Amy Newman Smith

To Spy Out the Land

A palm tree over one grave and a fence around another—two new books explore the history and legacy of the Nili spy ring. 

Postcards from the Shoah

Stamps and the paper they traveled on create a historical record of the Holocaust, capturing, for instance, “the exact historical moment when one person reached out in desperation to another."

Not of This World

In writing his first book for young readers, Aharon Appelfeld seems to have split himself and his life story between the two title characters: resourceful Adam, a boy of the land whose knowledge of the forest keeps them safe and fed, and bookish Thomas, a doubter in both faith and his own abilities.

Hashtag Holocaust

Memorials remain, unmoved and unchanged, by the inevitable erosion of memory.

Our Kind of Traitor

More than 40 years after the Yom Kippur War, some of its battles rage on, including the debate over the spy Ashraf Marwan’s true loyalty.

A Cedar of Lebanon

In addition to the weight survivors feel, Friedman bears the burden of giving voice to the place that shaped young men’s lives and took others, while leaving no official trace.

Water Shall Flow from Jerusalem

In Israel even well-to-do families can be seen scooping bath water out of the tub to water backyard plants and  hygiene classes teach students to use the least amount of water when showering and brushing their teeth. Israel's way with water may be the way out chronic water shortages.

High Fives

The JRB editors celebrate our fifth anniversary with our top-five book lists.

A Spy’s Life

Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy opens not with an intrepid secret agent about to pull off a bold maneuver, as books with such titles usually do, but with nine men gathered around a table in 1977, studying a picture of an Israeli agent.

Killer Backdrop: A Rejoinder

Amy Newman Smith clarifies her position.

Killer Backdrop

If Auschwitz can have a gift shop, why can’t the Warsaw Ghetto have a love story?

The Living Waters of History

A historical novel about the Spanish Expulsion tells us as much about current reading trends as it does the lives of Jews in 15th-century Spain.

Scaling the Internet

September 11, 2001 proved Akamai's technology could withstand anything. Cruelly, inventor Danny Lewin was the first to die in the attacks.

Cri de Coeur

The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris.

Tough Bananas

A rags-to-riches tale with a machete-swinging Jewish hero.

Homage to Mahj

A traveling exhibit attempts to explain the Jewish fascination with Mah Jongg, a favorite past-time of mid-century Jewish suburbia, Jewish country clubs, and Catskill resorts.


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