Archive | Books

From the Jewish library: ‘Sergei Prokofiev’

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Sergei Prokofiev: A Soviet Tragedy by Victor Seroff, Funk & Wagnalls, 1968 By Sheila Orysiek SAN DIEGO — Anton Rubenstein. a composer and one of the greatest piano virtuosos of the 19th century was born to Jewish parents in the vicinity of Odessa.  Though he and Prokofiev never met – indeed Prokofiev was only three […]

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Can a derivative story teach the Holocaust?

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The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld; illustrated by Peter McCarty; ©2016 Alfred A. Knopf, Junior Library Guild Selection; 34 pages; $17.99 By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO – This beautifully written, magnificently illustrated, sentimental remembrance of Anne Frank is being marketed as a children’s book, but I’m not […]

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‘Ghosts’ illustrates reverence for our war dead

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Ghosts: Images of War by Carrie Zeidman; © 2015 Swiss Creek Publications; ISBN 978-0970227652; 71 pages; $40. By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO – This is an unusual book of photo essays touring venues of the American Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Holocaust.  Photojournalist Carrie Zeidman visits these places […]

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Some tips for couples who don’t want to quarrel

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Stop The Fight: An Illustrated Guide for Couples by Michelle Brody, PhD; © 2015; The Experiment, LLC;  ISBN 978-1-61519-280-9;  295 pages plus index and notes; $15.95 By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO—Psychologist Michelle Brody offers a dozen scenarios illustrating typical fights between married couples, along with suggestions for how the couples might understand what those […]

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Book review: ‘The Myth of the Cultural Jew’

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The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition by Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Oxford University Press, New York;  ISBN 978-0-19-537370-7 ©2015, $34.95, p. 297, plus index By Fred Reiss, Ed.D. WINCHESTER, California — If you’ve ever heard a new employee at work say something like, “We didn’t do it that way when I […]

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Holocaust quandary: At what cost survival?

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriet Savit, Random House Children’s Books, ©2016; fiction; ISBN 978-0-553-51334-9; 230 pages; $17.99. By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO – Here is a fictional story that is both fascinating and improbable.  A 7-year-old Jewish girl in Poland is left alone after the Nazis take away her father, a professor […]

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From the Jewish Library: ‘Timechart History…’

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The Timechart History of Jewish Civilization, edited and designed by Meredith MacArdle, World Press Ltd., 2010, Consultant: Judy Gold, Director, London Jewish Cultural Center By Sheila Orysiek SAN DIEGO — This is a  large coffee table sized book that opens with a spectacular full color, sixteen page, unfolding panel which is eleven feet long.  It […]

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Book explains the laws of Kashrut

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The Practical Guide to the Laws of Kashrut by Rabbi Pinchas Cohen, Maggid Books, Jerusalem;  ISBN 978-1-59264-434-6 ©2015, $17.95, p. 75, plus glossary and figures By Fred Reiss, Ed.D.   WINCHESTER, California–The Hebrew word kosher means “proper” or “fit,” and in the case of food, the term kosher refers to food that God says is […]

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Jewish Library: ‘Every Man in This Village is a Liar’

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Every Man in This Village is a Liar, by Megan K. Stack, Doubleday Publishers, 2010 By Sheila Orysiek SAN DIEGO — Megan K. Stack, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times writes from distant lands wracked by war and unrest.  She takes the reader to Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, various Palestinian areas, Israel and […]

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From the Jewish Library: ‘Isaac Stern’

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  Isaac Stern: My First 79 Years, written with Chaim Potok, Alfred Knopf Publisher, 1999 By Sheila Orysiek SAN DIEGO — On any list of the outstanding violinists of the twentieth century, one would surely find the name of Isaac Stern.   Born in 1920, in the city of Kreminiecz, which, as he states in this […]

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Biographers can be inspired by Fumiko Ishioka

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Karen Levine, Hana’s Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery; © 20r Te02, 2012; Random House Children’s Books; ISBN 978-1-101-93349-7; 135 pages, $9.99. By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO – Perhaps because I’m in the process of researching a local biography, I’m all the more impressed by the resourcefulness and stick-to-it-iveness of Fumiko Ishioka, […]

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Book tells how Israel solved its water crisis

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Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World by Seth M. Siegel, St. Martin’s Press, New York;  ISBN 978-1-250-07395-2 ©2015, $27.99, p. 252, plus eight color photos, appendices and; an index By Fred Reiss, Ed.D. “Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” WINCHESTER, […]

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Take from Bible what’s best, leave the rest

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I Don’t Know What to Believe: Making Spiritual Peace With Your Religion by Rabbi Ben Kamin; Central Recovery Press, © 2016; ISBN 878-1-942094-04-3; 224 pages; $16.95. By Donald H. Harrison SAN DIEGO –Rabbi Kamin’s columns appear regularly on San Diego Jewish World. In fairness to those reading this review, it should be noted that we […]

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From the Jewish Library: ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’

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Eleanor of Aquitaine, A Life by Alison Weir, Balantine Books, 1999 By Sheila Orysiek SAN DIEGO — In a time when chivalry placed women on a pedestal, knights fought for ladies faire and troubadours sang their praises, the reality of existence was quite different, even for a queen.  This is the time from whence many legends […]

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