Genesis—The Book with Seventy Faces: A Guide for the Family by Esther Takac (Pitspopany, cloth, $29.95). This large format book featuring watercolor paintings by the author is a study guide to Genesis for families with children. The author, a psychologist, explains different ways to use the book: as a storybook, an entry level into Torah study, or an introduction to types of commentary, including Midrash and Kabbalah.
“It is my hope that families read this book together and use it as a starting point to enjoy the richness of the text and commentaries to delve deeper and discover new meanings,” she writes.
Quick & Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing by Jamie Geller (Feldheim, cloth, $34.99). As the title tells, the author shares with us the benefit of her experience starting out as a bride-to-be with no cooking experience whatsoever (“up to that point, paper goods had been my china of choice,” she confesses, describing a bridal registry shopping trip to a “housewares superstore” with her mother-in-law to be). Big color photos illustrate recipes from corn on the cob to veal with apricots to chocolate-marshmallow quesadillas. A wine guide is also included.
Jerusalem: A Neighborhood Street Guide by Chanoch Shudofsky (Devorah, cloth, $21.95). A big book with an alphabetical street index and color maps. The author explains the origins of street names, many of which bear the names of historical figures, and gives a history of each neighborhood. Useful for tourist and resident alike.
The Forts of Judea 168 BC-AD 73 by Samuel Rocca (Osprey, paper, $18.95). A brief history, well illustrated with photos and drawings of forts and coins of the era, covering the Maccabees to the fall of Masada. The Italian-born author lives in Jerusalem and served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Part of the publisher’s “Fortress” series.
Army Fatigues: Joining Israel’s Army of International Volunteers by Mark Werner (Devora, cloth, $21.95). Werner, a North Carolina attorney, served four times as an Israeli Defense Forces volunteer (for Volunteers for Israel, or Sar-el) between 2002 and 2005. The book grew out of the travel logs he kept during his trips and details the daily life of the volunteers whose efforts save the Israeli government a lot of money and foster personal relationships between Israelis and an international cadre of Jews and non-Jews. Volunteers live in barracks, wear fatigues (thus the title) and eat army food, performing boring but essential tasks such as testing tank batteries, folding camouflage nets or shredding paper.
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva (Putnam, cloth, $26.95). Bestselling author Silva brings us another espionage adventure in the life of Gabrial Allon, master art restorer and sometime Israeli intelligence officer. This time Allon travels to Moscow to retrieve a secret message from a journalist who has been inconveniently assassinated. Silva, known for in-depth research into the current affairs that figure prominently in his books, incorporates a wide array of international concerns including — eerily — Russia’s determination to revive its superpower status and Russian arms dealings with terrorists.
Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes by Tamar Yellin (Toby, cloth, $22.95). Are we lost, or are we free? From the award-winning British author comes a dreamy novel whose unnamed narrator is compelled to wander. Yellin’s story is mysterious and evocative.
Intermezzo for Solo Viola by Henriette Mendels (Zeeland, paper, $19.95). A first novel from a local author set in the 1950s. The main character struggles with and against her Jewish identity as she weaves in and out of the lives of a wide variety of characters from around the world. Eventually she learns of her family’s experiences in the Holocaust and it changes her life.
Islam: The Religion and the People by Bernard Lewis and Buntzie Ellis Churchill (Wharton, cloth, $21.99). “For any sort of dealings with the Muslim world, some understanding, and therefore some knowledge, of Islam is essential. Unfortunately, this is rarely available…” So Lewis introduces his latest book on Islam, laying things out plainly and answering questions about Islam’s tolerance of the rights of non-Muslims, the differences between Sunni and Shi’a and whether there can be Islamic democracies. The book features numerous sidebars on Islamic humor.
Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam by David Dalin and John Rothmann (Random House, cloth,$26). Many years in the making, this book by Stanford University and University of San Francisco professors (respectively) details the life and rise in power of Haj Amin al-Husseini, who became the mufti of Jerusalem under British rule in 1921. His virulent anti-Semitism propelled him into a political alliance with Hitler, who considered him an “honorary Aryan.” The authors trace how his beliefs and his followers (including Yasser Arafat) are connected to the current wave of international terrorism.