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My before and after life

IN her second novel, My Before and After Life (St. Martin’s Press), Risa Miller tackles the intellectual and emotional challenges of faith when she creates a plot of two sisters, Honey and Susan, attempting to rescue their elderly father from what they believe is his “born-again” discovery of Orthodox Judaism while he is on vacation in Israel.

Set in Brookline, a neighborhood of Boston, Miller weaves a family’s story and a Jewish community’s story, each struggling with its own complex relationships; the former is about the relationship between adult children and their parents, and the later is about the relationship between the Orthodox and the secular — faith and reason.

On a more profound level, Miller has both stories and the relationships struggle with the idea of truth — the Ultimate Truth — in a transcendent sort of way.

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 07:38 )

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Israeli, and Israel, coming of age

ISRAELI writer Haim Sabato’s newest novel, From the Four Winds creates a multi-textured story of survival and renewal based on families carried to Israel from the proverbial four corners of the earth by the force of hope. It is a story told slowly, rich in the development of the protagonist and a more subtle development of the narrator, a child. While it is a family story of survival it also a coming-of-age book for Sabato himself and for the State of Israel, both “growing up” in the late...

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 February 2010 08:39 )

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Who is a ‘good person’?

Who is a ‘good person’? SARAH’S Key is a novel about Sarah, a 10 year old girl, caught in the Vel’d’Hiv roundup in Paris during the summer of 1942. It is also the story of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris in 2002, assigned to cover the 60th anniversary of the roundup by French authorities. Jarmond is horrified to learn that 13,000 Jews, including thousands of children, were taken to a large indoor cycle track in the heart of Paris, as a holding space before loading all of the Jews onto buses ...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 November 2009 01:40 )

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Genesis: the first principles of Judaism

IF you were looking for something new on the Torah as the reading cycle starts up again, may I suggest Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Covenant and Conversation, a weekly reading of the Jewish Bible?This first volume, on the Book of Genesis, is a profound look at the narratives of the Torah’s central protaganists.For Sacks, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, the Torah has a Jewish message, but a universal message as well. In his writing, he is concerned with reaching out to both communities. ...
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How long does a Holocaust debt live on?

IN her novel, The Pages in Between, Erin Einhorn brings Holocaust novel writing into a new era. She deals with the unexpected relationship between survivors and their non-Jewish saviors and the next generation of both. An American journalist, Einhorn sets out to revisit her mother’s ancestral home in Bedzin, Poland, hoping to find the woman who saved her mother in 1941. As is often the case when revisiting old family history, Einhorn learns more about herself, as she uncovers the details of he...
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