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The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
by Bruce Feiler
Edition: Hardcover
308 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking Through The Countries of Illness and Family, April 30, 2010
Feiler is known among readers and PBS viewers for his walks through the Middle East and the Bible. He has also profiled Nashville, Japan, and other locations. The father of twin pre-schoolers, he was pitching a new project, one in which he would walk though the locations of American History over the next decade, when a routine blood test showed that he had a fast growing cancer in his body. It was an osteogenic sarcoma, the same ilness to which Ted Kennedy, Jr. lost his leg decades ago. Eerily, or perhaps not, it was in the same spot of his femur that he injured as a young child. That earlier accident forced the young Georgian to stay in bed in a body cast (the family held their Passover seder in his bedroom that year, and hid the Afikomen under his pillow.) He survived that, but what about this?

Like the Bible character, Jacob, of whom Feiler wrote, perhaps he would live out the rest of his life with a limp. Like a biblical jubilee year, would spend a year fallow, would he wrestle with cancer just as Jacob battled an angel? Or would he lose the battle and not recover? Given this outlook, he embarked on an effort to find men in his life, men who were not relatives, who could help to nurture his daughters if he lost his battle to the illness, and fill them in on who he was. He worried what his twin daughters' lives would be like without him. He wondered, "Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?" He wrote these men, "I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives,... They'll have loving families. They'll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?" He takes the reader along on this journey through the country of illness, the regions of potential recovery, and the search not for Noah's Ark, but for a council of dads.

The chapters jump back and forth between his cancer journal entries, his search for dads, and in my opinion, most excitingly, the story of his family, his parents, the life of his paternal grandfather, the way his family and friends come together to help out, and the effect he had on the lives of his friends, and they on him. He finds that cancer and illness gives one the excuse, or the mandate, to be wholly honest, bare, and intimate and emotional. The reader benefits from his bare honest story of his battle and search. The are dozens of stories about people who battle illness, but in Feiler's able literary hands, the story is engrossing.

The Enemy I Knew: German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II
The Enemy I Knew: German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II
by Steven Karras
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.18
93 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to the Greatest Generation, November 15, 2009
When I first saw this book, I thought, "This would make a greta documentary film." Then I read the back flap about the author and saw that this book is based on a documentary film he had already made on these men and women. Some of the profiles I found most interesting were those of Siegmund Spiegel (1st Infantry); Jerry Behhofer (938 FAB); Ms Adelyn Bonin (502 Mechanized Ambulance Corps ATS); Eric Hamberg (84th CMB); Bernard Friedberg (8th Air Force); Fritz Weinstein (293rd JSAC); Peter (Tischler) Terry (3 Troop 10 Commando in Normandy); William Hartenstein (505 Parachute, 82nd Airborne); Karl (Goldschmidt) Goldsmith (142nd Interrogation of POW group); Henry Kissinger (335th Infantry regiment, 84th Inf Div, G2 Intelligence); John Stern (100th Inf); Ralph (Rudolph) Baer (Intelligence); and Bernard Baum (66th Inf).
Karras interviewed 200 veterans for the film, but chose these few to represent everyone. SPeaking of Kissinger, ... when Karras interviewed Henry Kissinger for the book in Kissinger's Park Avenue office, it was the same week the Christopher Hitchens wrote a scathing attack against Kissinger. It helps you put events into perspective.

Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie's Adventures in Love, Loss, and the Lotus Position
Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie's Adventures in Love, Loss, and the Lotus Position
by Lisa Grunberger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.05
75 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A humorous read about overcoming grief through enlightened exercise and activity, October 23, 2009
The page format remined me of "Haikus for Jews," with a few short paragraphs per page or two, and then on to the next topic. It makes for an easy read, and let's you jump in and jump own when time permits to cotinue the story. The author of this slim book takes yoga concepts and translates them into the fictional mind of a Jewish widowed woman who is 72.

It is a well meaning book and includes a glossary of Yiddish terms followed by a glossary of yoga terms. The author is the daughter of an Israeli mother and Austrian Jewish father and she grew up on Long Island. Her character, Ruthie, was red haired, big bosomed and svelte. She is recently widowed and feisty yet depressed. Her granddaughter has purchased a year of yoga classes for her. Will Ruthie use it to overcome grief and learn to embrace the present?

With each new yoga lesson, Ruthie translates the yoga concept into a culturally Jewish idea. But, I must admit, at first, I found the language unnatural. It is as if someone throws the word matzo ball and kvetch into a sentence and thinks it will be funny and Jewish. At first I could not connect with the story and book, just as Ruthie could not connect with yoga. For example, after her first yoga class, Ruthie says that she hasn't moved like that since she LOIFED to a Loehmann's 50% off red tag sale. After sitten zazen Indian style with crossed legs she wishes for a Percodan. Um.. I think that unless you grew up watching comics in the Catskills, the jokes are not initially going to work for you.

Her teacher is a nudnik named Sat Yam, formerly Sam Lupinsky. Instead of wearing a yoga thong, she wears a blue and white velour sweat suit from Macy's that she and her late husband bought for their trip to Israel. Ruthie remembers Kapala (skull) cuz it sounds like keppeleh (little head). She joins her index finger and thumb (or ego and Brahmin unity) and tries to be humble. Yet she is not so humble when a substitute yoga teacher arrives 20 minutes late, and instead of apologizing, the sub teacher merely says it is a test of student patience. As you can see, the story grows on you with each chapter.

Ruthie relates asana to yahrzeit candles, and a vriksasana tree to an apple tree in the Fall of the Jewish holidays. During camel pose ustrasana she thinks of the Negev. For Garudasana, she things of a twisted braided challah. As the year progresses, we wonder if she will accept her husband's death, empty his closet, open herself to meeting other men for friendships, or even make peace with her estranged sister. A unique read that put yoga into an understandable perspective

The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army
The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army
by Greg Jaffe
Edition: Hardcover
114 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for The Fourth Star, October 22, 2009
From the first page, you are drawn into this book, unlike any others I have read on the military. We are introduced to four men in their early Army careers. Who is the common man of the people, and who is driven by ambition? Who will get a PhD and who will get stuck with a drugged out platoon in Germany? The stories are detailed and rich in information. You will get an ulcer when you read that in post 9/11, before the war in Iraq, the military trained its soldiers based on Soviet Army tactics, and not in counter insurgeny. Soon enough, as the chapters continue, you will find yourself playing a game with four real life toy soldiers who will be thrown into the frying pan that is called Iraq. Who will survive and get promoted? Who will succeed, and who will be the square peg in a transformed round hole that is the new military? It is a must read for anyone who wants to know the current and future state of the military

New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story
by April Halprin Wayland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.75
58 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watercolors match perfectly to the water-centered tradition, September 15, 2009
April Halprin Wayland has run a marathon, traveled Europe via backpack, worked on a kibbutz, managed a walnut farm, student at UC Davis, played the fiddle, been a corporate exec and even been a nanny to a celebrity. She has had a lot of experiences, and one of them is to see Tashlich in Manhattan Beach in Southern California. Here is a story based on this experience. The story open with Izzy's mother and sister making a list of things for which they are sorry. Izzy, with carrot colored hair thinks of 3 things. Now he must approach those three or four that he has wronged and ask for forgiveness. He asks his sister to forgive him for drawing on her face as she slept. No prob. He asks his mother to forgive him for losing her ring. Both mom and sis are also sorry for ignoring him or calling him a Big Snot. As the story continues, the family arrives at the pier with a guitarist and Rabbi Neil It is time for Tashlich, a time to symbolically dispose of past errors in moving water. They blow a shofar, sing, and throw bread crumbs into the Pacific. Izzy, the fish and the seagulls all love Tashlich. But wait. It isn't over. Izzy must approach his friend Ben and ask for forgiveness for error number 4...

Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story
Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story
by Eric A. Kimmel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.86
47 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the rabbi and finding the holiday meaning, September 15, 2009
Prolific children's author, Kimmel, scores another winner with this story that is based on a story by I. L. Peretz (1852-1915), titled "Oyb Nit Nogh Hekher", or "If Not Higher." In the original story, the miracle is that there are no miracles. You can save the world simply by being kind to others. In Kimmel's retelling of the story, we find ourselves in the colorful, simple country village of Nemirov. No one could find the rabbi, not among the hens, the homes, the pushcarts, or the shul before Rosh Hashanah. The villagers are convinced that their rabbi goes to heaven. It is Rosh Hashanh when God open the Book of Life. Obviously, the rabbi goes to heaven to plead the case of forgiveness for the villagers before God. Well, it so happens that a Litvak came to town. A religious man, of course, but a skeptic, since he was a Litvak. (note: Litvaks are from Lithuania. Nemirov is in the Ukraine today, and was the birthplace of Reb Noson the disciple of Nahman and Bratslav, and at one time, part of the Austro Hungarian empire, but i digress) He will prove the villagers wrong. He will follow the rabbi in secret and see where he disappears to. He follows the rabbi. The rabbi dresses as a peasant and heads to the forest. He cuts a load of wood and heads to the village to give it to an old, sickly woman. He poses as Vasilly the wood cutter. He gets this sickly woman to live life. Ah ha... the Litvak realized, the rabbi did go to heaven,... or maybe even higher

Rosh Hashanah: A Family Service (Fall Holiday Services)
Rosh Hashanah: A Family Service (Fall Holiday Services)
by Judith Z. Abrams
Edition: Paperback
Price: $4.31
39 used & new from $0.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tefillah, Teshuva, & Tzedakah.... for the 4 - 8 yr old set, September 15, 2009
32 pages of well thought out responsive readings, prayers, songs and activities. "shInclude 2 pages of sheet music. One for the "Shofar Song," and another for "Turning." There are four home and school activities , plus another for Tashlich. It opens from the left, like an English book. The first two pages introduce the ideas of Tefilah, Teshuvah, and Tzdeakah: Prayer, repentance, and justice/charity. It reinforces prayer, making up for our mistakes, and sharing. The next section is Tefillah. The cooncept of prayer, or talking to God is introduced. The there are some quick one sentence prayers in Hebrew, transliteration and English translation, such as Barechu, Yotzer Or, Ahavah Rabbah, the Shema, V'Ahavta, Avot, Avinu Malkenu, the Kohanim Blessings, and Blowing the Shofar. In the section on Teshuvah. A child is told that they should imagine that they have 10 days to fix the "mean" deeds they have done in the past year, deeds that were written in a notebook. You can celebrate your "kind" deeds, sing two songs, and then the shofar is blown. A one page section follows. It is about sharing, being friendly, honoring our parents, being a friend. Tzedakah. A Torah Service follows, with a few sentences from Genesis, and Aliyah, and Etz Chaim. The section finishes with the shfar and tekiah gedolah. There is also a two page Tashlich service.

Applesauce Season
Applesauce Season
by Eden Ross Lipson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.61
100 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet recipe for family fun, September 14, 2009
This review is from: Applesauce Season (Hardcover)
What a great lasting posthumous tribute to Ms. Lipson, the book's author. The family works together to make its annual batch of apple sauce in the city. A bespeckled boy heads to the farmers' market to get various types of apples. He helps his grandmother and family make the sauce. His mother cuts the apples in quarters, his grandmother in sixths, and thus traditions are passed down. The book includes a great recipe at the end, and the boy wonders if he will like sauce or pie when he grows older. Now, where can I get some winesaps and jonagolds and a food grinder?

Sugar Would Not Eat It
Sugar Would Not Eat It
by Emily Jenkins
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purr fectly sweet, September 14, 2009
This review is from: Sugar Would Not Eat It (Hardcover)
I am addicted to this book as some are addicted to sugar and butter creme frosting and roses. A young boy finds a lost kitten the day after his birthday party and tries to convince it to eat the last piece of his birthday cake. His intentions are noble. He names the feline, Sugar. Sugar's expressions are fantastic and impressively demure. The young boy's attempts to convince sugar to eat are delightful and similar to the phrases any parent has used to convince his or her child to eat. Look closely... mom peaks into a scene and gives a knowing glance. Finally, Sugar eats what it best for it. (do you like the cute Hellman's jar on the counter?)

Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today's Entrepreneur
Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today's Entrepreneur
by Noah Alper
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.46
74 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Business, no, actually, it is Life Advice with a Schmear, September 14, 2009
After a year of reading about business failures, it is refreshing to see how a mensch runs a business. We all have stories, perhaps, of how Noah's Bagels shops were more than just appetizing stores, but community center and life family. Now here is the story behind the stores, and a scoop of advice, too. Mr. Alper was the founder of "Bread and Circus," a natural foods grocery which was later sold to Whole Foods. More famously, he founded Noah's Bagels in 1989/ Nearly 7 yrs later, he and his partners sold it for $100 Million, at the apex of the carb market. A serial entrepreneur with perpetual perma-shpielkas, he has started six ventures, and four succeeded. This is a great track record. Alper's chain integrated over the top customer service, high quality foods, tikkun olam, and an overt and unapologetic Jewish soul. He was one lucky mensch.

The book opens with Alper waiting to see if the $100 million dollar deal is closed. Has the money been transferred? He thinks back, as all good business books do, to a time of personal crisis. Two decades earlier, he was in a mental hospital for nine months. He was a wreck, manic, paranoid and delusional. But he actually learned a lot at this hospital, and is a example of how a mental issue is not the end of the world. Slowly, he reentered life. He started in a book warehouse, then became a cashier in Harvard Square, and then started his first venture. Each success led to a new venture, and failures led to learning.

Alper imparts seven Noahide laws, or Noah's 7 principles. They are:

(1) Have a Little Chutzpah: How did a former mental patient end up as an entrepreneur? What life skills did he learn? You need chutzpah to think that people will give you money to start a business. You need it to call a small wooden salad bowl company Alper "INTERNATIONAL." You realize that if you have no ego, you cannot succeed.

(2) Discover Yourself: Stop living for somebody else's plan. Discover your own unique passion and gift and have a purpose in your life. Alper imparts the story of Rabbi Zusia. Maybe he heard it at Pardes in Jerusalem where he studied. God does not ask the Rabbi Zusia in heaven why he was not Abraham or Moses, but why he was not Zusia. It is never too late. At age 38, Alper, divorced, found a new direction and passion in his life.

(3) Go Forth - Lech Lecha. Be ready willing and able to move at opportunity, to grow and progress. He tells of the rabbi who wore two watches. One showed that it was late, the other that one still has time. Only training, experience and intuition can tell you, though, when you need to jump at the opportunity, or study the issue more in order to avoid an error.

(4) It Takes a Shtetl - No one does it alone. Even Noah's Bagels had it assocates, advisors, brothers, venture investors, and customers. Where do u find advice, how do you rely on your employees, how do you work with partners?

(5) The Power of a Mensch - You don't have to be Mad Men, cold, and nasty to succeed. Without a menschy soul, how are you going to earn customer and employee loyalty

(6) Come Back Stronger - nearly ALL new businesses fail. Learn to springboard from it, and

(7) Remember the Sabbath - take time for yourself. 24/6 instead of 24/7. Hard work is vital, but so is a day off, or even at least a scheduled power walk for 30 minutes.

A tasty treat in the realm of business books.

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