Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jewish Carnival for August

By Joseph Teluskin
Harper Collins

This past month, the Chabad community of Myrtle Beach hosted a wonderful program. It was a book review, and discussion of the life of Rabbi Schneerson. Not just the orthodox community came. But, the rest of the Jewish community of Myrtle Beach was represented.  Which included Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom, and Temple Beth Elohim. Apparently all over the United States, each Barnes and Noble invites the Chabad community to talk about the books. Incidentally, there are two others that came out about the Rebbe recently as well.  This comes on the twentieth anniversary of his death.

 I grew up in Michigan, and in New Jersey. Raised Jewish in a conservative temple. I went to hebrew school. But, my family never exposed me to the orthodox community.Living  in New Jersey, and occasionally saw girls in long dresses, and lots of babies and was curious, but not overly curious. The same in Miami.  Where I lived, which was not a " community of Jews". I lived in a mainly christian area all my life.

But, when I moved to Myrtle Beach, a small coastal town. The Chabad community sticks out. Seeing them every  Saturday walking to shul.  I was very curious about the orthodox community of Jews. I came to know them, because I became friendly with one of the teachers. She occasionally called on me to substitute at the Chabad school. I learned more and more about Chabad, and the community.

Then a couple of us, wanted to start a Rosh Hodesh group. This is when I learned about the Chabad community. When I got into their circle. I was then invited to Rosh Hashanah dinners, and Shabbat dinners occasionally. Where I learned more about practices the traditions and rituals as a Jew.

Now, I will introduce you to Rebbe, by Joseph Teluskin.  Rebbe is a fascinating book. It divides the chapters up in different topics of the Rebbe. It is a fast, and easy read. Not, too academic for the lay person. The book is over 600 pages.The Chabad headquarters is in Crown Heights in New York City.  You learn about the many emissaries that go into towns to start a outreach.  You learn a bit about his life. How the Chabad started in Europe. How he became the successor for his father in law.  Who would become his successor? What happened to his many books? What his ideas are, what he thinks about politics, what his thoughts are about boys going to college, etc. etc.

I have and own a couple of Joseph Teluskin's books, and enjoy reading them. This book, was not a disappointment.  I would like to thank, Harper Collins for giving me a review copy. Here is a link about Rabbi Schneerson.  Here is another link for more specific information. If you are orthodox, and looking for information on Chabad here is their link.

Also, here is a review by one of my favorite Jewish author's, Dara Horn.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Updated Post on People of the Book

Revisiting People of the Book

A few years ago, I read, and posted The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I have always been swayed back and reminded about the book, someway. This time it was from one of my fellow book bloggers. She is reading the novel, and I sent my link from my posts. After reading and reminiscing about the book. I had put the book to rest.  But, I still think there is much to talk about with the novel. Especially, what is going on in the Middle East.  The People of the Book links Jews to Muslim, and visa versa. It reminds us we are all human and linked to each other. Not, just about killing each other.

So, I decided to google and see what else pops up recently.  There was an amazing program on PBS. Here is the link. Here is some pictures as well.  You can visit my previous posts about these amazing artifacts, and here are my other posts about the Hagaddah.

But something new also based on the Sarajevo Haggadah is Music of the Book. You can read the article here. It is about a Bosnian woman that wrote music based on the true story of the Sarajevo Hagaddah.  A program in Boston is showing now and around the world.  Something else- the people of Bosnia may loose the book once more if they don't find somewhere to keep this important Jewish artifact. You can find the article here. Then an article at the Huffington Post about why the artifact was unable to travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art in NYC. I hope someone may initiate the care of this important, and beautiful artifact. That seems to be like us, the

This is taken from the author's website:

Available now, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, an intricate, ambitious novel that traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia.
Inspired by the true story of a mysterious codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book is a sweeping adventure through five centuries of history. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys: through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo.
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she becomes determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation.
Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah
Page from the Sarajevo Haggadah
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of Vienna in 1894, the book becomes a pawn in an emerging contest between the city’s cultured cosmopolitanism and its rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in 1609, a Catholic priest saves it from Inquisition book burnings. In Tarragona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text has his family destroyed amid the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed.
In Year of Wonders and March, Geraldine Brooks demonstrated an uncanny ability to hear and transmit the voices of a seventeenth century Derbyshire maid and an nineteenth century American abolitionist. People of the Bookis filled with unforgettable voices from the past, but it is Hanna’s voice—edgy, contemporary—that makes People of the Book a compulsively readable adventure story that transcends the usual boundaries of historical fiction.

I have been thinking in the last couple years after reading this novel. To have our  Jewish community read,  People of the Book.  Even though it is not a recent bestseller anymore, I think it makes great discussion and a wonderful book if you have not heard of it, or read it.  Happy Reading!
Imagination Designs
Images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva