The Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Library
New in the Abbell Library, January 2013
Our library has an excellent collection of books on all things Jewish. These include reference materials and encyclopedias, fiction, biographies, commentaries, sports, music, and history as well as magazines and newspapers. The Abbell Library also houses the synagogue’s special collections, which include a Chumash printed in Warsaw in 1848, prayer books for GIs in World War I and World War II, and scrip from the Lodz ghetto. The library has computers and high-speed internet access for research and reading.
The Abbell Library is always available during regular building hours and is staffed on Sunday mornings by our volunteer librarian; please contact him through the synagogue office (773.752.2770) with special requests or questions.
The library is expanding its collection to include DVDs and CDs thanks to the generosity of several congregants who are particularly interested in the library.
- New Fiction
- Ludmila Ulitskaya, Daniel Stein, Interpreter. Winner of the Russian National Literary Prize, this novel tells the story of Daniel Stein, a Polish Jew who survives the Holocaust by working for the Gestapo as an interpreter. After the war, he converts to Catholicism and emigrates to Israel. The novel is based on the actual life of Oswald Rufeisen. Ulitskaya, now a novelist, was Repertory Director of the Hebrew Theater in Moscow after working as a scientist. In 2011 she was awarded the 2011 Simone de Beauvoir Prize, an international human rights prize for women's freedom.
- Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery. The novel is a very imaginative re‑creation of 19th‑century Europe portraying mysterious events and peculiar people, like Jesuit plots against Freemasons, French criminals celebrating Black Masses. Each nation has its own secret service perpetuating forgeries, plots, and massacres that include the unification of Italy, the Paris Commune, and the Dreyfus Affair, not to mention the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Eco is a semiotician, philosopher, medievalist and is now president of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici in Bologna.
- Shalom Auslander, Hope: A Tragedy. Reviews describe this novel as "poisonously funny," "Willfully outrageioous, a black humorist with an Old Testament moralist's heart," and "my kind of Jew -- an unapolgetically paranoid, guilt-ridden…Diaspora kvetch, enraged by a God he can't live with or without." Auslander has been nominated for the Koret Jewish Book Award for writer under 35 for several novels and short stories. He lives in New York.
- Matt Beynon Rees, The Collaborator of Bethlehem (an Omar Yussef mystery). Rees is praised for his ability to vividly capture the reality of Palestinian life with its "swaggering gunmen, cowering priests, and defiant refugees." This mystery deals with the murder of a leader of the Palestinian Martyrs Brigade and the arrest for it of someone accused of working with the Israelis. Yussef is a history teacher on the West Bank called in to investigate. The author is the former Jerusalem bureau chief for Time.
- New Non-Fiction
- Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal, Mossad: the Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service. Bar-Zohar is a writer, guest professor at Emory University, and was a member of the Knesset as well as former advisor to General Moshe Dayan. He is considered one of Israel's experts on espionage. He wrote the biography of Isser Harel, the legendary director of Mossad. Mishal is a political reporter on Israeli TV. He has published books on events in Israel's history and co-authored a book on the history of Judaism with Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli minister of foreign affairs. Mossad, using reported conversations and disclosed documents, presents such moments as the capture of Eichmann, the eradication of Black September, the destruction of the Syrian nuclear facility, and the elimination of key Iranian nuclear scientists.
- Joshua Eli Plaut, Greek Jewry in the Twentieth Century, 1913-1983. Plaut is a rabbi who has served as Jewish chaplain at MIT. He has done photodocumentaries and studies of Jewish communities in Turkey and in New Zealand, and the American South. The aim of this book is to study patterns of Jewish survival in small communities focusing on those in the Greek provinces before and after the Holocaust. His bibliography draws on works by Western scholars and translations of Greek texts as well as oral histories and interviews.