Jews -- fiction

Spirits of the Ordinary

By Kathleen Alcala

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"Unfolding a rare and haunting gift for story-telling, Kathleen Alcal begins her tale in the 1880s and follows three generations of the Carabajal family on a path of forbidden love and hidden belief that wends across the Mexico-Texas border. Estela risks the security of her comfortable home and children to pursue a consuming passion. Her husband, Zacar as, is guided by an inexplicable spiritual longing and his affinity for the indigenous people who dwell in the cliffs of Casas Grandes. Zacar as's father, a cloistered Jew, studies the ancient wisdom of the Torah and the Cabala, hoping to unlock the secrets of his son's future. The truth, when it comes, will surprise all of them."
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Exodus

By Leon Uris

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Published in 1958, this 600-page novel was a sensation as millions read Uris' detailed, heroic chronicle of European Jewry from the turn of the century to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The novel was translated into dozens of languages and was even distributed secretly in communist countries. The birth of a new nation was depicted through many characters, but the story of an American nurse and an Israeli freedom fighter formed the nucleus of the work. Uris traveled to Palestine and covered the Arab-Israeli hostilities as a war correspondent. Two years later his masterpiece Exodus was published. Always known for the exacting detail of his research, Uris reportedly traveled over fifty thousand miles and interviewed over 1,200 people in preparation for writing the novel.
The 1960 movie version of Exodus, starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, was nominated for three Oscars. Paul Newman looked his absolute gorgeous best in this movie.

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Out of the Frying Pan, into the Choir

By Sharon Kahn

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Trouble is brewing in Temple Rita. First, the choir's upcoming excursion to Banff and Lake Louise is in serious jeopardy when sagging latke sales don't raise enough money for the scenic train trip. Resident busybody Essie Sue thinks that hiring Bitsy, an aging peroxide-blond tart of a party planner, can help solve their problems. Ruby, our widowed heroine, disagrees, and all Bitsy manages to do is spend more money the temple doesn't have on a pathetic Chanukah concert.To make matters worse, Temple Rita's star soprano, Serena Salit, collapses right before her number. She's rushed to the hospital but later dies of heart failure. Ruby steps in quickly to support Serena's good friend Rose, a move that gets her right where she wants to be -- in the path of the gossip -- when Rose discovers some disturbing entries in Serena's electronic diary.

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The Yankee at the Seder

By Elka Weber; illustrations by Adam Gustavson

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As a Confederate family prepares for Passover the day after the Civil War has ended, a Yankee arrives on their Virginia doorstep and is invited to share their meal, to the dismay of ten-year-old Jacob. Includes historical notes about Corporal Myer Levy, on whom the story is based, and his prominent Philadelphia family.
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Everything Is Illuminated

By Jonathan Safran Foer

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In the summer after his junior year of college, a writer--also named Jonathan Safran Foer--journeys to the farmlands of eastern Europe. Armed with only a yellowing photograph, he sets out to find the woman who, he has been told, saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

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The Quality of Mercy

By Faye Kellerman

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"Rebecca Lopez enjoys a life of privilege in Elizabeth's England -- yet she guards secrets she dares not reveal. The beautiful, tempestuous daughter of the queen's own physician, Rebecca is also a converso -- a Jew who practices her prohibited religion clandestinely -- helping others of her banned faith escape persecution and death. And her insatiable hunger for excitement often takes her to the bustling streets of London in male garb to experience the kind of adventure available only to men. But one such outing is leading her into a dangerous viper's nest built of intrigue and foul murder in the company of a dashing young actor who inflames her romantic passions, even as he escorts her toward peril, a charming and fearless would-be playwright who calls himself Will Shakespeare."

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The Source

By James A. Michener

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Through the predecessors of four modern men and women, we experience the entire colorful history of the Jews, including the life of the early Hebrews and their persecutions, the impact of Christianity, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition, all the way to the founding of present-day Israel and the Middle-East conflict.
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The Devil's Company by David Liss

Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.

No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.