Larry Yudelson, Yori Yanover Elevate The Conversation

Here’s the press release (at the end of this post, I argue to Larry that he misrepresents Klinghoffer’s positions):

We are delighted to invite you, your family and any friends you wish to bring to the 4th annual Ben Yehuda Press Labor Day BBQ and Literary Hootenanny.

The date is Monday, September 1st. Food (glatt kosher) will be served beginning at 1pm. We are inviting our authors to speak and perform starting around 2pm. For the first time, we plan to open the readings up to the audience once our authors have had a go! We hope to see you on Labor Day, rain or shine!

Our address is 430 Kensington Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666. Our number is: (201) 833-5145.

Please let us know if you plan to attend, and if you are willing to perform your work.


* Larry Yudelson and Yori Yanover: will read/debate from their book: How Would God Really Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer’s Conservative Polemic. Just in time for the November elections! In his book, How would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands you to be a Conservative, Klinghoffer claims to lay out a traditional Jewish theology to embrace conservative values like a ban on divorce, restrictions on birth control, and the idea that smoking is good for you. We hope we have succeeded in conveying a sense that Torah (understood broadly to include rabbinic commentary) is not a conservative manifest. (Since Mr. Klinghoffer, who lives in Seattle, cannot be here to state his opinions, his part in the debate will be played by a sock puppet reading from his book.)

* Yori Yanover, editor of Grand Street News, will read selections from the long awaited, newly published: The Cabalist’s Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption — She’s the clone of the late, great Cabalist of Brooklyn. She’s gorgeous, and she’s here to save the world. The question is, will her friends, an ancient Rabbi mystic, a spec-op policeman and an African warrior witch be able to keep her in one piece until she does?

 * Sharon Rosenzweig and Aaron Freeman will discuss their upcoming THE COMIC TORAH: REIMAGINING THE VERY GOOD BOOK, it’s the Torah — the take is a comic look, the format is a comic book, from the minds of Chicago artist, Sharon Rosenzweig and stand up comic, Aaron Freeman.

* Louis Rieser will read from The Hillel Narratives: What do Talmudic Tales of the First Rabbi Teach us about our Faith?, a work of which Jacob Neusner said, "A fresh and engaging reading of the rabbinic biography. Louis Rieser has reopened the rabbinic stories and made them interesting again."

* Roslyn Bresnick-Perry, award-winning storyteller, will tell some tales from her upcoming book, I Loved My Mother on Saturdays, a collection of heartwarming stories that stretch from life in the shtetl, to the Bronx, to Florida.

* Isidore Century will read from his book, Poems From the Coffee House of Jewish Dreamers. Mr. Century writes about rediscovering his past through small awakenings: forgiveness, redemption, kindness and justice. There is also a poem for each weekly Torah Portion.

* Rabbi David Ornstein, will discuss his delightful children’s book to be published by Ben Yehuda Press, Four Bright Lights: A Hanukkah Tale of the Underground Railroad.

* Rabbi DovBer Pinson, scholar, author, thinker, and spiritual teacher, will read from his Fall 2008 title, 32 Paths: A Concise Guide to Awakening through Kabbalah.

* Adam Simms, translator of Rober Badinter’s Free and Equal: Emancipating France’s Jews, 1789-1791. Published in France in 1989, and now translated for the first time into English, Free and Equal recounts the interplay of the French Revolution and the emancipation of France’s Jews. The author, Robert Badinter, was France’s Minister of Justice and head of its Constitutional Court. He is currently a member of the French Senate, and lives in Paris. Adam Simms is a writer, editor and translator. He has served on the staff of the American Jewish Committee and United Israel Appeal, among others.

* Robert Jacobson will be reading from A Song of Social Significance, his mother Dorothy Epstein‘s memoir of her childhood in an immigrant household and her career organizing the labor movement.

LUKE FORD SAYS: David Klinghoffer does not advocate banning divorce nor restricting access to birth control. David never says smoking is good for you.

Larry responds:

Klinghoffer flirts with the Christian notion of banning divorce, but would settle for repealing no-fault divorce; he preferred the system where spouses perjured themselves in New York State court. Those wacky conservatives, always pining for the good old days!

He also says that he favors the empowerment of women, and that birth control harms the empowerment of women. Now, he may have applied one of his weasel-worded disclaimers that that particular point wasn’t politically conceivable; but as we spell out in detail, in Israel bible-based bureacrats are already pretty ingenious at worming their way into women’s private areas. I have great faith in the transformative powers of conservative politics.

As to smoking: he claims 1) it enhances cognition and 2) its side effects, cancer and emphesyma, while harmful for the body, are definitely good for the soul–at least according to the Catholic theologian named Norman he quotes in his health care chapter.

Readers, of course, will have to judge for themselves. That’s why there are Amazon links for both of the books at

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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