Wednesday, October 20th 2021   |


7 new kids’ books for Passover, from seder guides to stories


(JTA) — From the wizardry of Harry Potter that echoes with Passover’s themes to a cartoon frog who wisecracks his way through the seder, this year’s new crop of Passover books for kids offers something for all ages and interests.

The selection of fresh reads, including two family-friendly Haggadahs, also includes an unusual Jewish immigrant tale set in rural Argentina and a heartwarming, intergenerational story about an...

Present day meets history in ‘Dream of Zion’


Lawrence J. Epstein.  The Dream of Zion: The Story of the First Zionist Congress.  London Rowman and Littlefield, 2016. 172 pp. $36.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4422-5466-4.

The topic of this book is specific: the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. The hero of the event is Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, who famously announced at the meeting, “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.” However, the...

8 books for 8 nights of Chanukah


(JTA) — Chanukah is “late” this year (no disrespect to lunar-calendar literalists), which means winter will be well underway by the time those first lights are lit. What better time to curl up with a good book than when the weather outside is frightful, but the latkes are so delightful?

So, in the spirit of Chanukah, whether you’re looking to rededicate yourself to literature or just find...

Jewish author gunned down in Istanbul

(JTA) — A Jewish author was shot and killed outside her Istanbul home by at least one assailant, a woman, Turkey’s main Jewish newspaper reported.

Beki İkala Erikli was shot three times Thursday evening outside her apartment building, according to the weekly Salom. The gunman fled.

Police were investigating security camera footage as part of their investigation, the report said.

Erikli, the author of self-help books including “Living with Angels,”...

Rabbi Weinreb’s commentaries being published by OU Press

Many of the past commentaries of Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, published weekly as “The Person in the Parsha” on the CCJN website for the past four years, are being released as part of a new book being issued by the Orthodox Union Press, published in conjunction with Maggid Books. The Person in the Parsha: Discovering the Human Element in the Weekly Torah Portion, offers a compilation of Weinreb’s essays.


10 awesome books for the Days of Awe (and after)

(JTA) — Here is a new fall season of Jewishy books, including the first novel since 5766 (by now almost 40-year-old) wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer — perhaps you’ve heard the buzz.

Presented below is JSF’s latest, plus nine other volumes, from the humorous to the humbling, that you’ll want on your reading list to help heighten the holidays.

Here I Am: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) By Jonathan Safran...

Rock enigma Michael Bloomfield bio re-released

By ALAN SMASON, Special to the CCJN

On February 15, 1981 rock music lost one of its early favorite sons, a guitarist who oversaw the transition of pop and folk music into a medium that featured electric amplification and extended solo blues performances. That man was Michael Bloomfield and his story is fully explored in Michael Bloomfield: The Rise and Fall of an American Guitar Hero.

Written by Ed  Ward,...

CCAR’s ‘Sacred Calling’ details 40 years of women rabbis

Reviewed by ALAN SMASON, CCJN Editor

While the subject of ordaining women as rabbis still resonates very strongly today within the Orthodox community, the Reform movement has, with the ordination of Rabbi Sally Preisand in 1972, accepted women as rabbis. That is a historical fact. The story of her own struggle for personal acceptance and the path of those who followed her at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion...

A Rabbi’s Take on ‘Harry Potter’


(Kveller via JTA) — This summer, as I put my 8-year-old on the bus to sleepaway camp, he turned to his friend and said, “Let’s get on the bus quickly before our parents can say goodbye and be so embarrassing.”

As they ran toward the bus, I could not help reflecting that he is breaking away, just at the moment when I want to hold on tight....

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, author of ‘Jewish Way in Death and Mourning,’ dies

(JTA) — Rabbi Maurice Lamm, the author of “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” and several other notable Jewish books, has died.

Lamm died Wednesday night “surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren singing him to the heavens,” his granddaughter Lisa Lamm Pasternak said in a Facebook post. He was 86.

His son, Rabbi David Lamm, also announced his death in a Facebook post, saying: “He meant so much...