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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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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Peres on Gaza: ‘Israel has exhausted the military option’

Marcy Oster Former Israeli President Shimon Peres called on the Israeli government to seek a diplomatic solution to the Gaza crisis, and to ensure return of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. ... [Link]

Weapons found stored in third UN school in Gaza

Marcy Oster A stockpile of weapons was discovered at a third United Nations school in the Gaza Strip. ... [Link]

At least 15 Gazans dead in shelling on U.N. school sheltering civilians

Marcy Oster At least 15 Palestinians were killed in shelling on a United Nations school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which is serving as a shelter for Gazans displaced from their homes in the current conflict. ... [Link]

Israeli-Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi censured in Knesset

Marcy Oster Israeli-Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi was censured over statements she made encouraging Palestinian “popular resistance” and saying that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens were not terroris... [Link]

Moroccan jailed for killing Jewish physician in Ukraine

Cnaan Liphshiz A Moroccan man who killed a Jewish physician in Ukraine was sentenced to 15 years in jail after a court of appeals reversed his acquittal. ... [Link]

Simon Cowell gets blowback for IDF donation

Anthony Weiss Celebrity music impresario Simon Cowell is getting blowback for a $150,000 donation to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. ... [Link]

Americans blame Hamas more than Israel for Gaza strife

Anthony Weiss Significantly more Americans blame Hamas for the current violence in Gaza than do Israel, according a new poll. ... [Link]

Op-Ed: Learning to argue on Tisha b’Av

Daniel Treiman We can have passionate disagreements without descending into hatred, Yehudah Mirsky writes. ... [Link]

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