The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life by Alexander NormanWhat it is: a compelling and well-researched biography of the Dalai Lama, with a particular interest in His Holiness' worldview and ambivalent relationship with politics.
About the author: Historian Alexander Norman began his relationship with His Holiness decades ago and was able to gain unique access to his subject after collaborating on the autobiography Freedom in Exile.
Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier by Benjamin E. ParkWhat it's about: the Mormon Church's doomed attempts to create a "Zion" in Missouri and later Illinois, where their community collapsed in the violent events that claimed the life of Joseph Smith.
Why you might like it: Benjamin Park was given unique, nearly unlimited access to Church archives, providing readers with brand new details of the Church's early history.
Reviewers say: this "vigorous study" is a "welcome contribution to American religious and political history" (Kirkus Reviews).
Nine Essential Things I've Learned About Life by Harold S. KushnerWhat it is: an inspiring and thought-provoking memoir from Rabbi Harold Kushner, meant to engage believers and skeptics alike.
Chapters include: "Forgiveness Is a Favor You Do Yourself," "Religion Is What You Do, Not What You Believe," and "A Love Letter to a World That May or May Not Deserve It."
About the author: Rabbi Kushner served for 25 years as a congregational rabbi and is the author of more than a dozen books, including the bestseller When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri LévyWhat it is: the thought-provoking reflections of French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy, who trades politics (his usual subject matter) for a look at himself and what it means to him to be a Jewish intellectual living in an era when antisemitism is on the rise again.
Reviewers say: "a welcome addition to his oeuvre" (Publishers Weekly); a "celebration of Judaism" with a core message of "hope and light" (Kirkus Reviews).
Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching For the Soul by Naomi LevyWhat it is: the inspiring story of a little-known letter written by Albert Einstein, in which the physicist mused on the nature of spirituality and the universe.
The recipient: Rabbi Robert Marcus, a U.S. Army chaplain who was one of the first people to enter Buchenwald as it was being liberated and who took it upon himself to take care of the children found in the camp.
Did you know? One of the boys Rabbi Marcus rescued was then 16-year-old Elie Wiesel.
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