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.

Sunday Sentence

Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan


In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

Something had gone wrong with the chartered bus, and instead of taking us to the airport it had left us in the pink-tiled courtyard of a strange hotel, where Albinoni’s Adagio was playing on speakers, and something fell onto our arms, and we looked up and it was ashes.

Source: Elif Batuman, “Constructed Worlds” (The New Yorker)



Words of the Week

“Because there is no sense in not recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel unless one does not accept Israel itself, every discussion of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem must begin with the United States saying that the right place for the embassy is Jerusalem. In fact, the U.S. Congress did just that in 1995 when it passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, declaring it strange that the United States ‘maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.’ Only then, having settled this, should the United States delve into the question of whether now is the right time to move. Alas, administration after administration has chosen to use a ‘waiver’ and postpone the relocation.

So, is now the time? We can make a list of whys and why nots.”

Source: Shmuel Rosner, “Is It Time to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem” (Moment magazine)

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Friday Finds for Writers

Treasure Chest
Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend. Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Lit Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • This week brought us the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted for January by Deborah Kalb.
  • A detailed call for submissions from the Forward‘s Sisterhood blog. (Yes, freelancers–writers are paid for their work here!)
  • “J. the Jewish News of Northern California has an opening for a full-time editorial assistant who will handle a multitude of responsibilities. The position is based in our office in San Francisco’s Financial District, and will begin in late February.” The same publication is also advertising for a reporter.
  • A definite highlight of my week: Monday’s “Jews and Muslims in America” conference, presented in New York by the Shalom Hartman Institute. You can view a number of session videos here; if you’re media-focused, you may be especially interested in a panel on “Jewish and Muslim Media, Reporting, and Storytelling.”
  • And over at Fig Tree Books, where I’m Media Editor, we’re delighted with another enthusiastic review of Abigail Pogrebin’s forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew (this time, from Library Journal). Plus, we’ve launched another giveaway—enter here for a chance to win an advance copy.
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone.

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    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    Some Reflections on #ResistanceLit

    ICYMI: The National Book Critics Circle blog published a piece of mine last week. It’s part of an ongoing series on “Resistance Lit,” and the post spotlights “resistance-lit” qualities in Heirlooms, stories by my friend Rachel Hall.


    Then it was my turn to be spotlighted! Many thanks to Joanne Intrator for inviting me to answer some questions for her New York-Berlin Bridge project. (Among the pleasures: I was able to dig back and revive a review I wrote for Fiction Writers Review some years ago about a Berlin-set novel by Chloe Aridjis.)

    Unexpected (and Atypical) Litmag News

    And I cannot believe that I am able to write this next bit: I have had four poems accepted for publication since the last midweek update! Four poems to be published in three journals. You can be sure that I’ll keep you posted.

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    Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers

    dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee, paying listings of competitions, contests, and calls for submissions—plus jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction). Continue reading ›

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