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Book of Legends/Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash
Book of Legends/Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash
by Hayyim Nahman Bialik
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $44.64
51 used & new from $39.24

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like all Torah commentary, study this with a Rabbi, December 18, 2010
This is a marvelous reference book -- a must have, for the deliberate Torah student. I do not encourage the reader to form conclusions about the lessons and meanings of these legends and oral traditions without a student-teacher relationship with a Rabbi who is well versed in this matieral, most likely an Orhodox Rabbi. In other words, study this information with someone more knowledgeable to prevent misunderstandings. There are many terms of art and Jewish concepts that might be misunderstood by the non-Jewish reader.


Tiberius Julius Alexander: A Historical Novel
Tiberius Julius Alexander: A Historical Novel
by Daniel M. Friedenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.80
30 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good summary of 1st Century Roman Palestine, November 18, 2010
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I give this short novel top marks for what must have been a daunting task by the author, Mr. Friedenberg. What is known about Tiberius Julius Alexander, an Egyptian Jew who rose to high rank in the Roman army during the 1st century is not much more that that -- a name, a place of birth, and him being Roman general. What made this 200 or so page historical novel plausible was how the author got so many details of the period correct, especially the Roman military and political narrative. The Roman legions are where they're supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to do, for example. He seemed to favor Josephus Flavius' version of things for the Jerusalem-specific events more than the Jewish (Talmud or Midrashim) texts, but all-in-all an entertaining read for me. I liked the pace and the book's ending. It seemed very fitting.


My Colouring Book
My Colouring Book
Price: $9.99
65 used & new from $0.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, and, let's hope there's another..., June 8, 2008
This review is from: My Colouring Book (Audio CD)
When you're in the mood for some golden oldies sung with one of the best voices ever, this album is on the short list. Agnetha remains an extraordinary singer.

The narrative of Agnetha Faltsog's life is such a bittersweet story. Not as sad as, say, a Judy Garland or Greta Garbo. Maybe she just wanted to be a singer but it became to unsafe or too complicated (phobias, etc.) after ABBA. Maybe the world became too unsafe, remembering the violence in Europe in the 80's. Maybe she just wanted to raise Linda and Christian in a somewhat normal world.

It's such a delight to hear her voice find its wings like some phoenix, flying out the ashes of 17 years of unrequitied love, which seems to be the theme of this album.

Put on the best headphones you have, and savor "Fly Me to the Moon."

I hope, after four years (June '08), this is not her last effort. I'd enjoy another serving of pop clasics -- maybe some duets with Phil Collins.


My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
by Clarence Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
387 used & new from $0.01

14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drop one star for length (short), but otherwise inspiring, October 10, 2007
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An easy read. Remarkable life story from rural poverty. Very inspiring. A very human guy, living Rev. ML King's dream of being judged by his character, not the color of his skin -- except for how liberal democrats, notably Sen. Biden treated him. I wished for more length, and how his life shaped his legal philosophy.


The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy
The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy
by Walid Phares
Edition: Hardcover
89 used & new from $0.01

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading by every self-respecting journalist., August 23, 2007
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The facts will set you free. Well researched. Bluntly honest. A very readable treatment of Islamofacism every self-respecting journalist should read. It is now on my short list of books that correctly shape one's understanding of this century's principal narrative.


America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II): From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom
America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II): From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom
by William J. Bennett
Edition: Hardcover
137 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bibliography alone is worth the price., June 6, 2007
Dr. Bennett has that rare and profoundly deft, encyclopedic grasp of American history. He extracts the most noble and inspiring melody from a cacophony of voices -- newspapers, commentaries, biographical sketches, and personal memory. One cannot be but impressed by the good American has done, and by inference, why we are the last best hope for mankind. Along with Vol. I, it left me with a love for our country, a confidence in our Constitution, and an amazing respect for the blessed wealth engine we have, especially for good when we are at our best.

This is delightfully easy to read, too. I was startled by how fast I read it; I rarely had to re-read a paragraph or page due to flowerily or obtuse style. At the same time, I love a book that sends me to the dictionary a few times.

Hat tip, Dr. Bennett!


The Righteous Men
The Righteous Men
by Sam Bourne
Edition: Hardcover
193 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad effort... entertaining, March 7, 2007
This review is from: The Righteous Men (Hardcover)
I enjoyed THE RIGHTEOUS MEN, for all the Hassidic cultural things the author got right, but one not familiar with Kabbalistic Judaism would miss. Like the DeVinci Code, or The Red Tent -- fictionalizing religious worlds involves arcane vocabulary that requires exposition; necessary narratives that slow the action down. It's tough to pull off, but I think it's done well here. The legend of the 36 Righteous is a good "what if", but the way they were found -- gamatria codes, was a stretch; but hey -- it was a stretch consistent with the context. All-in-all, an entertaining read that highlights the joy and kindness within the Crown Heights world.


The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians
The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians
by I. B. Pranaitis
Edition: Paperback

29 of 92 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is what happens when you do not study Talmud face-to-face with a Rabbi (Chacham), January 19, 2007
This book is a perfect example of what happens when a non-Torah Hebrew educated person reads a Torah Hebrew text. The careful student would also discover that a Righteous Gentile (Ben Noach) who studies and performs their commandments (The 7 Laws of Noah), is, figuratively, more spiritually elevated than a (Jewish) High Priest, who failed to study and perform his commandments (paraphrased). So this notion of some spiritual apartheid is silliness.

There are so many differences in meanings between, say, orthodox Christianity's definitions of common biblical terms -- such as sin, righteousness, sacrifice, offering, repentance, etc., and Torah Hebrew, differences that misunderstandings are unavoidable, ESPECIALLY in the Talmud. And since orthodox Jewish scholars would unlikely familiarize themselves with Christian texts, the well-meaning Jewish Talmud teacher will fail, when he tries to teach. The Christian brings a different dictionary to the conversation. It's exasperating! Therefore, the non-Jewish student will discover these important differences only by face-to-face questions and answers. I know this personally, as a gentile student (Christian heritage) having studied face-to-face for nearly 20 years.

Suffice it to say, the arguments in the gamara (explanation), about the mishnah (law) under examination speak to type, status, and allusion -- but should not necessarily be taken literally; they are often short-hand indicators for more general principles. They cannot be taken literally sometimes, and at othertimes are precisely literal. It is usually the case that a definitive opinion on any single topic will require many citations from several Talmud tractates (books).

The sincere non-Jewish student that seeks an authentic, historical understanding of the Torah should ask a qualified Orthodox Rabbi to first teach him/her the Laws of Noah -- what Abraham taught humanity in his day. Begin there, and then realize quickly that apparently anti-Gentile statements in the Talmud are not what they seem to be, taken out of context.

Please, throw this book in the trash heap. Nothing good will come of it.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2014 3:47 PM PST


Restless: A Novel
Restless: A Novel
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.95
146 used & new from $0.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying read on a number of levels., December 31, 2006
This review is from: Restless: A Novel (Paperback)
Earlier reviewers have provided excellent summaries of plot and character, so I'll not repeat.

RESTLESS satisfied me on a number of levels. What if your mother, Sally, dropped a bombshell on you; that she was in fact, through the revealings of a manuscript, a betrayed British spy gone dark. Her real name is Eva, driven into hiding and a alias life just as the United States enters WWII (1942). What if, to turn the burner up full, Eva tells you her story because her secret is, at the twilight of her life, being exposed; that it must lead to a fight to the death, matching wits and superb spy craft, and you, her daughter (Ruth), must play a part only you can be trusted with.

The premise is novel-worthy. Ruth, the daugher and the first person point-of-view, was a well layered, but a shadow of her fascinating mother (so much like the entire baby boomer generation failed to match the WWII generation's accomplishments).

As always, this author tells a very, very good story.


The Path of the Righteous Gentile: An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah
The Path of the Righteous Gentile: An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah
by Chaim Clorfene
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from $24.76

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But study this with an Orthodox Rabbi anyway, November 7, 2006
The Path of the Righteous Gentile is, no doubt, on the short list of practical, introductory books on universal morality, as handed down from Jewish antiquity, it should only be studied face-to-face with an Orthodox Rabbi. For example, one might think that all thefts, no matter what the value of what is stolen, constitute a capital offense. It's not that simple in practice, given strict rules of evidence, court process, and so on. It is much like the unschooled think the Torah text of "an eye for an eye, etc." codifies lex talonious (retribution); where in fact, it is only for monitary damages, as in "the value of an eye for the value of an eye". In otherwords, the literal text "an eye for an eye" was (and is) never applied literally. The Laws of Noah are full of mitigating circumstances that require contextual explination by an Orthodox Rabbi. The princial problem is the non-jewish reader's theological dictionary is materially different than the Talmudic dictionary for the same terms. If the reader truly wants to understand this book, buy it and present it to an Orthodox Rabbi and ask them to teach it to you, page by page. (They cannot -- well, should not refuse, by the way!) It is their mitzvah to teach these to the Nations.


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