A D.C. rabbi’s adventurous and persevering spirit Review

“You Are the Book: A Spiritual Memoir” by Rabbi Tamara Miller. Silver Spring, Md.: Three Gems Publishing, 2017. 238 pages. $15.95. Often, our souls are the scenes of ferocious struggles, as various ideas battle for control of our spiritual essences. Because so much is at stake, these conflicts can reach epic proportions. My assimilated, American-Jewish… Read More

More a mountain of chaff than a memoir Review

Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians and the Music Industry by Leonard Slatkin. Milwaukee: Amaedus Press, 2017. 304 pages, $27.99. “Leading Tones,” by the conductor Leonard Slatkin, is the quintessential hodgepodge. Among its many unrelated, randomly strewn bits, we find facts about the career of Slatkin, who led our own National Symphony Orchestra from 1996… Read More

A look at Jewish justices at the highest court Review

“Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan,” by David Dalin, Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 2017. 384 pages. $35. Who was the first president with the courage to nominate a Jew for a Supreme Court vacancy? And who was the potential nominee? Well-educated Jewish Americans would reply that it was President Woodrow… Read More

A Holocaust tale of two families

  Review “Hell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five Holocaust Memorials” by Victor Ripp. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. 200 pages. $25. As Jews of a certain age, haven’t many of us thought that were it not for the grace of God or our grandparents’ or parents’ courage in leaving their homes that… Read More

A look at Jews, Ukrainians, and causes of past calamities

Review “Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-existence” by Paul Robert Magocsi and Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. 320 pages. $44.95. The title — “Jews and Ukrainians,” and not something like “Ukrainian Jews and Ukrainian Christians” — tells us the book’s basic story. The Western concept of a Jewish American or a… Read More

Love and whiplash with a mystical bent Review

“Bashert” by Herb Freed. Los Angeles: Bellrock Press, 2017. 325 pages. $14.95 As implied by its title, “Bashert” (soulmate) is a novel about love. But it comes with a distinctly mystical bent. Filmmakers Dan and Marion — the book’s protagonists — rush to the hospital to see the baby just born to their friends Steve… Read More