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 Heritage
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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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
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.
Now a TV series Living Biblically airing on CBS!

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible. A.J. Jacobs chronicles his hilarious and thoughtful year spent obeying―as literally as possible―the tenets of the Bible.

Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.

The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history’s most influential book with new eyes.

Jacobs’s quest transforms his life even more radically than the year spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for The Know-It-All. His beard grows so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations—much to his wife’s chagrin.

Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does Scripture study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first-century brain.

Jacobs’s extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part Cliff Notes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down.
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