Once We Were Brothers
by Ronald Balson
April 12 (date changed from March 29), 9:30 a.m.
The gripping tale about two boys, once as close as brothers, who find themselves on opposite sides of the Holocaust.
Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon's own family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?
Once We Were Brothers is Ronald H. Balson's compelling tale of two boys and a family who struggle to survive in war-torn Poland, and a young love that struggles to endure the unspeakable cruelty of the Holocaust. Two lives, two worlds, and sixty years converge in an explosive race to redemption that makes for a moving and powerful tale of love, survival, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.
In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist
by Ruchama King Feureman
February 8, 9:30 a.m.
As the publisher describes the narrative:
"An eczema-riddled, middle-aged former Lower East Side haberdasher, Isaac Markowitz, moves to Israel where he becomes, much to his own surprise, the assistant to a famous old rabbi who daily dispenses wisdom (and soup) to the collection of seekers gathered in his courtyard. It is there that he meets Tamar, a young American woman on a mission to live a spiritual life with a spiritual man, and who sees Isaac as that man long before he sees himself that way. Into both of their lives comes Mustafa, a devout Muslim, deformed at birth, unloved by his own mother, a janitor who works on the Temple Mount, holy to both Muslims and Jews.
When Isaac, quite by accident, runs into the crippled custodian going about his work and suggests that he is, by cleaning this holy site, like a Kohain, a Jewish high priest, Mustafa is overcome: This Jew is the first person in his life who sees him as someone worthy. In turn, Mustafa sees Isaac as someone wise who can help him. When Mustafa finds an ancient shard of pottery that may date back to the first temple, he brings it to Isaac in gratitude. That gesture sets in motion a series of events that land Isaac in the company of Israel's worst criminal riff raff put Mustafa in mortal danger, and Tamar trying to save them both."
As these characters - immigrants and natives; Muslim and Jewish; prophets and lost souls - move through their world, they are never sure if they will fall prey to the cruel tricks of luck or be sheltered by a higher power.