Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.


I maintain two blogs: Practicing Writing and My Machberet. Posts for both blogs show up on this page, but you can visit each blog by clicking on the appropriate link. It's also possible to subscribe to each feed.

Practicing Writing: Here you'll find updates on writing and publishing opportunities (especially handy between issues of our popular monthly newsletter). You'll discover ONLY opportunities that charge no fees, and ONLY publications/contests that will pay for your writing. The blog also shares writing-related news, resources, and quotations; book reviews; and occasional updates regarding this practicing writer's own work.

My Machberet: "Machberet" is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it's also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I've chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.

From My Bookshelf: Barbara Krasner’s Children’s Book About Golda Meir

I don’t often discuss children’s books here on My Machberet. But I decided to make an exception when Barbara Krasner contacted me about her new picture book, Goldie Takes a Stand: Golda Meir’s First Crusade (Kar-Ben Publishing; illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley), mainly because of my longstanding interest in Meir.

One hopes that most of the adults who pick up this book already know who Golda/Goldie is. For the younger folks, a biographical note after the main story explains the basics: Our heroine was born in Kiev in 1898, immigrated to Milwaukee in 1906, and went to Palestine in 1921. She was Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974.

The note adds: “Although the dialogue in this book is imagined, the events are true.” The story takes place in Milwaukee, and the plot depicts the child Goldie undertaking a fund-raising effort. As leader of the American Young Sisters Society, she directs a campaign with the purpose, as she explains, of “trying to raise money to buy school books for kids who can’t afford them.”

What’s especially nice here is the way that Krasner situates Goldie as an American girl, a Jewish immigrant in Milwaukee. Yes, she’s far better known in Israel. But the book reminds us of yet another bond between Americans and Israelis and a major figure in whom both countries can rightly take pride.

My thanks to Kar-Ben Publishing for the complimentary review copy.

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Words of the Week

“Anyone still wondering whether Salaita ought to have a teaching job should play the parlor game of reading his tweets and replacing references to Jews and Israelis with blacks, gays, or women. Should an American institution of higher learning employ someone who tweeted, say, that black Americans were ‘transforming “racism” from something horrible into something honorable since 1964′?”
Liel Leibovitz, “Tweets Cost Professor Steven Salaita His Tenure, and That’s a Good Thing” (Tablet)

“Prof. Salaita is entitled to his political views. However academic freedom is not a license for all possible speech: it does not protect hate speech or harassment, it does not legitimate the dehumanization of political opponents, and it certainly does not excuse incitements to violence. Institutions of higher education have a vested interest in protecting an atmosphere of reasoned discussion. Incendiary speech destroys that discussion.”
Russell Berman, “Academic Freedom and Academic Standards” (Hoover Institution) 

“Liberal Zionists need to stop whining about how they feel about Israel, and, assuming they really care, work to assist the indigenous institutions fighting for their values. Otherwise, they’re not Zionists — they’re quitters.”
Andrew Silow-Carroll, “The Liberal Zionist Surrender,” New Jersey Jewish News

“What drove me away was the paper’s incessant denigration of Israel, a torrent of articles, photographs, and op-ed columns that consistently present the Jewish State in the worst possible light.”
Rabbi Richard Block, “Why I’m Unsubscribing to the New York Times,” Tablet Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

As I mentioned on my other blog, I’m about to take a brief blogging hiatus (don’t worry–I’ll be back next week!). So I’m giving you the weekly Jewish literary links a day early. Shabbat shalom, and see you next week.

  • “We are delighted to announce that the Jewish Plays Project is now accepting Submissions for its 2015 season!”
  • The Whole Megillah interviews Kathy Kacer, author of fiction and nonfiction on World War II and the Holocaust.
  • New this week: Hevria, “a combination of the Hebrew words Hevreh (group of friends) and Bria (creation). We are a group of creators, coming together. By working together, by combining our forces, I believe we will be incredibly powerful. I believe we can make a difference in the way the Jewish world writes. And I believe we can raise the spiritual sparks of creativity.”
  • The YIVO fall events program is online.
  • And a fun Jewish literary quiz from My Jewish Learning.
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    Wednesday’s WiP: Brief Blog Hiatus

    Hello, friends. No, I’m not going fishing. But I am taking a long Labor Day weekend trip, and there’s a lot happening in my world this week as it is, and so this will be the last blog post for about a week.

    I’ll be returning home early next Monday morning, and I expect to get the September issue of The Practicing Writer out to subscribers that day.

    Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and peaceful several days.



    Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

    dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction).

  • From Interfictions: “We are looking for work that blurs the lines between genres (contemporary realism, mystery, historical, fantasy, speculative fiction, westerns), as well as pieces that bridge fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry, and other categories.” Deadline for next issue is August 30. Pays: $30/poem and $.10/word for fiction and nonfiction. NB: “We’re also interested in interviews with boundary-crossing artists. Please query if you know someone you’d like to interview, and let us know why you think this person’s work would interest us. We seek interviews of 2000-3000 words, and pay a flat rate of $50/interview.” (h/t WritingCareer.com)
  • Poets & Writers is looking for an Assistant Editor (New York).
  • “TC Jewfolk is hiring an arts and culture columnist….You’ll be expected to cover an average of one cultural event in the Twin Cities per week, and you’ll have a fair amount of freedom to choose what events you think will be most interesting to our readers. The events don’t have to be Jewish community events; in fact, most of them probably won’t be. Instead you’ll be expected to cover local cultural happenings and personalities with a Jewish lens. This could range from a play at the Guthrie, to a Jewish stand-up comedian playing at Acme, to a special Jewish community event like the Christmas Eve ‘Jewbilee,’ or Twin Cities Jewish film festival. We will pay $25 per story, at an average of one per week for a year. This is a great opportunity to build a writing portfolio and get paid to see live theater/music/etc in the Twin Cities!”
  • “The Creative Writing Program at the University of Oregon welcomes applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Fiction. M.F.A., Ph.D., or M.A. in Creative Writing with a specialization in Fiction required.”
  • Two jobs at Oregon State University-Corvallis, both tenure-track Assistant Professorships. One specifies a fiction specialty; the other, nonfiction.
  • “The Department of English at the University of San Diego invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Creative Writing, Creative Non-Fiction Emphasis.”
  • We’re about one week away from the next issue of The Practicing Writer. As always, it will be packed with no-fee contest info and paying submission calls. It’s never too late to subscribe to our free newsletter.
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