literature

  • By Popular Acclaim, Author Foer Gets Top Title in New Book Awards

    The people have spoken, and they spake Foer. “Everything is Illuminated,” Jonathan Safran Foer’s tragi-comic tale of a young American Jew’s journey through Ukraine in search of his grandfather’s roots, is the first winner of JBooks.com’s people’s choice award for the decade’s best work of Jewish fiction. The award, and a $5,000 check, will be… More ▸

  • For Many, Book Clubs Offer Easy, Stimulating Path to Jewish Identity

    A dozen women are sitting in a second-floor lounge at San Francisco’s Jewish Community Center, heatedly discussing the first volume of Maggie Anton’s trilogy, “Rashi’s Daughters.” “I thought it was a cheap ‘Red Tent’ imitation,” says one woman, referring to Anita Diamant’s popular biblical-era novel. Another said she “gobbled up” the bits on 11th-century midwifery…. More ▸

  • News Brief

    British writer Tamar Yellin won the 2006 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. She will receive $5,000 for “Kafka in Bronteland and Other Stories,” published in February by Toby Press. The 13 short stories in the collection address similar themes of loss, displacement and the struggle to belong that animated Yellin’s first novel, “The Genizah… More ▸

  • Obituary Iconic Italian Journalist Fallaci Fought Fascism and Anti-semitism

    The crusading Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci spent the last years of her life issuing fiery warnings against a Muslim world that she saw poised to overrun the West. Critics accused Fallaci of sowing racial and religious hatred, but she became a heroine to many Jews and Israelis for her vocal defense of Israel and denunciations… More ▸

  • News Brief

    The public may vote on finalists for the best Jewish fiction of the past decade. The voting, at www.jbooks.com, will decide among “Ravelstein” by Saul Bellow, “Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “In the Image” by Dara Horn, “The Puttermesser Papers” by Cynthia Ozick, “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth and “The Wedding… More ▸

  • Talmudic Study Method Works in Private School, Teachers Find

    As we prepare the course materials for the 10th-grade English classes we teach beginning every fall semester at Havergal College, an independent high school for girls in Toronto, we find ourselves fixated on the Hebrew Bible and the talmudic study method known as chevruta. We learned the chevruta technique, which calls for two study partners… More ▸

  • Condemnations Pour in After Author Gunter Grass Admits Ss Past

    Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass’ admission that he was an SS member has drawn both rage and defenses of the writer. While some say the revelation devalues his life’s work, others are showing more understanding for the pressures faced by the teenager who later would write such modern German classics as “The Tin Drum.” Grass,… More ▸

  • Tisha B’av Feature Rummage Sale on a Fast Day? Tisha B’av Marked in Various Ways

    Traditional Jews mark Tisha B’Av by fasting, reading from the Book of Lamentations and observing rituals of mourning But Tisha B’Av at The Valley Temple, a Reform synagogue in Cincinnati, took on a less somber demeanor last year. Temple sisterhood members spent the holiday busily hosting their annual rummage sale, sorting through piles of household… More ▸

  • Arts & Culture Child of Survivors Specializes in Wickedly Funny Holocaust Novels

    On the second page of Lily Brett’s compelling new novel, “You Gotta Have Balls” (easy, the reference is to a meatball recipe), a friend tells the story’s protagonist, Ruth Rothwax, that she’s got to stop obsessing about the Holocaust. Never mind that Ruth, like Brett, is the child of Holocaust survivors. “Grow up,” Sonia almost… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Roman Polanski said his film version of “Oliver Twist” reflected some of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. The European Jewish director was in Israel this week to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, which features first screenings of his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about an orphan in… More ▸