Time to Travel


Winter is upon us, yet again. Although everyone seems always to be scurrying and hurrying, it’s important to find time to escape our hectic lives.

Unfortunately we can’t always go off to some exotic place. But winter is a fine time to settle into that comfy chair and escape through the magic of reading.

Books will take you anywhere if you let them-even to places that don’t exist.

Try some of these books of historical fiction and do some Jewish time traveling. They are listed in chronological order with the time and place.

travel1Steinberg, As a Driven Leaf. Roman Palestine, 2nd century BCE.

Weinstein, The Heretic. Spain, 15th century. A historical thriller exploring the conflicts between Catholic, Muslin and Jews in the years before the Spanish Inquisition.

Rich, The Harem Midwife. Vienna, 1579. The continuing saga of Hannah Levi moves to Constantinople. Sequel to The Midwife of Venice.

Kadish, The Weight of Ink.  London, 1660s and early 2000s. Interwoven stories of two remarkable women united by letters. Part mystery, part history.

travel2Buck, Peony. China, 19th century. Two cultures, Chinese and Jewish, collide in Kaifeng, China, the home of a long-standing Jewish community in danger of disappearing.

Lukas, The Last Watchman of Cairo. Berkeley and Cairo, 19th and early 20th centuries and contemporary. A young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel family secrets.

Belfoure, The Paris Architect. Paris, World War II. A gifted architect becomes a reluctant hero when he uses his design talent to hide Jews.

travel3Seiffert, The Boy in Winter. Europe, Ukraine, World War II. Overrun by the SS, a small Ukrainian town reacts and copes with what is happening.

Cantor, Margot. Europe and US, World War II and after. What if Anne Frank’s sister had survived, moved to Philadelphia and taken on another identity?

Solomons, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English. England, post-World War II. The sometimes funny, sometimes bitter-sweet story of a Jewish immigrant couple who escaped from Nazi Berlin.

Cantor, The Hours Count. New York City, 1940’s to 50’s. Historical novel about a woman who befriended Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

travel4Jenoff, The Orphan’s Tale. Europe. World War II. Noa snatches a child from a train bound for a concentration camp and takes refuge with a traveling circus.

Piercy, He, She and It. Prague, 1599 and Tikva, 2059. Life as we know it has changed as this novel of morality and courage shows.


image: “Reading a book by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter” by Steve Rhodes is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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