Library Corner

NYC Cops and the Case of the Lamed-Vovniks

Posted on March 3, 2020

By Robin Jacobson. Best-selling author Steven Pressfield was in Israel researching a book when he first heard the legend of the lamed-vovniks, the 36 righteous individuals upon whom the fate of the world rests. Immediately, the irreverent thought popped into his head, “So, what would happen if someone started murdering those 36 guys?” Intrigued, Pressfield […] Continue Reading »

Risking Death to Rescue Strangers

Posted on February 1, 2020

By Robin Jacobson. One day, anthropologist Maggie Paxson suddenly decided to “study war no more.” Weary and dispirited from fieldwork in violent, strife-torn countries, Paxson resolved to switch her research to human decency and altruism. This led her to a cluster of mountain villages on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon in south-central France – one of only […] Continue Reading »

Time Traveling to Cities of Yesteryear

Posted on January 2, 2020

By Robin Jacobson.  As the poet Emily Dickinson famously wrote, “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.” The magic of historical novels is their power to transport us to times long gone. Want to time travel to American cities of yesteryear? Try these captivating new historical novels; both illuminate the […] Continue Reading »

Race, Immigration, and Bad Science That Never Dies

Posted on November 4, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.   Each semester when Georgetown University professor Charles King meets new college students in his social science classes, he discovers that many hold two discordant beliefs. On the one hand, the students wholly condemn racism and white nationalism and decry America’s long history of oppressing Native Americans and African Americans. On the other […] Continue Reading »

Telling the Story of Israel: Including Jews from Arab Lands

Posted on October 2, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  When we tell the story of Israel, it’s often a story about European Jews. Theodor Herzl of Vienna dreamt of a Jewish state; David Ben-Gurion, born in Poland, proclaimed Israel’s statehood; and other European Jews escaped the Holocaust to build modern Israel. Yet half of today’s Israeli Jews have ancestral roots in […] Continue Reading »

Finding Truth in Fiction: A Novel about a WWII Hero

Posted on September 1, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  In August 1940, Varian Fry bid farewell to his comfortable life in New York City and headed for Nazi-controlled France. He hoped to rescue 200 prominent artists and authors, many Jewish, who had fled German-occupied countries for France, initially a safe haven. Now these luminaries, all blacklisted by the Nazis, were in […] Continue Reading »

Always An Immigrant

Posted on July 26, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  As Moses might have said, “You can take the Jews out of Egypt, but you can’t take Egypt out of the Jews.” It is hard to shed a past life and homeland, even one of misery and persecution. This is the theme of two outstanding new books by Jewish émigrés from the […] Continue Reading »

Summer Chills: Murder Mysteries of Jewish Finland

Posted on July 26, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  When a longtime crime reporter decides to try his hand at fiction, he might just discover that he has a talent for writing murder mysteries. This is what happened to Harri Nykänen. After 20 years covering the criminal underworld as a journalist for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, Nykänen began penning murder mysteries, […] Continue Reading »

Saving Children: Remembering Nicholas Winton on Yom HaShoah

Posted on May 1, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  On a London train platform in the late 1930s, future children’s author Michael Bond noticed a sad huddle of Jewish refugee children with identity tags dangling from their necks. These vulnerable children inspired his beloved fictional character, Paddington, a young refugee bear who alights at Paddington Station wearing a tag with the […] Continue Reading »

Memoirs That Tackle Big Life Questions

Posted on April 1, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  The Passover Seder is a night of questions – questions about the stories we inherit, the nature of Jewish identity, and what we owe to strangers who are oppressed or suffering. To stretch your mental muscles on these questions in advance of Passover, take a look at two compelling new memoirs: Inheritance: […] Continue Reading »