Saturday, June 15th 2024   |

Books

Citing risk to Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night,’ Iowa judge blocks key parts of state book ban law

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – A federal judge in Iowa has blocked much of a state law forbidding school libraries from stocking books depicting “sex acts,” in part because he said it was keeping a classic Holocaust memoir off shelves.

U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Locher granted a preliminary injunction against the law, Iowa Senate File 496, on Friday, just before a Jan. 1 deadline for schools to begin enforcing...

Florida district pulls many Jewish and Holocaust books, including Saul Bellow’s ‘Herzog’ and ‘Black, White and Jewish’

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – A global bestseller by a Jewish Holocaust victim; a novel by a beloved and politically conservative Jewish American writer; a memoir of growing up mixed-race and Jewish; and a contemporary novel about a high-achieving Jewish family are among the nearly 700 books a Florida school district removed from classroom libraries this year in fear of violating state laws on sexual content in schools.

The purge...

The most Jewish moments from Barbra Streisand’s memoir

By STEPHEN SILVER

(JTA) — Throughout Hollywood history, many stars of Jewish ancestry have soft-pedaled that heritage, changing their names or speaking rarely, if at all, about their Jewishness.

No one can accuse Barbra Streisand of either.

The singer and actress of the stage and screen — one of the most beloved Jewish American icons of the past half-century — published her long-awaited memoir, “My Name is Barbra,” earlier this...

‘Maus,’ Nazi parallels and a Shylock reference make appearances at Senate hearing on book bans

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – Nazi book burnings, antisemitic attacks on high school students and Shylock were all invoked during a Senate hearing on school book bans Tuesday morning. 

The hearing brought to Capitol Hill the debate over how much control parents should have over what kinds of books their children can access in their school and public libraries — and whether it constitutes a “ban” when a book is removed...

What’s Jewish about the jam band Phish? Many things, according to a new book.

By STEPHEN SILVER

(JTA) — Those who are Jewish, or Phish fans — or both — have likely noticed at one point: Jews really seem to love Phish.

There are many possible reasons for this, starting with the fact that the genre-bending jam band has many ardent fans of all stripes, having sold millions of albums and played to enormous festival crowds for decades. Two of the band members — bassist...

A Florida JCC canceled a slavery-focused talk with a Jewish author, citing ‘the current political climate’

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – A South Florida Jewish community center has landed in the middle of the state’s culture wars after canceling a talk by an author whose novel focuses on race in America.

The Mandel JCC in West Palm Beach had booked Jewish author Rachel Beanland to headline a $100-a-plate luncheon in January 2024. The plan was for Beanland to discuss her latest novel, “The House Is On...

A new memoir tries to mend the pieces of the author’s broken Cuban-Jewish family

By ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL

(JTA) — In her recent book, “The Object of Jewish Literature,” Jewish Theological Seminary professor Barbara A. Mann writes about how “literature deploys physical objects as emblems of ideas, emotions, and psychological dramas about the self.” In other words, “things” matter: Furnishings, clothing, food and, in the case of Mann’s study, the glued or sewn-together bundles of paper we call books tell the stories of the people...

Museum honoring author Roald Dahl updated to recognize his antisemitism

(JNS.org) – “So shines a good deed in a weary world,” Gene Wilder whispered at the climax of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” the first of many film adaptations in a book collection that has now become canonical for generations of young readers.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire, England, where the author lived and wrote for 36 years, has now erected a notice at its entrance...

As author Martin Amis died, a movie of his Holocaust novel ‘Zone of Interest’ wowed at Cannes

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – The death of Martin Amis, the prolific British author, came just as a film adaptation of one of his Holocaust novels premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.

Amis, who died on Friday of esophageal cancer at the age of 73, was not primarily known for his Holocaust fiction. But that aspect of his career may soon loom large, as “The Zone of...

How Arnold Horween, an unsung Jewish Harvard hero, changed American sports

By JACOB GURVIS

(JTA) — Decades before Sandy Koufax sat out the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, and 18 years before Greenberg chased Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in the late 1930s, a college athlete made some overlooked Jewish sports history.

Arnold Horween, a burly Chicagoan, became the first Jewish captain of the Harvard University football team in 1920 — an...