The Biblical Inspirations for My Fantasy Series

Posted on August 20th, 2018
Jewish Book Council


Noah Beit-Aharon is the nice Jewish boy behind the Godserfs epic fantasy series, published under the penname N. S. Dolkert. With the release of Among the Fallen, the second volume in the series, Noah is guest blogging for the Jewish Book Council all week as part of the Visiting Scribe series here on The ProsenPeople.


The setting of my fantasy series Godserfs is heavily influenced by my reading of the Tanakh, and the world evoked by the many conflicting stories and traditions within that text. While the first two books, Silent Hall and Among the Fallen, are rife with allusions and reimaginings, I want to take the opportunity to discuss three passages in the Hebrew Bible that directly influenced my writing.


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The Jewish Preview of Books—August 2018

Posted on August 13th, 2018
By Rachel Scheinerman for Jewish Review of Books


Here at the Jewish Review of Books we receive 40-50 books a week. These are some of the books coming out in August that we’re looking forward to reading and—who knows?—maybe reviewing.

 

If book publishing is any measure, this is a good month for the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary. JTS professor Jack Wertheimer’s latest contribution, The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today (Princeton), is due at the end of the month. You can start with Allan Arkush’s discussion in his cover article “In the Melting Pot” from our Summer issue. Wertheimer’s colleague Alan Mittleman’s new book answers the question Does Judaism Condone Violence? Holiness and Ethics in the Jewish Tradition (Princeton). (Does the title give away Mittleman’s answer?)

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My Very Unorthodox Kabbalist

Posted on August 6th, 2018
By Sigal Samuel for Jewish Book Council


To study Kabbalah, you’re supposed to be (a) forty years old, (b) married, and (c) a man. I am none of these things. Luckily, I grew up with a dad who was a professor of Jewish mysticism and was willing to share its secrets with me.
Raised in Montreal’s Orthodox community, I attended a school with strict gender norms. I was expected to obey all of Judaism’s 613 commandments. But, as a girl, I wasn’t allowed to take an interest in the religion’s more esoteric branches.

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Torah and the Thermodynamics of Life: An Interview with Jeremy England

Posted on July 30th, 2018
By Rachel Scheinerman for Jewish Review of Books
 

We frequently hear from theologians who reckon with the relationship between religion and science, but it is less common to hear from accomplished scientists on the subject. I spoke with Jeremy England, a research scientist whose work on the origins of life has led some to speculate he might be the next Darwin. This acclaim has resulted in England being described in a recent Dan Brown novel as “the toast of Boston academia, having caused a global stir,” though as England, who is an observant Jew, was quick to point out in The Wall Street Journal Brown misunderstood the implications of his research for religion. I had an opportunity to ask him about his work as a scientist, his Jewish commitment, and how those two reinforce one another.

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Lovesick: Stefan Zweig’s ‘Letter From an Unknown Woman’

Posted on July 23rd, 2018
By Alexander Aciman


Bookworm: The Austrian novelist dissects a broken heart


Dying of flu, a woman sends a letter to the man she has loved all her life—a man who would not know her from a stranger in the street. If he has received this letter, she warns, it means that she has died; otherwise the letter will be torn up. Over the next 70 pages she describes the first time they met, when she was a young girl, then the second time, when she was 18, and finally the third time, years later, when still unable to recognize her, he would pay for an evening of her time as a prostitute. She tells the story of life in the shadow of someone else, of a love from afar, not just unrequited, but unacknowledged, kept secret from the world except for in this letter.

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