A museum with a special mission, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, “rather than defining objects of Jewish daily life as art, investigates Jewish material culture in its own right.” Part of the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, since 2010, the collection, founded in 1962 as the Judah L. Magnes Museum, “asks its visitors to rethink the role of materiality in Jewish culture, and its relation to art.” Now, with The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art and Culture (Skira/Rizzoli, $55), readers, too, can savor some of these magnificent objects and reflect on their role in Jewish history. Edited and with commentary by Alla Efimova and Francesco Spagnolo, the director and curator, respectively, of the Magnes Collection, this volume presents full-color photographs of artifacts ranging from amulets to menorahs (one crafted by Dalí, another made of guns, bullets, and steel), family portraits to carpets, Purim plates, and Ketubot from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, crafted in India and Italy. Tracing a geographical and historical span as wide as the variety of its woven, painted, sculpted, and illuminated treasures, this catalog works like a mosaic, assembling the glittering pieces of its larger story.
The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art and Culture Cover Image
By Alla Efimova (Text by), Francesco Spagnolo (Text by)
ISBN: 9780847841134
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Skira Rizzoli - September 9th, 2014

In his interpretive biography, David: The Divided Heart (Yale, $25), Rabbi David Wolpe shows us the King in all his complexity, tracing his rise from obscurity as a shepherd boy through his iconic role in slaying Goliath and on to the regretful end of his life. We see David as a troubled father, a resolute military commander, a generous political leader; witness him making cold-blooded decisions before battle as well as composing music and poetry in quieter moments. David, which means “beloved,” did love his wives yet treated them cruelly; nor could he prevent tragedy and the death of children at birth and in battle, deaths for which he bore responsibility. Wolpe captures David in ways that add to your appreciation of him even if you know only the bare bones of his story or the Book of Samuel’s apologetic version of him. Wolpe’s achievement here is a fresh recounting of the David stories in ways that help us understand why the hardships of neglect can pale beside the challenges of acclaim.
David: The Divided Heart (Jewish Lives) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300188783
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - September 16th, 2014

Sam Tanenhaus’s The Death Of Conservatism (Random House, $17) is a wake-up call in 120 pages for serious conservatives and liberals. Movement conservatives today are anti-institutional, embrace fundamentalist orthodoxies, and reject government. They refuse to adapt to changing societal conditions. Principled conservatives (think William Buckley) have been replaced by the likes of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and William Kristol. This irresponsible conservatism(Robespierre-like) damages liberalism as well, leading to fighting political issues in ways that demonize opponents and reject finding common ground. Tanenhaus’s penetrating prose and his erudition remind readers why political ideas do matter.

The Death of Conservatism: A Movement and Its Consequences Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812981032
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 19th, 2010