Books

Underskin: A German Israeli Love Story

Nilly, a Tel Aviv-based architect, recently broke off an engagement and is now looking for love. With a traditional Jewish background, she never thought she’d find it in the form of a non-Jew, let alone a German! As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, her mother boycotts all German products. But when gorgeous Sebastian lays his towel next to her on the beach one afternoon, she is transfixed, but she’s not sure he won’t “boycott” her. He’s in Israel on a musical peace mission while she was born in Ariel, a settlement in the West Bank that he considers an “obstacle to peace.” He too was born in a city known for the tug between war and peace, Dresden. They soon find they are more similar than they thought, and their differences and similarities are explored through intriguing conversation, tours through each other’s countries—and hot sex.

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The Settler

In August 2005, Sarah Dakar didn’t only lose the home she loved in Gush Katif, a Jewish settlement in Gaza, she lost her faith: her faith in God, in the State of Israel, and in mankind. How could God have mercilessly allowed her own army to drag her out of her home? And how could so many of her fellow citizens have cheered on the destruction of everything she held dear?

About to start college, she moves to Tel Aviv, Israel’s very own “city of sin.” Once intent on bringing holiness to Israel’s metropolis, this “good girl” seeks now to indulge in the city’s pleasures to escape her loss, to discover new ideas – and to feel something, again. Joy, excitement, and the deliverance she never thought possible come to her in the form of Tel Aviv’s hottest nightclub, Atlantis, and its charismatic, liberal owner, Ziv Harel.

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המתנחלת (“The Settler” in Hebrew)

.אוגוסט 2005. ממשלת ישראל שולחת חיילים לפנות את מתיישבי גוש קטיף
.שרה דקר, ‘ילדה טובה’ מגוש קטיף, מעולם לא העלתה בדעתה שתהפוך לנערת פוסטר בליינית תל אביבית המנהלת חיי לילה סוערים
.אך מרגע שחיילי צה”ל – אותו צבא שבאחד מקרבותיו מסר אחיה את חייו – גררו אותה מביתה, שום דבר כבר לא קדוש
.בעיר הגדולה, היא פוגשת בזיו הראל, בעליו הכריזמטי של מועדון הלילה המפורסם ‘אטלנטיס’ ותשוקתה ניצתת
.המשיכה הבלתי צפויה ביניהם מעמתת את שרה וזיו עם ערכיהם העמוקים ביותר
?כמה תעז שרה לפקפק באמונתה ואיזה מחיר תשלם על כך

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Ayn Rand & Esther: Soulmates

What could the biblical tale of The Book of Esther about a young Jewess who becomes a Persian queen possibly have in common with Ayn Rand’s bestseller The Fountainhead? It seems outlandish from the outset, given Ayn Rand’s philosophical distaste for anything that smacks of religion or faith.
But the Book of Esther is arguably the most secular book of the Bible, calling forth a worldview that, while not entirely reconcilable with Ayn Rand’s philosophy of rational self-interest, promotes egoism and a rational quest for self-preservation. The characterization, plot, and themes of both works are so strikingly similar, that Ayn Rand might have even been surprised.

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Spinoza & Ayn Rand: How to Reconcile Spinoza’s God with Rand’s Atheism

The famous Dutch philosopher and Jewish iconoclast, Spinoza, outlined a view of God that called forth a philosophy of reason and egoism, thereby revolutionizing organized religion and paving way for the Enlightenment. About 400 years later, in the twentieth century, philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand, a devout atheist of Jewish descent, also called forth a philosophy of reason and egoism through novels about men and women who act according to their rational self-interest, most famously The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

While Spinoza’s God-centric view of the universe outlined in his magnum opus, Ethics, may seem at odds with Rand’s atheistic base, their respective views of man, ethics, and the way we come to knowledge are actually so similar as to render these two thinkers…soulmates.

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