The Queen & The Spymaster is a fast-paced tale of palace intrigue that tells the story of the unlikely champions of Ancient Persia, and of a thousand-year vendetta that presages modern historical events in Iran and Afghanistan. It is a thrilling novel, telling the biblical Esther story you never knew.
Nathan and the Lions of Ƚódź told the story, in novel format, of a group of 34 teenagers who lived in the Polish forest of Las Lagienwnicki as partisans during World War II. This follow-up story, The Saga of Nathan, focuses on Nathan Kochinski, a member of the group, and his adventures in the post-World War II period. Like the other survivors, Nathan leaves Poland for Palestine. His war-time experience as a combat leader is recognized and when he joins the Haganah he rises to the rank of captain. His transformative role in this underground movement leads him to become a liaison officer seconded to David Ben-Gurion, director of the Jewish Agency for Security Policy. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Nathan continues to offer his expertise, rising to the level of Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Defense. Finally, Nathan succumbs to an assassination attempt on Ben-Gurion by interfering with a thrown explosive device.
This tale would make a great discussion piece for a reading group if the subject was meritorious efforts by Holocaust survivors.
“The Queen & The Spymaster” is a deftly crafted and simply riveting novel by Sandra E. Rapoport that is based on the story of Esther, and adheres to the ancient biblical text while imagining the suspenseful, gripping and ultimately triumphant backstory of the unlikely heroes of Xerxes’ Persia.
Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Queen & The Spymaster” is also available in a digital format
Rabbi Riemer may be best known for So that Your Values May
Live On, his
wonderful volume on ethical wills. The Day I Met My Father Isaac… is a smaller, easy-to-read,
and wise book meant for a broader audience. It contains some of his sermons
while serving as interim Rabbi at Anshe Shalom Congregation in Florida. The
book contains drashot
thirty-five of the weekly parashot (Torah readings). In them Riemer explores both Torah
issues and their parallels in modern life using stories, gentle humor, and a
touch of irony. Beginning with Lech Lecha (“A Sermon addressed to the rich people in this
Congregation”), his subjects include Yitro (“The Super Bowl and the Sedra”), Bechukotai (“Some of my favorite
curses”), and Korach
rightness can kill you”). Each derasha begins with a story; most of them are contemporary,
while others come from the Talmud and the Hasidic literature. They are witty
and easy to connect with. He then turns to the Torah and links his introduction
to the moral of the parashah. Some of his connections are
quite powerful, others are sweet. But all are meaningful. The volume concludes
with his “Farewell Shabbat” comments: “The lessons you have taught me.” In this
talk he reminds his audience that, at their best, teachers are also students.
There has been a plethora of books over the past few
years to assist B’nai Mitzvah students with their drashot. This delightful collection
of sermons can be used by 12-year-olds. It would be better employed by adults
looking for inspiration, as well as to create their own commentaries. It is a
fine (and fun) addition to any synagogue library.
Kaytek the Wizard (written by Janusz Korczak in 1933 and translated into English by Antonia-Lloyd Jones) first premiered as a puppet play in 2016 (BriAnimations Living Entertainment). This production has been performed across the U.S., from Tennessee to Maine to California, at festivals, schools and performing arts centers.
At the August 2018 International Korczak Conference in Seattle, Washington, the production won a recognition award for introducing audiences to this man who is often referred to as “The King of Children”.
A short preview of the puppet play can be seen here.