Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Hello All, Thank you Marcia, form the painted page for hosting Mailbox Monday.
I don't have too many, not like last week.
My list is as follows:

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rossnay
Raising a Child with Soal by Slovie Jugreis-Wolff

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

I am going to make this a easy giveaway.
I have two copies of the book,People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks to giveaway on both of my blogs.
You have one chance if you leave a comment on this blog. If you leave a comment on both blogs you have two chances. The contest starts tomorrow and will last till February 2nd, in honor of my b-day.
The books were sent to me courtesy from Julie Harbedian of FSBA Associates.

This is a wonderful book. Many people are comparing this to the Davinci code.
It is full of suspense and full of mystery. You won't want to put it down. You are not giving the book justice when you compare it to the Davinci Code.

To make it short and sweet the book is about a young Australian woman, she is asked to find out the mysteries of the book, called the Haggadah. As she does the research she finds different things in the book such as a feather, hair, blood and other things. The book goes back and forth in time. First to present day Bosnia then goes back to the 1400. One of the mysterious objects is in the book is explained. The chapter then is told how that mystery got in the book. Then it goes back again to present day. Where Hannah has her own problems. How the story connects to the others stories makes this book a wonderful read.

I thought the story was quite different then any book I read. I liked Geraldine Brooks unique style of writing.

I will tell more of the story when the book contest is over. But who ever wins the book will absolutely love it. You will appreciate it even more if you are Jewish.

But For Now Good Luck!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

I am posting on both of my blogs about what I received in my mailbox this week by my reliable postman/postwoman, and UPS. I received a few books this week. On the Jewish literary side I received one book:

Illumination by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori
The publishing date is tomorrow. I would like to wish both of them good luck on their new novel.

Wow,For Me

I would like to thank Jewishwishes for honoring me with these awards.
I didn't think anyone was paying attention to my blog, especially because the blog specializes in Jewish Literature. My blog is visited not by Jewish Bloggers but by non-Jewish Bloggers. Which I think is interesting that non-Jewish bloggers would want to know about Jewish books and Judiasm. Judiasm,I have not posted on my blog, and not sure I would. My blog is also a teaching blog that I hope enriches your reading experience. I dig deeper by researching and locating articles about the author, subject, and her/his book.

The Award is the Prémio Dardos Award: “The Prémio Dardos is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing”. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web“.

Now I have to pass it to another blogger that has made a difference in my life.
A Work In Progress
I love reading you everyday. The books you review are very diversified, especially the classics which I don't read often. I enjoy your posts.
Book Club Girl
Because of you I started blogging and reaching out to the book blogging community.
Bermuda Onion
Because reading your posts I feel like I am reading an old lost friend. I read you every day.
Every Day I Write The Book
One of the first blogs I started to read and I visit every day
Fizzy Thoughts
I enjoy visiting because you are just fun to read
The Boston Bibliophile
One of my blogging friends that we have become friends. She has helped me out tremendously with blogging and contacts.
Kaye's Penguin Posts
Kaye at Penguin Post I started to visit a couple of weeks ago. I enjoy reading your blog. Her reviews are very well written. I could not have done better. Check her out when you have time.
She Is Too Fond of Books
I enjoy reading her blog. They are not only reviews. She will tell you about her literary travels sometime at different book stores. Her escapades as a volunteer worker at the library. Her posts can be hilarious.
Red Lady's Reading Room
Her blog is just wonderful, she reads what I read and enjoy the blog posts she writes.
Hey Lady What You Reading
She is absolutely hilarious . The funny situations she writes on her posts.

Thank you all that you do and now I am passing the award to all of you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I am so excited I just received Sima's Undergarments for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross.
I read the backcover, What juicy tidbits. The author was born in Boro Park I am sure she knows the ins and outs of the Chabad community(Orthodox community).

This looks like a fun read. Never heard of Chick Lit-Jewish Style. I will let you know what I think. I have seen some great reviews. I am still reading People of the Book.

What a interesting cover. A red cover (symbolism) woman with her eyes closed wearing only her bra with a tape measure over her eyes. Wonder what symbolism that means. I will have to see as I turn those pages of this steamy read hot book.

The author takes the readers to her home turf of Brooklyn, into a secret underground sisterhood that congregates at one woman's basement bra shop to share laughter, loves and losses in a l=place few men dare to tread.

For years, Sima Goldner has watched women of all shapes and sizes come in her Brooklyn shop in search of the most im=ntimate garments. Sima has beci=ome an expert at finding the perfect fit for her customers just from a look, but it's a knack for doling out a different kind of support to the lovelorn and unconfident that made her shop a Mecca for women from Brooklyn and beyond to gather and kibitz. When Timna, a young Israeli with enviable cleavage becomes the shop's seamstress, Sima finds herself drawn into the girl's life of romance and adventure. Stuck in a bitter image of nearly fifty years and harboring a secret from her youth, Sima must try her own advise to find out if it's not too late to turn her life around. You can read a review here
Here is a review I found in one of the Israeli Newspapers

Maybe we will find out some secrets of the orthodox community. I don't know why but it sounds so dangerously fun ... All you ladies give it a try. What do you have to loose. I remember the garment shops my grandmother used to take me to in Miami Beach. And the shops and boutiques in Ramsey NJ growing up in the 70's. Woops, I just aged myself.
This brings back memories. This does sound like a fun book. It just reminds me of the old shops and boutiques in the 40's and 50's that you would see in the movies. Where the sales person would actually take time to size you and help you. Not any more unfortunately.

Appeal to the Jewish Community and Beyond

Rabbi Avi has been our Rabbi since 2004. He was born in Israel and came to the U.S. and formed his family with Mira, and his children Ron, Maton, and Eden.
They lived in Boston, a few years later moved to Florida and then Texas for many years. He found his way to us in Myrtle Beach, only recently. We are blessed.

He has just sent a message to our congregation about the grave situation,right now in Israel. He just returned from Israel. He went there with his wife. Mira because her mother is very ill with Pancreatic Cancer. He saw first hand what is going on in Israel. I thought it was a good idea to post this since he is a eye witness to what is going on there.

I don't usually post things like this. But when Hamas is attacking and Israel has to defend itself from terrorists. We Jews have to defend her. I am not a Israeli citizen but I do feel for my fellow Jews that are in Israel being attacked.

I am posting his message on my blog. If you are interested in giving to the UJC and what work they do.

His message to Temple Emanu-El, Myrtle Beach, SC

Dear members and friends,

I'm glad to be back home after a two week visit to Israel. My dear wife Mira remains in Israel in the city of Ashdod, to take care of her gravely ill mother. While we were in Ashdod, we experienced first hand the suffering & misery of the citizens who reside in the south part of Israel.

The Hammas terrorist organization was launching their missiles indiscriminately and aiming at large cities in Israel. As a result, they were killing and injuring innocent citizens. In the city of Ashdod, where we stayed, we heard the missiles as they exploded nearby hitting a Kindergarten, a school, residential building and other civilian targets. There are more than 1 million Israeli citizens that are currently experiencing the difficult conditions of war. Many businesses have shut down and the schools have closed, however, the spirit of the Israeli people remains strong and they are all standing behind the actions taken by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) because they believe that this is a just and necessary war.

No other country in the world would tolerate the existence of a terrorist country as their neighbor. Not only are they calling for the annihilation of the state of Israel, but they are also actively performing acts of terror such as bombings and missile strikes, that are aimed at innocent civilians.

In this difficult time I call upon your heart and conscience to do your share by helping to support Israel. Please log onto the UJC website at www.UJC.org and look for the paragraph entitled "The Gaza Situation" then click on "Donate Now" and follow the instructions from there on.
Please also remember that we are part of the Myrtle Beach Network.
If you would prefer to send a written check, then please make it out to UJC Israel Solidarity Drive (write the same on the bottom of the check) and mail it to:

P.O.Box 30
Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10113
Attention: UJC Israel Solidarity Drive

May G-d bless you and your family.

Rabbi Avi Perets

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Mystery Of the Sarvejo Haggadah

Here is background info from a Jewish newspaper article.
The Haggadah is used during the Seder meal.

Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

It has been long time since the middle of the 14th century, the golden age of Spain when the amazing and incomparable ”The Sarajevo Haggadah” was created. It still remains unclear whether we will ever learn the date and place of the book’s making, the symbol of liberation, which has also become a symbol of Sarajevo.

Year after year for centuries the Jews around the world have been celebrating Passover, the holiday that marks liberation from the Egyptian slavery by a traditional Seder dinner at which Haggadah, the book of liberation, is being read. Every Jewish family has a copy of Haggadah and rich families in prosperous Spain could even afford lavishly decorated ones – a specially made Haggadah, as the one we have.
In addition to the mystery regarding the date and place of its making, it is also a mystery as of who painted it. If he was a Jew, how dared he portray a man and if he was a Christian who provided him with the necessary instruction? Could it be that he was a Muslim, as they lived in harmony with the Jews at the time in Spain and who were masters of calligraphy? The Muslim religion also proscribes portrayal of human image. No one knows the answer to these questions and that leaves us with the baffling mystery unsolved to the present day.

The very first image after opening Haggadah leaves us confused. Imagine presenting the Earth as round in the 14th century! Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for the very crime 200 hundred years later and our authors just took it for granted and repeated it in depicting every single day of the Creation. Browsing through the glorious pages we find the entire Old Testament and one can only imagine all the tales being told in addition to it. They must have been told in Ladino language, the language of Cervantes and later in Italian, probably in Bosnian too or in some other language. The images are so inspiring that it is not at all difficult to imagine the storyteller enriching every page of Haggadah by his always new interpretations often related to everyday situations.

Browsing through the book further, one comes to the well known page used also as the cover for the new reprinted edition which says ”Who is hungry should come forward and eat, the thirsty should come and drink…”, the sentence being said at every Seder, the sentence inviting wretched and unexpected guests to join us as we ourselves are celebrating. Several more mysteries follow. The coat of arms of the city of Barcelona at the top, or something closely resembling it. And then the two coats of arms at the two corners at the bottom. One depicts a rose and the other a wing. Let us remember that the word for rose in Hebrew is ”shoshan” and wing is ”elazar”. Could it be a proof that the Haggadah was made as a gift for the occasion of marriage of members of two dominant families Elazar and Shoshan, as there is evidence of the two families becoming related by marriage at the time?

Several pages are stained by red wine. Quite normal, taking into account that one has to toast four times at Seder and it is a little wonder that a drop here and there is spilled on the occasion. What sort of wine was it? Was it Kosher? Who was learned to write using the Haggadah pages? Who added images of humans and animals in the empty spaces? We will probably never get a proper answer to all these questions.

After expulsion of Jews form Spain in 1492, probably around 1510, the Haggadah changes hands. A note mentions the 18th year after the expulsion but does not provide us with names of either of the owners. Yet another mystery. Did somebody buy the book practically for free so that the desperate owner could save or feed himself or did that somebody buy the book in order to help a miserable man who had nothing else worth selling?

Finally a right track! The year of 1609 and a note that the book holds nothing against the church. The Haggadah was granted amnesty and won’t be burnt at the stake, as was the case with so many other books of much more naïve contents during the inquisition. What about the illustration at the first page? Could it be that the inspection was started at page two or that the examiner supported the blasphemous ideas of Giordano Bruno?

Then comes a long pause. We can only presume what happened between 1609 and 1894. The manuscript came to Bosnia and Herzegovina either as a piece of dowry or as a bribe, or simply as property of those who looked for security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Sarajevo. The Haggadah lived to see its worldly glory in the European Jerusalem, where Jews have been living with others since 1565. It was in this city that the Jewish cultural – educational and humanitarian society ”La Benevolencija” was established in 1892. The Haggadah was far too expensive when Josef Cohen offered to sell it to the society. What is its market value today? Who knows? The figures go as high as 700 million US$ (which is probably a misprint of estimated 7 million US$). It was sold for 150 Kruna, estimated today (and probably also at the time) at 15.000 KM. The buyer was the Archaeological Museum, the institution opened in 1888 that was financially capable of acquiring worthy antiques. The correspondence related to purchase of this manuscript between Sarajevo and Vienna is presented at this exhibition.

Then a strange thing happened. The manuscript was sent to Vienna for the first expertise and, believe it or not, was returned to Sarajevo after two years. How bleak would the British Museum, the Louvre and other world renowned museums around the world would have looked today if they returned everything they took from around the world? The Austrians have returned the Haggadah to Sarajevo. We will never find out whether that happened because Sarajevo was part of the Monarchy at the time or if it was an act of honest professionals. Nevertheless, we thank them even one hundred years later for having the Sarajevo Haggadah today and not the Vienna Haggadah.

The Haggadah was never displayed. It was always kept in a special place and was available for viewing only to the selected few. It was not seen and yet everybody knew about it. One of the first relics that the German forces requested after entering Sarajevo in 1941 was the Sarajevo Haggadah. Thanks to ingenuity of Mr. Jozo Petrovic, the director and Mr. Dervis Korkut, the custodian of the Archaeological Museum, the Haggadah was not handed over then. Obersturmbanfuerer Fortner was quite puzzled after he was told that a German officer ”was here a minute ago and took the book away… His name? How could we dare and ask?” Anyhow, the book was saved and then comes another mystery. As its former owners and enthusiastic readers ended their lives in Jasenovac, Auswitz, Gradiska, Jadovno and dozens of other concentration camps, the Haggadah survived without our knowing where and how. A legend says that it was hidden under the threshold of a mosque in a village at the foot of mountain Bjelasnica. Another says that it was buried under a cherry tree or under a walnut tree. It is probably realistic to believe that it was buried among other titles of the museum’s rich library as its nondescript binding prevented even most cunning visitors from discovering the wealth behind the plain cardboard covers.

After the liberation in 1945, the Haggadah gets back to the Archaeological Museum, which changed name to the National Museum. The fact that the manuscript survived the times in which six million Jews were not that fortunate made it legendary. First studies come out soon as well as new reprints and disputes. Who owns the Haggadah? The Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina rules that the Haggadah is property of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that its proprietor is the National Museum. The dispute is thus closed, followed by both legal and pirated reprints by publishers Svjetlost in Sarajevo, Prosveta in Belgrade or in cooperation of the two publishers.

During the preparations for the global exposition ”Sepharad 92” in 1991 to mark the expulsion of Jews from Spain of five hundred years ago, the Haggadah was requested for the largest exhibition of Sephardic art ever organized in Madrid. Unfortunately or rather fortunately, the Madrid Museum required it to be insured for 7 million dollars because of the wars in Slovenia and in Croatia and the organizers had to give up on the idea. So it happened that the Haggadah remained in Sarajevo and awaited the war that lied ahead. Once again, it was saved in a mysterious way. The hero this time was Dr. Enver Imamovic, the director of the Museum, who, along with a couple of brave policemen and members of the territorial guard, took out the Haggadah from the Museum immediately at the front line and moved it to the vault of the National Bank.

During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina several newspaper articles around the world speculated that the Haggadah had been destroyed or even that the Government of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina sold it and used the funds to buy arms, which was all untrue. By 1995 Bosnia was no longer high on the agenda for media around the world. We were left to bleed to death and they dealt with other topics. Then an idea on how to bring back attention of the world to Sarajevo by using Haggadah was born. Senator Lieberman said: ”I will come to Sarajevo for Passover if the Sarajevo Haggadah will be on the table.” President Izetbegovic and Prime Minister Silajdzic accepted the idea and the Haggadah was brought to the Jewish Municipality Building for the Passover of 1995 under massive security measures. The event was noted by all news agencies around the world and quite a few sent their reporters to Sarajevo especially for the occasion. It was the ”Breaking News” for CNN and Senator Lieberman did not make it to Sarajevo because of the tight siege and closing down of the airport.

Nevertheless, the Haggadah was presented to public for the third time. It was proved that us, Bosnians and Herzegovinians, can care for relics other than those of our own milieu and we also succeeded in bringing the attention of the world to Sarajevo and to the Haggadah once again.

A broadcast of ABC Night Line dedicated to the Sarajevo Haggadah was seen by 12 million American viewers.

A part of the story told through documents from the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina is before you.

Soon the Sarajevo Haggadah will also be before you. By joint efforts of the UN Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, our Jewish community, the Archaeological Museum and several donors, a space to permanently exhibit the Haggadah at the Archaeological Museum is being prepared so that everybody can see it and prove it to himself and herself that the mystery is real and that beauty is eternal.

We hope and believe that peace and tranquillity will prevail in the next 650 years of existence of the Sarajevo Haggadah and that its beauty will overcome all hardships and problems.

Sarajevo, March 2002.
Jakob Finci

Sarevejo Haggadah

I found pictures of the original Sarvejo Haggadah. It is significant because Jews in Medieval Europe were not allowed to create man's image. This is amazing. But i The pictures shown here is what you find in Medieval Europe in a Cathedral and in Christian books. I do wish that Geraldine Brooks would have inserted pictures in her books for readers to see.
Imagination Designs
Images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva