My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew

Fig Tree Books
Free sample

In the tradition of The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs and Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler comes Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year, a lively chronicle of the author’s journey into the spiritual heart of Judaism.

Although she grew up following some holiday rituals, Pogrebin realized how little she knew about their foundational purpose and contemporary relevance; she wanted to understand what had kept these holidays alive and vibrant, some for thousands of years. Her curiosity led her to embark on an entire year of intensive research, observation, and writing about the milestones on the religious calendar.

Whether in search of a roadmap for Jewish life or a challenging probe into the architecture of Jewish tradition, readers will be captivated, educated and inspired by Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year.
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About the author

Abigail Pogrebin, a former 60 Minutes producer for Mike Wallace, is the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish (Doubleday/Broadway Books), which went into eight hardcover printings, was featured on Good Morning America and Charlie Rose, and was adapted for the Off-Broadway stage in a Daryl Roth production. Pogrebin’s second book was a deep examination of twinship titled One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to be Singular, published in 2009 and featured on The Today Show, NPR and in Newsweek. Pogrebin is also the author of Showstopper, a 2011 bestselling Kindle Single about her adventure in the original cast of the Sondheim misfire, "Merrily We Roll Along.” She has written for numerous publications including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Forward and Tablet.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Fig Tree Books
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Published on
Mar 14, 2017
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781941493212
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Recent years have seen an increased interest in Jewish life, its culture, and its celebrations. There are many new students of Judaism, often potential converts or members of interfaith families who are seeking to learn more about the religion and its rituals. Unfortunately, many of the existing texts that examine the Jewish holidays are written in a dry, unexciting way, making it difficult for the reader to retain much information. For those seeking to learn more about Jewish celebrations, Cantor Matt Axelrod has written Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder. Intended for the reader who has no prior knowledge about the Jewish holidays as well as the reader who knows the basics about the holidays but wants to understand the holidays on a deeper level, Axelrod’s book takes a humorous, light-hearted look at the 11 most important Jewish holidays. Instead of simply explaining that Jews are obligated to observe in a certain way because of a biblical text, Axelrod shows where each holiday, along with its rituals, came from in a historical context. He provides a humorous retelling of the biblical passages relating to the holiday, explorations of rituals associated with each holiday, and descriptions of traditional foods. Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays also features special sections labeled “In Depth” or “Perfect for Families” that expand upon elements of each holiday in ways that provide greater understanding of traditions or that invite the reader to get the rest of the family involved.

Every year, poet and novelist Marge Piercy creates her own Passover seder with a group of family and friends. Babies have been born and grown up, friends have moved or divorced, but the principals continue to gather in her rustic Cape Cod home to participate in a seder that Piercy takes joy in tweaking each spring to make it more meaningful. In this journey through the ritual, Piercy coaxes us toward “a significant contemporary interpretation, rather than an emphasis on what is strictly ‘correct’ or traditional.” She reminisces about her grandmother, who thought herself unworthy to lead a seder because of her limited Hebrew but presided “morally” at the table; she urges adding an orange to the seder plate; she even describes her heroic efforts to make her own gefilte fish (an experiment not to be repeated).

Piercy offers her distinct slant on each element of the feast and provides dozens of her own wonderful recipes, which she delivers in the same warm, commanding voice as is heard in her poems and prose: “When I told Ira that I was going to explain how to cook matzoh brei, he thought I was crazy. Everybody knows how to make matzoh brei, he said. But I am of the opinion that there is no longer anything that everybody knows how to cook.”

It is in that spirit–no question too simple–that Piercy welcomes readers to her kind of seder: a homemade and personal affair, the kind we all wish we could attend. This charming and instructive book of Passover wisdom, brimming with favorite dishes and Marge Piercy’s own moving Passover poems and blessings, invites us to look at an important Jewish ritual in a whole new way.
From bestselling author William McInnes, a book about the languid, unending holidays of summer; it's about going away and staying at home, about sunburn, seagulls, family and friends.

Remember those long, languid holidays when the only decisions to be made were what to pack in the Esky and who should get the front seat on the drive to the beach?

Let William McInnes reignite your nostalgia for holidays past, and give you a taste of the boundless opportunities that await in holidays to come in this book about our love affair with life away from the everyday.

This book will take you back to the holidays you had as a kid and remind you of the ones you've had with your own family or friends or even the ones where you've flown solo.

Holidays are the runway to possibilities - a romantic sunset, the spare seat at breakfast being taken by an attractive stranger, a miraculous airline upgrade - or missing bags, unfortunate rashes and wrong turns that lead to places you definitely did not intend to go. Whether you are away from home and somewhere exotic or just in your own backyard on a lilo in an above-ground pool, whatever happens, you know that life is sweet because you're on HOLIDAYS.

**Includes a bonus extract from William's hilarious and heartwarming memoir Fatherhood**

"McInnes is a natural storyteller . . ." - Sun Herald, Sydney

"McInnes enjoys a quirky love affair with the quintessential Australian holiday" - Brisbane News

"Proves that the journey is just as agreeable as the destination" - Sunday Age

". . . full of beautifully crafted childhood reminiscences and anecdotes" - Sunday Examiner

"McInnes is a wonderfully engaging writer - witty and warm and a master of a good yarn. If your holidays aer a way off, curl up with William and he'll take you away" - Adelaide Advertiser

Sixty-two of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately—most for the first time—about how they feel about being Jewish. In unusually candid interviews conducted by former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin, celebrities ranging from Sarah Jessica Parker to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Larry King to Mike Nichols, reveal how resonant, crucial or incidental being Jewish is in their lives. The connections they have to their Jewish heritage range from hours in synagogue to bagels and lox; but every person speaks to the weight and pride of their Jewish history, the burdens and pleasures of observance, the moments they’ve felt most Jewish (or not). This book of vivid, personal conversations uncovers how being Jewish fits into a public life, and also how the author’s evolving religious identity was changed by what she heard.

· Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers, and Leonard Nimoy talk about their startling encounters with anti-Semitism.
· Kenneth Cole, Eliot Spitzer, and Ronald Perelman explore the challenges of intermarriage.
· Mike Wallace, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ruth Reichl express attitudes toward Israel that vary from unquestioning loyalty to complicated ambivalence.
· William Kristol scoffs at the notion that Jewish values are incompatible with Conservative politics.
· Alan Dershowitz, raised Orthodox, talks about why he gave up morning prayer.
· Shawn Green describes the pressure that comes with being baseball’s Jewish star.
· Natalie Portman questions the ostentatious bat mitzvahs of her hometown.
·  Tony Kushner explains how being Jewish prepared him for being gay.
· Leon Wieseltier throws down the gauntlet to Jews who haven’t taken the trouble to study Judaism.
These are just a few key moments from many poignant, often surprising, conversations with public figures whom most of us thought we already knew.

“When my mother got her nose job, she wanted me to get one, too. She said I would be happier.”—Dustin Hoffman

“It’s a heritage to be proud of. And then, too, it’s something that you can’t escape because the world won’t let you; so it’s a good thing you can be proud of it.”
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“My wife [Kate Capshaw] chose to do a full conversion before we were married in 1991, and she married me as a Jew. I think that, more than anything else, brought me back to Judaism.”—Steven Spielberg

“As someone who was born in Israel, you’re put in a position of defending Israel because you know how much is at stake.”—Natalie Portman
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Five-Carat Soul, and Kill 'Em and Leave, a James Brown biography.

The incredible modern classic that Oprah.com calls one of the best memoirs of a generation and launched James McBride’s literary career.

Over two years on The New York Times bestseller list

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.

The son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his eleven siblings in the poor, all-black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Mommy," a fiercely protective woman with "dark eyes full of pep and fire," herded her brood to Manhattan's free cultural events, sent them off on buses to the best (and mainly Jewish) schools, demanded good grades, and commanded respect. As a young man, McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion—and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain.

In The Color of Water, McBride retraces his mother's footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. With candor and immediacy, Ruth describes her parents' loveless marriage; her fragile, handicapped mother; her cruel, sexually-abusive father; and the rest of the family and life she abandoned.

At seventeen, after fleeing Virginia and settling in New York City, Ruth married a black minister and founded the all- black New Brown Memorial Baptist Church in her Red Hook living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race. Twice widowed, and continually confronting overwhelming adversity and racism, Ruth's determination, drive and discipline saw her dozen children through college—and most through graduate school. At age 65, she herself received a degree in social work from Temple University.

Interspersed throughout his mother's compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son.

 

2018 IPPY Award Silver Medalist for Great Lakes Nonfiction
Winner, ISHS Annual Award for Other Publications, 2018


Most people do not realize it, but Chicago is home to many diverse, artistic, fascinating, and architecturally and historically important fountains. In this attractive volume, Greg Borzo reveals more than one hundred outdoor public fountains of Chicago with noteworthy, amusing, or surprising stories about these gems. Complementing Borzo’s engagingly written text are around one hundred beautiful fine-art color photos of the fountains, taken by photographer Julia Thiel for this book, and a smaller number of historical photos.

Greg Borzo begins by providing an overview of Chicago’s fountains and discussing the oldest ones, explaining who built them and why, how they survived as long as they have, and what they tell us about early Chicago. At the heart of the book are four thematic chapters on drinking fountains, iconic fountains, plaza fountains, and park and parkway fountains. Among the iconic fountains described are Buckingham (in Grant Park), Crown (in Millennium Park), Centennial (with its water cannon shooting over the Chicago River), and two fountains designed by famed sculptor Lorado Taft (Time and Great Lakes). Plazas all around Chicago—in the neighborhoods as well as downtown—have fountains that anchor communities or enhance the skyscrapers they adorn. Also presented are the fountains in Chicago’s parks, some designed by renowned artists and many often overlooked or taken for granted. A chapter on the self-proclaimed City of Fountains, Kansas City, Missouri, shows how Chicago’s city planners could raise public awareness and funding for the care and preservation of these important landmarks. Also covered are a brief period of fountain building and rehabbing (1997–2002) that vastly enriched the city; fountains that no longer exist; and proposed Chicago fountains that were never built, as well as the future of fountain design.

A beautiful photography book and a guide to the city’s many fountains, Chicago’s Fabulous Fountains also provides fascinating histories and behind-the-scenes stories of these underappreciated artistic and architectural treasures of the Windy City.
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