New books for April at the Gitlin Library


AND THE BRIDE CLOSED THE DOOR by RONIT MATALON. This entertaining novel by award winning Matalon unfolds over a single day when the bride locks herself in her bedroom. Margalit ignores her family’s tactics to ensure the wedding will take place and despite their pleas and threats remains silent. She uses scribbled notes and a cryptic poem to communicate from behind the door. A sophisticated look at contemporary Israel and the difficulties of love.

THE FACE TELLS THE SECRET by JANE BERNSTEIN. In this piercing novel, a woman who had an unhappy childhood discovers that she has a severely disabled twin sister. Roxanne finds her twin sister Aviva who cannot verbally communicate. On visiting the home, she meets Baruch a scientist studying micro-expressions. Through his guidance she finds the courage to open up to her sister and surrender to the mystery of what it means to love another.

JUDGMENT by JOSEPH FINDER. Juliana Brody, a Superior Court Judge meets a man at a conference in Chicago and has an unforgettable night with the explicit understanding that this would never happen again. On her return to Boston, she finds that this man has an integral role in a sex-discrimination case she is presiding over. As her professional career and family are threatened, Juliana needs to be as ruthless as her adversaries are in order to turn the tables.

NAAMAH by SARAH BLAKE. The story of Noah and the Ark from the perspective of Noah’s wife, Naamah. Blake describes the construction of the Ark and preparation for the journey and their day-to-day living with a boatload of creatures. The author examines the complex inner life of Naamah who had to leave her lover behind and the psychological implications of being the last eight people left on Earth. An insight into an ancient tale relevant to today.

THE DAUGHTER’S TALE by ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA. In New York, elderly Elise Duval receives a call from a woman who had recently arrived from Cuba. She has letters written by Elise’s mother to her during the war. The story shifts to Berlin when Jewish widow Amanda flees Nazi Germany to unoccupied France. She arrives with only one of her daughters after having secured a safe place for the other in Cuba. A beautiful family saga of love, survival and redemption.

STRANGERS AND COUSINS by LEAH HAGER COHEN. The Blumenthal’s eldest daughter is marrying her college girlfriend. As the story unfolds, it flashes back to a devastating fire in 1927, which affected many of the wedding guests and family members. Many of them are not only concerned about the wedding but the potential influx of Orthodox Jews settling in their small town. By the books end these unforgettable characters have rethought their notions of family and community. An enticing novel exploring the psychic depths of ordinary lives.


HUNKY DORY by LAURENCE MYERS. An engaging story of a Jewish kid from Finsbury Park who trained as an accountant and found his niche as a manager and music entrepreneur during the 1960s and 70s. He worked with artists who became icons of pop such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Steve Wonder, Rod Stewart, Donna Summers and others. Filled with Myer’s hilarious self-deprecating stories and his by-line “who knew?”

SUMMERTIME by RICHARD CRAWFORD. A biography of composer, pianist and songwriter George Gershwin who made jazz accessible to all Americans. Drawing on letters and personal accounts music historian Crawford traces Gershwin’s remarkable life weaving anecdotes with a discussion of his works. George wrote the music while his brother Ira wrote the remarkable lyrics. He died at the age of 38 but left behind the inventive vitality of his music.


GENIUS & ANXIETY by NORMAN LEBRECHT. The author has selected individuals with varied relationships to Jewish identity, religion and culture. He restricts his book to the century before the creation of the State of Israel. His biographical sketches include Samson Raphael Hirsch, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Marx, Disraeli, Freud, Proust and Einstein. While exploring “the Jewish genius” Lebrecht shows how these great minds changed the way we see the world.

EINSTEIN ON THE RUN by ANDREW ROBINSON. The author brings to life Einstein’s initial celebrity throughout Europe. With the rise of Nazi power in Germany, fears grew for his safety in Berlin. In 1933, British MP Locker-Lampson brought him to live in an isolated hut in rural England where he found a safe haven. Even though he left for America shortly after this time, Einstein’s stay in Britain affected his life and thinking and made him a lifelong Anglophile.


A CANOPY OF STARS by C. B. WEINFELD. In these engaging true stories, Weinfeld discovers heroes in the most unlikely places such as the shuls ‘Kiddush club’, an oncology ward, and a child’s birthday party where a pizza almost leads to tragedy. Some of these stories were originally published in Yated Ne’eman and Ami magazines. These touching stories should certainly leave the reader amazed at the greatness that exists in our people.

THE EXODUS YOU ALMOST PASSED OVER by DAVID FOHRMAN. The author offers new insight into the timeless story of Passover. As an Orthodox scholar, he takes the reader on a journey filled with twists including interpretations of biblical texts and commentaries. He explores the passages from the Torah on which the Haggadah is based. Fohrman provides an understanding of the Exodus narrative including intriguing questions over which to ponder.

Please visit to view all new books and the entire Gitlin collection.

To read or download the full May issue PDF of the Chronicle, click here

To keep up to date on COVID-19 related community news, click here

Portal to the Jewish Community: to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites, click here

To receive the Chronicle each month in your inbox instead of your postbox please email and we will make it happen.

Follow the Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here