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Book Titles and Dates

 March 25th - We Were Strangers Once : A Novel by Betsy Carter

A novel about friendship, love, and redemption in a circle of immigrants who flee Europe for 1930s-era New York City. On the eve of World War II Egon Schneider, a gallant and successful Jewish doctor, escapes Germany to an uncertain future across the sea. Settling into the unfamiliar rhythms of upper Manhattan, he finds solace among a tight-knit group of fellow immigrants, tenacious men and women drawn together as much by their differences as by their memories of the world they left behind. They each suffer degradations and triumphs large and small: Egon's terminally acerbic lifelong friend, bestselling author Meyer Leavitt, now wears a sandwich board on a New York street corner;and Egon himself is forced to abandon his medical practice to become the "Cheese Man" at a Washington Heights grocery. But their spirits remain unbroken, and when their little community is faced with an existential threat, these strangers rise up together in hopes of creating a permanent home. 

April 29th - Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi

10 beautifully crafted letters are primarily directed to an imaginary Palestinian neighbor. Clearly, however, they are also intended for a wider readership that includes the vast Arab and Muslim worlds, fellow Israelis, Jews in the Diaspora and all people interested in a thoughtful, sensitive and politically balanced Jewish-Israeli perspective on the seemingly intractable conflict. The author’s core message: Jews are a people, not merely a religious category, as most Palestinian leaders assert; they have returned to their ancient homeland (“re-indigenized”) and are entitled to national self-determination; and only when Palestinians recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish people’s profound spiritual and historical attachment to Israel can there be hope for genuine and lasting reconciliation. 

May 27h - The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

Kadish’s Jewish heroine exists in a narrative that leaps across centuries and continents. The Inquisition, the pseudo- messianism of Sabbatai Zevi, the serial expulsions of Jewish communities, the Holocaust, Israel’s War of Independence, the twin episodes of Jewish martyrdom at Masada in Israel and in England’s York, all contribute to the kaleidoscope of Jewish tragedy and redemption. Historic personalities emerge, such as chronicler Glückel of Hameln, and Benedict de Spinoza’s persona and philosophy are pivotal to the story. 

June 24th - Jewish pirates of the Caribbean : how a generation of swashbuckling Jews carved out an empire in the New World in their quest for treasure, religious freedom--and revenge by Edward Kritzler 

In this lively debut work of history, Edward Kritzler tells the tale of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas in the aftermath of the Spanish Inquisition. At the end of the fifteenth century, many Jews had to flee Spain and Portugal. The most adventurous among them took to the seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as the Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham, they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Filled with high-sea adventures–including encounters with Captain Morgan and other legendary pirates–Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean reveals a hidden chapter in Jewish history as well as the cruelty, terror, and greed that flourished during the Age of Discovery.

July 29th -The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer

In this gripping historical novel based on the true story of Varian Fry's extraordinary attempt to save the work, and the lives, of Jewish artists fleeing the Holocaust. In 1940, Varian Fry--a Harvard educated American journalist--traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to rescue within a few weeks. Instead, he ended up staying in France for thirteen months, working under the veil of a legitimate relief organization to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and set up an underground railroad that led over the Pyrenees, into Spain, and finally to Lisbon, where the refugees embarked for safer ports. Among his many clients were Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, Andre Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall.  

August 26th - Sirius : A Novel About The Little Dog Who Almost Changed History 

by Jonathan Crown

A highly original, tragicomic novel as seen through Sirius, an extraordinary dog who helps his Jewish family escape from Germany to California, becomes a Hollywood star, and, ultimately, contributes to Hitler's downfall. Levi, a fox terrier, lives with the Liliencrons family in Berlin. The year is 1938, and Berlin is no longer safe for his Jewish owners. They rename him Sirius, after the constellation, to protect him. Sirius alerts the family when Nazi troops storm the city, and they manage to flee to California. Carl Liliencron becomes a chauffeur and Sirius, renamed Hercules, becomes a canine movie star. Through a series of exceptional events he winds up at the right hand of Hitler himself. Can Sirius help the German resistance, derail the Führer, and reunite with his family?

September - High Holidays

October 28th -   The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker 

The story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures. The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously  inventive and unforgettable tale. 


Be sure to check out the Jewish interest books/DVDs in the Katz Jewish Library housed in the Kihei Public Library.


Fri, September 30 2022 5 Tishrei 5783