Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Jewish Reading Reviews

March 15, 2013 2:29 am 0 comments

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Photo: Elias Goldensky.

Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies and I find it thoroughly enjoyable.  Books always allow us to seek further knowledge, and more.  Here is my most recent Jewish reading list, and some of my thoughts on the books:

  • The Jewish Way In Death And Mourning, by Maurice Lamm:  Coping with the loss of my mother, this book was universally recommended by Rabbis.  Post-Shiva I’d concur and recommend it to anyone who needs it.  The book wasn’t “heavy” and dealt with very difficult issues at a sensitive time, in a compassionate manner.  There is nothing at all easy about coping with death, but this book allowed my family and I to understand some of the rules and regulations of Jewish burial and mourning. Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said this about the book: “Regrettably, it is a necessity for every Jewish home.” As a caveat, I’d recommend that no matter where one stands on the religious spectrum having a Rabbi you trust is better than any book – but this book is the best secondary option.
  • Menachem Begin:  A Life, by Avi Shilon: A new, fascinating book which is the first full complete biography of this great Jewish leader.  As a former National President of Betar North America, I found it fascinating to read of Begin’s life-long quest to do what he viewed as best for the Jews. He remained loyal to what he believed to be the vision of Ze’ev Jabotinsky throughout his life, and painstakingly fought for Jewish interests.   The book details Begin’s political struggles throughout his long career in politics and Jewish life, and how the man evolved from an underground activist to a statesman. The author is more negative regarding “Begin the man” than I was expecting and I found this to be a major downside. There are repeated allusions to depression, and other alleged mental illnesses that Begin had. At times it seems like a point the author wanted to prove. The book however was insightful and a worthwhile read about this Jewish hero.  Begin was a great man and a heroic Jew who should be remembered as such.
  • FDR and the Jews, by Richard Breitman & Allan J. Lichtman:  A book which was infuriating to read from cover to cover.  It seemingly ignores the fact that Roosevelt was the most powerful man in the world and could have done so much more to save Jews during the Holocaust.  The author brushes over other established research and seems to be apologizing for Roosevelt’s behavior. Yes, he did some good things, rather than none, but is that the test of leadership? It is not the first book I’d recommend if one wants to read about Roosevelt’s activities  during the Holocaust. I’d suggest “A Deafening Silence” or “The Abandonment of the Jews.”
  • The Garden of Wisdom A Practical Guide to Happiness in Life by Rabbi Shalom Arush: Having previously read (and loved) The Garden of Emuna by Arush, this book was one I very much looked forward to reading.  It was enjoyable and informs about the unique Breslov Hasidic style of faith and belief in a higher-power.  The book addresses how to deal with modern-day challenges of faith and Arush’s books are necessary additions to any Jewish library.

Ronn Torossian is a philanthropist, PR firm owner and author.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →