The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod


Avrom Bendavid-Val - 2010
    Most lived in shtetls—Jewish communities connected to larger towns—images of which are ingrained in popular imagination as the shtetl Anatevka from Fiddler on the Roof. Brimming with life and tradition, family and faith, these shtetls existed in the shadow of their town’s oppressive anti-Jewish laws. Not Trochenbrod.Trochenbrod was the only freestanding, fully realized Jewish town in history. It began with a few Jewish settlers searching for freedom from the Russian Czars' oppressive policies, which included the forced conscriptions of one son from each Jewish family household throughout Russia. At first, Trochenbrod was just a tiny row of houses built on empty marshland in the middle of the Radziwill Forest, yet for the next 130 years it thrived, becoming a bustling marketplace where people from all over the Ukraine and Poland came to do business. But this scene of ethnic harmony was soon shattered, as Trochenbrod vanished in 1941—her residents slaughtered, her homes, buildings, and factories razed to the ground. Yet even the Nazis could not destroy the spirit of Trochenbrod, which has lived on in stories and legends about a little piece of heaven, hidden deep in the forest.Bendavid-Val, himself a descendant of Trochenbrod, masterfully preserves and fosters the memory of this city, celebrating the vibrant lives of her people and her culture, proving true the words of one of Trochenbrod’s greatest poets, Yisrael Beider: I beg you hold fast to these words of mine. After this darkness a light will shine

Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews


Eva Hoffman - 1997
    With understanding and sensitivity, Shtetl limns the culture that influenced Christian villagers' decisions to conceal or betray Jewish neighbors when the Nazis invaded. A New York Times Notable Book.

The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland


Shlomo Sand - 2012
    The Invention of the Land of Israel deconstructs the age-old legends surrounding the Holy Land and the prejudices that continue to suffocate it. Sand's account dissects the concept of 'historical right' and tracks the invention of the modern geopolitical concept of the 'Land of Israel' by nineteenth cntury Evangelical Protestants and Jewish Zionists. This invention, he argues, not only facilitated the colonization of the Middle East and the establishment of the State of israel; it is also what is threatening the existence of the Jewish state today.

The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich


Howard Reich - 2006
    Someone was trying to kill her, "to put a bullet in my head," Sonia told anyone who would listen. Polish and Jewish, Sonia Reich had survived the Holocaust by staying always on the run. She and Howard's father, Robert, also a Holocaust survivor, had fled to America, moved to Chicago, and raised their young son to tell no one that they were Jewish. It was only after moving to Skokie, a town filled with Holocaust survivors, that his family would live as Jews. Still, his parents told Howard almost nothing about their past. The First and Final Nightmare… is Reich's moving and bittersweet memoir of growing up in Skokie, discovering an odd and personal American freedom in jazz, and his riveting, revealing investigation into his family's past and the nature of his mother's illness, called late-onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a poignant story of a mother and a son, a haunted past, and the irony of what may happen when that often repeated admonition to "never forget" becomes a curse.

The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home


Erin Einhorn - 2008
    But instead of a joyful reunion, Erin unearths a dispute that forces her to navigate the increasingly bitter crossroads between memory and truth.To a young newspaper reporter, it was the story of a lifetime: a Jewish infant born in the ghetto, saved from the Nazis by a Polish family, uprooted to Sweden after the war, repeatedly torn away from the people she knew as family -- all to take a transatlantic journey with a father she'd barely known toward a new life in the United States.Who wouldn't want to tell that tale? Growing up in suburban Detroit, Erin Einhorn pestered her mother to share details about the tumultuous, wartime childhood she'd experienced. "I was always loved," was all her mother would say, over and over again. But, for Erin, that answer simply wasn't satisfactory. She boarded a plane to Poland with a singular mission: to uncover the truth of what happened to her mother and reunite the two families who once worked together to save a child. But when Erin finds Wieslaw Skowronski, the elderly son of the woman who sheltered her mother, she discovers that her search will involve much more than just her mother's childhood.Sixty years prior, at the end of World War II, Wieslaw Skowronski claimed that Erin's grandfather had offered the Skowronskis his family home in exchange for hiding his daughter. But for both families, the details were murky. If the promise was real, fulfilling it would be arduous and expensive. To unravel the truth and resolve the decades-old land dispute, Erin must search through centuries of dusty records and maneuver an outdated, convoluted legal system.As she tries to help the Skowronski family, Erin must also confront the heart-wrenching circumstances of her family's tragic past while coping with unexpected events in her own life that will alter her mission completely.Six decades after two families were brought together by history, Erin is forced to separate the facts from the glimmers of fiction handed down in the stories of her ancestors. In this extraordinarily intimate memoir, journalist Erin Einhorn overcomes seemingly insurmountable barriers -- legal, financial, and emotional -- only to question her own motives and wonder how far she should go to right the wrongs of the past.

Letters to Talia


Dov Indig - 2012
    Dov Indig was killed on October 7, 1973, in a holding action on the Golan Heights in Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Letters to Talia, published in his memory by family and friends, contains excerpts from an extensive correspondence Dov maintained with Talia, a girl from an irreligious kibbutz in northern Israel, in 1972 and 73, the last two years of his life. At the time, Talia was a highschool student, and Dov was a student in the Hesder yeshiva Kerem B Yavneh, which combines Torah study with military service. It was Talia s father who suggested that Talia correspond with Dov, and an intense dialogue developed between them on questions of Judaism and Zionism, values and education. Their correspondence continued right up to Dov s death in the Yom Kippur War."

Ukraine: A History


Orest Subtelny - 1988
    In the years since we have seen the dismantling of the Soviet bloc and the restoration of Ukraine's independence - a time of celebration for Ukrainians throughout the world, and of tumultuous change for those in the homeland.With this new edition of "Ukraine: A History," Subtelny revises the story up to the spring of 2000. A new chapter focuses on the achievements and failures of the new state and society in international affairs, internal politics, and economic and social development.Third edition: ISBN 0-8020-4871-4 / 9780802048714 (cloth)Third edition: ISBN 0-8020-8390-0 / 9780802083906 (paper)Third edition: ISBN 1282033956 / 9781282033955 / 9786612033957 (mass market hardcover)Third edition: ISBN 6612033959 / 1442682825 / 9781442682825 (mass market paperback)

Chekhov


Henri Troyat - 1984
    Raised by a brutal and alcoholic father, he moved to Moscow to escape--and to become the author of popular magazine stories. His stories led to plays and his plays to fame, but tuberculosis claimed him at the early age of forty-four. 8-page photo insert.

The Last Tsar Emperor Michael II


Donald Crawford - 2011
    Michael, married to a double divorcee, Natasha, the daughter of a Moscow lawyer, was the first Romanov murdered by the Bolsheviks, five weeks before the other mass killings, and because he was the Romanov who posed the greatest threat to them. However, they never admitted responsibility for his murder, pretending instead that he had escaped. This book, based chiefly on original contemporary sources in Russia, tells you what the Soviet Union intended that you should never know. Does that matter now? Very much so, for unlike his brother Nicholas, Michael can serve as the bridge between today's Russia and Tsarist Russia, a gap which has yet to be closed. As Viktor Yevtukhov, appointed deputy Russian Minister of Justice in February 2011, has said: 'We should know more about this man and remember him, because this memory can give our society the ethical foundation we need'. This book will tell you why, after almost a century, that should be so. From the tragedy of the past, a hope for the future...

Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment


Stephen Kotkin - 2009
    In one of modern history’s most miraculous occurrences, communism imploded–and not with a bang, but with a whimper. Now two of the foremost scholars of East European and Soviet affairs, Stephen Kotkin and Jan T. Gross, drawing upon two decades of reflection, revisit this crash. In a crisp, concise, unsentimental narrative, they employ three case studies–East Germany, Romania, and Poland–to illuminate what led Communist regimes to surrender, or to be swept away in political bank runs. This is less a story of dissidents, so-called civil society, than of the bankruptcy of a ruling class–communism’s establishment, or “uncivil society.” The Communists borrowed from the West like drunken sailors to buy mass consumer goods, then were unable to pay back the hard-currency debts and so borrowed even more. In Eastern Europe, communism came to resemble a Ponzi scheme, one whose implosion carries enduring lessons. From East Germany’s pseudotechnocracy to Romania’s megalomaniacal dystopia, from Communist Poland’s cult of Mary to the Kremlin’s surprise restraint, Kotkin and Gross pull back the curtain on the fraud and decadence that cashiered the would-be alternative to the market and democracy, an outcome that opened up to a deeper global integration that has proved destabilizing.

A Passion for Truth


Abraham Joshua Heschel - 1973
    In this work Heschel explores despair and hope in Hasidism as he experienced it himself through study of the Baal Shem Tov and the Kotzker.

Islam And The Jews: The unfinished battle


Mark A. Gabriel - 2003
    Gabriels transformation from devout Muslim is a powerful reminder of how love can indeed conquer hate. His bold change of heart prompts him to bless the Jewish people rather than curse and hate them.” -Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein “Islam and the Jews reveals the secret agenda that is not being told by the media. I wish U.S. government officials would read this book.” -Sid Roth, President, Messianic Vision

1920 Diary


Isaac Babel - 1991
    “Babel’s 1920 Diary, the source for many of his remarkable Red Cavalry stories, is itself as remarkable as the stories, particularly when one considers that the diarist was a journalist of only twenty-six. The staccato sentences in which Babel rapidly describes the horrific details of revolutionary brutality have the impact of an accomplished style, one that in its spontaneously elliptical way is strangely no less artful than the artfully nuanced directness that is the triumph of Red Cavalry.”—Philip Roth “An electrifying translation accompanied by an indispensable introduction. . . . Babel’s journey is a Jewish lamentation . . . a tragic masterwork.” —Cynthia Ozick, The New Republic “A precursor of Holocaust literature, and more powerful in its effect than any Holocaust literature that I have managed to read.”—Harold Bloom, New York Times Book Review

Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History


Steven J. Zipperstein - 2018
    Recounted in lurid detail by newspapersthroughout the Western world, and covered sensationallyby America’s Hearst press, the pre-Easter attacks seized theimagination of an international public, quickly becoming theprototype for what would become known as a “pogrom,” andproviding the impetus for efforts as varied as The Protocols ofthe Elders of Zion and the NAACP. Using new evidence culledfrom Russia, Israel, and Europe, distinguished historian StevenJ. Zipperstein’s wide-ranging book brings historical insight andclarity to a much-misunderstood event that would do so muchto transform twentieth-century Jewish life and beyond.

King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World: A Cookbook


Joan Nathan - 2017
    With Solomon's appetites and explorations in mind, in these pages Joan Nathan--"the queen of American Jewish cooking" (Houston Chronicle)--gathers together more than 170 recipes, from Israel to Italy to India and beyond.Here are classics like Yemenite Chicken Soup with Dill, Cilantro, and Parsley; Slow-Cooked Brisket with Red Wine, Vinegar, and Mustard; and Apple Kuchen as well as contemporary riffs on traditional dishes such as Smoky Shakshuka with Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant; Double-Lemon Roast Chicken; and Roman Ricotta Cheese Crostata. Here, too, are an array of dishes from the world over, from Socca (Chickpea Pancakes with Fennel, Onion, and Rosemary) and Sri Lankan Breakfast Buns with Onion Confit to Spanakit (Georgian Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Cilantro) and Keftes Garaz (Syrian Meatballs with Cherries and Tamarind).Gorgeously illustrated and filled with fascinating historical details, personal histories, and delectable recipes, King Solomon's Table showcases the dazzling diversity of a culinary tradition more than three thousand years old.