Review: By The Rivers Of Babylon

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Khalid Kishtainy
Quartet Books, £15


Review: Memories Of Eden

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Violette Shamash (edited by Mira and Tony Rocca)
Forum Books, £14.99


Review: Last Days Of Babylon

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Marina Benjamin
Bloomsbury, £9.99

In the 1941 Farhud (pogrom), my husband’s mother lost a relative. Ten years later, along with most of the Iraqi Jewish community, the entire family left for Israel (300 of them filled a plane). As they locked the door of their house, Muslim neighbours stood in the street crying and begging them to stay. This is a complex story, very different to the Ashkenazi Jewish experience.


Review: The Fox, The Foetus And The Fatal Injection

By Daniel Youngerwood, June 20, 2008

By Rabbi Daniel Levy
YPS, £8

“I have often heard people say that ‘Some rabbis are known as controversial whilst others are not’ … I would prefer to say that there are rabbis who speak out and rabbis who do not.”
(From The Fox, the Foetus and the Fatal Injection)


Book Week boss accuses Edinburgh event of bias

By Shelly Paz, June 19, 2008

Jewish Book Week director Geraldine D’Amico has expressed disappointment that the Edinburgh International Book Festival plans to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary by focusing on the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, the Palestinian term for the creation of Israel.


Review: To This Day

By David Herman, June 12, 2008

By SY Agnon (trans: Hillel Halkin)
The Toby Press, £14.99

The last novel written by SY Agnon, doyen of Israeli literature and Nobel laureate, is finally available in English


Review: The Saladin Murders

By Jenni Frazer, June 12, 2008

By Matt Rees
Atlantic, £11.99

Morse, Rebus... and now Yussef,” raved The Observer in its assessment of Matt Rees’s first foray into fiction, The Bethlehem Murders (now available as a £6.99 paperback). I can’t say I agreed with The Observer then, but on the basis of his second novel, The Saladin Murders, Rees’s hero, Omar Yussef, is becoming more and more likeable — even if no better as a detective.


Review: Beaufort

By Miriam Shaviv, June 12, 2008

By Ron Leshem
Harvill Secker, £12.99

For a country so dominated by conflict, Israel has produced remarkably little literature about its wars. Only two major books have been written about the near-defeat of 1973, for example. And Beaufort, Ron Leshem’s powerful book about the retreat from Lebanon in 2000, was rejected by several publishers. He was repeatedly told that the public was not ready to confront this traumatic episode in its recent history.


Healing the ‘painful verses’

June 12, 2008

A new book by a rabbi, an imam and a priest tries to explain controversial verses in their holy books that have offended other faiths. Published in French, Les Versets Douloureux [“The Painful Verses”] was co-authored by Rabbi David Mayer, Sohaib Bencheikh and Reverend Yves Simoens.


When blame hits history

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 5, 2008

Journey to Nowhere
By Eva Figes
Granta, £14.99