Books food movies, music &

for HanukkaH

the voice of jewish washington

november 18, 2011 • 21 cheshvan 5772 • volume 87, no. 24 • $2

Eats, Reads and Arts

@jew_ish • @jewishdotcom • @jewishcal connecting our local Jewish community


calendar and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

Candlelighting times November 18 ...................4:12 p.m. November 25 .................. 4:06 p.m. December 2 .................... 4:02 p.m. Friday

5–6 p.m. — Kabbalat Shabbat with Parallel Kids Program
Carol Benedick at or 206-524-0075 or While the adults attend Kabbalat Shabbat services, children (2–7 years) can hear stories, learn songs, and participate in other activities. At Congregation Beth Shalom, 6800 35th Ave. NE, Seattle. 5:30 p.m. — NYHS Family Shabbat Dinner
Michelle Haston at or 206-232-5272 Family Shabbat dinner. $22; $18/10 and under. At Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, 5217 S Brandon St., Seattle.

18 November

6:30–8 p.m. — Dream Shabbat or Repair the World is hosting a Dream Shabbat to advocate for the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented high school graduates who continue to college or the military. Free. At Hillel at the University of Washington, 4745 17th Ave. NE, Seattle.

dinner, dessert, and an evening movie. $25–$45. At the Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island.

Tales of Chelm, based on the stories from The World of Sholem Aleichem. Free. At Temple B’nai Torah, 15727 NE 4th St., Bellevue.



8 p.m. — BCMH Torah Dedication
Julie Greene at or 206-721-0970 With the arrival of a new Torah, BCMH celebrates the shul’s 120 years of existence. The Torah will be brought to its new home with singing, dancing, desserts and a klezmer band. At Bikur Cholim Machzikay Hadath, 5145 S Morgan St., Seattle. 5–10 p.m. — Parents’ Night Out
Josh Johnson at or 206-388-0839 or Parents can hit the town while the kids spend a fun evening at the SJCC. Kids enjoy open swim time,

19 November

11 a.m.–2 p.m. — Turkey Shecht
Josh Furman at or Jconnect is teaming up with Growing Things Farm and Rabbis Avi Rosenfeld and Simon Benzaquen to ritually slaughter 10 organic turkeys in time for Thanksgiving. Feather and clean the birds, and participants will leave with a kosher turkey. Meet at Hillel to carpool. At Hillel at the University of Washington, 4745 17th Ave. NE, Seattle. 5 p.m. — SBH Gala Dinner
Diana Black at Honoring Dr. Larry and Sharon Adatto with the Community Hesed Award. At Sephardic Bikur Holim, 6500 52nd Ave. S, Seattle. 7–9 p.m. — Tales of Chelm
Jennifer Fliss at or 425-603-9677 or The Seattle Jewish Theater Company presents

20 November


11 a.m. — The PJ Library Story Time at Mockingbird Books
Amy Hilzman-Paquette at Join The PJ Library for music and storytelling. Learn Hebrew through ASL with Betsy Dischel from Musikal Magik, a Certified Signing Time academy. Free. At Mockingbird Books, 7220 Woodlawn Ave. NE, Seattle.

23 November


7:30–9 p.m. — Beth Shalom Beit Midrash
Carol Benedick at or 206-524-0075 or Study Talmud with Joel Goldstein on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. All levels welcome. $5/class, $25/6–class punchcard. At Congregation Beth Shalom, 6800 35th Ave. NE, Seattle.

24 November

November 20 at 10 a.m. Kadima Hanukkah Art and Book Sale Book talk and sale Kadima presents Jewish Threads, a new book on Jewish fabric crafts, and a talk by contributor Lois Gaylord on “Working with Spiritual Intention.” Art and books will be for sale. At Kadima House, 12353 Eighth Ave. NE, Seattle. For more information visit

November 28 at 7 p.m. Lawrence Weschler Author talk Former New Yorker staff writer and award-winning journalist Lawrence Weschler will talk about his latest compilation, Uncanny Valley: Adventures in Narrative, which comprises 15 years of his best nonfiction. Weschler is, among other things, the grandson of the Pulitzer–prize-winning Viennese Jewish immigrant Ernst Toch. At Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Ave., Seattle. For more information visit

The gift of giving.
Getting started: This Hanukkah, give a copy of The Tzedakah Book to your
children, along with envelopes, stamps, and gelt they will contribute to the organizations that inspire them.

How much? When it comes to gelt, choose what fits your family’s budget, from coins to paper.

Take your time.
Spend time together looking through The Tzedakah Book and building your own tzedakah Box.

Dress it up.
Include stickers, glitter, markers, colored pencils, and note cards so your children can decorate their very own Tzedakah Box using the template we provided — or any box or canister that you choose. Plus, they can include beautifully decorated notes with their tzedakah gelt.

of ictures Send p ted decora our u and y sa yo plu ah Box itor@ Tzedak ox to ed f the b m all po ost the close-u . We’ll p et e in jtnews.n d publish thre line, an nukkah on 9 Ha ember dline the Dec ue! Dea s iss reeting . G ber 2 Decem

More Online
To download more copies of The Tzedakah Book, go to and click on The Tzedakah Book image.

because giving feels good

friday, november 18, 2011 . . jtnews



YiddiSH LeSSoN
by ruth Peizer

inside this issue
Just in time to get ready for Hanukkah, we’ve got a special books, movies, music and food issue. Here are but a few of what we have to offer this week.

Der mentsh fort un got halt di leytses.
A person drives, but God holds the reins.

Escape from the notifiers

On the heels of Israeli author David Grossman’s visit to Seattle last week, the writer spoke with us about his book To the End of the Land — he told his Town Hall audience that President Obama’s currently reading it — and how he kept going when life veered so close to his art.

What do bats and owls have to do with Judaism?
Find out this Saturday night at Congregation Beth Shalom’s PJ Havdalah. Kids, put on your pajamas and head on over to celebrate the end of Shabbat, do arts and crafts, eat snacks, and plenty more. Be sure to RSVP to Irit at Beth Shalom is located at 6800 35th Ave., NE in Seattle.

What Nora wants, Nora gets
Nora’s Will which just came out on DVD, tells the story of a woman who got everything she wanted — including her own death. Also, a review of last year’s comedy A Matter of Size.


Books to read by the fire
Winter’s the time to curl up with heavy books and hot chocolate, so our reviews of Holocaust stories and nonfiction will give you the gravity you seek.

6 7 8

Capsule reviews include local authors, poetry and memoirs Books for kids
The Sydney Taylor Book Awards from the Association of Jewish Libraries gives a good read on what the kids should be reading. So we’ve got reviews of this past year’s winners.

Remember when
From the Jewish Transcript, November 8, 1935. In a special Jewish education edition that brought commentary from area rabbis and leaders, Rabbi Max J. Wohlgelernter, director of the Talmud Torah, wrote that the topic of discussion, whether all children in Seattle should receive a free day school education, was moot. The people who could not pay were already getting their education for free, and the families who did not send their children to day school would probably not do so regardless of the cost, he argued. Wohlgelernter suggested instead that a supplementary school to be held in the afternoons could be a more viable alternative.

What else would a bunch of short, hairy overweight men do?


Play basketball, of course! A fictionalized account of the best pro hoops team early in the sport’s history is dirty, spunky and just plain fun. But author Neal Pollack played a little fast and loose with the truth.

Getting hungry?


We are, too. Especially after reading our annual review of kosher foods that go great as gifts or for serving at your own Hanukkah parties.

The call of the shofar, with orchestra
A new CD from composer Meira Warshauer brings the sounds of nature — air, water, insects — and couples it with the call of the ram’s horn to beautiful but mysterious effect.


And on the rambunctious side of the CD library
A children’s CD of Shabbat songs from New Jersey’s Mama Doni is cute, catchy and fun for the kids.

17 23

Paradise lust
Throughout history, explorers, idealists and enthusiasts have undertaken the search for the mythical Garden of Eden. Now an author has compiled the stories of those travelers.

the voice of j e w i s h washington JTNews is the Voice of Jewish Washington. Our mission is to
meet the interests of our Jewish community through fair and accurate coverage of local, national and international news, opinion and information. We seek to expose our readers to diverse viewpoints and vibrant debate on many fronts, including the news and events in Israel. We strive to contribute to the continued growth of our local Jewish community as we carry out our mission. 2041 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 206-441-4553 •
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Call me Bond. Israel Bond.
Plenty of people have tried to imitate the inimitable superspy James Bond. But none come close to OyOy-7, a ’60s series of spoof novels that are once again seeing the light of day.


Reach us directly at 206-441-4553 + ext. Publisher *Karen Chachkes 267 233 Editor *§Joel Magalnick Assistant Editor Emily K. Alhadeff 240 Account Executive Lynn Feldhammer 264 Account Executive David Stahl 235 Account Executive Cameron Levin 292 Classifieds Manager Rebecca Minsky 238 Art Director Susan Beardsley 239

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Peter Horvitz, Chair*; Robin Boehler; Andrew Cohen§; Cynthia Flash Hemphill*; Nancy Greer§; Aimee Johnson; Ron Leibsohn; Stan Mark; Daniel Mayer; Cantor David Serkin-Poole*; Leland Rockoff Richard Fruchter, CEO and President, Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Shelley Bensussen, Federation Board Chair *Member, JTNews Editorial Board Member

ps: Send us pictures of you and your tzedakah box & we’ll post them online and publish three in our first issue of December. E-mail pictures to

Build and decorate your tzedakah box today, and share the joy of tzedakah with your whole family this Hanukkah. Call us for an extra copy, or download extra copies of The Tzedakah Book at www.jtnews. net, and read about how you can bring tzedakah to your Hanukkah .

Look for November 25 December 9
Holiday Giving Guide Hanukkah Greetings

The opinions of our columnists and advertisers do not necessarily reflect the views of JTNews.


published by j e w i s h transcript media


eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

Israeli author David Grossman: No turning back
emily K. alhadeFF Assistant Editor, JTNews
Celebrated Israeli writer David Grossman is on tour in the U.S. to talk about his latest novel, To the End of the Land, his first to deal with the matsav — the political and security situation — in Israel. After her son goes off to war, Ora decides to hike part of the Israel Trail, where she hopes no one will be able to find her when they come to notify her of her son’s certain death. Before finishing the novel, Grossman’s own son was killed during the final hours of the Lebanon War in 2006. Grossman says of this experience: “After we finished sitting shiva, I went back to the book. Most of it was already written. What changed, above all, was the echo of reality in which the final draft was written.” David Grossman spoke with JTNews about his life, his writing process, life and literature prior to his appearance last week at Town Hall. JTNews: We know your own life and To the End of the Land overlap. But how did the idea for this story come about in the first place? David Grossman: It’s very hard to trace the birth of an idea. Suddenly it is there. But I was looking for this idea for some years. I was looking for the way to write the story about the “situation” in Israel, but I was also trying to find a family story, the story of a family that will have to live within this situation and to show how the situation radiates itself into the life of the family. My second son Uri was about to join the army, and a half-year before I finally got this idea of a woman who refuses to collaborate with the situation, to be herself and not function as a material of the situation. She decides that she will not sit at home and wait for the notifiers [the officials who would inform her of her son’s death] to come, she says, “to dig their notification into her.” By doing the most trivial act of not waiting for them she managed to reshuffle the whole situation. JT: How much did you feel you were writing about your own life? DG: I walked from the end of the land [from the northern border with Lebanon on the Israel Trail] to my home near Jerusalem. And when the book was finished I continued to walk in parts. This was one of the sweetest experiences of writing this book: Being out, being in nature, being alone in nature, which is a special feeling. When you walk with another person you are more attuned to him or to her, and less to nature. When I walked alone, I became one more animal, one more creature. I always like to know what I’m writing about. When I write about internal reality, I don’t have to leave my home for that. When I write about things that happen in the outer world, I like to take part in them. I remember when I wrote The Zigzag Kid I joined the detective unit for the Jerusalem police. When I wrote Someone to Run With I spent nights on the street. I love the way can integrate objective reality into subjective reality. JT: Why did you choose a female character to tell this story? Was that a device you chose to use? DG: I thought that a book that tells so much about family and raising a child, for me it was both natural and challenging. Israel that someone has not died or been injured. The death of your beloved ones is so near to the surface. JT: How is this story received in America and other countries outside of Israel? Do people have a hard time relating to such an Israeli experience? DG: Everywhere I went, people said, “You wrote our story.” I’m coming here after a week in Scandinavia. They didn’t know war for 200 years. And yet, I think every individual feels his life is in a kind of danger. Everyone feels the fragility of his primal relationship to family, to friends. Everyone feels this doubleness. On the one hand, it’s a strong subcurrent of fear and anxiety. But the book is about life. Anyhow, the book is out here for a year now, so I really cannot complain about the way it was received here. JT: To the End of the Land flows so naturally. Even in translation, the story just seems to spill out of your head onto the page. Explain your writing process. How was it compared to your other writing experiences? DG: The writing process was no different than previous processes. I always write many versions. I have a vague idea, but I surrender to it. I write, then I get to a certain point and turn back. I never want to get to the ending. I want my book to surprise me. It was more difficult to organize this book because it has so many subplots, but I like it this way. It’s like a couple, between the writer and the book. Like a couple, you work together and change each other. This has really been the heart of my life.


David Grossman

I always feel in women — not in all of them — a slight skepticism regarding the big systems of our life, like governments, armies, war — all these systems that are created by men. They are regarded more by men, even though they kill them more. Men will sit at home and wait for the notifiers. It’s a woman who will refuse to take part in this automaton game. JT: Why does Ora have the sense that her son won’t return? DG: I think every parent in Israel...this is the most dominant feeling. The whole country lives in such fear for its own existence. The facts of death are so deeply formulated for us and engraved in our minds. There was almost no week or no day in

Win tickets! Woody Allen
New Orleans Jazz Band
at the Paramount!
Enter to win one of four pairs of tickets to see Woody Allen & his band on Monday, December 26 at 7:30 pm. Here’s how: (1) LIKE US on Facebook at either /jtnews or /jewishdotcom and (2) post WOODY to our wall. We’ll let you know you’re a winner December 9 by posting the winners names on our Facebook pages.

and his

friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


What Nora wants, Nora gets
Joel magalNicK Editor, JTNews
DVD Reviews
Nora’s Will (2010, Mexico) Directed by Mariana Chenillo Menemsha Films Fourteen times Nora tried to kill herself. On the 15th, she succeeded, but not before preparing an intricate Passover feast that would bring her family together for one last seder. That’s the premise of Nora’s Will, a film from up-and-coming Mexican filmmaker Mariana Chenillo. While Nora’s the one with the will, and the word fits in any way you define it, (the Spanish title of the film, incidentally, is Cinco Dias sin Nora — Five Days Without Nora), the story is really about José, Nora’s stubborn ex-husband who lives in an apartment across the street, just a binocular’s view away. José has spent the past 30 years not wanting to know what has been happening in his former wife’s life. But it’s he who discovers Nora’s body after the boxes of frozen meat Nora has ordered for her last seder have been redirected to his home and he reluctantly takes a break from his busy life — computer Solitaire waits for no man, after all — to cross the street and enter the luxury apartment that was once his. José’s discovery launches a comedy, such as it is, of errors that marks the path to Nora’s burial. In come the antagonistic chief rabbi and his mousy rabbinical student, who must guard the body for the four days that burial is forbidden due to the holiday and then Shabbat. Also entering the scene, however, is the “wake and go” Catholic “funeral team,” with their votives in the front hall and the crossshaped coffin, whom José has enlisted to take the body despite the pleadings of Nora’s psychiatrist that he must wait for his son to return from vacation for the burial to take place. The son, Ruben, has his own problems. He lives in the shadow of his powerful father-in-law, his boss and a man who has a lot of sway with the above-mentioned rabbi. He is of course upset that his father would bury his mother without waiting, but more upset that his father has made the rabbi angry. As the film rolls on, the consequences of José’s actions become clear, and that of course makes Ruben even more upset. Something else is troubling José, however. In the opening scene of the film, as Nora got herself ready to end it all, she inadvertently dropped a photo of her-


It takes a while before he realizes he always loved his dead ex-wife, so José repays his transgressions by giving up his own cemetery plot to Nora.

self from decades before, in the company of another man. Of course José discovers the photo and must continually distract the young shomer and his family members so he can break into Nora’s keepsake desk to find out who the man was. As he learns, the man in the photo was not as far from the family as José may have liked. It’s a discovery that launches him on a search within himself about what this troubled but important person truly meant to him. All the while the drama surrounding the burial is going on, Nora’s longtime housekeeper has been preparing and

cooking a meal for which Nora, in her own preparations for the long sleep, had left specific instructions. She had also set the table. In the end, Nora gets what she wants, like she always did when she was alive. Including, as we learn, her husband back. Nora’s Will screened this year at the AJC Seattle Jewish Film Festival and is now available on DVD from

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W h E R E
GREATER SEATTLE Chabad House (Traditional) 206/527-1411 4541 19th Ave. NE Bet Alef (Meditative Reform) 206/527-9399 16330 NE 4th St., Bellevue (in Unity Church) Congregation Kol Ami (Reform) 425/844-1604 16530 Avondale Rd. NE, Woodinville Cong. Beis Menachem (Traditional Hassidic) 1837 156th Ave. NE, Bellevue 425/957-7860 Congregation Beth Shalom (Conservative) 6800 35th Ave. NE 206/524-0075 Cong. Bikur Cholim-Machzikay Hadath (Orthodox) 5145 S Morgan 206/721-0970 Capitol Hill Minyan-BCMH (Orthodox) 1501 17th Ave. E 206/721-0970 Congregation Eitz Or (Jewish Renewal) 6556 35th Ave. NE 206/467-2617 Cong. Ezra Bessaroth (Sephardic Orthodox) 5217 S. Brandon Street 206/722-5500 Congregation Shaarei Tefilah-Lubavitch (Orthodox/Hassidic) 6250 43rd Ave. NE 206/527-1411 Congregation Shevet Achim (Orthodox) 5017 90th Ave. SE (at NW Yeshiva HS) Mercer Island 206/275-1539 Congregation Tikvah Chadashah (Gay/Lesbian) 206/355-1414 Emanuel Congregation (Modern Orthodox) 3412 NE 65th Street 206/525-1055 Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation (Conservative) 206/232-8555 3700 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island Hillel (Multi-denominational) 4745 17th Ave. NE 206/527-1997 Kadima (Reconstructionist) 206/547-3914 12353 NE 8th, Seattle Kavana Cooperative


Wo R S h i p
bREmERTon Congregation Beth Hatikvah 360/373-9884 11th and Veneta EVERETT / EdmondS Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County 2225 100th Ave. W, Edmonds 425/967-3036 Temple Beth Or (Reform) 425/259-7125 3215 Lombard St., Everett FoRT LEWiS Jewish Chapel 253/967-6590 Liggett Avenue & 12th iSSAquAh Chabad of the Central Cascades (Hassidic Traditional) 24121 SE Black Nugget Rd. 425/427-1654 oLympiA Chabad Jewish Discovery Center 1611 Legion Way SE 360/584-4306 Congregation B’nai Torah (Conservative) 3437 Libby Rd. 360/943-7354 Temple Beth Hatfiloh (Reconstructionist) 201 8th Ave. SE 360/754-8519 poRT AnGELES And SEquim Congregation B’nai Shalom 360/452-2471 poRT ToWnSEnd Congregation Bet Shira 360/379-3042 puLLmAn, WA And moScoW, id Jewish Community of the Palouse 509/334-7868 or 208/882-1280 SpokAnE Chabad of Spokane County 4116 E. 37th Ave., Spokane 99223 509/443-0770 Congregation Emanu-El (Reform) P O Box 30234, Spokane 99223 509/835-5050 Temple Beth Shalom (Conservative) 1322 E. 30th Ave. 509/747-3304 TAcomA Chabad-Lubavitch of Pierce County 1889 N Hawthorne Dr. 253/565-8770 Temple Beth El (Reform) 253/564-7101 5975 S. 12th St. TRi ciTiES Congregation Beth Sholom (Conservative) 312 Thayer Drive, Richland 509/375-4740 VAncouVER Chabad-Lubavitch of Clark County 9604 NE 126th Ave., Suite 2320 360/993-5222 E-mail: Congregation Kol Ami 360/574-5169 Service times and location can be found at VAShon iSLAnd Havurat Ee Shalom 206/567-1608 15401 Westside Highway P O Box 89, Vashon Island, WA 98070 WALLA WALLA Congregation Beth Israel 509/522-2511 E-mail: WEnATchEE Greater Wenatchee Jewish Community 509/662-3333 or 206/782-1044 WhidbEy iSLAnd Jewish Community of Whidbey Island 360/331-2190 yAkimA Temple Shalom (Reform) 509/453-8988 1517 Browne Ave.

K’hal Ateres Zekainim (Orthodox) 206/722-1464 at Kline Galland Home, 7500 Seward Park Ave. S Secular Jewish Circle of Puget Sound (Humanist) 206/528-1944 Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation (Orthodox) 6500 52nd Ave. S 206/723-3028 The Summit at First Hill (Orthodox) 1200 University St. 206/652-4444 Temple Beth Am (Reform) 206/525-0915 2632 NE 80th St. Temple B’nai Torah (Reform) 425/603-9677 15727 NE 4th, Bellevue Temple De Hirsch Sinai (Reform) Seattle, 1441 16th Ave. 206/323-8486 Bellevue, 3850 156th Ave. SE 425/454-5085 SOuTH KING COuNTy Bet Chaverim (Reform) 206/577-0403 25701 14th Place S, Des Moines WEST SEATTLE Kol HaNeshamah (Reform) 206/935-1590 Alki UCC, 6115 SW Hinds St. Torah Learning Center (Orthodox) 5121 SW Olga St. 206/938-4852 WAShinGTon STATE AbERdEEn Temple Beth Israel 360/533-5755 1819 Sumner at Martin AnAcoRTES Anacortes Jewish Community 360/293-4123 bAinbRidGE iSLAnd Congregation Kol Shalom (Reform) 9010 Miller Road NE 206/855-0885 Chavurat Shir Hayam 206/842-8453 bELLinGhAm Chabad Jewish Center of Whatcom County 820 Newell St. 360/393-3845 Congregation Beth Israel (Reform) 2200 Broadway 360/733-8890


Winter books:
diaNa bremeNt JTNews Columnist
The Holocaust provides powerful foreshadowing, albeit unintentional by the author, in White Picture: Poems by Jiri Orten, translated by prizewinning Seattle poet Lyn Coffin (Night, paper, $9.99). Orten was a Czech Jew from a middle class secular family, and a young man when the portents of World War II became evident. While some of his family fled, he remained behind, perhaps because of his devotion to the Czech language and the arts. By the time he wrote most of the poems presented here in expert translation, he knew “his life had been slit,” writes Edward Hirsch in the introduction. This gives his work an added dimension, as he becomes increasingly aware that he won’t survive. He was killed by “a speeding German car” in 1941. Rilke, Brodsky and the Bible clearly influenced Orten’s work, from which Coffin will read at the Magnolia Bookstore at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. In his new novel, The Warsaw Anagrams (Overlook, cloth, $29.95), Richard Zimmler (The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon) brings a touch of the supernatural and a

eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

SurvIvorS, SAvIorS AND SuffErErS
to a special hidden addition to their house, they manage to shelter, or find shelter for, a large number of Jews, including children. One of those children is born in hiding and they pretend she is their own, and she became Brounstein’s wife. The Wijnakkers have both been honored by Yad Vashem. Diane Kinman wrote Franca’s Story (Wimer, paper, $16.95) about her Portland neighbor Franca Mercati Martin. As she got to know the talented painter, Kinman learned that Franca came from a wealthy Florentine family who, despite their own wartime hardships, sheltered Jewish children and helped them escape. While the book mostly concerns Franca’s family, the section on the Jewish children makes for dramatic and touching reading. Franca is still living and painting, and the book is illustrated with black and white reproductions of her paintings, which can be seen in color on the publisher’s website, When Art Spiegelman published the graphic novel Maus in 1986, he had no

If you go:
Lyn Coffin will read Jiri Orten’s poems from White Picture at the Magnolia Bookstore, 3206 W McGraw St., Seattle on Thurs., dec. 1 from 7–8 p.m.

murder mystery to the grim times of the Warsaw Ghetto. The narrator is Erik Cohen, a well-respected psychiatrist who is forced into a ghetto apartment with his niece and her son, Adam. Times are tense, but residents have little clue to their fate. So when Adam turns up dead, Erik chooses to believe it is more than just another random act of Nazi cruelty and sets about unraveling the mystery, despite the protests of everyone around him. Zimmler explores the question of what people will do to survive when illness and starvation are close at hand in an expertly written but disquieting story. Two new nonfiction books tell the story of gentiles brave enough to shelter Jews during that time. Frans and Mien Wijnakkers are a young married couple living in a rural Dutch town when Frans is approached by resistance workers to take in a Jewish family in Two Among the Righteous Few by Marty Brounstein (Tate, paper, $12.99). Thanks

idea he was creating a sensation. The international bestseller, which depicts Jews as mice and Nazis as cats, was based on his family history gleaned from his parents, who survived the Holocaust. In Metamaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus (Pantheon, cloth, $35), Spiegelman explores the Maus phenomenon in great depth, analyzing his art, the Holocaust, his parents and his Pulitzer prize-winning book. The volume comes with a DVD that includes a copy of The Complete Maus (it became a two-volume work) that links to an archive of materials including audio interviews with Spiegelman’s father, historical documents and writings and sketches from the author’s notebooks. For World War II buffs, Reluctant
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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

Books in brief
diaNa bremeNt JTNews Columnist
Local Authors Bones Beneath Our Feet, by Michael Schein (B&H, paper, $16.95). This book is difficult to read, not because of its rich and dense language — which suits an historical novel — but its tragic 19th-century story. The crux of the tale is Nisqually Chief Leschi, who in 1855 chose war against the territorial white government (called “Bostons”) rather than banishment to a reservation. There is a large cast of characters here, white and native, whose ethics range from best to worst. Leschi eventually was captured and prosecuted for the murder of a soldier killed in a skirmish, convicted and hanged. This era created a win-lose situation for the native population as their lives, land and culture in Puget Sound were taken over. We still share this land with Leschi’s descendants, but the author emphasizes the price one group paid to allow another group to thrive. The book suffers slightly from a shifting narrative voice, but the glossary and character list are well thought out, and the bibliography will help readers further explore local history. Leschi was vindicated in 2004 by an historical court of inquiry, the killing declared one of war

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“between lawful combatants.” Daughters of Iraq, by Revital ShiriHorowitz (independent, paper, $11.21 at Amazon). A novel about one Iraqi family’s immigration to, and settlement in Israel, told from the perspectives of three women: Violet, who died of cancer but whose voice lives on in diary form; her sister Farida, and Violet’s daughter Noa, a young woman trying to figure out her heritage and her life’s direction. Despite some confusion as the viewpoint shifts between characters, the stories hold our attention as we learn of Iraqi Jewish life before and after immigration. The author lived on Seattle’s Eastside for many years, and is now back in Israel. Baseless Hatred, by René H. Levy, Ph.D. (Gefen, cloth, $26.95). Citing both religious texts and modern political commentary, and drawing on psychology and history, Levy urges us to address “sinat hinam (baseless hatred) among Jews and its antidote arevut (mutual responsibility),” which he explores on interpersonal

and international levels. Levy’s scholarly approach makes casual reading a bit difficult, but the advice is practical: Know what makes you hateful, take steps to change it, and be tolerant of others. “Diversity is not fragmentation,” he says: We can learn to get along. Levy is Professor and Chair Emeritus of Pharmaceutics at the University of Washington. Memoir and Biography Wendy and the Lost Boys, by Julie Salamon (Penguin, cloth, $29.95). A personality as complicated as Wasserstein’s deserves a book this long and detailed. Salamon interviewed around 600 people to compile information about the playwright who died in 2006 at age 55, from what appeared at the time to be a mysterious illness. Salamon delves into the Wasserstein family psychology — overachieving and demanding, but intensely private — and the theater world that became Wasserstein’s second family. That world included Seattle, where two of Wasserstein’s most popular plays were previewed and revised at the Seattle Rep under the direction

of Dan Sullivan. The author treads lightly, perhaps because family and friends still survive, and seems reluctant to analyze Wasserstein’s sometimes bizarre behavior. She tells the stories and leaves us to ponder what made this hugely creative and oversized personality tick. Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son, by Tom Fields-Meyer (New American Library, paper, $15). This utterly charming memoir is well written, poignant and funny. The author recounts his journey, so far, learning to parent his autistic son Ezra, now about 15. FieldsMeyer — a longtime correspondent for People magazine — blends anecdotes with his inner musings to show how he and his rabbi wife go from strict problem-solving mode to accepting Ezra for who he is. The narration builds in almost novel-like fashion as we wonder how Ezra is going to cope with his Bar Mitzvah. Have a hankie ready.
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Tony Bennett
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award-winning books recommended for young readers
rita bermaN FriScher Special to JTNews
There is no better way to locate the best in Judaic children’s books for sharing and giving as gifts than to turn to the international Association of Jewish Libraries. AJL’s annual Sydney Taylor Book Awards are given in three categories — younger readers, older readers and teen readers — to acknowledge works of high literary worth which also exemplify authentic examples of various aspects of the Jewish experience. The awards memorialize Sydney Taylor, whose classic All-of-a-Kind-Family series, published in the ’50s, is still popular among Jewish and non-Jewish children alike. Here are some of AJL’s 2011 recognized books — winners and honor books — plus a couple of extras which might be of interest: comic strip artists? I certainly didn’t. Jewish female graphic novelists are little known, but are vibrant and rising in their field. FOR TEEN READERS (Grades 8–12) Choosing this year’s gold medal teen award winner and honor books was no easy task. Each of them has something distinctive to say about an important part of the Jewish experience and says it well. The gold medal book by Dana Reinhardt, The Things a Brother Knows, is the story of what happens when an IsraeliAmerican family tries to reintegrate and understand their oldest son Boaz, who had shocked them by joining the Marines upon graduation from high school. Now returned from active duty, lauded as heroic, he is silent, withdrawn — a changed person. When he sets off on what he claims is a solitary hiking trip, his worried younger brother Levi decides to follow him, join him, and discover his true destination. Levi shows his own kind of strength as he determines to uncover the true depth of his brother’s pain, to understand the nature of his heroism, and to help his family heal. A serious story but leavened with humor and realistic family dynamics. I could not put down Hush, the honor book, which was published under the pseudonym Eishes Chayil for reasons that quickly become obvious. The author, raised in a Chassidic world of schools, synagogues and summer camps, establishes both the insularity and warmth of the community surrounding 9-year-old Gittel and her best friend Devory. But, rule-bound and secretive, this life gives Gittel no guidance in dealing with her confusion and guilt when she witnesses an act of mysterious violence against her
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FOR YOUNGER READERS (Pre-K–2nd Grade) The gold medal winner is Gathering Sparks, by poet and folklorist Howard Schwartz and beautifully illustrated by Kristina Swarner. Both second-time winners, this team’s collaboration, based on Rabbi Isaac Luria’s concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, is both inspiring and exquisite. Full of love and reassurance, it nonetheless calls for everyone, however young, to take part, whenever possible, in gathering the sparks of kindness and help restore peace. This is a work that can be used by all faiths. Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book by Sarah Gershman, also illustrated by Kristina Swarner, offers a selection of simplified morning blessings from Birkot HaShachar, with illustrations which beautifully express the joy to be found in waking to the beauty of the world and the excitement of each new day. The back of the book contains excerpts from the Hebrew original service and translations. Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue

of Liberty, by Linda Glaser with illustrations by Claire A. Nivola. (K-3rd). A wonderful blend of text and illustration, this book brings Emma Lazarus’s privileged world into bold contrast with the poverty and desperation of the immigrants whom she was determined to help. By showing her humanitarian efforts and then focusing on how she found the words to speak to and for those who had no voice of their own, this work has much to say to today’s immigrants as well. FOR OLDER READERS (Grades 4–7) Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, the gold medal winner. Because of its unusual format as a graphic novel adventure starring an Orthodox Jewish heroine and featuring fantasy elements such as witches and dragons, it was a real trailblazer. That AJL chose it for its 2011 Gold Medal practically guarantees that more works by Jewish artists and writers will follow the current trend

toward graphic novels in general publishing, carrying on the legacy of the famous 20th-century Jewish graphic novelists. To prove the point, honor book Resistance: Book 1, by Carla Jablonski with illustrations by Leland Purvis, is a WWII graphic novel that tells of how young Paul and his sister determine to rescue their Jewish friend, Henri, who has escaped a roundup and been left behind. Their efforts to hide him, deal with their own family troubles and dangers, and work with the French Resistance, are well expressed in this highly visual format. Another graphic work is not one of the AJL nominees but I thought I’d mention it for its historic and feminist interest. Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer by Trina Robbins, illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh, tells of a 14-year-old Jewish girl from Vienna who escaped to England with the Kindertransport. A real figure, whose photographs are liberally included, Lily got to the U.S. and eventually became a wellknown comic book artist, specializing in comic strips about women heroines fighting the Nazis. Who knew about Jewish women

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Veteran journalist’s novel The List is fascinating but messy
Joel magalNicK Editor, JTNews
We have seen plenty of literature, films and nonfiction about the horrors of the Holocaust. Even more so now as the survivors of those horrific years are passing away in ever greater numbers. What has not been nearly as well documented has been the immediate aftermath: The refugees, the homeless, the ongoing hatred of Jews in countries that had often served as safe havens during the war as well as those that did not. That is what makes The List unique. Well-regarded NBC reporter Martin Fletcher has set his first foray into fiction in the fall of 1945 with a story about the everyday lives of a group of survivors, in particular a young couple who found love on the run from the Nazis and must now make lives for themselves in their adopted country of England. Nothing, as they discover, is easy. Strong-willed Edith escaped from her home in Vienna mere minutes before the Gestapo came with arrest papers in her name. Despite her doctor’s orders to rest, she continues her work as a seamstress while fighting off the anxiety of the impending birth of her first child. Georg is a lawyer unable to find work in a climate where any job worth having is being reserved for the soldiers returning from the front. The couple lives in a boarding house with several other survivors and the home’s owners, who face pressure from their neighbors to evict these welfaresucking, ungrateful Jews who should return “home” now that the war is over
W WINter books PaGe 6

— Britain’s military heroes need housing, after all. Neither Georg nor Edith knows many details of what happened to their families. They, like the circle of refugee friends they have created, continually check the boards at the welfare offices and Red Cross for a glimmer of hope about a surviving family member or, more commonly, confirmation of death. The book’s title refers to a list that Edith and Georg keep of their own family members, and the names they continue to cross out. But finally Edith receives some good news. Her cousin Anna — beautiful, gregarious Anna — comes to stay with them. Yet they hardly recognize each other on the train platform when Anna arrives from the other side of hell. It’s clear she has experienced unspeakable horrors, and the tension of Edith’s desperate need to know what happened to her father against Anna’s need to keep what was done to her buried as deeply as possible is palpable. Then there’s the shadowy, anti-Semitic Egyptian Ismael, whose overtures to this damaged young woman appear creepy and inappropriate. But are they really? Edith cannot bring herself to trust this strange, dark man who constantly makes rude comments. Yet more than once son. Jarausch is a noted German historian and it took years before he could even look at the letters, because he feared learning of his father’s (also named Konrad) nationalist

he appears in the right place at the right time to save Georg and his friends from that era’s version of skinhead thugs. While this multifaceted cast of characters deals with its own problems, swirling around them are meetings held by groups who want to “send the aliens home.” The meetings are packed, hot and contentious. Different people stand up to give different voices to each grievance, many of them legitimate. In the end, the strong, pregnant Edith somewhere finds the strength to defend her fellow refugees, saving the day — at least in this scene of the story. It’s these scenes where the novel begins to run into trouble. Fletcher paints a picture sympathetic to these people’s plights while remaining unafraid to gloss over the hardship they endure to keep themselves fed and clothed, or the extreme sadness they feel about losing yet another family member while trying to keep positive outlooks on their own futures. But Martin Fletcher the journalist has trouble making the leap to Martin Fletcher the novelist. Like any good journalist, he shows a natural inclination to get all sides of the story. But because each of these characters represents a different viewpoint, they end up becoming the perspective itself politics. What he discovered is a oncepatriotic man so horrified by the war his country started that he became sympathetic to Germany’s victims. The elder Jarausch died of typhoid in a POW camp. Also new and noteworthy: Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS, by Jonathan Max-

instead of multi-dimensional people. Fletcher puts us inside all of the heads of this cast of characters — sometimes from one paragraph to the next. Writers have plenty of techniques they can employ to do this smoothly, but Fletcher just can’t manage to pull it off. Then, further complicating things, is a storyline in faraway Palestine, with characters that don’t always survive their own chapters. As more details get meted out in this story-within-a-story, the British military closes in on the underground movements for an independent Jewish state. But the connection between these murdered freedom fighters and the son of Edith and Georg’s landlords, not to mention another important character, is just too coincidental. Those scenes, while adding a bit of cloak and dagger to what is otherwise really a love story, could have been left out and we probably wouldn’t have missed them. Georg and Edith are the real heroes of The List but they’re also symbols for the plight of everyone else recovering from this war. The problem with symbols, however, is that they retain a natural symbolism, meaning that between the two of them they accomplish far more than a family in a similar situation ever could have. Then, as the couple’s baby is born, the level of detail actually flips the story and instead of symbols we get portraits of people that actually feel too close-up. The List’s shortcomings, unfortunately, take away from what is otherwise a fascinating story set in a fascinating time. well (Milennial Mind, paper, $25.95) The Bugs are Burning: The Role of Eastern Europeans in the Exploitation, Subjugation and Murder of Their Jewish Neighbors During the Holocaust, by Dr. Sheldon Hersh and Dr. Robert Wolf (Devora, cloth, $21.95)

Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier’s Letters from the Eastern Front, edited by Konrad H. Jarausch (Princeton, cloth, $35), is the story of a German officer’s increasing disillusionment with Nazi policies, as told in letters edited by the writer’s

The Klezmatics
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Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

Spend Your Money on Good Books
by Mike Selinker

This Week’s Wisdom

Jump-shot Jews: review of Neal Pollack’s novel ‘Jewball’
bethlehem ShoalS Tablet Magazine
(Tablet) — In the 1930s, Hank Greenberg chased Babe Ruth’s records and won the 1934 World Series with the Detroit Tigers. The national pastime wasn’t friendly territory for a Jewish athlete then, but by proudly staking out a claim, Greenberg proved that Jews could play the game as well as anyone else. To his co-religionists cheering in the stands, this was proof that they could participate in American society. Greenberg was progress incarnate. But there was another Jewish sports story of that decade — one far less uplifting and therefore far less retold. Once upon a time, Jews ruled basketball. Not the way they do now — the NBA’s commissioner and a majority of its owners are Jews — but on the court. If baseball was Middle America’s sport, basketball at the time, like boxing, was redolent of city squalor and shady dealings. Images of those short, pale men in belted shorts launching set shots in poorly lit, makeshift gyms are today virtually ignored; basketball has just evolved too much since then, and Jews played too little of a part in its development. That history is like a dream or, at worst, a bad joke. But that history is also the subject of Jewball, Neal Pollack’s new Kindle novel about the real-life Jewish team that is generally regarded as the best basketball squad of the era. The Philadelphia Sphas — the name came from the acronym for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association, which sponsored the team — dominated early pro basketball, winning seven championships in 13 seasons with the American Basketball League in the 1930s and 1940s. Pollack delivers crisp, vivid episodes of the team in pitched battle, capturing the era’s style as well as that of key players. Around these scenes he weaves a fastmoving tale of underworld intrigue, the looming Nazi threat, love lost and found, and plenty of sharp-tongued banter. In Alternadad and Stretch, Pollack brought his outwardly prickly but secretly warm persona to bear on parenting and then yoga; he was an outsider learning to fit in on his own terms. In Jewball, described in the acknowledgements as “a true labor of love,” Pollack pays homage to these unsung Jewish athletes and their colorful milieu. But for all his historical detail, Jewball ultimately tells us not only what was, but what Pollack would like to have seen. Take Inky Lautman, the Sphas’s surehanded point guard from 1937 to 1947. Though plenty is known about Lautman’s oncourt exploits — he was one of the top scorers in the league — and about the Philadelphia of the time, Pollack creates his Lautman from scratch, bringing to life a cynical, scarred anti-hero for whom basketball is an escape from doing dirty work on the streets. (The real Lautman did quit high school at 15 to earn money for his family.) This kind of invention allows Pollack room to provide both startlingly well-researched game scenes and a madcap adventure that, plausible or not, makes the sports go down easier for those who aren’t fans. In Pollack’s story, Eddie Gottlieb, the coach-owner-impresario of the Sphas, owes money to the German-American Bund, U.S. Nazi sympathizers with a strong base in Philadelphia. To pay off his debt, Gottlieb must have the Sphas take a dive against a team of Aryan supermen in Minneapolis, thus demonstrating the inferiority of the Jewish race and ceding their sport to the Nazis. Inky Lautman, so alienated and broke that he occasionally works for the Bund on what the character calls “non-Jew matters,” finds himself asked to make sure Gottlieb complies. Inky gets religion, so to speak, after being forced to attend an enormous Bund rally at Madison Square Garden. But the debt remains, Minnesota beckons, and the Bund isn’t exactly out for a fair game. How will the Sphas get out of this jam? Answer: Lots of violence. And a barnstorming tour that allows Pollack to show us more of the great teams of the 1930s,
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In the 1300s the scholar Immanuel wrote, “Spend your money on good books, and you’ll find its equivalent in gold of intelligence.” You can seek out quite a few good books in the modern era, as this puzzle shows. ACROSS 1 Storm or Sounders, for example 5 Soma Intimates purchases 9 Skippy competitor 12 Quad bikes, e.g. 13 Former Huskies coach Neuheisel 14 Prefix with friendly 15 Kate Seredy children’s book set in Hungary 18 Celebrity gossip rag 19 Femur-tibia meeting place 20 George Lucas’s LA alma mater 21 Saturn model replaced by the Astra 22 Scarf down 23 Show off 26 Philip Roth story collection about American Jews 30 Ugly epithet 31 “Well would you look at that!” 32 Sea-Tac info, for short 33 End Times-parodying novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman 38 Mt. St. Helens output 41 Knee High Stocking Co., for one 42 Farm fraction 45 Nautical WWII novel by C.S. Forester 51 Song by Wings, Lionel Richie, or Justin Timberlake 52 Actress Lupino 53 Slam-dunking 76ers legend 54 Letter that represents the Golden Ratio 55 The Gift of the ___ 57 Word that precedes “brillig” 58 Children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown about a bunny’s bedtime 61 Piratical provisions 62 Clue-hunting pooch 63 Mount near Portland 64 Beehive State tribesman 65 Purim’s month 66 Day-___ (yesterday’s bagels) DOWN 1 Ink 2 Component of beer, wine, and some gasoline 3 Swear 4 Lo mein additive 5 Charlotte, Emily, or Anne 6 Park and ___ 7 Maker of giant rubber bands and explosive tennis balls 8 Jamaican musical genre 9 It’s chucked overboard 10 Friday headliner 11 In support of 16 “Sure thing!” 17 Kirk’s helmsman 18 ___ file (email ender) 22 Longest river contained entirely within Spain 23 Chunk of frozen seawater 24 Loon 25 Agcy. that X-rays shoes 27 Used a spade 28 Operator of the world’s largest brewing facility 29 Unit of resistance 34 The duck in Peter and the Wolf 35 Martin, to Emilio and Charlie 36 Valley that’s home to the Robert Mondavi Winery 37 UW or MIT 38 Bread box? 39 Introverted 40 Lend a hand 43 Any tree of the subfamily Sequoioideae 44 You may need to run them 46 “Skedaddle!” 47 Metamorphoses poet 48 ___ Learning (10-Down film) 49 Massage text 50 Rave VIP’s 55 Like some hot sauces, oxymoronically 56 Dos átomos de hidrógeno y uno de oxígeno 57 Screwdriver, for one 58 Steve Carell’s supervillain in Despicable Me 59 Mavs’ and Cavs’ org. 60 Unit of conductance that is, quite literally, the inverse of 29-Down

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Answers on page 20 © 2011 Eltana Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe, 1538 12th Avenue, Seattle. All rights reserved. Puzzle created by Lone Shark Games, Inc. Edited by Mike Selinker and Mark L. Gottlieb.

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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


Kosher the holidays for
Emily K. Alhadeff Assistant Editor, JTNews
with care, and the aroma of bacon flowed through the air. Wait, what? at this year’s kosher product sampling — our annual taste test of the best gift and party treats — we went to town on everything from smoked salmon to pastries, raw, sprouted pizza-flavored crackers to bacon-cheddar popcorn, all of it washed down with a few shots of wine and Bloody Mary mixers. By early afternoon the office was littered with crumbs and we were feeling like a bunch of sick frat boys on a typical Tuesday. See what we go through for the Jewish people? We are proud to announce a few clear winners — J&D’s Baconnaise, The Essential Baking Company’s rosemary bread and Partners’ Mia Dolci lemon shortbread crackers take the cake — and not so sad to send a few losers on a walk of shame to the compost bin (we’re looking at you, halvah). With that, I commence our official review. ’Twas the morning of tastings, and among cups of coffee, JTNews was abuzz with foods fresh, sweet and salty. The boxes of crackers were set out

Tough cookies

few cookies are bad cookies, and in the words of our editor Joel quotto the cookie, all our problems would be solved.” He’s talking about Lily’s black and white cookies, which I passed over in snobbish preference for handfuls of the dark chocolate pomegranate balls. karen seconded Joel with a “Yup! Just right and makes me nostalgic.” She grew up in the land of the black and white, so she knows her cookie. But the Mia Dolci lemon cookies, oh, the Mia Dolci lemon cookies! our hometown highend cracker makers Partners really knocked it out of the park, earning four gold star stickers. Joel mulled over these little morsels of goodness and spent all night crafting this astute description: “Sweet, but not too sweet. Crunchy,

ing Jerry Seinfeld rabbeinu on racial equality, “If people would only look

but not too crunchy. Lemony, but not too lemony. It wants to be shortbread, but it’s more like a cracker. Most of all, deliciously subtle.”
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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

W kosher fooDs PaGe 11

gave it an exclamatory “Very good combo!” and complimented the surprisingly bold pear flavor. Made with real pear, balanced by a semi-sweet chocolate and an almond crunch, I dare say this could be renamed “breakfast bar.” Same goes for the Brookside pomegranate dark chocolate balls, which everyone agreed were sweet, tart, and healthy. “Delicious — good bang for your buck calorie-wise,” noted Emily. following the trend of sea-salt caramel (why did no one think of this before?), Whole foods came in with a milk chocolate toffee sea salt bar. “Sinfully delicious,” said Wendy. The Camel marble halvah was the biggest loser in the candy category. Jean summed it up in one word: “nasty.”

Susan added her approval as well. “So delicious!” she said. “They’re bite size and would be perfect to put in a dish of ice cream or fruit.” Personally, my mouth was confused by the crackers for that precise reason: Is it a cookie or a cracker? In a world of moral ambiguity, I need clarity when it comes to packaged desserts. now, for some winners in the alternative Cookie category: Everyone loved the Jessie Miller sugar-free pecan sandies and the Simply Shari’s gluten-free almond shortbread. Lynn, known for her brevity and great profundity, noted “yummy” regarding the former, and regarding the latter, kristina said, “Can’t tell they are gluten free,” and then added in even greater profundity than Lynn, “very yummy.” The one loser in the cookie category goes to the chocolate cookie ice cream cones, described by Joel as “bullet proof,” and by Susan as “kind of a bad idea,” followed by an emphatic “bleccch” (sic). on an optimistic note, if you want to do a mitzvah we hear the IDf is taking donations to rearmor some of its tanks.

Candy Land

It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, and all of the

types we tried rose to the occasion. We had so many beautiful chocolate options from the likes of Theo Chocolates, Scharffen Berger and Dagoba. Jo’s Peppermint Crunch got a gold star from karen, who called it “the best peppermint treat ever,” and recommends it as part of a holidaythemed gift (because who can celebrate Hanukkah without peppermint candies?). “Zing!” rachel said. Whole foods Market’s pear almond chocolate wowed me. addison


With all this sugar, we needed some carbs. Partners crackers did well all

around, with the parmesan-herb flavor getting the best reviews (“addictive,” “nice light parm flavor”). It should be noted that parmesan cheese is hard to come by in the kosher world, so let’s give these an extra point. The parmesan and roasted garlic flavor also fared well, but Susan brought down the rating. “Tastes like moldy washcloths smell,” she said. from the Department of Weird came Livin’ Spoonful’s gluten-free raw crackers. When they arrived to the office Susan speculated that they were packets of Italian spices,

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but upon closer inspection they turned out to be thick crackers in

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eats, reads and arts


flavors like coconut curry, pizza, and pesto pumpkin seed. We recommend the pizza flavored. “Don’t look appetizing, but taste okay,” noted Stacy. But the clear winner went to Essential’s rosemary bread, one of the local bakery’s few kosher offerings. “Where’s the butter?” Stacy asked. Lynn, again in profound brevity, said, “oMG delicious.”

The peach bellini and chocolate peppermint flavors got good reviews, and coming in behind came the pomegranate, cosmo and margarita mixes. But since we were trying these virgin, don’t take our word for it. Just throw a party and invite us. now I’d like to take a moment to wax editorial on our wine selection. as an exclusive kosher wine drinker, my highest recommendations go to the bold, smooth, dry ramon Cardova rioja (Spain) and the Golan Winery’s Sion Creek red (Israel). all those who gave the Baron Herzog Jeunesse Cabernet Sauvignon high scores are just wrong. The misconception that Jeunesse is good can be traced to the misconception that kosher wine equals Manischewitz. I am confident there is at least one bottle of Jeunesse that has been passed around to every Shabbat table in Seattle like the goyishe Christmas fruitcake legend. But I am a reporter, and I have to report that the
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Almost treif

The story goes that when bacon lovers Justin and

Dave decided “everything should taste like bacon,” they wanted their products to be accessible to vegetarians and kashrut observers, too. When they approached their first kosher certifying agency, the rabbi listened to their pitch, paused, then responded, “I do not know if you know this, but Jews do not eat bacon.” They clarified, and today all of J&D’s bacon products are certified kof-k. We had the luxury of trying bacon salt, bacon croutons, bacon-cheddar popcorn and Baconnaise. The reviews were mixed. What carries the bacon flavor is a salty, smoky, paprika-ish spice that, with some imagination, tastes like bacon. The Baconnaise, a bacon-mayo spread (well matched to Partners crackers), got a gold star from Joel, who said, “Wow! This is really good. It could even be its own dip.” “Bacon! Cheese! Is there anything else?” Ilana, a vegetarian, added.

believe that food in its purest d organic products because we We offer natural an s and preservatives — is ial additives, sweeteners, coloring state —without artific a vast array of kosher nutritious food available. With sted the best tasting and most turkeys, pumpkin puree and roa lections – from whole organic certified se gelt - we’ve got you covered. kes, matzo meal and Hanukkah chestnuts to lat

kosher. naturally.

But the surprise pleasure was balanced by negative reviews: “Ghastly” said Michael. “not a fan,” said Susan. But she doesn’t like moldy washcloths, either.

Wine and mixers

We had to wash this all down

somehow, and that’s where wine and Stirrings simple mixers came in. The Stirrings Bloody Mary mix got two gold stars; Stacy noted that it doesn’t even need the alcohol. But it certainly helps.


eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

the contradictions of life
beth KiSSileFF JointMedia News Service
One would not expect a novel about a battered woman and her protectors, identity confusion, and murder to be written by a male septuagenarian Holocaust survivor. But as one of Aharon Appelfeld’s characters says, “Contradictions don’t put me off.” Appelfeld’s newest novel to appear in English — Until the Dawn’s Light, published in Hebrew in 1995 — draws on his experiences surviving World War II by hiding with criminals between the ages of 8 and 14. Appelfeld, author of 39 books, is a master storyteller and allegorist. He recently made his first visit to the U.S. in a decade, for a two-day conference on his life and work at the University of Pennsylvania. This novel, set at an indeterminate time in pre-World War II Europe, features a Jewish woman, Blanca, who converts to Christianity to marry a non-Jewish man, Adolf, who abuses her. Blanca does not take care of her father once her mother has passed away, allowing her father to return alone at night to an old-age home (Adolf will not let him in their home), and the father goes missing. Blanca gives birth to a child and can’t tell the news to her blind grandmother, who stands outside the now-closed synagogue, cursing the converts. She is afraid to speak to her grandmother because of her disapproval of Blanca’s conversion and marriage to a non-Jew. The irony in their world is that when the man from the burial society says “We Jews stand by one another” at the funeral of Blanca’s mother, the crowd realizes “most of them were converts.” Yet, there is still a core of faith in them — Blanca remembers her mother saying “There is a God in heaven and he watches over all his creatures.” Her father argues that this is her ancestors’ faith, not her own, yet her mother counters, “mine too, if I may.” The attenuated Jewish faith of Blanca the convert, abused by her Christian husband and his family, is preserved through the ministrations of Dr. Nussbaum, whose own daughter Celia, Blanca’s classmate, discovers how Jewish she feels reading Martin Buber in the convent Celia has joined. Celia has come to realize that her Jewish forebears “were truly the flesh of her flesh.” Dr. Nussbaum’s care for Blanca and her child helps him cope with being cut off from his daughter the nun. However, like Appelfeld himself said during his visit that he had KEviN WALSH “no messages, only words,” Blanca Israeli novelist aharon appelfeld, during a recent visit to sinks “deeper and deeper into writ- the University of Pennsylvania. ing” to create her life and memories to find a way out. through her imagination. Blanca comes Contradictions and all, Appelfeld has to realize that “Death isn’t darkness if you again shown readers the way that fictake your dear ones with you. It’s just a tional Jews in the liminal world of Europe change in place.” Blanca and the people between the wars coped with the unceraround her are living in a world on the tainties of their lives. cusp of being destroyed, and their hope is

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mesan and herb crackers served with a sliced hard cheese with the Chateneuf, a plate of fruit and the Mia Dolci lemon cookies. another option might be the rosemary bread, paired with a hearty soup or salad alongside the Sion Creek red, ending with the pear-almond chocolate. More decadent types may opt for the bread or crackers with Baconnaise spread on, the rich rioja or a Bloody Mary and the sea salt toffee chocolate to finish. By the way, Tums are kosher, too.

Jeunesse did get high scores among our (albeit taste-bud–challenged) tasters, as did the Herzog Chateneuf (white) Bordeaux: “apples! Bright and clean with just a hint of bitter,” said karen. “Light, fragrant, not too dry; crisp flavor,” said Becky.


To recommend some pairings for your next

kosher gathering, we endorse the Partners par-

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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


the call of the shofar, with orchestra
gigi yelleN-KohN JTNews Correspondent
Music by Composer Meira Warshauer: Symphony No. 1, “Living, Breathing Earth” and “Tekeeyah” (A Call) Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Petr Vronsky, conductor Haim Avitsur, shofar and trombone soloist Navona Records NV5842. Enhanced format audio CD with additional features. Textures and rhythms found in nature — bird song, mist, water drops, insect hisses — infuse this exciting symphonic music by a contemporary American composer. Meira Warshauer’s orchestral voice expresses a passion for nature, and also for the musical and liturgical languages of Jewish tradition, in a sophisticated symphonic language native to our time. As the title implies, “Tekeeyah” features the shofar. It is, in fact, a concerto for shofar, trombone, and orchestra, the first-ever concerto for this combination of instruments, according to the artist’s notes. The New York-based Israeli trombonist Haim Avitsur, soloist on both shofar and trombone, delivers a versatile shofar sound, powerful in the finale, whispery in the opening notes, and pitch perfect over a surprising range. Warshauer has embedded the ram’s horn into a brash, full orchestra, where its open call extends and expands through other wind instruments. The shofar shares harmonies and textures as a member of the orchestra, in contrast to its better-known liturgical role as the lone voice of a stark wake-up call. The composer has stated that she intends this music as a spiritual wakeup call, too. Jointly commissioned by three orchestras, the Wilmington Symphony, Brevard Philharmonic (both of North Carolina), and the University of South Carolina Symphony, the concerto received its premiere performance in 2009. Every shofar’s sound is unique. Its range of pitches and the color in its voice depend upon the length, width, and thickness of the horn, as well as on the technique of the person who blows into it. Warschauer has obviously composed “Tekeeyah” with a particular instrument in mind. She has used certain rhythms associated with the shofar’s sound in the synagogue — notably the series of staccato notes called teruah — and built from them whole layers of orchestral rhythms, sometimes with the shofar at the center, but not always. Trombones, French horns, trumpets, and a huge, intense percussion section expand and contract to build this spare, ancient musical idea into a wildly imaginative world of sound. Rain sticks and tambourines, xylophone and marimba, whispering glissandi from harp and from strings bowed on the “wrong” side of the bridge: All breathe sympathetic support into the concerto’s quieter moments. A listener might catch echoes of Ives or Orff, of Copland or Adams, Bernstein or Samuel Jones in Warshauer’s music. But another listener might have heard none of these composers and, in search of discovery, delight in a thrilling and complex sonic world. That world opens onto a giant orchestral cicada chorus at the opening of the title work on this album, Warshauer’s Symphony No. 1. The composer has stated that she intends to represent earth in its healthiest state, like a prayer for its health. Indeed, she makes the orchestra into a “living, breathing” body: She has managed to suggest whole hosts of cicadas, to start with, representing an evening music immediately recognizable to anyone who has spent an evening in America’s South. Warshauer is a native and a resident of North Carolina, raised as a Reform Jew. An award-winning artist, trained at Harvard and at the New England Conservatory of Music, she has produced a wide variety of compositions that have been recorded and performed in North America, Israel, Europe and beyond. A speaker of Hebrew, a Shabbat observer, and a spiritual seeker of the Baby Boom generation, her art reflects an era marked by influences as diverse as Sufism, which she explored early on, and Carlebach, whose music she says brought her to her home tradition. She traces her environmentalism to the first Earth Day in 1970. As one who loves music, I’m often amused by the sight of fellow Seattle park-walkers hidden under headphones, removed from the audio surprises that lurk in the trees, water and creatures of our shared environment. There’s a true music in that environment. Meira Warshauer has crafted a Jewish musical language that mirrors it. … Lovers of classical Jewish music can rejoice as the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music goes digital. Launched in 1990 as an ambitious multi-year CD
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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

W JeWball PaGe 10

like the African-American Harlem Rens or the all-female All-American Redheads. The history is fascinating but at times can drag, especially given the pending collision with the Bund. Historical novels are inherently speculative, but Jewball is something else altogether: A fantasy that doesn’t politely look for space to imagine but instead proposes that an entire period is one best understood through the imagination. As Pollack explains in a “Notes on History” section at the end of the book, Gottlieb

was never in debt to the Bund, and Lautman had no affiliation with it. The Minnesota game, too, is his invention. So little is known about the off-court lives of most of the Sphas, including Lautman, that Pollack created characters where history had left none. The book’s bad guys — figures such as William Dudley Pelley, founder of the American fascist group the Silver Legion, and German-American Bund leaders Fritz Julius Kuhn and Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze — are more faithfully portrayed, perhaps because they left more of a historical record with which to work.

Thus Pollack’s characterization of Lautman is less about revealing a real person than it is about imagining the ideal protagonist for the Jewball era — a nasty, uproarious, and at times glorious one. This isn’t a historical novel so much as it is a tall tale, or better yet, an attempt to at once reclaim the past and lend it the same antic, outrageous quality that the shtetl took on for I.B. Singer. Pollack wants to find new ways to revitalize a dead era. The brand of nostalgia in Jewball may play right into the hands of the book’s villains, or the history that has deified Hank Greenberg and consigned Inky Lautman

to the shadows. Or just maybe it’s entirely the right note to strike when reclaiming Lautman — not as a source of shame or consternation, but as another kind of Jewish hero who not only fought back, but liked to fight — and almost always fought dirty.
Bethlehem Shoals (the pen name of Nathaniel Friedman) is a founding member of the now-defunct basketball writers’ collective and co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. This article originally appeared on Tablet Magazine,

Kehilla | Our Community
1 section Jtnews . . friday, date, 2011

Seattle teens say going to Alexander Muss High School in Israel was the best thing they’ve ever done
Despite the fact that she had been to Israel before, Rachel Greene said the time she spent at Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) this past summer was the most amazing experience she has ever had. Greene, a junior at Interlake High School, said the AMHSI program was so much more meaningful than when she visited Israel for two weeks in 8th grade because this time she was living the experience, staying in a dorm on campus, not just visiting as a tourist. “We learned both in the classroom and at the actual sites where history took place, often reenacting historical events where they occurred, which was a great way to learn. I understand so much more about the Middle East now and why it is important to support Israel,” Greene said. Lauren Schechter, now a senior at Garfield High School, who returned with the same intense emotional attachment to Israel also reflected on the connections she had made to her classmates. “When you go through such an amazing experience with a group of people, it bonds you in a way nothing else can,” Schechter said. Nick Alkan, a 17 year old from Bellevue who attended the program during the spring semester in 2010, reflected on how AMHSI affected him. “I really wasn’t that social before and now I have a ton of friends because the AMHSI staff encouraged me to reach out to people in a way I had never done before. This past summer, I even got a job as a camp counselor at a Jewish camp in West Virginia with a group of kids I went to Israel with,” said Alkan. According to Kathy Yeyni, Director of Admissions, what sets the program apart is that AMHSI is a pluralistic high school academic experience, which means there is a mix of reform, conservative and orthodox teens that enroll. Students receive high school credits and may be eligible to earn college credits as well. Sessions are of-

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fered throughout the school year and in the summer. Yeyni said those who attend during the school year continue with their secular studies on the Hod Hasharon campus in Israel, keeping them up to date academically upon their return to the states. Interested in finding out more about AMHSI? For more information, please contact Director of Admissions, Judy Cohen at

Discover, Experience, Embrace ISRAEL…the journey of a lifetime

AlexAnder Muss HigH scHool in isrAel
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Saving Lives in Israel

friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


Mama Doni’s celebratory ode to shabbat
Joel magalNicK Editor, JTNews
As parents we want to be sure that the music our children listens to is good, safe and largely inoffensive. At the same time, we want to know that every time it gets popped into the CD player we won’t have the uncontrollable urge to wrap the minivan around an electric pole. If New Jersey soccer mom Doni Zasloff Thomas, a.k.a. children’s singer Mama Doni, strikes any kind of balance between the two, you should expect some auto shop repair bills. But then again, give Mama Doni’s Shabbat Shaboom an extra listen. You may get hooked. Thomas’s career launched a few years back when she was asked to be the music director at her own kids’ Hebrew school. Now, three albums later, Mama Doni and her band have garnered a following up and down the Eastern seaboard and her tunes, much as I hate to admit it, are catchy. The style — or styles, as the case may be — can best be described as electronic with a dash of folksy. Her repertoire ranges from an homage to watered-down grape juice that sounds like watered-down Kraftwerk to electrified doo-wop to the countrified, steel-guitar tinged “Jewish Cowgirl.” And you have to say this about Mama Doni: She’s so, so, so happy and erated 50 CD recordings, historical essays, a radio series, performance notes and biographical research material. It still boasts a vast store of as-yet-unreleased material; the CDs are still available commercially on the Naxos label. Available for sale track by track, these new editions of the performances formerly released on CD are likely to develop a broader audience for the massive work of this unique Jewish and musical resource center. talks so, so, so fast in the album’s interludes that you can’t help but get happy, too. Traditionalists will appreciate Mama Doni’s nods to kashrut and ritual. You get the sense that her rendition of “Friday Night” would be quite different from Rebecca Black’s (ask your kids). And she’s never afraid to use a heaping helping of Yiddish when a bit of English would do. Sorry, Sephardim. Those whose Judaism is a bit The speed of the digital revolution in music-sharing technology, publishing and research has rendered the project’s original goal of releasing more CDs and books pretty much obsolete. The refreshed website brings it all home this month with the digital release of Volume 2, A Garden Eastward, the volume focusing on Sephardic and Middle Eastern traditions. (Volume 1 is a sampler of the Archive’s offerings.) With so many Seattle Jews who trace their Jewish heritage to more free-spirited may find the tradition off-putting, if not just a bit too Jersey girl for their tastes. But here’s a guarantee. Your kids (at least the ones younger than Bat Mitzvah age) are going to love it. Especially your daughters. Just don’t let the schmaltz get you. Available at, CDBaby. com and on iTunes. Free Hanukkah downloads at Sephardic ancestry, JTNews readers will want to explore these classics. Of special note in A Garden Eastward: The graceful performances by the all-male choir of New York’s Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel, where Rabbi Chaim Angel presides, and his father, Seattle native Rabbi Marc Angel, is rabbi emeritus. Seattle Symphony Conductor Laureate Gerard Schwarz serves on the Milken Archive’s editorial board.

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project, the venture has evolved into an all-digital information source, now known as “Milken Archive of Jewish Music: the American Experience.” Still located at, these gatherers of Jewish and American musical traditions have begun to release new material solely via the web, instead of issuing multiple hard copies of music and text. Over these two decades, the Milken Archive has gen-


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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

Navigate the ‘gray zone’ of personal medical decisions
maSha riFKiN JointMedia News Service
Perhaps doctor doesn’t know best. In their new book, Your Medical Mind: How To Decide What is Right For You, husbandwife physician team Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband lay the groundwork for making sound medical decisions. None of our choices are completely independent, the authors say; rather, they are influenced by a set of values and history. Understanding what makes us tick is vital in making the correct medical decisions for ourselves. “We’re all just flooded with information about health and conflicting advice from experts,” says Groopman, an oncologist and chief of experimental medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who writes on medicine and biology for The New Yorker. “We wanted to write the book to give people the framework, the tools to make the best choice for themselves.” The authors offer four main categories that people tend to fall into when it comes to medical bias. The first is technology orientation (people who believe that the best treatments lie in cutting-edge research or new procedures) versus naturalism orientation (people who feel that the body can heal itself if supplemented by herbs and other natural products). There are also the maximalists (who believe the more treatment the better) versus the minimalists (who say less is more). Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, emphasizes, “doctors as well as patients have these mindsets.” So, if a doctor is a maximalist, they may be prone to recommending more treatment than necessary. In order to assess your own — and your doctor’s — biases, the authors recommend that you inform yourself and build your “health literacy.” “What does it really mean to be informed?” they write. “It means knowing the numbers about a particular medication or procedure, its likely benefits and side effects, but it also means being alert to how the presentation of these numbers can confuse or mislead you.” To illustrate their point, the authors present the case of Susan, a generally healthy woman who discovered she had high cholesterol. Her doctors recommended she take a statin, a very common drug, but Susan — a minimalist and naturalist — decided to do her research first. After speaking to a friend, Susan discovered that statins could have a side effect of muscle pain. When she voiced this concern to her doctor, he emphasized that that side effect seemed relatively insignificant compared to the 30 percent reduction in risk for heart attack over the next 10 years if she were to take the drug. Susan returned to her research, went online and calculated that given her age, cholesterol number, and lifestyle, her risk for having a heart attack in the next 10 years was only 1 percent. She decided not to take the drug. Susan’s process, the authors describe, is reflective of a few key ways to get informed. The number one factor influencing preference is stories we hear of people in similar situations. The authors caution that these stories also have the potential to distort our vision “by making the rare appear routine.” Today, many of the stories we hear come from the Internet. According to Hartzband, the availability of these stories can be beneficial, but also misleading. “The Internet has lots of excellent information, and there’s also a lot of misinformation,” she says. “You have to figure out how that information applies to you.” Armed with this information, the authors argue, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision. “Anyone can do this,” says Groopman, “even someone who’s not good at it. Start with ‘What will happen to me if I have no treatment?’” A final component the authors note is the “focusing illusion,” our tendency to
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Doctors Jerome Groopman and Pamela hartzband.

Finally, there are the believers and the doubters. Believers have faith that a solution for their problem exists, whereas doubters view all treatment options with skepticism. Some of us are risk averse, while others are more prone to taking risks. While doubters tend to be risk averse, naturalists can be maximalists (think of that friend that takes every herbal tea and vitamin known to man). The categories aren’t necessarily linear, but it is important to understand which we fall into in order to gain more clarity and control over our decision making. Hartzband, an endocrinologist at Beth

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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


W MeDIcal MIND PaGe 18

W DVD reVIeWs PaGe 5

focus on how one part in our life would be affected by a particular side effect of a treatment. In doing that, we fail to see how adaptive we can be to living without perfect health, Groopman argues. Various models now ask people to place a value on different aspects of health such as sight or sexual potency. However, Groopman says it is nearly impossible for a healthy person to really imagine what life would be like without those things, so placing a value on them is irrelevant.

A Matter of Size (2009, Israel) Directed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon Menemsha Films This film closed last year’s Jewish Film Festival, and it got the top billing for good reason. It was hilarious! Herzl is overweight, he can’t commit to his girlfriend, he can’t find a decent job, and his mother (who he lives with) is sick of him. He can’t even get respect in his diet group.

But then he gets a job as a busboy at a Japanese restaurant, and all of a sudden things start looking up. Rather than lose weight, Herzl is encouraged to gain — because his new employer finally relents and allows him to train to become a sumo wrestler. From there begins the workout adventure of a lifetime, and the path to happiness as Herzl finally gains confidence in himself, with of course a few stumbles along the way. As our regular film reviewer Michael Fox wrote last year about the cast, “One of the pleasures of A

Matter of Size is watching good actors who don’t fit the leading-man model and likely aren’t offered such meaty roles very often. For viewers fed a steady diet of Hollywood movies, it’s downright bracing to hang out with characters who aren’t drop-dead, blow-dry gorgeous.” A Matter of Size is available on DVD on Dec. 6 at If you preorder you’ll even get a free stress ball.

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Care Givers
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Hills of Eternity Cemetery Owned and operated by Temple De Hirsch Sinai 206-323-8486 Serving the greater Seattle Jewish community. Jewish cemetery open to all pre-need and at-need services. Affordable rates • Planning assistance. Queen Anne, Seattle

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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

the politics of grief
rabbi rachel eSSermaN The vestal, NY reporter
Who owns a public memorial? How should a nation decide which symbol will express its grief? Should the families of the dead receive special consideration? Does the intent of the artist matter or the work alone? These are only a few of the questions raised in Amy Waldman’s absorbing first novel, The Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which envisions an America looking to commemorate those killed in a 9/11-style attack. The memorial selection process is an anonymous one, yet the winner proves controversial: The chosen design was submitted by a Muslim. What need is there for a memorial? The head of the selection committee notes several commercial and political reasons for having a concrete symbol. For example, “the developer who controlled the site wanted to re-monetize it and needed a memorial to do so, since Americans seemed unlikely to accept the maximization of the office space as the most eloquent rejoinder to terrorism.” Yet the emotional needs of the population also had to be taken into consideration as they affect the political climate of the times: “The longer the space stayed clear, the more it became a symbol of defeat, of surrender, something for ‘them,’ whoever they were, to mock.” Something is needed to fill the space so the public can either heal or, at a minimum, move on. Yet, it’s not its discussion of politics that makes The Submission such interesting reading, but the personal perspectives offered by its characters. Waldman creates a group of fascinating, realistic people who are forced to look at their lives and prejudices during the course of a very public and emotional debate. Her complex studies show how public opinion can affect people’s personal desires and thoughts, leaving them wondering what path they should follow. Among the many characters are: • Paul Rubin, the grandson of a Russian Jewish immigrant. The retired banker sees his chairmanship of the memorial committee as a first step into a life of public service. • Mohammad (Mo) Khan, a non-practicing Muslim architect who refuses to defend or disguise his heritage. • Claire Burwell, who became a single parent when her husband Cal died in the attack. At first a defender of the memorial, she starts to second guess her decision when Khan refuses to explain his design choices. • Sean Gallagher, whose brother died in the attack and who looks to redeem himself in his parents’ eyes by opposing the memorial. • Asma Haque, an illegal immigrant whose husband also died in the attack and who seeks to remain in the U.S. for the sake of her infant son. • Alyssa Spier, a reporter who’s always looking for the big story, whether or not its revelations will destroy other people’s lives. All of these people find themselves being forced to view the world in shades of gray, even as they search for black-andwhite answers, those easy answers that no longer exist in contemporary times. The Submission also looks at how the process of assimilation into American culture has changed. One conversation between Rubin and Khan shows the shift in thought between generations. Rubin notes that “my grandfather — he was Rubinsky, then my grandfather comes to America and suddenly he’s Rubin. What’s in a name? Nothing, everything. We all self-improve, change with the times.” Khan, on the other hand, feels he should be accepted as is, suggesting that “not everyone is prepared to remake themselves to rise in America.” Do people need to change and assimilate in order to be accepted? While many of those who arrived in the U.S. during the 20th century did so without thought, the Muslims in Waldman’s novel feel they can be fully American and fully Muslim at the same time. Waldman’s greatest success is making readers understand the thought processes of all her characters. She does this by showing their strengths and their weaknesses in a way that makes it easy to empathize with them. Readers may find themselves agreeing with first one point of view and then another as each side of the debate is eloquently portrayed. The Submission is an impressive work, offering readers a view of an America searching to define itself in the 21st century.

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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


W chIlDreNs’ books PaGe 8

friend. Unable to speak out or be listened to, she cannot save her from destruction. Years later, as a young wife haunted by Devory, she understands what she had seen and eventually finds courage to break through the earlier silence forced upon her by the community she trusted. The author, whose pen name was unpronounceable by the Third Place Books clerk I asked for

help in locating the book, is truly a woman of valor for making clear that walls built to keep out the cold, terrifying world can also make people forget that the greatest enemies always grow from within. Let her speak for herself: “This is for all the children—past and present—who still suffer. I have used a fictitious name, Yushive, for the main sect in Hush. I did this because I refuse to point a finger at one group, when the crime was endemic

to all.” Sarah Darer Littman’s honor book, Life, After, was of particular interest to me since I have family in Buenos Aires. Dani’s life, before, exploded when the terrorist attack on the AMIA building in 1994 killed her aunt and her unborn child. That insecurity expanded exponentially as the terrible economic crisis of 2001 destroyed the middle class and her family’s future in Argentina. The story follows teenaged

Dani and her family as they decide to emigrate and deal with making a new life in New York. The final teen honor book, Once, by Morris Gleitzman was reviewed in an earlier column on Holocaust books. Read it first, before its sequel, Then, now available. I recommend both books, and their depiction of innocence and evil, with the author’s own words, “This story is my imagination trying to grasp the unimaginable.”

november 18, 2011

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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

W book brIefs PaGe 7

Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself, by Julie Klam (Penguin, cloth, $21.95). Klam has already written one dog-oriented memoir, continuing here with the rescue of Morris the pit bull, found chained to a fence and abandoned in their not-sosavory New York neighborhood. We also learn of her rescued and wacky Boston terriers, her trip to New Orleans to rescue dogs abandoned in the aftermath of Katrina, and how caring for animals helps her and her family put their own problems in perspective. Klam can laugh at herself, and we get to laugh along with her. The Smartest Woman I Know, by Ilene Beckerman (Algonquin, cloth, $15.95). This whimsical, appealing memoir of the author’s grandparents focuses on Beckerman’s grandmother, Ettie Goldberg, a

tough and blunt immigrant with a barely communicative husband. The grandparents eked out a living from their tiny stationery store on New York’s Madison Avenue, and raised their granddaughters, whose mother had died and father had abandoned them. With short chapters and funny illustrations, the author shares memories and lessons from her unconventional childhood. History The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England from Cromwell to Churchill, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (Encounter, cloth, $23.95). “And everybody hates the Jews,” goes the punch line to Tom Lehrer’s 1968 song, “National Brotherhood Week.” Professor Himmelfarb

(emeritus, City University of New York) has grown tired of Jewish history focusing on anti-Semitism and reminds us here that Jews have had supporters, too. In this entertaining and enlightening read, she covers English thinkers who wrote and spoke favorably of Jews in the centuries after Jewish repatriation to the British Isles in 1655, among them Newton, Locke, Smith and Churchill. Rasputin and the Jews: A Reversal of History, by Delin Colón (independent, paper, $15 at Amazon). As the infamous adviser to Tsar Nicholas II, Rasputin’s perceived main fault may have been his belief in human equality, including for the Jews, and his anti-war stance. These views were reviled by the Russian aristocracy in a time of warmongering and feverish

anti-Semitism. As for Rasputin’s prophetic powers, Colón writes, “it does not take a psychic to foresee that the extreme oppression of a large population will…lead to agitation and revolution.” This book becomes a short course on revolutionary Russian history and gets gold stars as an example of a wellproduced self-published book. Poetry Lakol Z’man: A Time for Everything, by Yossi Huttler (independent, contact the author at This little book of short, free-verse poems reflect on the Jewish holiday and liturgical cycle. Many are prayer-like and will enhance the holiday experience. For example, Elijah is a “herald in whose silence/I strain to hear/divine tidings.” The detailed glossary is welcome as Huttler shares his feelings about all major and minor holidays.

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Tony Bennet at the Paramount, 8pm

TONY Saturday, December 17 KLEZMATICS WOODY Monday, December 26

Thursday, December 22 Klezmatics at the Neptune, 8pm Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Paramount, 7:30pm

Win a pair of tickets to see any or all of them! Here’s how: (1) LIKE US on Facebook at either /jtnews or /jewishdotcom and (2) in separate posts, write TONY, KLEZMATICS, OR WOODY on our wall. We’ll draw winners at random and post their names December 9 on our Facebook pages.

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friday, november 18, 2011 . . Jtnews

eats, reads and arts


finding a garden — and a bestseller
vicKi cabot Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
It began with a story. A bit of family lore that lured a bright, young writer on a quest to find out more, and then, as can sometimes happen to very lucky, and very good, first-time authors, to find a story that begat a story and then another and then another and lo and behold, a book. And not just any book, but one that has snared the attention of the book world, snagging huzzahs from critics in such high places as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. So Brook Wilensky-Lanford tells it, as she chats about her recently released Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, $25 hardcover), which maps the journeys of a parade of paradise seekers looking to locate the earthly garden. “A little kernel got the wheels turning,” she explains from her Jersey City, N.J., condo where she lives with boyfriend Gianmarco Leoncavallo and their two rescued cats, Garlic and Saison, “and I began pulling on the thread.” The intriguing kernel was a story, as Wilensky-Lanford relates in the book’s prologue, that her great-uncle, William Sherman, an upper East Side Manhattan allergist at Columbia University’s Medical Center, where his father, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, had discovered the structure of vitamin B1, had had a penchant for paradise and sometime in the 1950s hatched a plan to go find it. Alas, she later learned from William’s daughter, Phoebe, the plan was never realized, but it was enough to fire up Wilensky-Lanford’s imagination and inspire her search. She takes readers along with her from the North Pole to outer Mongolia to Mesopotamia with stops closer to home in places such as Ohio, Missouri and Florida. She relates the well-researched tales of the seekers, beginning with greatuncle William, with a light, often whimsical touch, probing the appeal of the biblical Eden for each and the particular theory of its location. Each pursuit begins with the same passage in Genesis 2:10-14 that puts Eden on the biblical map — “A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches” — but often ends in an entirely different geographic place. “The Bible sounds positively nonchalant: If you can pinpoint the four rivers, you can locate paradise,” writes Wilensky-Lanford. But, she observes, of the four rivers mentioned, only two, the Tigris and the Euphrates, can be found; it’s uncertain as to where the others, the Pishon and Gihon, are or were. Yet even more intriguing than the pursuits of William F. Warren, a Methodist minister and the first president of Boston University or German Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch or Chinese revolutionary, businessman and journalist Tse Tsan Tai, each of whom warrants a chapter in the book along with others, is the philosophical scaffolding on which Wilensky-Lanford hangs the entire enterprise. Beginning with greatuncle William, Wilensky-Lanford probes the tension between religion and science that underscores each of the stories and the potent implications of their mix. She uses her quirky cast of characters to frame a discussion of biblical literalism, delving into the conflict between evolutionists and biblical creationists that still rages, and to make a case for biblical criticism and its multivocality. “I do not believe that there is any one interpretation of any part of the Bible,” says Wilensky-Lanford. “There are so many translation systems and not every one is as good as every other one. I wanted to line up a whole lot of different stories and show that there are a lot of serious people who went about it in a different way.” Wilensky-Lanford’s intellectual gravitas really surfaces toward the end of the book where she maps Eden’s — and the Bible’s — place in the current political firmament. Relating the story of science education professor Lee Meadows, who has spent his career trying to reconcile his deep Christian faith with science; visiting the multimillion-dollar Creation Museum in northern Kentucky; and tracking the Mormon migration and search for paradise on earth, Wilensky-Lanford establishes both the immensity of her inquiry and its relevance in today’s world. Wilensky-Lanford comes by her interests — and her accomplishments — by way of a degree in religion and theater from Wesleyan University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She’s carved out a niche writing literary essays for Huffington Post, Salon, Triple Canopy, Killing the Buddha and other outlets, working on the side as a freelance copy editor. Growing up in Maine, literally, says Wilensky-Lanford, in the children’s bookstore owned by her mother, Sheila Wilensky, a former social studies teacher and now assistant editor of the Arizona Jewish Post in Tucson, imbued her with a love of stories, a fascination with history and an abiding idealism, absent any particular religious grounding. Her mother, justly proud of both her daughter’s and her son’s successes (Ethan Wilensky-Lanford is also a writer), says her children’s involvement in the world of ideas is cause for hope. “I’m about changing the world, all about changing ourselves,” she says. “I have great faith in them and people like them.”

W oy-oy 7 PaGe 24

“And maybe served with a little kasha varnishkes,” said Weinstein, when I asked what his character might like to have as a nosh with it. Like 007, Weinstein’s Oy-Oy-7 has a license to kill, but when he is attacked by a bear in his hotel room, he is reluctant to use it. He only has his milchig knife with him and does not want to mess up his kashrut. But his most dangerous weapon is his wit, or at least half of it; the puns and oneliners he flings with far deadlier aim than when Oddjob tosses his derby. (That’s a “Goldfinger” reference, kids. Look it up). I asked Weinstein, now in his 80s and living in New Zealand, and who wrote jokes in Hollywood for Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., to explain his incorrigible punning. “I’m a paronomasiac,” he answered, which he defines as a person addicted to

wordplay and puns. Even the book’s femme fatale, always a key element in a Bond tale, does not escape his pen. “If Ian Fleming can have a character named Pussy Galore, I can call my character Poontang Plenty,” Weinstein reasoned. In fact, in contrast to the Jewish sexual neuroticisms of Philip Roth novels, Weinstein’s Bond is a bold, self-assured, wisecracking Jew — “quite a hunk of man,” even if Weinstein has him hailing from “the Land of Milk and Magnesia.” As to why to reprint the books now? “I want to make a few bucks,” said Weinstein, whose reply this time seemed to come from a man for once playing it straight. Plus, “I want to spread a few laughs around, and some Jewish feeling.”
All four Oy-Oy-7 books are available at in paperback, or at as a Kindle e-book or as a Barnes & Noble Nook e-book.

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eats, reads and arts

Jtnews . . friday, november 18, 2011

license to kvell: the return of oy-oy-7
LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Have I got a secret agent for you! When Hamas is smuggling missiles, and Iranians are building A-bombs deep underground, to whom can Israel turn? 007? No way. He’s too busy playing baccarat or keeping the world from being fried by space lasers. He hasn’t time for the Middle East. But Israeli secret agent Israel Bond, code named Oy-Oy-7? Now he’s the man to call, or was, when author Sol Weinstein first created him in the 1960s. With the recent reissue by About Comics of Weinstein’s four novels parodying the works of Ian Fleming, we can discover if Bond — that is, Israel Bond — can again rise to the occasion and save the day. Originally published in 1965, the books feature the yiddishe derring-do of an Israeli secret agent whose cover is as a salesman for Mother Margoles’ Old World Chicken Soup. Looking at them now, the titles seem much like a precursor to the bubbling over of American Jewish pride that would follow the Six-Day War in 1967. According to Weinstein, the four books — Loxfinger, Matzohball, On the Secret Service of His Majesty, the Queen and You Only Live Until You Die — were reported

edmoN J. rodmaN

Weinstein feels it was lower. “Certainly a few hundred thousand,” he said. “I was wallowing in total obscurity, and now I was a semi-unknown.” Before the publication of the books, Weinstein was a writer for The Trentonian, a New Jersey daily. Loxfinger, the first title in the series, originally appeared in condensed version in Playboy magazine. It imagined a Jewish secret agent fighting evil in a world where swimming pools are filled with chicken soup and the Israeli

to have sold a million copies. Looking back at that figure now,

spy headquarters is shaped like the giant can from which the soup might have been poured. It’s such a Jewish world, the praying mantises come with their own prayer shawls and poison darts are shot from mezuzahs. The book is unadulterated Jewish slapstick, a world away from the sober Federal District of Sitka, Alaska created by Michael Chabon in The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. In the 1960s, I remember seeing one of the titles, Matzohball, on my parent’s nightstand. Having just seen Thunderball, I felt in on the Jewish joke: Israel Bond was our secret agent, saving Israel from destruction in a quick-reading cartoonish plot. Now, more than 40 years later, with the

battle for Israel’s security front-page news and Jewish humor 10 notches broader than the Borscht Belt, are the books still good for the Jews? Hitting the market when 1960s-themed shows like “Pan Am” and “Mad Men” are drawing an audience, I wonder if Loxfinger would work now as a touch of Jewish retro, a test of how yesterday’s Jewish sensibilities would play today. As I read Loxfinger, I saw how Weinstein’s hero still successfully played off of Fleming’s tall, suave and murderously gentile James Bond. Everyone, including the original Bond’s archenemies, know that he likes his vodka martini shaken, not stirred. Israel Bond, we soon discover, prefers egg creams — and not just any old way. “The seltzer should be cold enough to stand on its own with a 3.5 ratio of pinpoint carbonation,” says Bond (Israel Bond). “A fourth of the glass should be filled with Walker Gordon non-pasteurized milk,” he continues. “Only Fox’s U-Bet syrup should be used…mixed delicately with an 1847 Rogers Brothers spoon, dairy silver of course.” Of course.
X PaGe 23

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