Summer Reviews

Posted by Naomi Firestone

Some sample reviews from the newest issue of Jewish Book World:

Subversive Sequels in the Bible (Judy Klitsner)

This new commentary exhibits biblical scholarship at its finest. Judy Klitsner has chosen six familiar stories from the bible and, using critical literary techniques, delved deeply into the texts to explore the imagery, structure, grammar, and context of these stories both in relationship to each other and as single stories…Read On

When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother (Melissa Broder)

Melissa Broder’s When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother is a series of up-close and personal poems that all together offer a vision of growing into womanhood. These poems are about making mistakes, experiencing “firsts,” and learning lessons and are enveloped in humor and—for many readers, including myself—familiarity…Read On

Witz (Joshua Cohen)

Joshua Cohen’s Witz is a formidable achievement in content and style though it requires diligence. A bold satire of society’s claims on religion and identity,Witz is sure to stir controversy. One Friday in 1999, an Orthodox Jewish family prepares for a big New Jersey Shabbat. Events soon start to parallel the stylized prose in its extraordinariness: Mrs. Israelein gives birth supernaturally, then a plague eradicates all the Jews overnight excepting firstborn sons…Read On

Peep Show (Joshua Braff)

David Arbus’ parents have been living in different worlds for some time. Upon his high school graduation, he is forced to decide between the two. His mother is a baal teshuva and establishing her place in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn. His father has been running a porn theater in Times Square for decades…Read On

Homesick (Eshkol Nevo; Sondra Silverston, trans.)

Set at the time of the Rabin assassination, this intimate story revolves around Amir, a psychology student, and his girlfriend Noa, who studies photography. They’ve decided to try living together in an apartment in the small town of Ma’oz Ziyon, west of Jerusalem. Through them we meet their landlords, who live next door; a neighboring family whose older son was killed in Lebanon; and a Palestinian who is working on the renovation of a house down the street…Read On

Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Rabbi Elie Kaunfer)

According to one of the contributors cited by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer in his excellent new book, Empowered Judaism, “Describing [independent minyanim] remains challenging even today, because just as every Israelite at Sinai is said to have received the Torah differently, each of our participants has his or her own perspective on what makes the community vibrant and special.” Nonetheless, Empowered Judaism sets out to do just that, describing the independent minyan phenomenon on a generational, communal and individual level…Read On

Math Majors
By Juli Berwald

Might mathematics, with its symbols, variables, and well-defined concepts, be the ideal language with which to talk to God? Read On

The Enigma of Isaac Babel: Biography, History, Context (Gregory Freidin, ed.)

On the morning of May 15, 1939, agents of the Soviet secret police arrested Isaac Babel in Peredelkino, seizing his unpublished writings. Accused of spying for the French and Austrian governments as well as of participating in an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization, one of Russia’s greatest modern writers was executed by a firing squad in January 1940, and his life and work disappeared from memory for over 50 years…Read On

Missing a Beat: The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim (Seymour Krim; Mark Cohen, ed. and intro.)

It is tempting to call Seymour Krim a kvetch for all seasons, but the pieces in this collection indicate that he was definitely a man of his time and place—Greenwich Village during the decades following World War II…Read On

Collegiate Anti-Semitism, Then and Now

Two new books show how many American universities welcomed and even glorified visiting Nazi officials pre-World War II, and accept and accommodate anti-Israel expression in student activities and course offerings now…Read On

To purchase the complete issue ($12.50), please contact the Jewish Book Council office at 212-201-2920 or jbc@jewishbooks.org.

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One response to “Summer Reviews

  1. Pingback: Of festivals, frum writers, and new novels | Scribblers on the Roof

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