Parent Book Choice 2018
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Thursday, November 8
Jill Colella Bloomfield
Jewish Holidays Cookbook
Sunday, November 11
Mamaleh Knows Best
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MY JEWISH YEAR: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew
by Abigail Pogrebin
Pogrebin – an author and former producer of 60 Minutes – says her childhood lacked Jewish literacy, or as her friend A.J. Jacobs describes her, “she was Jewish in the same way that the Olive Garden is Italian.” Now, married with two children, she wanted to understand better what has kept the Jewish holidays alive and vibrant, in some cases for thousands of years. She spent a year immersed in the Jewish calendar, and writes a personal account filled with curiosity, candor, and humor.
“My Jewish Year is an invaluable text, both for learning about Jewish holidays and for understanding how contemporary people work to find personal meaning in inherited traditions.” – The Forward
“Pogrebin balances passion with skepticism, tradition with reinvention, the modern impulse to rush around with the ancient imperative to slow down. Thank you, Abby, for jumping in.” – A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
“A superb point-of-entry volume for anyone who wants to bring Jewish holidays into their lives, and a great refresher course for veterans who need their holidays re-energized.”
– Rabbi and author Joseph Telushkin
About My Book: Abigail Pogrebin
MAMALEH KNOWS BEST: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children
by Marjorie Ingall
Some of our advance readers have called this the best parenting book they’ve read. (And it’s not just for mothers.) Ingall smashes the tired Jewish Mother stereotype with a hammer, and offers wise and witty insights into the essential values of Jewish parenting – fostering independence, encouraging a healthy distrust of authority, cultivating geekiness, stressing education and humor, nurturing kindness, spirit, and chutzpah.
“Ingall is ridiculously smart and truly funny. She offers modern advice that is grounded in thousands of years of tradition.” – Julie Holland, M.D., author of Weekends at Bellevue
“Marshaling evidence from history, culture, contemporary research, and sacred texts…Ingall’s lessons about raising a mensch are for all parents, regardless of their heritage.” – The New York Times
“I could not stop laughing. She writes from the heart and tells it like it is, and at the same time imparts real Jewish thought.” – PJ Library parent
About My Book: Marjorie Ingall
IF ALL THE SEAS WERE INK: A Memoir
by Ilana Kurshan
The Talmud is a book that has profoundly shaped Judaism for the past millennium and half. But what is it?
Enter Ilana Kurshan. At age 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Kurshan learns one page of Talmud commentary each day for seven years – as she rebuilds her life, remarries, and becomes a mother to three children. In an engrossing memoir, she intertwines the stories and questions the Talmud raises with the events of her personal life.
For PJ Library parents who enjoy memoirs and are open to Jewish wisdom, this book is a rare experience.
“There is humor and heartbreak in these pages.” – The Wall Street Journal
“Kurshan shows us how the Talmud becomes a conversation about how best to live one’s life. A stunning, gorgeous memoir.” – Dara Horn, author of A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel (PJ Library Parent Book Choice 2016)
“An amazing feat. Both religious and secular readers will find themselves immensely moved by the raw courage of the journey Kurshan has undertaken.” – The Jerusalem Post
About My Book: Ilana Kurshan
MY RUSSIAN GRANDMOTHER AND HER AMERICAN VACUUM CLEANER: A Family Memoir
by Meir Shalev
Celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday with one of Israel’s top novelists, as he takes readers to a far-off time and place – a moshav (farming cooperative) of the 1930s – where the author’s Russian-born Grandma Tonia wages her lifelong war against a formidable enemy: dirt. This is storytelling at its finest, bringing to life the grit and spirit of Israel’s founding generation.
“A genuine comic tour de force, it is also a marvelous meditation on the mysterious workings of memory and the intricate tapestry of familial connections.” – The Forward
“As I read these pages, I, too, was a grandchild of Meir Shalev’s grandmother.” – Avvenire (Italy)
[Note: Shalev’s works have been translated into 25 languages.]
“Funny and heartfelt. Will spark great family conversations and memories.”
– PJ Library parent
About My Book: Meir Shalev
JEWISH HOLIDAYS COOKBOOK: Festive Meals for Celebrating the Year
by Jill Colella Bloomfield, with commentary by Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass
An attractive, easy-to-follow family cookbook with 40 recipes (from hamantaschen to shish kebabs) and helpful bits of Jewish content to accompany families through the year.
Rabbi Bass writes: “The home – and the table – is the centerpiece where families can find, create, and pass down tradition.”
In an introductory section called "Keeping Kosher," the authors of this book write: Please note that none of the recipes here are specifically kosher, but they are labeled "meat," "dairy," or "pareve." Simple variations are offered so that you can maintain a kosher meal.
“My daughter and I will use it often. It gives us an extra reason to celebrate and observe, trying out a new recipe, perhaps starting a new family tradition of cooking together more often.” – PJ Library parent
“I loved the insight that the rabbi gave for each recipe.”
– PJ Library parent
About My Book: Jill Colella Bloomfield