Archive for December 2008
No matter what your opinion is about Adam Sandler‘s movies his Hanukkah song became a classic song for younger generations by now .
Last week, in the NPR show, Speaking of Faith, Scott-Martin Kosofsky was interviewed. He is a book designer who “decided to revise the Book of Customs, adapting it for modern use in English.” In the show, available as a downloadable podcast (MP3), he talks about what “he learned about the ancient and evolving world of Jewish practice. Also, what he calls the ‘surprising’ season of Hanukkah.” One of the accompanying pieces from the well-designed website of the show is an 1879 newspaper advertisement for a Hanukkah related event. Click here for all the details about the poster below.
Quick, what’s the correct spelling of Hanukkah in English? You are not the only one who is confused about this important issue. The LeeVees, a rock band from New York wrote a song about the topic of their frustration. They also posted a great animated video, just in time for Channukkahh.
“Imagine if [we] were reading books together that sparked lively debate on Judaism’s bedrock themes. Imagine discussion with friends, neighbors, and fellow parents about Maimonides, medical ethics, or the position of the Jew in medieval Muslim society and its relevance to today’s world. Or a conversation about Emma Lazarus that tackles critical questions about the role of immigrants in America. Picture a journey through the life and work of Marc Chagall and a discussion of the provocative questions he raises about Jewish identity.”
These are the opening lines of Nextbook‘s new “One Book Program.” Please read the rest of their description on their page. (In case you are not familiar with Nextbook: “[it] is a non-profit organization which commissions books on Jewish themes, sponsors public lectures, readings, and performances in cities around the country, and publishes an online magazine.“) The essence of their offer is that if we order at least 25 copies of their books we get a 40% discount plus free shipping. If we order 50+ books we get 50% off.
Currently they offer ten titles
- Benjamin Disraeli by Adam Kirsch
- Betraying Spinoza by Rebecca Goldstein
- Douglas Century by Barney Ross
- Emma Lazarus by Esther Schor
- Jews and Power by Ruth Wisse
- Marc Chagall by Jonathan Wilson
- The Wicked Son by David Mamet
- Resurrecting Hebrew by Ilan Stavans
- Maimonides by Sherwin Nuland (Our review)
- The Life of David by Robert Pinsky (Our review)
The last two books are available in paperback for $7.75. All of the above available hardcover between 11.95 and 12.95. Remember, if we have enough people interested we can get 40-50% of from these prices.
Please send the list of books (and how many copies you are interested in purchasing) to me and I will tally it up. I hope we can reach the sufficient number for the discount.
At PassThe Candle.com Michelle Citrin–a folk singer who became famous for her YouTube video showing 20 things to with matzah–and William Levin–a Jewish animator, known for his Shabot 6000 comic strip–, had a contest running for several weeks, asking people to videotape themselves as they pass a lit candle. The best entries were cut together to make up the visuals for their song. It is one of the most diverse and joyous Hanukkah video I have ever seen. See for yourself.
67 years ago today, in 1941, the massacres of the Jews of Vilna ended, leaving 32,000 Jews dead. Yitskhok Rudachevski‘s “Diary of the Vilna ghetto” covers this period as it was written between June 1941 – April 1943. The short version of the story of his short life can be read here. For the longer versino I recommend his own book. He was only fifteen when he was killed. David Patterson at Novelguide.com explains his relations to his own diary.
Yitskhok’s youth found eloquent expression in his longing for a place in the world; indeed, that is one reason books were so dear to him. The more intense the destruction of the world, the more intense the longing. Seeing how ruined lives paralleled ruined families, homes, and buildings, he cried out, “How much tragedy and anguish is mirrored in every shattered brick, in every dark crack, in every bit of plaster with a piece of wallpaper.” As a natural longing for a sense of place, his longing is also a yearning for nature. He joined a nature group and declared, “We are not cut off from nature in spirit.” And in the spring of 1943, the year of his death, he wrote, “I revel in the spring breeze, catch the spring rays and my heart is full of strange yearning.” Those who have been young know that yearning. Reading Yitskhok’s diary, one realizes that even such yearning was subject to annihilation.
During Hanukkah I will post a few fun items that may have little to do with books, but hopefully you will enjoy them, anyway. For example, I came across a droidel. What is a droidel you may ask? Well it is a(n an)droid shaped dreidel of course. If you are a fan of Star Wars you are familiar with R2-D2. Bonnie Burton at StarWars.com created the blueprints (see a small version on the side) and shared instructions on how to make your own. Follow this link and the steps listed there and tonight you can play in science fiction style.
I signed up for a challenge at LibraryThing (book cataloging and social networking site), which I think many of you might enjoy to: I plan to read at least 9 books in each of 9 categories in 2009. The purpose is to have fun, track what I read and maybe extend the range of material I read. I will keep a log of my progress at my dedicated LibraryThing topic. The categories I set up for myself reflect my areas of interests:
I. Jewish fiction
II. Jewish non-fiction
IV. Books from the list on the “1001 books to read before you die”
V. Hungarian fiction
VI. Sociology non-fiction
VII. Historical fiction
VIII. Science fiction
IX. Alternate history
I invite you to set up a similar challenge for yourself. I want to emphasize the “fun” element, so challenge yourself in whatever way that works for you. For example, I know somebody who plans to do 1-9-9 challenge; she may not have more time than to read one book in each category of her choice. Others allow overlaps, so a single book may show up in more than one category.
If you accept the challenge I would be happy to provide you with ideas of categories and then recommendations for books as well. Particularly if your categories relate to Judaism, Israel or topics we cover in our library. If you give permission I would also like to share your categories and selections on this blog. I can even give you access so you could manage your entries here, if you are inclined to share reviews of the books you read.
How about that? Do something beneficial for yourself in 2009 and join the 999 challenge.