Something’s rotten in ‘Capital City’ Rockville’s Lee Hurwitz novelizes the years of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry

Washington city government in the 1980s under the leadership of Mayor Marion Barry was “one big insane asylum,” says author and former District of Columbia employee Lee Hurwitz. That is also the takeaway from Hurwitz’s novel, “Capital City,” which he co-wrote with attorney Tim Treanor. The book focuses on fictional Washington Mayor Wendell Watson, a… Read More

Rabbi for all seasons Rabbi Akiva made the Jews who they are today, says biographer Barry Holtz

It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon were reclining in B’nai B’rak. They were discussing the Exodus from Egypt all that night, until their students came and told them: “Our Masters! The time has come for reciting the morning Shema!” At next month’s Passover seder, there… Read More

In search of a new world order Review

“A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order,” by Richard Haas. New York: Penguin Press, 2017. 307 pages. $28. Academics with one foot in the real world generally seem more knowledgeable, more convincing than their strictly ivory tower counterparts. Maybe it’s because they’ve been forced to get their ideas… Read More

Exhaustive volume traces Chabad Rebbe’s early years Review

“Early Years: The Formative Years of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson” by Boruch Oberlander and Elkanah Shmotkin. New York: Kehot Publication Society, 2017. 550 pages. $42. It is a story told in frayed telegrams and creased photographs, in faded script on yellowing notebook pages, in postmarked envelopes and stamped passports. It is the story… Read More

When giants wrote Hebrew poetry Review

“Hayim Nahman Bialik: Poet of Hebrew” by Avner Holtzman. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press 2017. 222 pages. $25. As a youngster, Hayim Nahman Bialik was a yeshiva bocher, a full-time student at a Jewish seminary. Ironically, that man, who would earn the title the “Hebrew national poet,” was one of the spiritual founders of… Read More

Chabon, Gordis among book award winners

Michael Chabon and Daniel Gordis were among the winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards. Gordis’ book “Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn” won the Jewish Book of the Year award, the Jewish Book Council announced Jan. 11. A Conservative rabbi, Gordis is senior vice president and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at… Read More