Saturday, July 2nd 2022   |

Books

Before WWII, Jewish mobsters kept Nazis at bay in the US — with their fists

By HOWARD LOVY

(JTA) — The way author Michael Benson tells it, one day in 1938, New York judge and Jewish communal leader Nathan Perlman sat at a bar and thought, “How come these Nazis get to march down 86th Street, goose-stepping and ‘sieg heiling’ like it’s the Macy’s Parade? Why are they so brazen?”

It was because they were not worried about the consequences. Too few people in then-isolationist...

The ‘queer, disabled’ Zionist who challenged the conventions of Israel’s founders

By ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL

(JTA) — It’s hard to find a poster promoting early 20th-century Zionism that doesn’t depict a tanned, chiseled man toting a shovel or a gun. The posters were visual reinforcement of the “Muscle Jewry” valued by Max Nordau and other early Zionist leaders, who felt the land would redeem a physically depleted Jewish people and the people would renew a neglected land. 

One early Zionist thinker defied...

Joshua Cohen’s satirical novel ‘The Netanyahus’ wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

By ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL

(JTA) — The 2022 Pulitzer Prize in fiction went to “The Netanyahus,” a scathing, satirical novel by Brooklyn writer Joshua Cohen that imagines a visit by the family of the former Israeli prime minister to an American college town in the early 1960s.

The prize committee called the novel “a mordant, linguistically deft historical novel about the ambiguities of the Jewish-American experience, presenting ideas and disputes as...

Costco promotes controversial Anne Frank book, as Dutch publisher halts distribution

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — Costco named as its February “Buyer’s Pick” a book about Anne Frank that has been taken off the market in the Netherlands, in the latest sign that criticism of the book is unlikely to stem its influence.

“The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation” made waves upon its release last month because of its explosive conclusion that a Jew had betrayed Frank’s family to...

Ex-Hasid who advised ‘Unorthodox’ comes out as trans while translating children’s sexuality guide into Yiddish

By SHIRA HANAU

(JTA) — Among the most challenging decisions Lili Rosen had to make while translating a children’s book about sexuality into Yiddish was what name to put on the cover.

When Rosen began work on “You Be You” in March 2020, she wasn’t yet Lili. She had a long resume of translation and cultural consulting work, including on the Netflix hit show “Unorthodox” and Seth Rogen’s “An American...

Katie Couric reveals that her mother was Jewish in new autobiography

(JTA) — Katie Couric reveals in her new autobiography that her mother was Jewish, contrasting her mother’s upbringing with that of her father, who was apparently proud of his Confederate ancestors.

Couric delves into the revelation in “Going There,” published this week, which she also discussed Thursday in a long interview with Rebecca Traister, a Jewish feminist journalist, in New York magazine. Even well into her own adulthood, the former NBC...

Sally Rooney won’t let her new novel ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’ be published by an Israeli press

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — Bestselling author Sally Rooney won’t allow her recently published novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You?” to be published in Hebrew by an Israeli press because she supports a cultural boycott of Israel.

Like the acclaimed Irish author’s first two books, “Beautiful World” explores the life and romance of intellectual, urbane millennials. It debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list when it...

Enigmatic poet, musician examined in ‘The World of Bob Dylan’

By ALAN SMASON, Special to the CCJN

The World of Bob Dylan“ edited by Sean Latham. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, United Kingdom ©2021. 351 p.

Beginning with the pivotal musical period of the Folk Era and the later emergence of rock, the mysterious figure of Bob Dylan has exerted an influence that can best be described as iconic. But despite many biographers, the man born as Robert Allen Zimmerman in...

This is the secret to how Israel’s leading technology institute manages to drive so much innovation

By RENEE GHERT ZAND

In the century or so since its founding as Israel’s first university, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has acquired a reputation as a driving force of Israeli innovation.

Four Nobel Prize winners and several recipients of the prestigious Israel Prize are among its more than 100,000 graduates and faculty — not to mention creators of billion-dollar companies, life-saving medical technologies, and too many startups and innovative...

One Jewish photographer’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Rosenwald schools

By DAVID SCHECHTER

ATLANTA (JTA) — To the end of his life, the civil rights hero and later congressman John Lewis remembered the half-mile walk from his family’s farm in rural Pike County, Alabama, to the Dunn’s Chapel School.

There was no school bus for Black children; Lewis’ hike was short compared with the miles walked by many of his classmates. They were being educated in surroundings separate from whites,...