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Tag: Sandee Brawarsky

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  • In Spring a reader’s fancy turns to thoughts of ... books

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    March 15, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Michael Chabon's Alaskan Adventure

    In Michael Chabon's invented world, Yiddish is spoken in the Alaskan panhandle.

    After World War II, the Federal District of Sitka in Alaska -- not Israel -- became the homeland for the Jews.

    "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" (HarperCollins, May,...

  • Peter Cole receives MacArthur ‘genius award’ for poetry

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    January 10, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Poet, translator and publisher Peter Cole is among the 24 recipients of the 2007 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, or genius awards, as they are popularly known. The no-strings-attached award, honoring creativity, includes a $500,000 stipend that is paid quarterly over five years....
  • Six self-help books seek to help you get sealed in the Book of Life

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    September 21, 2006 | 8:01 pm

    In these days of asking tough questions, taking stock, revisiting memories and trying to do better in 5767, books are essential tools. Several new works from different disciplines and traditions, some of which don't mention the words Days of Awe, lend new meaning to the holidays -- on caring for orphans, baking bread, deepening celebrations, understanding forgiveness, practicing kindness, exploring traditional liturgy and rituals.
     
  • Search for Similarity in Aliyah Tales

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    "Aliya: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel" by Liel Leibovitz (St. Martin's Press, $24.95).

    When the Pilgrims were making their way to the land that would become America, Liel Leibovitz's German ancestors were moving to the Holy Land. A cultural writer for...

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  • The Hit Man Who Came to Dinner

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    November 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Blood Relation" by Eric Konigsberg (HarperCollins, $25.95).

    Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg has been behind bars since 1963. He has served time in more than 15 prisons and is next up for parole in 2006, when he'll be 78. No one expects this Jewish hit man from New Jersey, who freelanced...

  • Spectator - Hard Truths of ‘Hamburg’

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    September 1, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Polish journalist Hanna Krall's "The Woman From Hamburg: And Other True Stories" (Other Press, $19) is based on interviews she did that in some way involved the Holocaust. But when one of the 12 stories was recently featured in The New Yorker's fiction issue, an accompanying note...

  • The Many Lives of Lev Nussimbaum

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    April 7, 2005 | 8:00 pm

     

    "The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life" (Random House, $25.95).

    Lev Nussimbaum lived as though life were theater, inventing an identity, dressing the part, shifting scenes, seeking audiences everywhere. He thought he could keep rewriting the...

  • Eating Ham for Uncle Sam

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    February 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    "How World War II Changed a Generation" by Deborah Dash Moore (Harvard University Press, 2004).

    Walking near my parents' home in Florida -- where I'm writing this column -- I noticed a hat with World War II insignias, much like the one my father sometimes wears, in the back window...

  • Passing on a Legacy of Love

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    November 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    "All That Matters" by Jan Goldstein (Hyperion, $17.95).

    Walk into Zabar's and it's easy to spot 76-year old Gittel "Gabby" Zuckerman. She's feisty and funny, and her shrinking height and failing health don't diminish her power. Nor do the memories of the family she lost in the...

  • ‘First’ an Atypical New York Story

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    October 21, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    A brother announces to his sister that another sister has vanished, as "The First Desire" (Pantheon) opens. Nancy Reisman's highly-praised novel is unusual in many ways, from its premise to the quality of writing to its setting. She follows the lives of the Cohen family, from the...

  • The Grand Design of Daniel Libeskind

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    October 19, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    It was in Poland's primeval forests, where bison roamed amidst labyrinths of poplar and maple trees that Daniel Libeskind first began to understand concepts of land, space, shelter and natural resources, themes that would be the underpinnings of his career as an architect.

    In his...

  • ‘Memory’ Shapes Life and History

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "The Persistence of Memory" by Tony Eprile (Norton, $24.95).

    Tony Eprile opens up the complex terrain of a changing South Africa in "The Persistence of Memory."

    This is an ambitious novel, a novel of many ideas. Eprile is a gifted storyteller who delves into the inner life and...

  • Russian Emigre’s Tales of New World

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    August 26, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The three A's in "Natasha" are filled in by tiny stylized Matryoshka dolls, the traditional Russian stacking dolls, on the book jacket of David Bezmozgis' radiant debut (Farrar Straus and Giroux, $18).

    In this collection of linked stories, the three figures at the center are a...

  • Psychic Channels Her Gift Into Novel

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    June 3, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Miriam the Medium" by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro (Simon & Schuster, $23).

    I don't know how many Jewish psychics there are in Great Neck, N.Y., but Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is easy to spot in the lunchtime crowd at Bruce's, a restaurant and bakery in the heart of the Long Island town.

    On...

  • Loud and Proud Mizrachi Voices

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    May 13, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage," edited by Loolwa Khazzoom (Seal Press, $16.95)

    On the last night before her family would flee Libya in 1967, Gina Bublil Waldman recalls that she had to choose between taking her...

  • Mixed Marriage, Mixed Message

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Double or Nothing: Jewish Families and Mixed Marriage" by Sylvia Barack Fishman (Brandeis, $24.95)

    "Sort of Jewish," "Jewish and something else," "might as well be Jewish" are some of the ways people describe their Jewish identity in Sylvia Barack Fishman's significant new book...

  • Gay Orthodox Rabbi Peels Back His Life

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    "Like peeling an onion," Rabbi Steven Greenberg said, about the process of coming out. The first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, he initially wrote about his sexuality under a pseudonym, Rabbi Yaakov Levado (meaning Jacob Alone), for Tikkun magazine in 1993 and then in 1999 came out...

  • Exile the So-So Seder

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    April 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Some people like their Passover seders just as they remember them: the same lines recited by the same relatives with the same emphasis, the same songs, jokes and foods, the same delicate glassware that picks up the light in a certain way, reflecting past and present.

    David Arnow...

  • Essays Reflect on Pearl’s Last Words

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    February 26, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Three words, among the last uttered by journalist Daniel Pearl before his murder two years ago this month (on Feb. 21, the public learned of the murder), have become a nucleus for thoughtfulness and creativity. "I Am Jewish," edited by his parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl (Jewish...

  • Writer Displays Keen Eye for Israeli Life

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    February 12, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The Israel that Donna Rosenthal depicts in her new book, "The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land" (Free Press) can sound like one very crowded apartment building, filled with interesting, passionate people from many backgrounds, often shouting in the hallways, sitting...

  • When bad Things Turns 20

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    October 25, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In 1981, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a 150-page book, published with little fanfare, that changed the lives of the more than 4 million people who read it and made its title, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," part of the vernacular.

    After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the 20th...

  • Rose’s Quest

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    August 31, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    The hiding places in the title of Daniel Asa Rose's new memoir refer to the haylofts and cellars where his relatives hid from the Nazis during the war years, and also to the suburban tool sheds and coat closets where the author crawled into during his childhood in a mostly gentile...

  • The Lost Bird

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    September 9, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    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...