Jewish Diaspora Book Review

Book cover The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories

We came across a recent review of Irene Shaland’s book “The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories: Tales of Jewish Diaspora, Persecution, the Holocaust and Rebirth in Europe, Africa and Asia” and want to share it with our readers.
Reviewed by  Beverly Friend, Ph. D., Professor of English at Oakton Community College, Executive Director of the China Judaic Studies Association.

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The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories Released

cover of Irene Shaland book the Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories

New book of stories from Irene Shaland is now available in paperback. In The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories Irene Shaland presents a collective Jewish narrative from various parts of the globe. She takes the reader on a fascinating journey, both familiar and unknown, from Europe to Asia and Africa, from Vienna to Delhi and Nairobi. The fate of the brilliant Jewish community of Vienna annihilated during the Holocaust shines a disturbing light on the stories of the current rise of Antisemitism in Scandinavia and throughout Europe.

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Villa Romana Sicily – Must See for Italy History Buffs

Entrance to Villa Romana

Villa Romana del Casale located in Piazza Armerina in Sicilian heartland is not-to-be missed site for all history and art enthusiasts. Covered by layers of mud for 700 years, rediscovered in 1950, and reopened in 2003 after over forty years of reconstruction, the Villa is a treasure trove of the best Roman mosaics in existence today.

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Overlooked by visitors, Catania is a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque

Duomo cathedral, Catania

The third largest city of Sicily, a UNESCO-listed Catania lies in close proximity to the majestic mountain Etna. The city was always subject to the brooding moods of that volcano.  In the late 1600s, Mt. Etna struck twice: first drowning Catania and over 12,000 of its inhabitants in boiling lava, and then, in less than 25 years, leveling the city again by a murderous earthquake. Only 2,000 people survived. However, like phoenix out of ashes, Catania, rebuilt by architects from Rome, was reborn as one of the greatest baroque cities of the Mediterranean.

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Following the Steps of Tennessee Williams in Sicily: Taormina’s Casa Cuseni

Casa Cuseni Taormina, Sicily

I came across the name “Casa Cuseni” when I was reading about Tennessee Williams and his beloved partner, painter/poet Henry Faulkner, spending many happy months in Taormina while staying in Casa Cuseni. I knew then, without a doubt, that when we are in Sicily, we will follow the steps of Tennessee! We and our four friends arrived at Casa Cuseni on a beautiful late September afternoon. We were met by the B&B’s smiling owner, an MD and art lover, Francesco Spadaro, and we followed him up the stairs through a terraced garden. 

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Best B&B in Palermo

Piazza San Domenico in Palermo, Sicily, Italy

I selected a B&B in Palermo called BB22 not only because of its high reputation and excellent reviews, but also because I wanted to support those who restore Palermian ancient palaces.  BB22, a hidden gem in the heart of historic Palermo, is comprised of six luxurious rooms inside a 16th-century Palazzo Pantelleria located on a tiny back street in an ancient Vucciria neighborhood.

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Sicily: Glorious Sicilian Food! And The Best Place in Palermo to Discover It

Trattoria El Pepita in Palermo Sicily

Sicily is not Italy, even though the island has been administratively part of that country since the 1860s. Likewise, Sicilian food is not Italian, though of course it has been influenced by the mainland cuisine.  Only in Sicily, a paradise for art lovers and foodies alike, one can see and experience a successful harmonization of so many different influences. And I do not mean only mosaics and architecture. Their food is a true masterpiece on its own.  Sicilians never rejected the past but with love and care combined all the trends brought by many invaders over the last three thousand years.

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Discovering Palermo and Sicily with Bianca Del Bello

Bianca and a group of tourists in Palermo

I met Bianca Del Bello by pure chance when searching for experts in Palermo Jewish history.  After a few email exchanges, I knew that I met not only a superbly knowledgeable historian but also a friend with a big heart.  Bianca and I designed a Palermo Immersion Experience for our small group: my husband and I, and our four friends.

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