The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia

From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between

By Stephanie Butnick Liel Leibovitz Mark Oppenheimer

“[A] delightfully irreverent romp through Jewish history and culture.”
Library Journal, starred review

An Unorthodox Guide to Everything Jewish

Deeply knowing, highly entertaining, and just a little bit irreverent, this unputdownable encyclopedia of all things Jewish and Jew-ish covers culture, religion, history, habits, language, and more. Readers will refresh their knowledge of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the artistry of Barbra Streisand, the significance of the Oslo Accords, the meaning of words like balaboosta,balagan, bashert, and bageling. Understand all the major and minor holidays. Learn how the Jews invented Hollywood. Remind themselves why they need to read Hannah Arendt, watch Seinfeld, listen to Leonard Cohen. Even discover the secret of happiness (see “Latkes”). Includes hundreds of photos, charts, infographics, and illustrations. It’s a lot.

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Meet the Authors
Stephanie Butnick headshot

Stephanie Butnick

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Liel Leibovitz headshot

Liel Leibovitz

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Mark Oppenheimer headshot

Mark Oppenheimer

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Review quotes
“An illustrated, smart and comic guide, well-attuned to this moment.”
Jewish Week
 
“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
 
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
320
Publication date
October 01, 2019
ISBN
9781579658939