Cowgirl by Java Davis

Turn-of-the-Century Jewish Girl with Attitude!! Coming of Age; Western; Humor In California at the turn of the century, teenager Risa decides an arranged marriage is not for her. Her younger brother Yani gets expelled from their insular, Jewish community for seducing another boy. Risa decides to leave with Yani and takes charge of their trek east. Together, with Risa pushing and prodding the whole way, they walk to Nevada, ending…

Transgender and Jewish by Naomi Zeveloff

“Transgender and Jewish” explores the world of trans Jews as they help congregations and denominations move beyond rigid definitions of male and female. Trans Jews direct summer camps, write ritual and even lead prayer services as rabbis. Yet while non-Orthodox venues have made enormous strides in welcoming gay and lesbian members in recent decades, some trans people say they still feel like outsiders in Jewish settings, including the synagogues or…

Exit Berlin: How One Woman Saved Her Family from Nazi Germany by Charlotte R. Bonelli

Just a week after the Kristallnacht terror in 1938, young Luzie Hatch, a German Jew, fled Berlin to resettle in New York. Her rescuer was an American-born cousin and industrialist, Arnold Hatch. Arnold spoke no German, so Luzie quickly became translator, intermediary, and advocate for family left behind. Soon an unending stream of desperate requests from German relatives made their way to Arnold’s desk. Luzie Hatch had faithfully preserved her…

How a Nice Jewish Girl Became “The Best Goddamn Madam in All America”

Notorious for her connections with gangsters at the height of Prohibition, Polly Adler fought to become “the best goddamn madam in all America.” Historian Ann Millin tells the story:.. Polly went on to open a series of increasingly fancy brothels, culminating in a resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, where the rich and fashionable vacationed. The gangsters who frequented her bordellos only added to the excitement and glamour of “going…

Jabotinsky: A Life by Hillel Halkin

Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880–1940) was a man of huge paradoxes and contradictions and has been the most misunderstood of all Zionist politicians—a first-rate novelist, a celebrated Russian journalist, and the founder of the branch of Zionism now headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. This biography, the first in English in nearly two decades, undertakes to answer central questions about Jabotinsky as a writer, a political thinker, and a leader. Hillel Halkin sets aside…

My Rebbe by Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

For legendary Talmud scholar and prolific author Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, the Lubavitcher Rebbe embodied a lifelong mission to better the world. Far surpassing the role of teacher, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson was at once a scientific mind and faithful believer; educational innovator and social activist; spiritual guide and master network builder. My Rebbe by Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris Takes on All Kinds of Decay in His Ambitious New Novel‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’ wrestles with faith, community, baseball, and what it means to refuse to fill your cavities The novelist Joshua Ferris made a splash in 2007 with his debut Then We Came to the End. The critically acclaimed book was a hilarious, biting satire about employees in a collapsing ad agency in Chicago…

Fields of Exile by Nora Gold

Judith is a young woman who lived in Israel for a decade, was a peace activist there, and defines herself as “left-wing,” yet in graduate school back in Canada, she discovers that vilification of Israel is the expected norm. When the keynote speaker for Anti-Oppression Day turns out to be a supporter of terrorist attacks not only against Israeli military targets, but also against Israeli civilians and Jews around the…

Stella! Mother Of Modern Acting

Arthur Miller decided to become a playwright after seeing her perform with the Group Theater. Marlon Brando attributed his acting to her genius as a teacher. Theater critic Robert Brustein calls her the greatest acting teacher in America. At the turn of the 20th century by which time acting had hardly evolved since classical Greece. Stella Adler became a child star of the Yiddish stage in New York, where she…

Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools

Although recent scholarship has examined gender issues in Judaism with regard to texts, rituals, and the rabbinate, there has been no full-length examination of the education of Jewish children in day schools. Drawing on studies in education, social science, and psychology, as well as personal interviews, the authors show how traditional (mainly Orthodox) day school education continues to re-inscribe gender inequities and socialize students into unhealthy gender identities and relationships.…