Rabbi's Page
Religious School
Greeley Jewish News
Return to Library
Contact Us
Holocaust Memorial

We have been the fortunate recipient of many book donations. In addition to donated books,

Highlights are:

Children's and Young Adult Reading
Under A War Torn Sky by Laura Elliott (gift from Dylan Shelofsky)
Gr. 6-9. It's packed with action, intrigue, and suspense, but this novel celebrates acts of kindness and heroism without glorifying war. American Henry Forester, a young flier with the RAF during World War II, is a complex mix of insecurities, unresolved feelings about his punitive father, and heroic aspiration. On his thirteenth bombing mission, he is shot down, having no idea where he has landed. His journey back through Nazi-occupied Europe and his involvement with members of the French resistance are depicted with chilling realism.
The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair – by Russell Martin
Grade 5–8. Based on Martin's adult book Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and Scientific Mystery Solved (Broadway, 2000), this reworking for a young audience presents an intriguing interdisciplinary story. Martin and Nibley trace the labyrinthine journey of a lock of Beethoven's hair encased in a glass and wooden locket from the 18th century to the present. Using a balanced mix of verifiable research and some conjecture, they explain the lock's odyssey over time and how it was ultimately acquired by two American Beethoven aficionados in 1994. The perseverance and passion of these men provided the impetus for scientific analysis to seek a physiological explanation for Beethoven's lifelong struggle with myriad physical and emotional problems. The contemporary story of the lock's travels and examination is interspersed with the history of Beethoven's musical genius. Aspects of the Holocaust and the courageous defiance of the Nazis by the Danish resistance become a significant part of the mystery. This is a most unusual, thoroughly researched detective story written in a clearly accessible and lively tone. Black-and-white photos and reproductions appear throughout.
Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal
Grade 4–7. It takes an eloquent weaver of words to entice readers into the world of rural, pre-World War II Ukraine, and Siegal does just that in these nine exquisite tales. Youngsters visit Babi's farm and the town of Komjaty, seeing it through the eyes of young Aranka, who spent summers there with her grandmother. The beauty of the countryside comes through, but so does the anti-Semitism, the superstitions, and the poverty. The stories and the lessons learned resonate as the character and readers discover life in the Carpathian Mountains together. The love between grandmother and granddaughter especially shines through as Siegal retells the lessons that she asserts have become even more meaningful to her.

Jodie's Hanukkah Dig by Anna Levine
Grade 1-3. An Israeli girl wants to become an archaeologist like her father and has the opportunity to assist at a dig where Judah Maccabee fought against the Syrians. Braving darkness, spiders, and her own fear, Jodie volunteers to be lowered into a small underground cave where she discovers a literal piece of the past. However, aside from a brief reference to the brave leader featured in the Hanukkah story, there is nothing in this book to suggest that it belongs on the holiday shelf. It presupposes knowledge of Israel's archaeological significance and the origins of Hanukkah by focusing solely on the facts of the dig. Watercolor illustrations give a good sense of the Israeli landscape both above and below ground.

Menorah Under the Sea  by Esther Susan Heller
Grade 2–5—Heller chronicles the experiences of David Ginsburg, a marine biologist who spent five months at McMurdo Station in Antarctica studying underwater wildlife. He was there during Hanukkah, and was inspired to celebrate the holiday by lining up sea urchins and sea stars on the ocean floor in the shape of the traditional Hanukkah candleholder and photographing his impromptu temporary menorah. The photos don't always seem to show what the text describes, and many are of mere snapshot quality, but this is forgivable considering the limited selection of shots that must have been available showing this unique event.
The Man Who Flies With Birds (Israel)  by Carole G. Vogel
Grade 4–8—At age 25, as a young biologist with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Leshem knew that he wanted to become a raptor expert. When he earned his Ph.D. in ornithology, he decided to study the dangers that the 35 species of raptors that travel through Israel encounter during migration. He approached the Israeli Air Force, promising that, with sufficient funding, he could map the migration routes of large birds and provide up-to-the minute reports of where they were flying, thereby eliminating some of the thousands of bird strikes suffered by Air Force planes—some of them worth as much as five million dollars. The study of birds' migration; their detection of the Earth's magnetic fields; their use of thermals to save energy; and the physics of flying involved hundreds of people in 17 countries and a network of observation stations, radar, and aircraft. The information helped the Israeli Air Force to drastically lower the number of bird strikes, saving lives and aircraft. Leshem's fascinating life, his undaunted determination to spread awareness of birds and wildlife protection, and his amazing accomplishments are a clear indication that anything is possible.

Blessed is the Match – the Story of Hannah Sennesh  (DVD)
This harrowing documentary by director Roberta Grossman is like any meaningful history lesson about the Holocaust: extremely sad to watch but absolutely necessary. Pieced together from Hannah Senesh's letters and poems, and her mother's memoir, this very tragic story is narrated by Joan Allen, which is only the first great thing about this film. Blessed Is the Match tells the tale of national heroine and martyr Hannah Senesh, who embarked on a deadly mission from her kibbutz in Palestine to save Hungarian Jews from extermination. Still photos of Senesh's family are interwoven with interviews with everyone from her nephews to her prison cellmate, Vera Latjai, to her fellow parachutist, Surika Braverman, to Shimon Peres, the president of Israel. A painfully clear picture is painted of how brave and generous this young girl of 22 must have been to have enrolled in the British Army as one of three women who parachuted into Yugoslavia to infiltrate German-occupied Hungary.

Tak for Alt – (DVD and Educator’s Guide)
Survival of a Human Spirit tells the remarkable story of educator Judy Meisel, a Holocaust survivor whose experiences during and after World War II inspired a life-long campaign against bigotry, intolerance, and racism. The film follows Judy back to Eastern Europe and retraces her steps through the Kovno ghetto, the Stutthof concentration camp, and her liberation and recuperation in Denmark. Ultimately Judys path led to the United States, where, after witnessing race riots in 1963, she discovered that only unflinching vigilance against racism could safeguard the liberty of all peoples. She began to champion the cause of tolerance at schools across the country, a campaign which she carries on to this day.

Out of the Ashes (2003) DVD Christine Lahti
Dr. Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti) arrives in New York with tear filled eyes begging for a new life after WWII. Perl wanted to be a doctor from childhood; she studied hard and managed to open a very successful private practice in Hungary. Her only downfall ended up being her bloodlines and this very strong woman soon found herself carted off to Auschwitz. In a series of flashbacks Perl is examined by a committee of American INS men who are judging her character as a step towards her citizenship. Perl is seen as a survivor who at times may have saved her own life at the sake of others and she is accused of collaborating with the Nazi doctor like the retched Josef Mengele. In actuality Perl saved many women by sacrificing the unborn lives of their fetuses after being tricked by Mengele into submission and having to see what went on behind the walls of Auschwitz. Despite the horrors she witnessed Perl survived to flourish once again and her true story is one of an undying spirit.

Christina Lahti is phenomenal in her role as Gisella Perl. She manages to capture both the brokenness and the strength of this woman with equal determination. Many scenes in this film are absolutely gut-wrenching but entirely important.
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East By Sandy Tolan
Tolan offers listeners an easy-to-follow journey through a maddeningly stubborn conflict that has infused global politics since the 1940s. Based on his 1998 NPR documentary, Tolan personalizes the Arab-Israeli conflict by tracing the intertwined lives of a Palestinian refugee named Bashir Al-Khairi and a Jewish settler named Dalia Eshkenazi Landau. The pair is connected through a stone home in Ramla, now part of Israel. Built in the 1930s by Bashir's father, the Al-Khairi family was forced to flee during the violent formation of Israel in 1948. The Eshkenazis, Holocaust survivors from Bulgaria, became the new owners. After 1967's Six Day War, Bashir showed up and Dalia invited him in and began an intense dialogue that's lasted four decades. Tolan's evenhanded narration imparts the passion of both sides without slipping into impassioned delivery.
Path of the Just By Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto
A completely redone version of a treasured classic. This newly translated volume, complete with facing Hebrew-English text and shoulder captions for clarity, revitalizes the study of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's classic ethical work. The Path of the Just has long been regarded as the crown-jewel of mussar study. The Gaon of Vilna constantly kept a copy of Mesillas Yesharim at his side, and yet the piercing wisdom of the Ramchal is just as relevant to our own lives. The author gently guides the reader through various levels of character refinement, shining a beacon of life on the path to perfection.

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery. After a dozen years digging in Megiddo, American archeologist Page Brookstone longs for something new. When an Arab couple propose that Page investigate the haunted ruins under their home, she ignores colleagues' misgivings and heads to Anatot, just outside Jerusalem. There, the couple, along with Page and her team, uncover murals, artifacts and remains suggesting they have come upon the grave of the prophet Jeremiah, buried with the woman he loved, Anatiya, who also has left a manuscript that parallels the Book of Jeremiah. The discovery ignites an international uproar and violent attacks while Page, affected by the ancient spirits, is attracted to Orthodox Israeli Mortichai Master, despite his connections to an organization opposing her efforts. Rabbi Klein's most vivid passages depict the meditative tedium of digging, the exultation of discovery and the intricate processes of authentication and preservation, while love stories past and present—and a balanced, compassionate view of both Israeli and Arab traditions—add to the book's pleasures.

Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi  By Neal Bascome
The Israeli team that abducted Adolf Eichmann from a dark, lonely road outside his Buenos Aires home in 1960 meticulously planned the secret operation. But none of its members anticipated the strange depression that overcame them almost as soon as they captured the fugitive war criminal. They did not foresee, Neal Bascomb writes, "the soul-hollowing effect of inhabiting the same space as" the man who had been the "operational manager of the Nazi genocide." The Nazi hunters were recruited from Mossad and Shin Bet, the Israeli secret services, in part because they had lost their families or had been imprisoned themselves in the death camps Eichmann masterminded. Coolly and professionally, they had studied "Ricardo Klement," Eichmann's alias in Argentina. Yet once they wrestled him into a safe house, this "devil incarnate" turned out to be a surprisingly "pathetic creature," a skinny "runt" who was obedient and deferential to authority.

Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy  By Jane Leavy
Sportswriter Leavy describes her book as not so much a biography of a ballplayer as a social history of baseball, with the former star pitcher's career as the barometer of change. While both a preface and an introduction spin Leavy's storytelling wheels, a compelling, literary social history does indeed get rolling. Koufax refused to participate in the project, so Leavy has spoken to hundreds of people with something to share on the former Brooklyn/L.A. Dodger Hank Aaron, Joe Torre, childhood friend and Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon and even the old Dodgers equipment manager among them and their testimonies make for a rich baseball pastiche and an engaging look at the game's more innocent period. Koufax capped off his first year by watching the 1955 World Series against the hated Yankees from the bench, and following the Dodgers' historic victory headed from Yankee Stadium to class at Columbia University, where he studied architecture (in case the baseball thing didn't work out).
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism By Rabbi Benjamin Blech

You know that in the Jewish religion Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and that Saturday, known as the Sabbath, is the day of rest. But when it comes to understanding Jewish traditions, rituals, prayers, and holidays, you feel like you're parting and crossing the Red Sea without God's help. Don't put your life preserver on just yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism, written in a warm, conversational style by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, is a fun and easy-to-understand primer to every aspect of this ancient faith.

Letters to Auntie Fori: The 5,000-Year History of the Jewish People and Their Faith
by Martin Gilbert
The "Auntie Fori" of the title is an elderly citizen of India who was born a Jew in Hungary. Having lived into her nineties in relative ignorance of Jewish history and culture, she asked her longtime friend to help her learn the history of the people to whom she still believed she belonged. The result is this compact, breezy, and thoroughly enjoyable survey. Gilbert begins with the Creation myth, and his analyses of some of the more enigmatic episodes from the Old Testament are both provocative and insightful. His chapters on the medieval Diaspora eloquently describe both the triumphs and the travails of Jews from Spain to Mesopotamia. Finally, while skirting the explosive political issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he illustrates the enduring ties, both emotional and physical, that link Jews to the land that forged their national identity. For those, like Auntie Fori, hoping to understand the Jewish past and present, this book is a treasure.

A History of the Jews in America by Howard Morley Sachar
Sachar specializes in writing grand one-volume historical syntheses, encyclopedic in scope and arresting in detail. Here he provides a sweeping narrative history of American Jews from their beginnings to contemporary times, the most comprehensive single volume as yet written on the subject. Reflecting intimate familiarity with voluminous secondary sources and punctuated by telling primary citations, this book is a veritable treasure trove of information.

Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Susannah Heschel has compiled, edited, and written a biographical introduction to this first collection of the essays of her father, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72), a noted scholar and theologian but also an activist in civil rights and antiwar causes. Although best known until now for such influential books as Man Is Not Alone, God in Search of Man, and Man's Quest for God, all written in the 1950s, Heschel also wrote theological essays and popular articles on social and political issues. In clear but dense prose, the theological essays celebrate the religious culture of pre-World War II Eastern European Jews, stressing the spiritual and mystical dimensions.