For Rosh Hashanah and Beyond

With High Holidays so close, I’m happy to share with you some readings and links to deepen your understanding and appreciation of this solemn, but joyful, time in our Jewish year.

Ilana Kurshan is an American living in Israel. She is the mother of young children. This article featuring Eric Carle’s beloved story The Very Hungry Caterpillar, gives some very sage advice about how to handle the long services during the holidays and makes strong connections between Carle’s secular story and the story of creation. Kurshan is best known for If All the Seas Were Ink, her memoir about studying Talmud. She’s also the author of Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights: the four questions around the world and the translator of Meir Shalev’s A Snake, a Flood, a Hidden Baby: Bible stories for children. Continue reading

For Elul and Beyond

We are now in the month of Elul. What’s special about this last month of the Jewish spiritual year? According to Judaism Unbound ” It is a time of introspection. Time to stop and take a look back at the past year to see how we did.  Where did we grow and how do we want to continue to build on that growth? Elul is a time of asking for forgiveness from others in ways we caused harm and offering forgiveness to people who have harmed us.”

Elul is the prelude to the main attraction and helps us get settled and in the mood as does the opening act or musical prelude to a show. Continue reading

Remembering A.B. Yehoshua

A.B. Yehoshua, Israeli literary giant and ardent humanist, dies aged 85. This headline from The Times of Israel sums up the life of one of Israel’s foremost authors.

A.B. (Abraham Gabriel, called Boli)) Yehoshua was born in Jerusalem in 1936. His father, an author and translator, was a fourth generation Jerusalemite while his mother was a Moroccan immigrant. This “mixed” marriage was not successful leading Yehoshua to vow that his marriage would be for love.

Continue reading

The Family Roe

I want to bring to your attention a most timely book. The Family Roe by Joshua Prager is not a “Jewish” book. However, the topic of abortion is of interest to many Jews and is, in fact, a Jewish topic.

Indeed, at the Shavuot tikkun, one of the study sessions was on the Jewish texts that dealt with abortion.

The Family Roe is a big book. There are more than 400 pages of closely written text and over 200 pages of notes. However, though highly detailed, the book reads easily because of the narrative nature of the story. Continue reading

Available in the Shomrei Library: “The Netanyahus” Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

On Monday, the prestigious Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. The satiric, laugh -out-loud, The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family  has been awarded the 2022 prize for fiction.

Set in a liberal arts college, the story looks at academia, campus politics, and Zionism with a harsh but humorous eye. Continue reading

Women of Note

It’s March and Women’s History Month. With Purim occurring in March this year-although it’s always celebrated on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar- it’s appropriate to call to mind Jewish women of achievement.

Don’t be put off by children’s books if you are an adult. Children’s and young adult  books cut right to the heart of a topic and are an excellent way to be introduced to a subject that is new to the reader. Continue reading

Timely Topics

January 27 is International Holocaust Day, established by the United Nations on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The United Nations urges all 193 members of the organization to use this day to plan programs to memorialize the six millions Jews and millions of other victims of Nazism and World War II and to educate to prevent future genocides.

Here are some programs and websites to help you make this day and depend your knowledge. Continue reading