Archive for January 2009
Chris Smith in his longer article titled “Oh, man, this president needs some help” mentioned Whitey‘s donation at our shul in Saturday’s Press Democrat. Here is the relevant segment:
CLIPPED RESPONSE: Four years ago, as George W. Bush began his second term as president, retired printer Milt “Whitey” Sterman of Santa Rosa vowed not to cut his hair while there was still a Bush in the White House.
Whitey, 79, is pretty shaggy about now. He decided he wants to do some good while getting shorn.
So just before noon today at Congregation Beth Ami, members of the synagogue will donate money to a couple of causes, then help snip his Bush-y hair and shave him bald.
Jewish High School students throughout Sonoma County are invited to submit essays for the ninth annual contest, established by her children, in honor of Susy Raful, a survivor of concentration camps and an infamous Death March.
The contest seeks the writer’s reflections on the Holocaust (Shoah) by considering a number of questions about their thoughts on the images and impact of the Shoah; what the writer has learned; and how the history of that era will be passed on to future generations.
Detailed information and rules covering the $500 prize can be found here (PDF). Essays are due no later than April 1, 2009. More information 360-3000.
Please join us this Sunday, January 25, for this month’s “breakfast @ the library” from 8.45 till 10.30. We will have bagels and coffee and a chance to talk about books and our offerings.
On the evening of Tuesday, January 27, the first copy of the privately published autobiography of the late Joseph L. Zygielbaum will be presented to his widow, Adele Zygielbaum, a Santa Rosa resident. The public is invited to this presentation of Odyssey of a Partisan, which will take place 7-9 pm on the bottom floor of the Doyle Library at Santa Rosa Junior College, on Elliott Avenue in Santa Rosa.
Odyssey of a Partisan describes Mr. Zygielbaum’s tragic experiences and heroic struggles as a Jewish partisan leader in the Second World War, including the loss of his first family, his captivity in the Soviet Union, his military action in Poland, Russia, Belarus, Yugoslavia, and Finland, and his survival to become an American military intelligence analyst and contributor to America’s early space program.
Following is an excerpt from the editor’s preface to Odyssey of a Partisan:
“This book is a true story… I found myself in the forests in Belarus, wandering with the partisans as I read. I found myself understanding a perspective of the Second World War that is not well known. I found myself in awe of a man who could not only live through such ordeals, but live to tell them, to tell us what happened. That was what he wanted. He wanted people to know how it really was for Jews in Poland during the occupation. He wanted people to know about the hide-aways of partisans in the forest. He wanted his story told so that we would not forget… I… asked myself: what and where are the similarities today? I believe that is what Joseph Zygielbaum wants his readers to ask. He wants a story told so that history remains in the past and does not repeat itself. Odyssey of a Partisan is his story, in his words.”
The narrative also relates the ordeal of Mr. Zygielbaum’s father, Szmul Zygielbojm, the famous Polish labor leader, who defied Nazi authority and became a martyr to the effort to save the remaining Jews of Poland during the Warsaw Uprising. The presentation will touch upon this aspect of the family’s history.
Mrs. Zygielbaum will be joined by her sons, Paul, also of Santa Rosa, and Arthur, of Lincoln, Nebraska, who together oversaw completion of the book’s publication, and by Krista Burlae, editor of the manuscript. They will present their perspectives on the tragedies and triumphs of Joseph Zygielbaum’s remarkable life and the completion of his autobiography.
Following the presentation of the book, Mrs. Zygielbaum, who frequently speaks to community groups, will go on to describe and discuss her own experiences as a concentration camp survivor.
For further information, contact Paul Zygielbaum at email@example.com
(While the Librarian is on vacation)
Monday, January 22 4-6 PM
Sunday, January 23 9 AM –noon
Monday, January 26 4-6 PM
Tuesday, January 27 4-6 PM
Wednesday, January 28 4-6 PM
Thursday, January 29 4-6 PM
Sunday, February 1 9 AM –noon
Monday, February 2 4-6 PM
Last week, when I posted the winners of this years’ Sydney Taylor Book Award I mentioned that we would like to purchase them and hinted that donations are accepted. The very next day I received an email from Sylvia Sucher with her offer to purchase the first book on the list for us. Thank you, Sylvia.
Thus I am happy to welcome to our collection Richard Michelson‘s book titled “As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom.” My plan was to post this good news yesterday, on Martin Luther King day itself, but I ended up taking a holiday.
Here is the book’s description from the award’s official blog:
Two very special clergymen, one a rabbi, the other an African-American reverend are raised in divergently different countries yet experience similar levels of persecution and bigotry that will one day bring them together. As colleagues in America’s struggle for civil rights, they march together from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965. Raul Colon’s colored pencil and watercolor illustrations “offer a beautiful complement to the text, describing two unique paths from childhood to adult life – Martin’s in the rich, warm brown-tones of the American south and Abraham’s in cool blues and grays that reminded the illustrator of old World War II movies. When the two exemplary men join in their march for tolerance, the palettes merge in full color harmony,” comments Debbie Colodny, a member of the Award Committee. This book is recommended for grades 2-5.
The Hand Bookbinders of California 36th Annual Exhibition
Santa Rosa Junior College
Frank P. Doyle Library, Floor 2
On view through February 5, 2009
This exhibit features the work of professional bookbinders, as well as amateurs and students of the art and craft of hand bookbinding. Examples from finely gold-tooled leather bindings to avant-garde artist’s books and innovative designs that range from the traditional to the unexpected will be on display. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to an active group of bookbinders who practice their craft within a large community of book artists and calligraphers. Membership in HBC includes binders from throughout the United States .
The last book we won is certainly not new, having been first published in 1993. Since then Harold S. Kushner‘s “To life!” went through numerous editions and prints. The reason it is so popular? Because it takes seriously the (first world of the) subtitle; it really is a “celebration of Jewish being and thinking.” It is easy to understand follow no matter how much (or little) you know about Judaism.
In the current political situation I think (and hope/pray for) a lot about Israel. For this mini-review I re-read the chapter “why we love in Israel.” Let me present you with a condensed quote of the answer. To get the full picture you may want to read the whole book or chapter yourself.
The attachment is emotional, not nostalgic, or theological. It cuts across all religious and social borders. Religious and nonreligious Jews, orthodox and liberal, rich and poor are more united by their love for Israel than by any other single subject on Jewish agenda… The attachment is not political…Neither is the attachment religious… Israel symbolizes for us the idea that we are a people, not only a belief systm. It has been one of the recurrent themes of this book that Judaism is rooted more in community than in theology… The term Israel is often used interchangeably for the land and for the people… The existence of the Jewish state of Israel is an expression of the world’s willingness to let the Jewish people live… It has changed our public image, the stereotype that many gentiles call to mind when Jews are mentioned.
I have seen this book in many Jewish households it became an oft given gift. I hope that just as many people actually read it. If not here is your chance. You will finish it quickly and will be greatly rewarded and elevated when you are done.
Another book we won is not for the faint hearted. “Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People” by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, is a funny, irreverent, in-your-face kind of guide to Judaism, written by two Jewish comedians from New York, based on their hit show. If you are not ashamed to have some fun reading internal reflections on stereotypes you will find the jokes here hilarious. If nothing else browse through the pages to see the pictures. After all the book is published by Warner books and if they know one thing that is how to make something look good. For further guidance check the table of contents for the table of contents page of the book’s website, where you can see some of the art work too:
- History Part I Where It All Began
- History Part II Oh For Christ Sakes!
- Holidays: Celebrate Bad Times!
- Food: Anyone Have Some Zantac?
- Jewtopia’s Guide to Life: From Bar Mitzvahs
- Travel: Planes, Trains, and Diarrhea
- Stereotypes: Look Ethell I Found a Penny
- Conspiracy Theories: Do Jews Control the World?
- Conversations with Jewish Mothers Part One
One of the five books we won is a book on CD: the unabridged version of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis‘ “Life is a test.” The 8 CDs contain more than 9 hours of content read by Mare Winningham. You might be familiar with her playing Meredith’s mother on the popular TV series “Grey’s anatomy.” You may not be ware though that she is also a musician and her latest album “Refuge Rock Sublime” is a country/bluegrass/Jewish folk record. I mentioned these details, because when you are listening to a book a big part of the experience is the voice the book is read. No matter how great a book is, if you dislike the reader’s voice you may end up not liking the book.
But I digress, back to the book the Rebbetzin’s book. She is the founder and president of Hineni in New York City. The subtitle of her book is “how to meet life’s challenges successfully. ” Here are some excepts from the press release
It is written as a trilogy, combining three books in one and takes the reader on a trajectory that is permeated with such a genuine sense of warmth and love that can only be termed palpable. In a society immersed in grotesque materialism, decadence and loss of any real and meaningful direction and purpose, we are clueless about what life is really about and more importantly, who we really are and what our potential could be. Rebbetzin Jungreis is the consummate storyteller and it is through this treasure trove of true stories do we begin to understand that our identity is not inextricably tied to our careers or professions or the external superficialities that our culture imposes upon us. Rebbetzin Jungreis utilizes the timeless wisdom of the Torah to illustrate her points and to lead the reader on the road to true self-discovery. The book begins with the saga of Sam, Phyllis and daughter Kelly (names changed to protect anonymity), yet they could be any one of us. What follows is the story of the personal transformation of these three individuals that is beyond miraculous. By the middle of this book, the reader will feel a tangible connection to these people.
As a final recommendation for the book here is a short video clip of herself sharing what the title of the book refers to.