (Sussex Academic Press, $65, hardcover; $34.95, paper), a pair of self-proclaimed dog lovers who were inspired to explore what Jewish tradition has to say about dogs and Jews.
The best way to tell if a city has a sizable Jewish population, as my father used to say, is by the number of good Chinese restaurants.
Jesus will appear on the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday -- thanks to Mel Gibson. The Hollywood star directed and financed the $25 million epic "The Passion of the Christ," which is emerging from a nearly yearlong media storm and is due to hit 2,000 screens nationwide Feb. 25.
"Everything Is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin, $24).
Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, "Everything Is Illuminated" has garnered rave reviews everywhere, from The New York Times to Esquire, with front jacket quotes by Russell Banks, Nathan Englander and mentor Joyce Carol Oates; it has even been optioned for a movie by actor Liev Schrieber's prodction company.