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"Though Moving Kings is considerably shorter and more accessible—with less erudite but nonetheless stimulating vocabulary, similes, and fewer stream of consciousness run-on sentences—than Cohen’s previous novel Book of Numbers (also reviewed on NYJB) it, too, skillfully weaves descriptive character portraits and plot lines into a novel of ideas that addresses issues as diverse as capitalism, gentrification, army veterans, the IDF’s conduct in the West Bank, and Jewish identity with sharp sardonic humor." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books



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Also see Lit Hub's interview with Cohen about the novel
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"At first glance Israeli novelist David Grossman’s new novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar, which as the title suggests recounts a stand-up comedian’s performance one evening at a night club in the coastal city Netanya, appears to be a complete change in tone and direction from his previous two fiction books To the End of the Land and Falling Out of Time (the latter reviewed on NYJB), emotionally heavy works that either indirectly or directly deal with parental grief.

"But initial appearances can be deceiving, and though the new novel is seasoned with jokes it is a serious work that addresses emotional pain as a source of all art, even a genre as coarse and vulgar as stand-up comedy." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books

"Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s (One Night, Markovitch) second novel Waking Lions starts as a moral drama in its first 14 chapters and becomes a suspenseful crime thriller in its final 11. Its strength lies in its third person narration’s shifting perspectives that develop its characters’ backstories and dramatic situations in the first part and its page turning pacing in the second part, in which the novel’s unanswered questions are resolved." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books
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"With its universal themes of healing, recovery, creativity, and finding one’s vocation The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping should engage the wide readership Appelfeld’s prose deserves. Readers may want to buy extra copies and donate them to VA hospitals." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books.
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“Is a proclivity to violence and vengeance a gender and/or regional trait? Are the minds of men more than women and/or rural folk more than city dwellers predisposed to violent acts of revenge? Or put another way, are violence and vengeance intrinsic components of the male psyche, and if so are men more likely to resort to them in rural settings? These are the central questions posed by Israeli novelist Meir Shalev in his seventh novel Two She-Bears (in the original Hebrew Shtayim Dubim, Am Oved, 2013).” — the opening paragraph of my review in New York Journal of Books

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“...recommended to readers who enjoy interior prose and psychological literary fiction.” -- from my review of Five Selves by Emanuela Barasch Rubinstein in New York Journal of Books. My additional remarks and excerpts from the book appear in examiner.com.
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The Betrayers succeeds by combining thought provoking ethical dilemmas with dramatic tension in an engaging prose style and is enthusiastically recommended.” - from my New York Journal of Books review (which includes spoilers). For additional remarks, excerpts, and an exploration of the novel as a roman a clef see my examiner article.

Read more... )
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Here is my New York Journal of Books review of Amos Oz's new book of short stories Between Friends. As I discuss in my examiner article, this book and his previous book of short stories reflect two distinct emotional reactions to capitalism's defeat of socialism in Israeli society and its economy.

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Amos Oz
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Who Will Die Last book cover


"David Ehrlich’s short stories, some of which describe the lives of both openly identified and closeted Israeli gay men, are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes both."



Read my review on New York Journal of Books and my additional remarks on examiner.


David Ehrlich
Who Will Die Last author David Ehrlich
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Muki Tzur speaking tour poster

On each of the first three days of the coming week there will be a talk by guest speakers on Jewish topics in East Midwood and Park Slope: Brooklyn: Three Jewish talks this week - New York NY | Examiner.com

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Technion students design a Rube Goldberg like devise that lights a hanukkiah.





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"Kinship is a central theme in Israeli writer Dror Burstein's novel Kin, which is published today in Dalya Bilu's English translation by Dalkey Archive Press. The book portrays the inner life of Yoel, a senior citizen, widower, and adoptive father who decides to find his adult son Emile's biological parents and reunite him with them."

Kinship is a central element in Judaism along with the revelation at Sinai, the Torah, and observance of laws derived from the Torah. Performing traditional customs and rituals connects us to earlier generations of Jews. Our identity is in part defined by our genealogy going all the way back to the patriarchs and matriarchs. Indeed so important is this genealogy that conversion to Judaism ritually severs the convert's previous genealogy, and he or she is ritually referred to as a son or daughter of Abraham and Sarah.

Also see my New York Journal of Books review of "Kin": http://goo.gl/gAtWg

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Ambassador Oren's will be the first of three talks in the next thirty days in Brooklyn synagogues about Israel by knowledgable speakers.

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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Whattheysavedbookcover

What happens when a New York Jewish pack-rat daughter inherits her New York Jewish pack-rat father's belongings? She embarks on a Jewish genealogical search for her and her dad's long lost relatives. Nancy K. Miller's What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past, published today by University of Nebraska Press, is the story of that search, a story that focuses more on the process of the search than on its results. In my New York Journal of Books review I quote Ms. Miller, “Every new piece of information keeps me on the road to the ever-expanding possibility of the quest, a quest that in the end will still yield only partial knowledge—and will never give me, return to me, those past lives.” Ms. Miller, a retired CUNY Graduate Center English and Comparative Literature professor, is an appealing prose stylist, but because of its focus on the genalogical search process this book will mostly appeal to genealogy buffs in general and Jewish genealogy buffs in particular.

For more info: David Cooper

This article first appeared on the late Examiner.com

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This morning I delivered a Davar Torah on Parashat Ra'eh, the weekly Torah portion, at Park Slope Jewish Center in Brooklyn. My talk's sources include Deuteronomy 11:26 -12:28, Max Vogelstein's book "Fertile Soil: A Political History of Israel Under the Divided Kingdom," and "A Homily on Political Messianism," a blog post by my American-Israeli cousin Sam Shube. Here is the text of my Davar Torah:


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"It's not the Iranians or the Palestinians who are keeping Dagan awake at night but Israel's leadership," asserted Ari Shavit on the front page of Friday's Haaretz newspaper. "He does not trust the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak... He is afraid that Israel's isolation will cause its leaders to take reckless action against Iran."

Nahum Barnea, a commentator for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, wrote on Friday that Mr. Dagan was not alone. Naming the other retired security chiefs and adding Amos Yadlin, who recently retired as chief of military intelligence, Mr. Barnea said that they shared Mr. Dagan's criticism.

via nytimes.com

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via 972mag.com Photo: Future president of Israel Chaim Weizmann and Emir Faisal of Greater Syria, 1918. 

"We could continue to stick with what are considered the foundations of our perceptions of the self or the Jewish other. We could go on and call Zionism and Israel a considerable variety of names. But what we must to do is move on, refresh the concepts of the Palestinian question so that they are capable of conversing with the inextricably intertwined Jewish question, and create new outlooks that will open horizons for reconciliation between the two nations."

 

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"The large Jewish peace camp in the United States must support the president and reject political activists who have turned Israel's fate into a ball on America's domestic political court."


via haaretz.com

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Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, and I’d like to mark the day by sharing an oral-history from The Jewish-American Marriage Oral History Project of a couple of Jewish New Yorkers and artists who throughout their half-century marriage have alternated their residence between Israel and the United States. I interviewed Petach Tikvah, Israel residents Mel and Miriam Alexenberg a year and ten months ago at a restaurant overlooking Rockefeller Center during one of their visits to the city where they met and married.

As in my interviews with Fred Terna and Rebecca Shiffman, Gary and Judy Simon, Mindi Wernick and Malkie Grozalsky, Keith and Cindy Hamada, and Nadav Avital and Buffie Marie Longmire Avital, to make the interview read like a dialogue I have edited out my questions; for clarity the interview subjects sometimes rephrase a question as a statement, and where this occurs it indicates a change of subject. I began the interview by asking how they met.

Read the entire interview on jewishamericanmarriage.com

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Read Roi Ben Yehuda's article on zeek.forward.com

Roi Ben Yehuda demonstrates the rising racism expressed by mainstream Israeli authorities in the wake of the terrible Fogel tragedy. The quotations from Gilad Sharon are chilling and reminiscent of European racial anti-semitism from the previous century.

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