web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Books To Curl Up With

An image from Heirloom Modern.

An image from Heirloom Modern.

This time of year, there is little pleasure greater than cozying up with a good book. The problem is, of course, that there is a lot to do. There is Chanukah shopping, cooking and entertaining, there is readying fireplaces (remember to clean out the chimney), airing out the sheepskins and tartan blankets from the back of the linen closet, as well as the sheer amount of time it takes just to bundle up. No joke – a jauntily tied scarf takes time to perfect. In honor, both of the desire to wind down with a book, and the lack of time so curiously endemic to our time, I rounded up some books that instantly deliver winter warmth, cheer, satisfaction and some knowledge and can also be successfully dipped into for an instant transport into a different world. Get your cocoa and read on!

The first book is a gorgeous coffee table book – perfect for gifting, even more perfect for keeping. Heirloom Modern (Rizzoli; 207 pages; $50), by the sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey, is an implicit rebuke to an Ikea world. Don’t, as I did, take the title too literally. I read it to gather inspiration for my home, for some new ideas and assumed that the book contained a prescription for making heirlooms, well, modern. It’s actually better than that. It’s a personal and quixotic journey into a home and history; familial, cultural, a bit religious, perhaps, that is quite different than mine and than our readers.

Still, I was inspired to take a different approach to my own stuff. Instead of hiding our Judaica, I thought, why not celebrate them? The luscious photographs, close-ups of tablescapes, vintage suitcases and needlepoints, by Porter Hovey, are transportive. The Hoveys dare us to celebrate our stuff, instead of hiding it away.

Yes, I know you have a lovely cherry wood or mahogany glass fronted cabinet in your dining room, perfect to display your collection of silver Kiddush cups. And I’m not suggesting you get rid of the cabinet (or the silver). Instead, try temporarily switching things up. Display that quirky collection of pottery that your Aunt Janet bequeathed to you.

Here’s another idea: rather than hanging that framed family photo, the posed one where you all match, above the staircase, why not collect a few small photos, perhaps the black and white photograph from your grandparents’ wedding and clear half of a shelf from your book case to display the lot of them? Or use your havdalah set as a bookend. Whatever you are moved to try (or not try), Heirloom Modern is a celebration of stuff. Not new, fancy designer stuff that you’ll want to buy, but the type of stuff you and your extended family already own. If you don’t, I’m sure there’s a flea market near you.

A painless and simple initiation into a world or culture not your own, I’ve always thought, is through a sub culture that you are familiar with or interested in at least. Like sports? Read about baseball culture in Japan and you are sure to absorb a lot about Japanese culture and history as well.

I have many friends and neighbors of Russian origin and find many aspects of Russian culture both intriguing and appealing. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing (Crown, 352 pages; $26), by Anya Von Bremzen, is the perfect entrée, no pun intended. Von Bremzen, a noted cookbook author and food writer, volleys between the present and the recent and further past, Bolsheviks and Romanovs via food memories so sensory, so strong and so Russian in its excess, in its dough, in its pathos, as to create nostalgia for something I have never experienced.

Dip into Mastering The Art of Soviet Cooking when you want to read about parties and mother-daughter relationships and, a particular favorite of mine, cooking catastrophes. A chapter at the end contains recipes for the Soviet, post-Soviet, and inspired-by-Soviet cooking.

My last pick is neither warm, nor cozy, yet it is a book that can be picked up, referred to, and put back down. It is an entrée to a world that all of us surely wish did not exist, and yet it is both an important and an accessible book. The book is by a postcard collector, Salo Aizenberg, and the book, Hatemail: Anti-Semitism on Picture Postcards (University of Nebraska Press; 237 pages; $31.95) is relevant to a movement that is growing and gaining momentum.

About the Author: Shoshana Batya Greenwald recently received a master's degree in decorative arts, material culture and design history from Bard Graduate Center. She is the collections manager at Kleinman Family Holocaust Educational Center (KFHEC) and a freelance writer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Books To Curl Up With”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.
Iron Dome: Israel Ends the Long Battlefield Reign of the Missile
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

Schonfeld-logo1

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

The new group will also deliver kosher food to Jewish residents in non-kosher facilities, as well as to kosher facilities where the food is not up to par.

More Articles from Shoshana Batya Greenwald
Undated photo of Rabbi Avigdor, courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.

People often ask me why do we need another Holocaust center? The story of Isaac Avigdor is the answer.

An image from Heirloom Modern.

This time of year, there is little pleasure greater than cozying up with a good book. The problem is, of course, that there is a lot to do.

As professions go, an international children’s rights advocate is probably not listed anywhere as a low stress job. Fighting on behalf of children in places as far off as Sudan, Yvette Garfield took their plight to heart and came up with – a cookbook. Handstand Kids, Garfield’s company, was established in 2007 to connect children in a global community. In her words, “I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to introduce kids to the world and food seemed the best way to do it.”

On my third visit to the annual New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, I did not take any pictures.

Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

It’s time for the next chapter in the re-education of kosher cooks. First came correctly pronouncing quinoa, incorporating edamame into salads and soups, and who can forget the strawberry mango salad? Now, there is a mass of new recipes available with the introduction of Kolatin, a parve bovine-based, kosher gelatin. Espresso panna cotta, here we come.

Memo to the New York Public Library: I’m sorry that I still haven’t returned several books by Livia Bitton-Jackson. They are a series of vibrant, touching memoirs of a young girl navigating her way through the world, both literally and on an emotional plane; the stories of a Holocaust survivor with wanderlust in a world that doesn’t want to hear it are not easy to part with.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/books-to-curl-up-with/2013/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: