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In praise of women

02/27/2020 10:23:14 AM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

Purim is but days away. Central to the story, of course, is the beautiful, young Jewish woman Esther. She uses both her beauty and her wits to outsmart the villainous Haman and save her people.

Jewish history is filled with strong, smart, heroic women, often unsung.

As a tribute to Esther and the March, Women’s History Month, here is a short selection of books -fiction and non-fiction- featuring Jewish women who used their strength of mind and character to overcome problems, fulfill their dreams, or make a mark in the world.

The books are listed in order of publication.

FIC       Barenbaum, Rachel       A Bend in the Stars (2019) . A romantic adventure featuring a brilliant young scientist in perilous pre World War I Russia.

FIC       Carner, Talia                 Third Daughter (2019) Russian immigrant Batya is tricked into prostitution in Buenos Aires. Based on true events.

FIC       Jio, Sarah                      All the Flowers in Paris: a novel (2019) An emotional, romantic story of love and loss set during WWII.

NFIC     Nadell, Pamela              America’s Jewish Women: a history from colonial times to today (2019) A fast-paced, extensively researched, and well-written narrative.

BIO       Ortiz, Victoria               Dissenter on the Bench (2019) Dramatically narrated case histories from Justice Ginsburg's stellar career are interwoven with an account of RBG's life.

BIO       Shapiro, Dani    Inheritance: a memoir of genealogy, paternity and love (2019) The writer discovers the secrets of her family and her heritage.

JBIO     Sasso, Sandy     Regina Persisted: an untold story (2018)  The story of the first woman rabbi and her fate.

JBIO     Sherman, Jill     Gal Gadot: soldier, model, wonder woman (2018)

FIC       Kadish, Rachel   The Weight of Ink (2017) The interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect, set in 1660s  and 21st century London.

JFIC      Krawitz, Susan  Viva, Rose! (2017) Thirteen-year-old Rose takes on the wild west, outlaws, and the strict rules of the early 1900s Texas.

YAFIC    Locke, Katherine    The Girl with the Red Balloon (2017) When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she's caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic.

YAFIC    Wiviott, Meg     Paper hearts (2015) In this verse novel based on real events, women in Auschwitz survive in part due to their great friendship and support of one another.             

FIC       Rich, Roberta    Midwife of Venice (2012); Harem Midwife: a novel (2014) Set in 16th century Venice, the novel captures the complex lives of  women including Jewish midwife Hannah Levi.

FIC       Cameron, Michelle        The Fruit of Her Hands: the story of Shira of Ashkenaz (2009) A thirteenth-century historical novel about a rabbi's wife whose love of learning, family and religion perseveres amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

J741.5  Deutsch, Barry              Hereville: how Mirka got her sword (2010); How Mirka met a meteorite (2012) The only thing Mirka wants to do is fight dragons and have adventures.

304.1    Ruttenberg, Danya        Surprised by God: how I learned to stop worrying and love religion (2008) A look at what it takes to develop a spiritual practice.

BIO       Brooks, Andree             The Woman Who Defied Kings: the life and times of Dona Gracia Nasi (2002)Often called the most important woman since Biblical times, 16th century businesswoman Dona Gracia Nasi  saved hundreds of fellow Jews from the Inquisition.

BIO       Calof, Rachel                 Rachel Calof’s Story: Jewish homesteader on the Northern Plains (1995) An immigrant from Russia, Rachel Calof  lived the  quintessential American pioneer  story with a Jewish twist.

Tue, December 1 2020 15 Kislev 5781