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Welcome to MyJewishBooks.com, where we list new, diverse, and eclectic books of Jewish interest and sort them by publication date (we do not categorize by fiction and non-fiction). All net proceeds go to tzedaka. Look at the hyperlinks to the left for books by publication data or season.


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[book] WITNESS
Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom
by Ariel Burger
(Rabbi Ariel Burger)
November 13, 2018
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt HMH
I recall when a childhood neighbor went off to Boston University and how she got to take a class with Eli Wiesel and it influenced her life. So I was excited to read this new book.

Rabbi Burger, a devoted protégé and friend of the late Elie Wiesel shows us the Nobel Peace Prize recipientas a master teacher.

Ariel Burger first met Elie Wiesel at age fifteen. They studied together and taught together. Witness chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men over decades, as Burger sought counsel on matters of intellect, spirituality, and faith, while navigating his own personal journey from boyhood to manhood, from student and assistant to rabbi and, in time, teacher.

In this profoundly hopeful, thought-provoking, and inspiring book, Burger takes us into Elie Wiesel’s classroom, where the art of listening and storytelling conspire to keep memory alive. As Wiesel’s teaching assistant, Burger gives us a front-row seat witnessing these remarkable exchanges in and out of the classroom. The act of listening, of sharing these stories, makes of us, the readers, witnesses.



























[book] ETERNAL LIFE
A NOVEL
BY DARA HORN
JANUARY 8, 2019
Norton Paperback
What would it really mean to live forever? Rachel’s current troubles-a middle-aged son mining digital currency in her basement, a scientist granddaughter trying to peek into her genes-are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, hundreds of children, and 2,000 years, going back to Roman-occupied Jerusalem. Only one person shares her immortality: an illicit lover who pursues her through the ages. But when her children develop technologies that could change her fate, Rachel must find a way out. From ancient religion to the scientific frontier, Dara Horn pits our efforts to make life last against the deeper challenge of making life worth living.



























[book] Inheritance:
A Memoir of Genealogy,
Paternity, and Love
by Dani Shapiro
January 2019
Knopf

The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets--a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.

What makes us who we are?
What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that she wasn't 99 percent Jewish. WHAT? Well, it turns out that her biological father was different than the father who raised her. Her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history – the life she had lived – CRUMBLED beneath her.

Was this the reason she felt out of place with her dark haired Jewish family and community?

Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own (biological) identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history.

Her parents were no longer living, so her investigation was not as easy as asking her mother.

It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro's memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love.











We mourn the passing in July 2018 of Richard Siegel, rabbinical school dropout, who authored the penultimate best-selling JPS book in 1973 that influenced hundreds of thousands of Jewish families: THE JEWISH CATALOG


[book] The (First) Jewish Catalog
Paperback reprint
by Richard Siegel
and Michael and Sharon Strassfeld
1973
JPS

The First Jewish Catalog, compiled and edited by Sharon & Michael Strassfeld, and Richard Siegel, Jewish Publication Society, First Edition, 1973. Hundreds of b/w photos and illustrations populate this innovative reference catalog that presents Jewish history, religion, rituals, communities, culture, festivals, writings, and behavior in an easily readable format. Oversize trade paperback with glossy, pictorial, stiff covers.



























[book] LAKE SUCCESS
A novel
by Gary Shteyngart
September 2018
Random House
“Barry Cohen, a man with $2.4 billion of assets under management, staggered into the Port Authorty Bus Terminal.

When his dream of the perfect marriage, the perfect son, and the perfect life implodes, a Wall Street millionaire takes a cross-country bus trip in search of his college sweetheart and ideals of youth in the long-awaited novel, his first in seven years, from the acclaimed, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story.

Myopic, narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his 3 year-old-son’s diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in years. Meanwhile, reeling from the fight that caused Barry's departure, his super-smart wife Seema—a driven first-generation American who craved a picture-perfect life, with all the accoutrements of a huge bank account—has her own demons to face. How these two imperfect characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is the heart of this biting, brilliant, emotionally resonant novel very much of our times.































[book] GOD IS IN THE CROWD:
Twenty-First-Century Judaism
by Tal Keinan
September 25, 2018
Spiegel & Grau
Part call to action and part riveting personal story, an original proposal for discovering relevance in Judaism and ensuring its survival from a pioneering social activist and Harvard MBA business leader who served as a pilot in the Israel Air Force.

God Is in the Crowd is an original and provocative blueprint for Judaism in the 21st century, told through the lens of Keinan's unusual personal story. Keinan's analysis of the threat to Jewish continuity is sobering: as Jewry has become concentrated in just two parts of the world, America and Israel, the Jewish people has lost the subtle code of governance that made Judaism relevant in the Diaspora. This "code," as Keinan explains it, is a derivative of Francis Galton's wisdom of crowds (aka swarm intelligence or collective intelligence). Keinan argues forcefully that the science of crowd wisdom has played a key role in Jewish survival over the centuries and must be resurrected now, since the alternative is the extinction of the Jews. Born to a secular Jewish family in Florida, Keinan's interest in Judaism was piqued by a Christian minister at Exeter. That interest took him down an unlikely path to becoming a fighter pilot in the Israel Air Force. Through the prism of his own dramatic personal story and the lessons he learned from his professional life, Keinan embarks on an investigation of the core values of Judaism in the twenty-first century, and looks to the relationship between American and Israeli Jews to enrich world Jewry in a post-Diaspora age. God Is in the Crowd presents an innovative plan in which the wisdom of the Jewish crowd is harnessed to endow Judaism with new purpose and ensure its survival.

























[book] BORN TRUMP:
Inside America’s First Family
by Emily Jane Fox
(writer, Vanity Fair)
June 19, 2018
Harper

An examination of the Trump children and what is was like to grow up Trump

Chapter One, Page One, Inauguration Day 2017. Ivanka and Jared rush to the White House Lincoln Bedroom. Shabbat approaches. They have borrowed candle holders from the White House butler. They need to kindle the Sabbath candles before sundown...

As a writer at Vanity Fair covering the Trump family, Emily Jane Fox has spent the last year doing a deep dive into the lives of the President’s children. She’s developed a personal relationship with Ivanka and has cultivated sources close to Eric, Donald Jr., and Tiffany. She has scoured their Instagram accounts, combed through all their public speeches, spoken to their childhood friends, college acquaintances, business associates, close advisors, and campaign operatives. She’s become the foremost expert on the Trump kids and, now, in this exclusive account, Fox chronicles the experiences of the Trump children, individuals who possess more control than any other First Children in the history of the presidency.

Wonderfully gossipy, Born Trump examines what shaped the Trump children into who they are—a shared familial history that will inevitably form American history in the coming years. Born Trump explores what it was like to grow up Trump and what this reveals about living in Trump’s America, in turn painting an intimate portrait of the 45th President of the United States from the perspective of his most inner circle. Given their father’s need to be in the spotlight, his bellicose and litigious nature, and how often his personal life played out in public, it seems astonishing that his children remain so close to him. And yet this is part of the Trump ethos—like royalty, they stand together, encased not in palaces, but in Trump Tower.

Fox looks at the childhood privileges and traumas, the individual adolescences and early adulthoods that have been lightly chronicled in the tabloids but never detailed thoughtfully or in depth, the family business that brought them back together and the dynamics therein, the campaign that tested the family in ways the children could not have imagined, and now, the wide-open slate in front of them in Washington, D.C.

Full of surprising insights and previously untold stories, Born Trump will quench the ever increasing desire for a greater understanding of who these people are, how they were raised, and what makes them tick.






















[book] 21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
BY YUVAL NOAH HARARI
(Hebrew Univ)
September 4, 2018
Spiegel und Grau

In SAPIENS, he explored our past.
In HOME DEUS, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues.

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human?
How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news?
Are nations and religions still relevant?
What should we teach our children? Does teaching our current school courses matter? Should we teach EQ Emotional Intelligence and resilience?
If AI changes the nature and value of work, will there be a class of people without economic value?
Should current 22 year old expect to change careers... how many times?
If identity is tied to economic value and job title... how will identity and politics change?
DO we have to meditate for two hours each day as the author does?

Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.

In 21 accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in:
How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us?
What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it?
How should we deal with the threat of terrorism?
Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
Will more Jews abandon religion? Will they move to Orthodox Judaism as a shield from change or a source of greater meaning?


Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading. “If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’ . . . Thoughtful readers will find 21 Lessons for the 21st Century to be a mind-expanding experience.”—BookPage (top pick) BR>
























[book] To Heal the World?:
How The Jewish Left Corrupts
Judaism and Endangers Israel
by Jonathan Neumann
June 2018
St. Martin's Press

A critique of the Jewish social justice movement and its presumed theological basis in the concept of tikkun olam or “healing the world.”

A devastating critique of the presumed theological basis of the Jewish social justice movement-the concept of healing the world.

The concept that rests at the core of Jewish belief system is called tikkun olam, or healing the world. Believers in this notion claim that the Bible asks for more than piety Jews must also endeavor to make the world a better place. They must ACT. This idea has led to overwhelming Jewish participation in the social justice movement, as such actions are believed to be biblically mandated.

but according to this British educated author,,,There's only one problem: the Bible says no such thing.

he writes that Tikkun Olam is an invention of the Jewish left, has diluted millennia of Jewish practice and belief into a vague feel-good religion of social justice.

In To Heal the World, Jonathan Neumann uses religious and political history to debunk this “pernicious idea,” and to show how the bible was twisted by Jewish liberals to support a radical left-wing agenda.

Neumann asserts that the Jewish Renewal movement aligned itself with the New Left of the 1960s, and redirected the perspective of the Jewish community towards liberalism and social justice. His goal is ro expose the key figures responsible for this effort, show that it lacks any real biblical basis, and outline the debilitating effect it has had on Judaism itself.























[book] BIBI
The Turbulent Life and Times
of Benjamin Netanyahu
by Anshel Pfeffer
(Haaretz, The Economist)
May 1, 2018
Basic Books
A deeply reported biography of the controversial Israeli Prime Minister, showing that we cannot understand Israel today without first understanding the man who leads it

For many in Israel and elsewhere, Benjamin Netanyahu is anathema, an embarrassment, even a precursor to Donald Trump. But he continues to dominate Israeli public life. How can we explain his rise, his hold on Israeli politics, and his outsized role on the world's stage?

In Bibi, journalist Anshel Pfeffer reveals the formative influence of Netanyahu's grandfather and father, who bequeathed to him a brand of Zionism integrating Jewish nationalism and religious traditionalism. Pfeffer argues that we must understand Netanyahu as embodying the triumph of the underdogs in the Zionist enterprise over the secular liberals who founded the nation. As he demonstrates in this penetrating biography, Netanyahu's Israel is a hybrid of ancient phobia and high-tech hope, tribalism and globalism--just like the man himself.
























[book] My Country, My Life:
Fighting for Israel,
Searching for Peace
by Ehud Barak
May 8, 2018
St. Martin's Press
The definitive memoir of one of Israel's most influential soldier-statesmen and one-time Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, with insights into forging peace in the Middle East.

In the summer of 2000, the most decorated soldier in Israel's history-Ehud Barak-set himself a challenge as daunting as any he had faced on the battlefield: to secure a final peace with the Palestinians. He would propose two states for two peoples, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He knew the risks of failure. But he also knew the risks of not trying: letting slip perhaps the last chance for a generation to secure genuine peace.

It was a moment of truth.

It was one of many in a life intertwined, from the start, with that of Israel. Born on a kibbutz, Barak became commander of Israel's elite special forces, then army Chief of Staff, and ultimately, Prime Minister.

My Country, My Life tells the unvarnished story of his-and his country's-first seven decades; of its major successes, but also its setbacks and misjudgments. He offers candid assessments of his fellow Israeli politicians, of the American administrations with which he worked, and of himself. Drawing on his experiences as a military and political leader, he sounds a powerful warning: Israel is at a crossroads, threatened by events beyond its borders and by divisions within. The two-state solution is more urgent than ever, not just for the Palestinians, but for the existential interests of Israel itself. Only by rediscovering the twin pillars on which it was built-military strength and moral purpose-can Israel thrive.


























[book] Pogrom:
Kishinev and the Tilt of History
by Steven J. Zipperstein
(Stanford University)
March 27, 2018
Liveright Press
Separating historical fact from fantasy, an acclaimed historian retells the story of Kishinev, a riot that transformed the course of twentieth-century Jewish history.

So shattering were the aftereffects of Kishinev, the rampage that broke out in late-Tsarist Russia in April 1903, that one historian remarked that it was “nothing less than a prototype for the Holocaust itself.” In three days of violence, 49 Jews were killed and 600 raped or wounded, while more than 1,000 Jewish-owned houses and stores were ransacked and destroyed. Recounted in lurid detail by newspapers throughout the Western world, and covered sensationally by America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized the imagination of an international public, quickly becoming the prototype for what would become known as a “pogrom,” and providing the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the NAACP. Using new evidence culled from Russia, Israel, and Europe, distinguished historian Steven J. Zipperstein’s wide-ranging book brings historical insight and clarity to a much-misunderstood event that would do so much to transform twentieth-century Jewish life and beyond. 40 illustrations

“Pogrom is a splendid book that pinpoints the moment at the start of the twentieth century when exile in Europe turned deadly in a way that foretold the end of everything. It tells us the horror that occurred street by street, butchery by butchery-with gripping clarity and an admirable brevity.” - Philip Roth

“A riveting, often painful and vivid picture of a pogrom which captured attention worldwide, Zipperstein looks beyond the event itself and demonstrates how the tragedy at the heart of Russia served as a catalyst for the widest range of institutions including the NAACP. Written with the insight of an impeccable historian, his account-that will intrigue scholars as well as the widest array of readers-can be seen as a harbinger of what would come but four decades later.” - Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial

“A re-examination of one of the most lavishly remembered events of Russian Jewish history that is also the most edited and misunderstood. . . . Looking for a cause of the massacre, the author points to Pavel Krushevan, an anti-Semitic local publisher whose publications were rife with blood libel. Zipperstein shows with little doubt Krushevan's hand in fomenting the riot and his role as principal ‘author’ of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a ridiculous, fabricated text that nonetheless became the most influential anti-Semitic text ever produced. The author ably illustrates the wide influence of this pogrom, with comparisons to American violence against Southern blacks, the formation of the NAACP, and, especially, Hitler's reliance on the Protocols. A thorough and fair examination of an event whose mystery seems so misplaced.” - Kirkus Reviews








An award winning film from Sony Pictures Classics based on this novel is now in theaters in December 2017:
[book] Call Me by Your Name:
A Novel
by André Aciman
Paperback film tie-in edition, October 2017
Originally published in 2007
Picador
The novel upon which the film, directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and adapted by James Ivory, is based. Andre Aciman's “Call Me by Your Name” is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between a brilliant, sensitive adolescent Jewish boy (Elio Perlman) and a Jewish 6'5” grad student guest (Oliver), 24, at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera (in Liguria, but the film uses a villa in Crema, Lombardy, instead). Each Summer, Elio's father, an esteemed archaeologist, invites an accomplished PhD student in Classics to spend the Summer in Italy at their house. Oliver and Elio are each unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, competition, contempt, love and desire intensify their passion and test the charged volcanic ground between them. Elio reads and plays music, dates, and spends languid summer days and nights. He appears confident but has doubts and confusion. Oliver works on his dissertation on Heraclitus. (As you will recall from high school Greek, Heraclitus wrote that no man steps in the same river twice, that life is fleeting, and that 'the path up and down are one and the same' so that opposites attract). “Is it better to speak or die,” is what Elio remembers from the French tale that his mother translates for the family. The story of a knight and a princess. Recklessly, Elio and Oliver verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. That they both, at times, hide their Jewishness, can be considered a metaphor for their hiding of their desires. It is an instant classic.

Set in 1983, it is a winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, as well as a Publishers Weekly and The Washington Post Best Book of the Year

André Aciman is the noted CUNY professor, expert in Marcel Proust, and am award winning novelist as well as the author of Out of Egypt, about his Egyptian Jewish family's life in and flight from Gamal Abdul Nasser's Egypt.

NOTE: For readers who already saw the film... note that the novel ends 20 years after where the film does. So buy and read the book to find out what happens.

NOTE 2: The idea for the novel came in 2005, when André Aciman’s plans to take his wife and three sons to a Mediterranean villa collapsed. Angry, Aciman, now 66, decided to instead, write a love story set on the Italian Riviera in the mid-1980s. Three months later he had “Call Me By Your Name” ready for editing.












































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