Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

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mooseman01
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Re: Community Conversation

I am Irwin Moss. I live in LA with my wife of 53 years! We returned to Judaism a dozen years ago, and are among the co-founders of a new synagogue, Ahavat Torah.

We are both avid readers, although of quite different lit. She concentrates on fiction far more than I.

Among my recent reads Judaica are Dierdre Bair's, "Jung," Irving Yolam's "When Nietsche Wept," Bruce Feiler's "Walking the Bible," and Sholem Asch's "The Nazarine."

There are other recent reads not Judaic: A volume of Ned Rorem's Last Diary, and a volume of his Letters; Dierdre Bair's bio of Anais Nin; " Wild Heart," a bio of Natalie Barney by Suzanne Rodriguez, and two bios of Djuna Barnes.

I wonder if anyone has any interest in these titles. There are others of recent reads but I hesitate to clutter this note.

Irwin Moss, LA
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Rahel
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Coming up in February on Jewish Encounters!

[ Edited ]
Hello Jewish Encounters book club members, lurkers, and new friends!
Get ready, because next week we are jumping from the 12-century to the 19th, from Spain and North Africa to New York City. We'll be discussing Esther Schor's engaging and groundbreaking biography of Emma Lazarus, poet, writer, and activist. Join Professor Schor and me in what is sure to be a fascinating discussion.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Rahel

Message Edited by Rahel on 02-01-2008 01:49 PM
Rahel
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Alexenberg
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Re: About Jewish Encounters

It would be appropriate to discuss my book on Jewish Encounters since no discussion of books on contemporary art and Jewish life have yet taken place. Below are some comments on it:
The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness
Intellect Books /University of Chicago Press

“This is a wonderful and important book. The author links the history of art to the important role played by various forms of thinking in the Jewish tradition and connects that to the emerging culture of digital expression. Brilliant insights and new ways of seeing make this a must-read for anyone interested in the intellectual history of images in the 21st Century.”
- Ron Burnett, author of How Images Think (MIT Press, 2005), President of Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada.

“If Jacques Derrida had not preceded him, Alexenberg would be the Jewish Marshall McLuhan…. Alexenberg’s art and scholarship represents some of the most innovative work being made in both the Jewish and non-Jewish art worlds.”
- Menachem Wecker, Forward

“Like the Torah itself that Alexenberg refers to regularly, the book is complex. He writes in a lively, engaging style.... I found it informative, optimistic, and spiritually refreshing.”
- Rob Harle, Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology

“In his book, Mel Alexenberg navigates his artistic insight amid the labyrinthian complexities, explosions, and revolutions of the past forty years of art, tracing his way amid questions of science and religion, technology and environment, education, culture, and cosmos. Everyone will find his book full of new vantage points and vistas, fresh insights that give a uniquely personal history of artistic time that indeed points to new and open futures.”
- Lowry Burgess, Dean, Professor of Art, and Distinguished Fellow of the Studio for Creative Inquiry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

“The author succeeds in opening a unique channel to the universe of present and future art in a highly original and inspiring way. His connection between ancient concepts (Judaism) and the present digital age will force us to thoroughly rethink our ideas about art, society and technology. This book is evidence that Golem is alive!”
- Michael Bielicky, Professor and Head of the Department of InfoArt/Digital Media, Hochschule fur Gestaltung / ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.

“Mel Alexenberg, a very sophisticated artist and scholar of much experience in the complex playing field of art-science-technology, addresses the rarely asked question: How does the "media magic" communicate content?”
- Otto Piene, Professor Emeritus and Director, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

“This book is simply a must read analysis for anyone interested in where we and the visual arts are going in our future. Alexenberg has provided us with powerful new lenses to allow us to "see" how postmodern art movements and classical Judaic traditions compliment and fructify one another as the visual arts are now enlarging and adding a spiritual dimension to our lives in the digital era.”
- Moshe Dror, President of World Network of Religious Futurists, and Israel Coordinator of World Future Society.

“This book is amazing, so deep and insightful and full of sweet revelations at each turn of the page! It rocks the world and brings some desperately needed light.”
- David Lazerson, author of Skullcaps ‘N Switchblades. Performing artist and education professor.
Mel Alexenberg
author of 'The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness' (Intellect Books/University of Chciago Press 2006, paperback edition 2008) and 'Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Judaism and Contemporary Art ' (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass House, 2008) in Hebrew.
Editor of 'Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the INtersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture' (Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, 2008)
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Community Conversation

I'd like to recommend the movie Ushpizin. It's about an Israeli couple who have guests on Sukkot but it's about so much more. The first time I saw it I cried. The second time I saw it I cried. Couldn't help myself, saw it one more time and, yes, I cried. It's a beautiful expression of everything we value as Jews and spoke to my heart in a very profound way.
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Rahel
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Israeli film

Timbuktu --
I also loved Ushpizin. A really lovely movie -- funny, tender. I enjoyed it tremendously. And it's available on Netflix if you want to watch it at home.

On an entirely different note, I'd also recommend the Israeli film Beaufort. It's about the pull-out from Lebanon in 2000 and i sincredibly powerful. I don't know how widely it is playing -- I saw it in NY -- but it is nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, so maybe that will get it onto more screens.

Any more recommendations?
Rahel
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Israeli film

Thanks for the recommendation. Haven't heard of that movie but I'll keep an eye out for it.

There was an interesting movie about East Indian Jews in Israel, forgot the name of it though. It was very R rated, which was annoying, but it was interesting. Saw it at an Israeli film festival, it's in Hebrew. If I can think of any more, especially with titles, I'll let you know!
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Israeli film

eureka! I found the title of the film. Turn Left at the edge of the world. About an Indian Jew and a Moroccan Jew who move to Israel. It's no Ushpizin but it held my interest!
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Israeli film

During a discussion with my son about the Lebanon withdrawal I mentioned the movie you suggested, Beaufort. He said "No way could I handle that, too terrible". I, on the other hand, have found it on netflix and added it to my queue. Can't keep my head in the sand about these things, especially during an election year. Thanks for the recommendation and let's hope only happy movies come out of Israel from now on. BTW, my son was wondering if it had an anti-Israeli bias, as so many thing seem to nowadays. I guess we've come to expect the worst, haven't we?
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Rahel
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Re: Israeli film



Timbuktu1 wrote:
During a discussion with my son about the Lebanon withdrawal I mentioned the movie you suggested, Beaufort. He said "No way could I handle that, too terrible". I, on the other hand, have found it on netflix and added it to my queue. Can't keep my head in the sand about these things, especially during an election year. Thanks for the recommendation and let's hope only happy movies come out of Israel from now on. BTW, my son was wondering if it had an anti-Israeli bias, as so many thing seem to nowadays. I guess we've come to expect the worst, haven't we?




I would say that Beaufort was a very balanced movie. It made remarkably few political claims -- it truly was focused on the lives of the few soldiers in this remote fort in the last days of the Israeli presence in Lebanon. There was very little debate about the political motivations and consequences of the decision -- these were just terrified young men who wanted to get home. Very moving.

I'll have to take a look for the movie you recommended and add it to my queue! Also, for anyone in the NY area interested in Israeli film, I'll make a plug for the movie "To Die in Jerusalem." Public disclaimer: my cousin is the director:smileyhappy: It's showing tomorrow (2/19) at the JCC in Manhattan. It is an excellent film about the devestation left on both sides after a suicide bombing, and the painful, and perhaps hopeless, attempts to find any common ground for communication. Very powerful.
Rahel
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Jonathan Rosen!

Last night I had the great pleasure of hearing Jonathan Rosen, Nextbook's Editorial Director, read from his new book, The Life of the Skies. Readers of the Jewish Encounters series already know Jonathan's excellent work as an editor, but you may not know that he is a wonderful writer of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a devoted birder, which is the topic of his most recent book. For a taste of his work, here's a link to Lemon Zest, an article he published last Sunday in The New York Times. Jonathan's reading was absolutely wonderful, and I'm including a link to his tour schedule so you can have the chance to see him at his readings around the country in the next couple of months.
Jonathan is also the author of The Talmud and the Internet, a fascinating exploration of the ways in which the Internet resembles the pages of the Talmud which is also a moving personal story. He has also written two very fine novels, Joy Comes in the Morning and Eve's Apple. (For readers who have been thinking, as I have, about Jewish women while reading Emma Lazarus, I'd particularly recommend Joy Comes in the Morning. It's a beautiful, beautiful book.)
We're hoping to have Jonathan on the book club one of these days, so I hope you'll take the opportunity to seek out his work!
And congratulations to Jonathan!
Rahel
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Rahel
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Purim coming!

I just wanted to mention a new book I got yesterday, which I am very excited about reading --
Megillat Esther by J. T. Waldman. It's a graphic novel version of the Book of Esther, incorporating elements from Rabbinic midrash in addition to the Biblical text. I only had a brief chance to look at it, but on first glance it looked great, so I'll keep you all in the loop and let you know what I think!
Best,
Rahel
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Purim coming!



Rahel wrote:
I just wanted to mention a new book I got yesterday, which I am very excited about reading --
Megillat Esther by J. T. Waldman. It's a graphic novel version of the Book of Esther, incorporating elements from Rabbinic midrash in addition to the Biblical text. I only had a brief chance to look at it, but on first glance it looked great, so I'll keep you all in the loop and let you know what I think!
Best,
Rahel




Thanks so much Rahel! My l7 year old daughter wants to write graphic novels, I'll have to get it for her.
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Rahel
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Re: Purim coming!

oh, then you should also get her The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar, a wonderful French-Jewish graphic novelist. I used to work for Pantheon books, which publishes a fantastic list of graphic novels -- if your daughter hasn't yet read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, that is a must!
Rahel
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Timbuktu1
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Re: Purim coming!



Rahel wrote:
oh, then you should also get her The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar, a wonderful French-Jewish graphic novelist. I used to work for Pantheon books, which publishes a fantastic list of graphic novels -- if your daughter hasn't yet read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, that is a must!




Thanks so much! I'll definitely get them for her. Actually, my husband is a French-Jew so it's doubly appropriate. I saw the movie Persepolis and loved it.
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April news

Hello, readers!
I wanted to update you on our plans for the book club this month. We won't have an "official" book this month -- we'll be picking that up again in May with Ruth Wisse's Jews and Power -- so this month I'd like to open the floor to your suggestions. I and other readers would love to hear what you are all reading and thinking about these days, so please share and I think we can get some great discussions going!
Best,
Rahel
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Passover!

With Passover around the corner, I wanted to share a little bit about my family's seder traditions, and I would love to hear from readers about your own. We tend to have medium size seders -- 15 to 20 -- and go around the table with everyone reading in Hebrew or English, as they are comfortable. There are always wonderful new Haggadot coming out. If you are looking for something with more commentary and more of a scholarly perspective, you can try the new Jewish Publication Society Commentary on the Haggadah.

My family has a longstanding tradition of saying the Four Questions in as many languages as possible. It's a great way to encourage more participation, as everyone gets to show off their language skills, and takes some of the heat off me (often still the youngest at my family's seder, even though I'm thirty!). We have haggadahs in Russian, Spanish, French, and Ladino, but often people who speak other languages have to come up with translations on the spot. So I was thrilled to find Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights, a beautiful little book with the Four Questions in twenty-three languages from around the globe, as well as a brief history of the Jewish community in each of these lands. It's a perfect gift to bring to a seder you're attending, and a great way to keep your own seder interesting (disclaimer: the author is a friend of mine:smileyhappy:.

For all who are celebrating it, may you have a Happy Passover and a Hag Kasher ve'Sameah.
Rahel
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LynnSomerstein
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Re: Passover!

Rahel, the Four Questions book is wonderful, but I had a hard time finding it. It is not tabled with the other Passover books. It is also not in the Judaica section. After visiting two different B and N outlets on the Upper East Side, I finally found it on a table of non-denominational religious books. I asked sales personnel, but since I didn't remember the exact title they couldn't find the book either, although they had heard about the B and N book club. I probably asked more than four questions, maybe that was my problem.
 
The author will have better sales if the book is placed correctly. She deserves better treatment.
The book is a great gift, both for others and for oneself.
 
Thanks,
Lynn Somerstein
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Rahel
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Re: Passover!

Hi, Lynn.
So great to hear from you. I'm sorry you had such a hard time finding that book, but glad that you persevered and were successful in the end. I'll see if I can pass along word about your experience and encourage stores to make sure it's shelved correctly.
Have a wonderful Passover.
Rahel
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marcialou
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Re: Community Conversation: Foreskin's Lament

[ Edited ]
I'm popping in after a long absence to bring up a book I just read: Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander.  Has anyone else read it?  What do you think?  I found it funny, sad, and provocative.  It could be the basis of an interesting discussion on the nature of God in the Hebrew Bible or the role of family in shaping religious experience.  Anoyne game?
 
Marcia


Message Edited by marcialou on 05-01-2008 10:58 AM
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Rahel
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Re: Community Conversation: Foreskin's Lament

Hi, Marcia -- so nice to hear from you and have you back.
I've certainly been meaning to read The Foreskin's Lament, but haven't yet had the chance. For May, we'll be reading Ruth Wisse's Jews and Power, but maybe we could do the Auslander over the summer if people are interested? Let me know -- I'm certainly open to suggestions!

Thanks
Rahel
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