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,...
March 15, 2007 | 8:00 pm
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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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
May 6, 2004 | 8:00 pm
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.
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...
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...
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...
August 31, 2000 | 8:00 pm
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