Library Corner

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 »

Sparkling Tales of Once Upon A Time

Posted on March 1, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.  The holiday of Purim sparkles like a fairytale – costumes and carnivals; wine and song; and an age-old tale of a foolish King, a brave Queen and an evil-plotting courtier. What a perfect month for reading fantasy fiction. The two bewitching books described below – one for adults, one for children – […] Continue Reading »

The Tug-of-War Over Kafka

Posted on February 4, 2019

By Robin Jacobson.   In March 1939, Max Brod fled his home in Czechoslovakia, just ahead of the Nazi invasion. Boarding the last train out of Prague before the borders closed, Brod clutched a bulging, cracked-leather suitcase containing the manuscripts, letters, and diaries of his late friend, Franz Kafka, the Czech Jewish author of 20th Century […] Continue Reading »

Hearing Echoes of the Past

Posted on January 2, 2019

By Robin Jacobson. A perennial source of fascination to physicists, philosophers, and poets is the nature of time. Does time progress along a straight line? Perhaps it ripples outward, like the rings on a tree trunk? Or maybe time is tiered, like an archaeological dig? The Maze at Windermere (2018), by Gregory Blake Smith, takes […] Continue Reading »

Calling Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Jewish Gambler

Posted on December 11, 2018

By Robin Jacobson.  Fans of British mysteries, especially of the Sherlock Holmes variety, will relish Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox. This is a true story about Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of the Sherlock Holmes tales) and his successful pursuit of justice for a Jewish man wrongly convicted of murder in early […] Continue Reading »

Resisting Evil: Holocaust Books for Tweens and Teens

Posted on November 1, 2018

By Robin Jacobson.  This November marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”), considered by many to be the night the Holocaust began. A violent turning point in Nazi Jewish policy, this wave of orchestrated, anti-Jewish riots swept across Germany, Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia on November 9-10, 1938.  This fall, commemorations around […] Continue Reading »

Two Sylvias and a Wedding

Posted on September 26, 2018

By Robin Jacobson.  On Simchat Torah, we reach the end of the Torah and begin reading it anew. The rabbis promise that each year’s reading offers new insights as our life experience broadens. Is it similarly true, I wonder, that remarks our parents made take on new meaning over time? And is there something a […] Continue Reading »

Celebrating the Birthday of the Universe

Posted on September 2, 2018

By Robin Jacobson. “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” –The Lorax by Dr. Seuss According to tradition, Rosh Hashanah is the birthday celebration of Creation. In one rabbinic tale, God takes Adam on a tour of the Garden of Eden, proudly pointing out its natural splendors and admonishing, “Do not […] Continue Reading »

Rabbi Akiva: The Novel

Posted on July 5, 2018

By Robin Jacobson.   Rabbi Akiva (c.50-135 C.E.) is a storied scholar and hero in Jewish tradition. His name appears more than 1,300 times in the Babylonian Talmud alone. Following the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. – a tragedy that threatened to end Judaism – he and other luminaries started down a path […] Continue Reading »