Words of Wisdom

Emanuel Litvinoff – “If I Forget Thee”

There can be no better way to celebrate the life and work of Jewish writer and thinker Emanuel Litvinoff. May 5, 1915 – September 24, 2011. Watch him read his masterpiece “If I Forget Thee” here.

For more information about this remarkable artist, click on this link to his official website.

Music

Music of Salomon Sulzer

Born March 30, 1804, Salomon Sulzer was one of the most important voices shaping the Chazzanut (the cantorate), Jewish music, and synagogue liturgy of the Western European and German communities.

See here for a video recording of the Ensemble Choral Copernic sing his Adon Olam in concert at the Rykestrassse Synagogue in Berlin, Dec. 23, 2012, as well as for a link to the score and the full text of Sulzer’s seminal work Shir Zion.

Book Reviews

Conviction – Julia Dahl

One of the most fun parts of writing book reviews is getting to read books that are outside of my usual comfort zone. Because we like to keep things positive here on Books and Blintzes, you will never hear about the duds. But every so often a book arrives at my doorstep that surprises me as just being the right book at the right time. Conviction, the third installment of Julia Dahl’s Rebekah Roberts mystery series, was just that book.

Being too impatient for most mysteries, I had missed Dahl’s acclaimed debut installment, Invisible City. The good news is that Dahl includes enough of the characters’ back stories in Conviction to make sure readers can get up to speed quickly. So go ahead and read Conviction first. Then, when you’re hooked, you can go back and enjoy the other two books.

This book caught my attention because of its setting. Investigative reporter Rebekah Roberts is drawn into the story of a gruesome murder that took place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn shortly after the riots in the summer of 1992. Now, 22 years later, she’s exploring the possibility that the wrong person was convicted. This gives Dahl a platform to incorporate not only the politics of the relationship between the Hassidic and African-American residents of Crown Heights in 1992, but also to highlight the issues of gentrification, police brutality, and the ongoing tensions in race relations that have intensified rather than disappeared. Readers interested in the way that the media portrays local events and the crime beat will appreciate Dahl giving them a front row seat to the action.

Dahl drives Conviction with strong characters and respect for the communities she portrays. Her straightforward prose keeps the pages turning, and aside from a generous sprinkling of Yiddish and Jewish religious terms, the book is accessible to anyone who might enjoy a crime novel. I will confess that even though the Conviction held my attention enough that I burned through it in less than 24 hours, I still flipped forward to read the ending when I was halfway through. Without any effort, I was able to think of five other people who I knew would be interested in this book. I will be enthusiastically sharing my copy, which is just about as good as a popular mystery can get.

 

I received a free pre-release ARC from the publisher, Minotaur Press, in order to write this review.

April/Nissan "kol dichfin yeitei vayechol" Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat

#jewishtextart Challenge!

I am excited and proud to introduce Books and Blintzes’ newest project – the #jewishtextart challenge!

Every month I will post a Jewish quote, text, or idea and invite everyone to share art that is either inspired by or makes you think about that month’s text.

The text will be posted here on the website, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (where you already follow us, right?).

 

A few simple rules:

1. Please share your Jewish art inspirations using the hashtags #jewishtextart and #booksandblintzes.

2. Please provide appropriate attribution. Do not share the work of others without their permission or without giving them credit.

3. Please share your own work too! Show us what inspires you!

Please protect your ideas. We do not assume liability for any copyright infringement

4. Please be aware that at its discretion, Books and Blintzes may block images and comments that are considered incompatible with its mission and values.

5. All media are welcome!

Time to have fun and be creative…