From the cover of "Hollywood's Spies" by Laura Rosenzweig
From the cover of "Hollywood's Spies" by Laura Rosenzweig

Spying on Hollywood Nazis; How-to wedding novel; and more new books

Author! Author! is a monthly-ish roundup of new books by Bay Area Jews.

Palo Alto resident Laura Rosenzweig tells of Hollywood’s fight against Nazism in the United States in her new book, “Hollywood’s Spies.”

imagesRosenzweig, an historian who has taught American Jewish history at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University, writes that even six years before the release of “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” with Edward G. Robinson in 1939 — a movie that raised awareness about Nazism at home and encouraged Americans to defend again it — Jewish moguls in the film industry were taking steps of their own. Based on recently released documents, Rosenzweig tells how these individuals secretly paid private investigators to infiltrate and report on Nazi groups operating in Los Angeles.

Through film clips and her book, the author will discuss these events during a free talk at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. For details, visit .

Marc Rubenstein estimates that in his 40-plus years as a rabbi — including five years at Temple Israel in Alameda — he has officiated at more than 3,000 weddings, many of them interfaith ceremonies. He believes that just like same-faith couples, interfaith partners are entitled to have a customized wedding ceremony “that represents their love for each other, their spirituality and their promises for a bright future together.”

That is why the former Bay Area resident (he was at Temple Israel from 1981 to 1986) has written a book about an interfaith couple planning their wedding. In an unexpected twist, however, Weddings by the Glass is a novel, not a “how-to” guide.

Hillie Gordon had a Catholic upbringing and Jacob Jaworski came from an observant Orthodox family. The couple’s struggle to juggle family expectations, fulfill their own desires and find a rabbi who can bring many diverse elements together are recounted in the novel by Rubenstein, who has more information on

Miki Raver, a Bay Area resident and Jewish communal professional from 1977 until recently, has written a new book: She Is Wisdom: A Celebration of the Feminine Divine.” Raver, who still maintains a presence in the Bay Area and leads Shekhina Circles in Marin, held her book launch earlier this year at the Osher Marin JCC.

In a way, Raver picks up where she left off in her previous book, “Listen to Her Voice: Women of the Hebrew Bible.” After watching the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Raver opened her pocket New Jerusalem Bible for comfort. Intending to read Ecclesiastes, she actually opened to Ecclesiasticus, which begins with the verse: “All wisdom comes from the Eternal. She is with Him forever.”

In the beautifully illustrated “Listen to Her Voice,” Raver pairs the verses she found with masterpieces painted by Monet, Chagall and other masters. Each pairing is a meditation on the Feminine Divine.


Stephen Most of Berkeley explains how documentary filmmakers and other storytellers come to understand their subjects and use their art to illuminate a subject in his new book, “Stories Make the World.”

An author, playwright and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Most has scripted such films as “Oil On Ice,” about the controversy over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; “The Greatest Good,” a history of the U.S. Forest Service; and “A Land Between Rivers,” a history of central California.

Registered dietician and mindfulness coach Andrea Lieberstein has written “Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Feed Your Whole Self, and End Overeating.” The San Francisco-based teacher, trainer and coach offers tools to help people keep on a healthy path of mindful eating and well-nourished living.

Lieberstein will discuss her book at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at Copperfield’s Books, 999 Grant Ave., Novato.

Liz Harris

Liz Harris is a J. contributor. She was J.'s culture editor from 2012-2018.