Monday, December 29, 2008

Geraldine Brooks Interview

Here is a interview with Geraldine Brooks talking about her book People of the Book.
You can read a article here and listen to her podcast on KCRW here. and below I found her at lecture at Northeastern University in Boston. There is alot of historical background. The Sarvejo Hagadah had a great journey in medieval Europe to present and how it survived is quite interesting. I am looking forward to Rabbi Debbie talking about this at our sisterhood meeting. If any of my readers are in the area you are welcome to come and join us.

I keep surfing the web and I found a article in the newspaper about the long surviving journey the Sarajevo Haggadah made

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Acquired Rights of People Of The Book

News;Catherine Zeta Jones has acquired film rights for People of the Book...
II do hope it becomes a movie soon.

Susie Does it Again

I was thrilled to receive a copy of Susie Fishbein's new cookbook. This is her seventh in Kosher By Design series. Kosher by Design, Passover by Design, Kosher by Design entertains, Kosher by Design;Short on Time, and Kosher by Design; Kids in the Kitchen. The cookbook ia written by Susie and Bonnie Taub-Dix a dietitian, a spokesperson for the American Dietician. The cookbook starts with a introduction in healthy eating habits. She tells you to rethink how you eat, and to rethink about the supermarket experience. I haven't seen this in other cookbooks But I don't go out looking for cookbooks either.

There is a listing of definitions of vitamins, minerals and chemicals that are good for you and tells you why it is healthy for you.

Her entertaining ideas are wonderful. I may use some of her helpful hints of entertaining.

She tells you about new foods that have been discovered to be very good for your health, such as Salmon, Beans, Blueberries, Dark Chocolate, etc.
It goes into flour, grains, oils, sugars, seeds and nuts. Susie tells you about the different oils and then you consider which one is better for you. For example to me it looks like sunflower seeds are overall are better for you it contains antioxidants and vit.C and E. Brown rice is better for you than white rice. They have been saying that for years. Out of the oils Olive oil is the best to use. olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which is thought to lower cholesterol. Extra virgin oils are the best virgin oils to use.

The recipe for Honey Oat Challah. For years we have been using all purpose flour her recipe calls for whole wheat flour. In the introduction of the recipe she gives you the reason for the switch to whole wheat flour. You are less likely to develop type 2-diabetes and becoming obese. But this not a cure all but it can help you eat better and have a healthier life.

There are some recipes I would try on my family there are other recipes that I would only use for entertaining and for Shabbat dinner. a few recipes call for different ingredients that are staples in the other countries. that were not as easily accessible years ago but with the internet recipes have changes with added flavors and tastes that add a unique flavor.

There is a summer roll it looks just beautiful. I would like to try this in the summer months. This recipe calls for foods that you may have to get at a specialty supermarket. Chummos Canapes, Marrakesh Carrot Salad, is one of my favorite recipes, I love it with extra garlic it gives a little more bite. The Cranberry Couscous Salad is very different. I used regular couscous rather than Israeli couscous with cranberries. My 18 yr. old son loved the White Portobello Pizzas, he is a picker eater. Don't forget all these recipes are good for you and the full of different tastes and flavors that compliment each other,

There is not a single recipe that is a traditional Jewish recipe they are a updated version of a traditional recipe. You don't need to be Kosher to enjoy these recipes.

There is a few paragraphs that talks about the kosher kitchen but the cookbook is not a extensive wealth of information. It is a best if you are deciding to become kosher to find a more concise one. I have How To Keep Kosher by Lisa Stern. But I do not recommend it for someone that is highly observant. I would consult your Rabbi first. He will direct you to the best kosher books to read.

The Photographs of the final products are just beautiful. She really knows how to make a nice presentation. They are mouthwatering recipes. Some of the the recipes called for ingredients that may be hard to find in certain areas of the country. But some ingredients you can substitute.

Overall I liked this cook book. I can see this cook book used for for preparing and entertaining healthy foods for large dinner parties, and Shabbat dinner. Even some recipes for the upcoming Superbowl. HAPPY COOKING, HAG SAMEACH, and Happy Chanakah!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tonight-First Night of Chanakah

Happy Chanakah everyone. Tonight at sundown started the first night of the holiday.
Interesting article, I am not endorsing it but it is a interesting thought if you are out and unable to light your candles at home. The concept is lighting your candles electronically on your cell phone
(Chanakah Hi Tech). And check out a Chanakah video here. I am getting ready to hear the sizzling of the oil, and cook up the latkes, My mouth is watering already. HAPPY CHANUKAH!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

All Other Nights-Dara Horn

I just found this e-letter from Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. I am excited about a new book that Dara Horn wrote. It will be published in March. I am linking here with her interview and a few other Jewish authors.
Here is her website to read about her new book that will becoming out in March and her other two books. I can't wait for it to be published. Herfirst book, In Her Image, was about coming to America. In the early 20th century Jewish immigrants came to the new country. When the Jewish immigrants landed in NYC the men took their tefillin out of their satchels and threw it in the ocean. This was very significant because they were proclaiming they were tearing off their old customs and taking on the new American customs. T I still remember this in her book. I loved the symbolism.

This synopsis is from the Amazon website. This is the only information I could find on her new book. I will be waiting in great anticipation. A gripping epic about the great moral struggles of the Civil War. How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover in 1862 he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln.

After that night, will Jacob ever speak for himself? The answer comes when his commanders send him on another mission—this time not to murder a spy but to marry one.

A page-turner rich with romance and the history of America (North and South), this is a book only Dara Horn could have written. Full of insight and surprise, layered with meaning, it is a brilliant parable of the moral divide that still haunts us: between those who value family first and those dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.

All Other Nights is very different than her other books it includes a mystery. Usually her books are layered with yiddishkeit, and Jewish mysticism. It seems very different with American history. I knew there were issues if you were a northern Jew or a southern Jew where do you draw the line when you know the other soldier is Jewish. What side is your alligence fall on if you are Jewish. When you are a northerner and you are a fellow Jewish southerner needs help what do you do? My son was learning about this in hebrew school. I can't even imagine do you kill the other soldier knowing that he is Jewish? I have always wondered about that. But the symbolism is interesting. Each Passover all Jews say this line when we are at the Seder. All Other Nights, The significance is ironic. Passover is about the parasha of Exodus. Jews in Slavery in Egypt this is very significant because of the Civil War. I may just buy the book for the Jewish book Challenge that I am participating in. Since it has a underlining significance with Passover. So Look Out For This Book. All Other Nights by Dara Horn. This is one of those books you can't wait for.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Chanakah

I wanted to wish all of my Jewish readers a happy Chanakah. The holiday starts Sunday, December 21st at sun down. In the spirit of the holiday I am putting a video of Rock of Ages, by Pharoah's Daughter, on this post. Enjoy and HAPPY CHANUKAH!!!
If you would like to know more about the holiday I will be putting a couple links on my post. here are the links here, and here to find out more about Chanakah.

Jewish Lit. Challenge List '09

The Jewish Literature challenge starts Sunday night the first night of Chanakah.
All the Jewish holidays start from sundown to sundown( this is considered a day),and concluded sundown on the last day of Passover. Read four books and post.
I would like to thank Calista for hosting the book challenge.
My four books are:

Who by Fire by Diana Spechler
Zookeeper's Wife by Dianne Ackerman
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado
My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hurry Down Sunshine

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg.

Hurry Down Sunshine, is a memoir about the author's journey with his daughter illness and recovery.
Sally is his 15 yr. old daughter. She becomes ill, with Manic Depression or the other name Bipolar Disorder. and he has to put her in a psychiatric hospital. It takes place in NYC. He doesn't have any insurance, he reassures the hospital he will pay. At the same time we see Sally's illness. He talk about the history of the family, his parents, and brothers. Mainly. his mother has a hard time bow to mother. She had a hard time dealing with parenting. There is he's brother Steve who is unstable. He lives in a studio apartment with 4 other people(homeless). It is dirty, and filthy. Michael is a good brother that meets his brother periodically at the supermarket to buy groceries. He's mother tries to ease Micheal's fears that Sally is ill because of him. His mother tells him she doesn't know why but she never wanted Steve. He talks about his bohemian relationship with his first wife. Which they still have a connection because of Sally. It seems Sally's brother is upset with their father they he was never told about Sally's illness. But seems he doesn't accept the illness. Michael talks about the other patients on the floor with mental illness. Sally's recover while on the floor, where she looks numb. Micheal's mother can only tolerate so much at the psychiatric ward. Michael talks about the great classic writers that had mental illness. The book is not a joy to read but does help us (the reader) understand Michael and what he is going through with his daughter and his family. does sprinkle some great minds with mental illness. There is a point where Michael takes Sally's medication most likely to see what she is going through. He understands her numbness.
Sally does recuperate, and comes out of it. But unfortunately she has remissions and then the cycle starts over again. We do find out that she did attempt to go to college. Did get married but unfortunately it did not last. She lives in Maine close to her mother doing menial work. This is the sad fact of mental illness. There is not a cure. There is medication to control it. But unfortunately there is times when a patient has bouts of mania with depression. They have Euphoria with depression, with psychosis, and paranoia. This is the sad fact of mental illness.
I was a Psychiatric Nurse in the VA Hospital. I still remember I had a patient in his 40's. He was Bipolar. He's family wanted him in a group home. He could not handle this as he was living independently. When he was put in the group home, he could not handle this and he committed suicide unfortunately. This is the sad part about mental illness and
Sally's journey. There isn't any happy ending. Sally just has to keep trying to survive and overcome. I would recommenced this book to anyone that is going through this with loved ones and friends and family to understand the illness. The other is find resources out in the community. Or do a search on the illness. If you suspect anyone going through this go get help. Or you think the person is going to hurt himself or someone else, get help. There are resources in the community.

Below is a article that Michael Greenberg wrote about his daughter.

How Is Sally Now?
By Michael Greenberg
Author of Hurry Down Sunshine

Many people ask me, after reading Hurry Down Sunshine, how Sally is doing now. The book tells the story of Sally's first manic attack at the age of fifteen, during the summer of 1996 in New York City. My aim was to recreate the experience of Sally's astonishing leap into psychosis from both inside and out, and to show its effect on those of us who are closest to her. Writing Hurry Down Sunshine, I sometimes felt as if I was describing a great storm: an unexpected wind had come upon us, tearing to bits the little boat upon which our family floated. When the wind finally lifted, we were each holding on to a different plank of the vessel, looking at each other from the across the water, which was suddenly calm again, surprised to have eyes.

The book ends when the summer ends, with Sally having recovered enough to return to school -- no small triumph. In a short postscript, I suggest that Sally's struggles did not end there. Manic-depression is a chronic condition. Although Sally has experienced rich and productive periods of remission and calm, the possibility of a new attack always looms. She is twenty-seven now, and out of necessity she and I both have become experts of her disease, ever vigilant of sudden mood swings and other ominous signs. Together -- along with her doctor, her mother, her friends -- we do our best to stave off a fresh breakdown.

This has proved to be an essential component of Sally's care. One of the most diabolical aspects of mania is its seductiveness in its earliest stages. It beckons you with feelings of omnipotence, fluidity, charisma -- who among us would be strong enough to turn away from such an electrified state? By the time florid psychosis has set in, it's usually too late. Sally has learned to dread her attacks and the months of distress and damage that follow them. The poet Robert Lowell, who also suffered from manic-depression, used to say that he could sense a seizure coming on by the mercurial, liquid feeling in his spine. He grew to fear it so much that he once overdosed on lithium to try to prevent it!

2008 has been a steady and rewarding year for Sally, after a difficult 2007 that included the breakup of her marriage and a delicate medication change. In January, she moved to Spring Lake Ranch, a therapeutic work community in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The Ranch is forty percent self-sufficient. They grow their own food, raise animals, and make one of the most delicious brands of maple syrup in Vermont. A tremendous espirit de corps exists between the residents and the staff. As I write this, Sally is preparing to move into her own apartment in a nearby city. She is a vibrant young woman, a caring friend, and a natural writer with an unusual gift for language.

I'd like to add a word or two about the immeasurable influence Sally has had on her family. Her stepmother Pat, inspired by her experience with Sally, has changed her career, taking a degree in infant development. She now works on early intervention with children who are at risk of developing long-lasting problems. Sally's older brother Aaron works for UNICEF, a division of the United Nations, as a Child Protection officer, a path that was also influenced by Sally. As for me, Sally has changed my fundamental view of the world. She has taught me about the fragility of even our closest relationships, and the endurance of our deepest bonds of love.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boy In The Striped Pajamas

I went to see the movie the Boy In The Striped Pajamas the other day.
I have been evading about writing my thoughts about the movie. It has won award. It was written for children. Which I can not imagine the book written for children unless the book had a different ending.
I am just stunned by the conclusion. The story is about a German boy and his family. They move to the country side, in German on a "Farm". His father is a officer in the German army. The boy, name Bruno is very naive,as well as his mother. She doesn't realize until they move where they are moving to. The mother doesn't agree with the German cause. She is constantly having arguments with her husband. She did not realize she would be close to a concentration camp. And unaware what the Germans are doing to the Jews. Their Grandfather comes to visit.
The Grandfather agrees with the cause but not the Grandmother that doesn't visit the camp. The Jews are blamed for all the woes that happened leading up to the war. The family have prisoners of the camp working in the house. One of the men is peeling potatoes. Bruno realizes that the man was a doctor. Bruno says to him "You must not have been a very good doctor. Bruno seems very naive about many things. Especially dealing with Jews. When he disobeys his mother and goes in the garden and wanders out to a barbed wire fence that separates him from the Jewish prisoners. He doesn't realize what is happening. He meets on the other side of the barbed wire a boy called Shalomo. He believes it is a game he thinks all the children are locked up, and playing a game. Bruno and his sister are tutored at home. The sister is falling for a German Soldier. She is 12. The tutor is indoctrinating the Nazi beliefs on to the children. Which Bruno doesn't understand.
Later on in the story, Sholomo is brought into Bruno's house to clean the wine glasses. "Because his hands are very small." Bruno talks to him like he a friend. In walks in the German soldier, in the mean time he offers him food. The soldier asks Bruno do you know the boy. Bruno denies that he knows him and tells him he never gave him permission to take the food. Bruno feels terrible that he didn't stand up for his friend. Bruno lookd for his friend every day. He finally does come out to the fence. Bruno sees his friend with a black eye with dried blood on his face. He apologizes, and asks can you forgive me. Which Sholomo does forgive him. Spoiler****************************************Don't go any further unless you plan not to see the movie.
Sholomo is worried he can not find his father. In the meantime Bruno realizes if he digs under the fence he can get through. Bruno volunteers to help Sholomo find his father. Bruno reminds him for the next day to bring him a pair of striped Pajamas.
The next day Bruno switches his clothes to the striped Pajamas and goes under the barbed wire fence. He thinks of it as a game. His family starts panicking, where is Bruno they realize that he has gone into the garden and to the "farm". In the meantime the father told the children they have to move with their mother till after the war has ended. He tells them it is for the best. Bruno goes to the barbed wire to say goodbye. Which he then decides to go under the barbed wire to help his friend find his father. Bruno walks a little while in the camp. When he reaches the middle of the camp, he starts to think that this was not the best idea. He wants to back out, but changes his mind. He goes into the barracks, and then everyone is rounded up for a "Shower" Sholomo and Bruno are in the shower together.
And Die together. The mother and Father and sister are too late.

I am not sure how I feel about this movie. I would not recommend this for children.
It would give them nightmares. As a Jew this was very hard at the end because it is history. Jews are suppose to die. But a german naive innocent child. I am not sure how I feel. But I will say the acting was very good. What the atory had to say.
If you visit the website, there is a discussion for children and teachers to discuss the book and the movie. A very hard movie to watch to the final conclusion. There was not alot of horror of the treatment of the Jews, but the ending shook me up.
If you have seen the movie leave a comment what your thoughts are.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Chanakah, Amy

I never win anything! I must enter so many book blog contests and never win anything.
I just entered on book club girls blog. On a whim, I thought to myself I won't win.
This one blew me away. The contest was, for the book, The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. The contest asked what gifts are you buying or planning to buy for the holiday season. I had said Danielle Steel to my best friend who loves all her books. She has a new book out, to my best book club friend,Amy. She is the only one that I can talk books to. None of my other friends are as passionate about books as I. I think the last question was if you won who would you give the book to.
At the time I said I would give it to myself since I bought the book for my friend, Amy already. When I received the book I decided even better yet. My girlfriend Amy already has the book. But she would cherish it more than I, with his autograph. I thought it would be great gift for Chanakah. She loves Wally Lamb. The way she talks about his books you would think she was in love with him.
Amy, this is to you... Happy Chanakah. By the way, it will still be a surprise, to her. She is computer illiterate. She never goes on my blog, the secret is still hush, hush.
Thank You Jen, from Book Club Girl, this is going to put a smile on Amy's face. Can't wait for her reaction. I will let you know maybe even take a picture. What a great way to open the holiday. By the way, don't worry my girlfriend is computer illiterate!! This will not spill the beans. She never goes on my blog.
Imagination Designs
Images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva