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  • Workman Publishing The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia

The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia

$36.00
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“Deeply entertaining and highly educational. . . . Adding their thoroughly modern compendium to a long tradition of Jewish scholarship, the authors have served up a colorful array of all things Jewish for Jews and non-Jews alike.”
Broadway World

“Alternately irreverent and profound—but always informative. . . . A great gift.”
BookPage

“This delightfully irreverent romp through Jewish history and culture is the outgrowth of Tablet magazine’s podcast, Unorthodox, and considers itself the updated version of The Jewish Catalog (1973). As with Catalog, podcast hosts and coauthors Butnick, Liel ­Leibovitz, and Mark Oppenheimer claim this chronicle is not a comprehensive or exhaustive survey of all things Jewish. To that end, the biblical hero Judah Maccabee is “one kickass priest,” Jewish Community Centers are places “where Gentiles play racquetball,” and Long Island is “the other Promised Land.” Culturally, the authors make a convincing argument for Jews as “mediators of black music” and even responsible for the beloved Christmas tunes “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Bernie Madoff finds reference only under the generic moniker, shonde, or one who brings shame to the community, where he keeps company with Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. On a more serious note in a compilation filled with humor, brevity is the signature mark of that which requires mention, but not glory—Adolf Hitler, Nazis, and Auschwitz’s Arbeit Macht Frei (“work sets you free”) merit a single sentence each. ­VERDICT A welcome update on Jewish history and culture that is mostly just plain fun.
Library Journal, starred review

“No dense, scholarly tome, this volume is pure fun, although serious topics are included. . . . . A reference work is rarely as readable as this one is. Informative and irreverent, welcoming and witty, it is enthusiastically recommended.”
Booklist