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Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman" RSS Feed (Jerusalem,Israel)
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God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors
God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors
by Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.09
65 used & new from $7.68

5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendously moving book, April 26, 2016
I have been surprised at how moving some of these accounts are. One would think having studied and heard stories of survivors and their descendants so many times one would be immune to being so moved. But each life is a story of its own. I have never particularly liked the Israeli politician Meirav Michaeli but here her devotion to the memory of her grandfather, to the state of Israel and what it has meant to the Jewish people is clearly and strongly expressed. Avi Dichter tells a story about his father and uncle seeing him return from dangerous missions for an Israeli elite unit and were there only memories of Jewish defencelessness , weeping in pride. There are many others whose names I did not know before who tell stories of particular even remarkable dedication and deliverance. Yossi Klein Halevi is another who speaks with passionate devotion about the meaning of the Jewish people having a home of their own.
There are in the book many stories of wrestling with faith, of questioning God and yet retaining and even strengthening faith. There are many stories which stress the centrality of Jewish continuity. Menahem Rosensaft certainly is to be commended for putting together this remarkable collection.


My Struggle: Book 3
My Struggle: Book 3
by Karl Ove Knausgård
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
78 used & new from $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and interesting but not Great and Transcendent, March 21, 2016
This review is from: My Struggle: Book 3 (Paperback)
This autobiographical account of a Norwegian childhood is rich in detailed realistic description of a wide variety of everyday life happenings. It does not shy away from harsh and often vulgar realities. The major relationship is between the young Karl Ove and his abusive often cruel but not indifferent father. Karl Ove describes the terror which his father's presence causes him and his specially close and comforting relationship with his mother. He tells us much about his boyhood adventures and his awakening sexual desire and relations with a number of young women he is attracted to. He is frank and strongly emotional and the most valuable part of the work is this description of his feelings.
The book is interesting and a quick and easy read. Its language is not complicated and too has no special beauty.
This is an original and fine piece of work but I do not believe it in any way approaches the great Literature it has sometimes been compared to.


DAILY BREAD
DAILY BREAD
by Marc Kaminsky
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from $0.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking joy to read, March 13, 2016
This review is from: DAILY BREAD (Hardcover)
This book was a wonderful surprise for me.In 'Daily Bread' Marc Kaminsky writes poems of the soul, a soul very rooted in Jewish history in the Yiddish world of New York. These are poems which only empathize with and tell the stories of many elderly Jews. He writes about them with a kind of love and a strong sense of humanity. His poems also tell stories and can be moving in this way.
A wonderful book which is an at times heartbreaking joy to read.


The Noise of Time
The Noise of Time
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from $10.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars But where is the Music?, March 11, 2016
This review is from: The Noise of Time (Hardcover)
This book was a surprise to me. Shostakovitch lives for humanity because of his music,and not because he was an artist who struggled to maintain his life and integrity in a Soviet totalitarian state. But Julian Barnes focus is on the inner life and struggle of Shostakovitch without revealing his struggle as creator of great musical works. In a sense then I felt the book to be much less and other than what I hoped it would be, an illumination of the mind, the thought, of a great creator.
Instead we see Shostakovitch as a kind of ordinary everyman struggling under the Soviet regime. Barnes is of course a writer of brilliance and does his job effectively. But for those who love the music of Shostakovitch and wish to understand his making of it, and relation to it this work does not do the job.
Barnes does show how his Shostakovitch lived a tormented life under constant threat from the Soviet regime. In one notable passage he echoes Shakespeare's 'Cowards die many times before their death, The valiant taste of death' but once, and says a heroic act can be done in a second, but the coward's endless compromises with his own integrity go on through a lifetime. Barnes is not without sympathy for the human-all--too - human Shostakovitch in portraying him as son, husband three times and loyal friend. Mostly he shows himself as a man painfully alone who at every stage of his life in tried upon by the Soviet system.
Yet there is no real hint given at what constitutes Shostakovich's greatness as a composer and why his Music lives when most others do not.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2016 7:50 AM PDT


The Tempest (Signet Classics)
The Tempest (Signet Classics)
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.95
28 used & new from $7.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master creator in the world of his own final dream, February 28, 2016
I will say one brief word about the Signet Shakespeares. They all contain a brief biography of Shakespeare, an introduction to the play in question, the text of the play itself, with notes at the bottom explicating unusual vocabulary. Often they have sets of critical essays after the text. My brief review is simply a commonplace word on the play. It is taken perhaps to be Shakespeare's last word on his own art, since itis both his last complete play and creates a figure Prospero, who is a kind of master creator himself. It contains one of Shakespeare's most well-known and beautiful set of lines, that begins with 'Our revels now are ended" and concludes with "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." It is a happy ending work and has much to do with understanding the meaning of 'escape from the world' and making dreams come true. It would be nice to think that Shakespeare ended with this sense of himself and his own work, although the few details will know of his last years suggest otherwise.
It is one of the essential works of the Shakespeare canon,a classic of classics which provides that miraculous beautiful metaphorical language which Shakespeare more than any other writer was master of.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2016 12:09 AM PDT


Julius Caesar (The Signet Classic Shakespeare)
Julius Caesar (The Signet Classic Shakespeare)
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from $1.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT SPEECHES, February 21, 2016
I read this edition many years ago, and the return to it is a pleasure. The Signet Shakespeare' editions are printed clearly and have on the page below definitions of expressions and terms it is expected that the modern reader would not be acquainted with. This is a valuable feature but it is woefully incomplete and often misses key terms. The critical essays at the back are a welcome addition and add to the work.
As for the play itself I owe my first understanding of it to the late Elizabeth Buckley who taught English at Troy High School many years ago and was a true lover of Literature. She made the play, the conspirators come alive. She passed on to her students her great enthusiasm for the language of Shakespeare.
The play itself for me has always been most valued for the great speeches, Antony's funeral oration for Caesar, the words of Antony for Brutus at his death ("His life was gentle") the great 'The valiant die but once" speech


The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments
The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments
by Peter Catapano
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.36
59 used & new from $20.37

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important and Interesting, February 21, 2016
Putting together these occasional discussions into a single volume makes a great deal of sense.
I have not read all of them but have read and commented on a considerable share.
There are not only abstract philosophical discussions but important discussions about life- philosophy problems.
I often disagree with the main line of the arguments but the discussions are always valuable and insightful.
The 'Times' often gets the major experts on the question to discuss it.
In a sense the whole volume taken together constitutes a miniaturized view of Philosophy Today and also in a way of the Human Situation.
Important and interesting.


King Lear (Masterstudies)
King Lear (Masterstudies)
by Kenneth Muir
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from $0.88

5.0 out of 5 stars To better understand 'Lear'[, February 16, 2016
Kenneth Muir 's commentary on King Lear is a valuable one. The major part of the commentary is devoted to a scene by scene explication of the texts. Muir in this commentary cites a wide variety of scholarships and brings new insight into the play. Two essay- like sections of the work preceding the scene- by- scene commentary I found especially helpful. One is a description of the role of each of the major characters in the play. Another looks at the Themes of the work. I knew of the 'ingratitude' theme as central to the work but Muir's understanding of this theme was far richer than my own. I have primarily related to Goneril and Regan's rejection of their father, their wickedness, and the wickedness of Edmund to Gloucester in the subplot. . But Muir also analyzes the role of the parents, and shows how the parents own moral failings their 'blindness' are also responsible for the evils that occur. Muir also tells the story of the transformation of Lear and Gloucester how in madness and blindness they come to wisdom and understanding. The evil are punished at the end, but there is no proper compensation for the good daughter Cordelia whose death is central to the deepening and painfulness of the tragedy. Muir also speaks about the question of Providence, of Judgment of whether the world is simply run by a kind of chaotic absurdity ( Gloucester's' the gods killing us for their sport') or there is some kind of ultimate justice as perceived by the Duke of Albany and Gloucester's legitimate son and in a sense Lear's true heir Edgar.
This is one of humanity's greatest plays and this is a most insightful guide to it.


Wordsworth: A Collection of Critical Essays (20th Century Views)
Wordsworth: A Collection of Critical Essays (20th Century Views)
by M.H. Abrams
Edition: Paperback
21 used & new from $0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars To better understand one of the greatest of English poets, February 14, 2016
This collection of essays opens with the great critic of Shakespeare A.C. Bradley defining Wordsworth as the most original of poets Bradley values Wordsworth's powerful relation to Nature. The great philosopher mathematician A.N. Whitehead sees Wordsworth in contrast to Shelley as the great anti- Science poet, whose motto in one sense was 'We analyze to destroy'. Lionel Trilling in another fine essays surprisingly sees Wordsworth's view of the world as having some parallels to the classic of Jewish ethics 'Pirke Avot'. The whole collection is edited by one of the foremost scholars of English Romantic Literature M.H. Abrams.
Those who love the poetry of Wordsworth and seek to understand it more deeply will much of interest in this fine volume.


Gratitude
Gratitude
by Oliver Sacks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.18
80 used & new from $7.18

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gratitude, February 5, 2016
This review is from: Gratitude (Hardcover)
I read these essays when first published individually in the New York Times. I found them to be tremendously moving.
The subject of how one faces one's own final illness and one's inevitable death is one which interests me and I suspect most other human beings when reaching our advanced years.
Oliver Sacks gives in his way a kind of ideal example of how to go through the final months of one's life.
The surprising and shocking news that the cancer he had thought contained has metastasized in such a way as to give him only months to live is not greeted by him with denial, outrage, or furious effort to reverse the inevitable.
Instead he meditates on the whole of his life, and in the four short essays makes a summary appreciation of his life story.
He shows a deep appreciation for the life he has had, for those people and activities that he has loved.
The title of the four essays 'Gratitude' does I think express the fundamental mood of these essays.
In one he speaks of his gratitude for having been a sentient being on this beautiful planet. In the final one he goes home and speaks about the Shabbatot ( The Sabbaths of his childhood home) and the special sanctity of rest he felt in them. He speaks then of his death as a kind of rest after the work and life he has had.
Sacks remarkable work in caring for others, in investigating and understanding illnesses of the mind, in narrating so movingly the stories of patients he cared for makes him in the minds of many the outstanding medical writer of all time.
I like so many other readers have a gratitude not only for this small book but for much of his work and story.
In the worlds of the religion he rejected but which nonetheless informed his life and to a degree inspired his work 'Yehi Zikhro Baruch' May his Memory be for a Blessing' ..


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