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Dora Levy Mossanen

International Bestselling Author

Ephron Masterfully Weaves a World of Magic

The belief in magic harks back to Persia and to the pre-Islamic period of the Zoroastrians. Magi, the term for Zoroastrian priests and learned magicians, is the root of magic, which has always played a prominent role in Persian literature. The past two decades have seen a surge in magical-themed stories in the Western world,…

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Ephron Stumbles Across Magic in Researching Her Fantasy

  I called Amy Ephron, expecting the usual type of interview to take place, presenting one by one the questions I had carefully outlined about her newest books, “The Castle in the Mist” and its companion, “Carnival Magic,” and then jotting down her replies. But I should have known that creative minds possess their own…

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The Blessing of Sorrow: Turning Grief into Healing

Having not yet recovered from the unexpected loss of my young cousin, I had mixed feelings about reviewing The Blessing of Sorrow: Turning Grief into Healing by Rabbi Ben Kamin. I did not want to subject myself to more sorrow by reading about death. Then, it occurred to me that my cousin died two years…

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Half-Jews outlast Nazi regime in 'The Kaminsky Cure'

  It is to the great credit of Christopher New, the author of the “The Kaminsky Cure” (Delphinium Books), that one is able to laugh, if not out loud, at least to smile sadly, while utterly immersed in a story that takes place in Europe during the most shameful time in our not-so-distant history. A…

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The Velvet Hours

A valuable 14th century Haggadah inscribed by a Sephardic rabbi and beautifully illustrated by his talented wife takes center stage in Alyson Richman’s richly imagined sixth novel, The Velvet Hours. The theme of the Haggadah, read during Passover at the Seder table, is the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery and their exodus from Egypt—a…

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"The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem": A tale of love and war in pre-state Israel

“The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” by Sarit Yishai-Levi (Thomas Dunn Books/St. Martin’s Press) Every now and then, a multi-generational novel such as “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” by Sarit Yishai-Levi (Thomas Dunn Books/St. Martin’s Press) comes along, so rich with potent curses, outlandish customs, eccentric characters, and forbidden loves, readers might find the story somewhat…

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Passover Persian Style

It is 1980, my first night of Seder in America. I am expecting 50 guests, not a large number by Persian standards. I am, nevertheless, nervous. Mrs. Seidleman, my soon-to-be American friend, is invited tonight, and it’s imperative that the image of us Iranians as a bunch of camel-riding, uncivilized nomads, who parade American hostages…

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