The ProsenPeople

Experience the Russian Jewish Theater…Right From Your Own Home

Friday, January 23, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Yale University Press and the Jewish Museum really are a great team. Their most recent collaboration, which came out in October, Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, is a wonderful snapshot of the Jewish role in theater and art in Russia in the early 20th century. This coffee-table size book has a beautiful assortment of images from the period that accompany essays by Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Zvi Gitelman, Vladislav Ivanov, Jeffrey Veidlinger, and Benjamin Harshav. Yale UP‘s website sheds some more light:

Spanning such topics as Jewish culture and history in the Soviet Union, the volume includes stunning reproductions of Chagall’s celebrated theater murals; fascinating archival materials such as posters, prints, and playbills; designs for costumes and sets; and many other breathtaking works.

For those in the New York area, the Jewish Museum has their exhibit of the same title up until March 22nd. More information about the exhibit can be found by visiting the Jewish Museum’s website.

Images above, in order from top to bottom:

Natan Altman, Poster for Jewish Luck, 1925. Collection of Merrill C. Berman, New York. Art © Estate of Natan Altman/RAO, Moscow/VAGA, New York.

Ignatii Nivinsky, Gypsy woman (Costume design for The Golem), 1925, paper, lead pencil, watercolor. Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (Moscow).

Marc Chagall, Dance, 1920, tempera, gouache, and opaque white on canvas. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Best Social Networking Sites for Books

Monday, January 19, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Last Friday, GalleyCat posted their most recent poll in a quest to find out which sites are the best for book networking. JasonB posts: “As book review outlets decline and publicity budgets shrink, these websites will become increasingly more important for the publishing industry.”

Looks like LibraryThing is in the lead with 27% of the 206 votes counted so far.

The Jewish Book Council is a fan of GoodReads and we’ve been posting the books we’ve reviewed in Jewish Book World for about a year, so come find us there…and see what we’ve been reading…

To visit JasonB’s post, click here.

Reissue of Note

Monday, January 19, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

This month Persea Books reissued A Cat in the Ghetto, by Rachmil Bryks, translated from the Yiddish by S. Morris Engel, with an introduction by Adam Rovner. A Cat in the Ghetto was first published in 1959 and Bryks’ stories remain some of the most compelling accounts of the Holocaust experience. His work examines the major dilemmas of the period: action vs. inaction, preservation of dignity vs. survival. This new edition includes his well-known novellas, two short stories, and early poem, his essay, “My Credo,” and a new afterword by the author’s daughter.

National Jewish Book Awards Announced

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The 2008 National Jewish Book Awards have been announced! The view the complete list, please click here.

Challenge from the Blogosphere

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Just came across a fun blog called “The Jewish Literature Challenge.” Here are the details of blogger Callista’s challenge:

What: Reading at least 4 books by Jewish Authors or about Judaism When: December 21, 2008 (Beginning of Hanukkah) to April 27, 2009 (End of Passover)
Who: Anyone who wants to participate! Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike 
Where: Right here of course! You can also post your picks and reviews to your own blog if you have one of course.
How: Sign the comments on THIS post to join the challenge. Tell me if you want to be added to the blog. If so, include your email address. (put it like this to prevent spam: yourname AT yourdomain DOT com) Once I’ve added you, you can post your picks here and when the time comes, post your reviews here too.

You can visit the blog here.

Good Luck!

And the Winner is...

Thursday, January 08, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The Sydney Taylor Book Awards have been announced!

Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, author and illustrator of As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom, Karen Hesse, author of Brooklyn Bridge, and Valerie Zenatti, author of A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, are the 2009 winners of the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago this July.

To read more about the Syndey Taylor Award, please visit here.

Stay tuned next week for the winners of the 2008 National Jewish Book Awards! 

Part II: Cartoon Book Reviews are FINALLY here!

Monday, December 22, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

And let the trend begin! From, Rabbi Harvey reviews…Leaves from the Garden of Eden (Howard Schwartz). Click here to view.

From the HBI

Friday, December 19, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Two endeavors from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute worth checking out:

Jewish Fiction Goes Outside of the Box

For the 2nd annual issue on Jewish books, 614: The HBI eZine found young Jewish women who were writing about themes we haven’t seen dozens of times. This is why you’ll find mention in this issue of cowboys, Madame Bovary, a modern day Jewish heiress, a 12-year-old Iranian, Jewish spies, and a heroic German baker. Rather than post book reviews, we talked to the authors behind these stories and asked them about the inspirations for their books, and also what they think about today’s Jewish fiction in general. Meet Joanna Hershon, Tova Mirvis, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Dara Horn, Jenna Blum, and Gina Nahai. For more information, please click here.

HBI Announces Book Translation Competition

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute is pleased to announce an annual competition to translate a book on a topic that deals in a significant way with Jews and gender. The amount of money that will be awarded is contingent on the particular translation needs of the book. The award goes exclusively towards the translation costs. Applications are due by November 15, 2009, and decisions will be announced by February 15, 2010. For guidelines and submission instructions, please click here.

Build Your JPS Library

Thursday, December 18, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Into series? Into JPS series? If so, you have much to look forward to in 2009! Three-yes THREE–new books are scheduled for publication to build on the following series:

JPS Guides
ewish Choices Jewish Voices
Celebrating the Jewish Year


American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide (Josh Lambert)

This new volume in the JPS Guides series is a fiction reader’s dream: a guide to 125 remarkable works of fiction. The selection includes a wide range of classic American Jewish novels and story collections, from 1867 to the present, selected by the author in consultation with a panel of literary scholars and book industry professionals.

Roth, Mailer, Kellerman, Chabon, Ozick, Heller, and dozens of other celebrated writers are here, with their most notable works. Each entry includes a book summary, with historical context and background on the author.

Suggestions for further reading point to other books that match readers’ interests and favorite writers. And the introduction is a fascinating exploration of the history of and important themes in American Jewish Fiction, illustrating how Jewish writing in the U.S. has been in constant dialogue with popular entertainment and intellectual life.

Included in this guide are lists of book award winners; recommended anthologies; title, author, and subject indexes; and more.

Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Spring and Summer Holidays– Passover, Shavuot, The Omer, Tisha B’Av (Paul Steinberg and Janet Greenstein Potter)

JPS’s new holiday series is now complete, with publication of The Spring and Summer Holidays volume

As we move from season to season, Paul Steinberg shares with us a rich collection of readings from many of the Jewish greats—Maimonides, Rashi, Nehama Leibowitz, Irving Greenberg, Shlomo Carlebach, Marge Piercy, Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, and others—and he guides us in discovering for ourselves the many treasures within each text.

Some of the readings teach us about the history of each holiday, as well as its theological, ethical, agricultural, and seasonal importance and interpretation; others give us inspiration and much food for thought. These stories, essays, poems, anecdotes, and rituals help us discover how deeply Jewish traditions are rooted in nature’s yearly cycle, and how beautifully season and spirit are woven together throughout the Jewish year.


Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices — Power (Louis E. Newman and Elliot N. Dorff) 

This JPS ethics series deals with some of the most critical moral issues of our time. 

How do we use power once we’ve gained it? Is it completely for our individual benefit, or do we use it to help our neighborhoods, or society at-large? What kinds of decisions must CEOs and business owners make regarding suppliers and customers? How should bosses treat workers? Teachers treat students? Parents treat children? Government treats citizens? 

Power dynamics affect people on a political level, a social level, and a deeply personal level as well. The newest volume in the Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices series examines these dynamics and includes essays by such fine contributors as U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, NBC Universal Television-West Coast President Marc Graboff, and author and scholar James. 

We’ll report back soon with reviews of these forthcoming titles!

Janna Gur on Hummus

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Remember the JBC’s earlier post about the delicious new cookbook New Israeli Food by Janna Gur? Well, lucky for us, Janna will be guest blogging on all week! Check out her first entry here.