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.

Words of the Week



“When Jews murder in the name of Judaism we all bow our heads in shame and in mourning, for this is a loss both for Jews and for Judaism.”

Source: Rabbi Josh Weinberg, ARZA President

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Sunday Sentence

Alan Cheuse

Alan Cheuse

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.”

You may have read about an imaginary Southern piece of turf where the past presses on the present with such force that characters find themselves transformed with the pressure of it, where the landscape comes alive, where human beings seem sometimes like gods and sometimes like devils, and the language of the story lights up your mind: William Faulkner’s half-historical, half-fabulized Yoknapatawpha County, yes?

Source: Alan Cheuse, review of Steve Stern’s The Pinch, for NPR.

[This “Sunday Sentence” was initially shared on June 14, 2015; shortly after we received the sad news of Alan’s passing on Friday, I noticed that someone had cited some words from this line on Twitter. And since I’ve been thinking of Alan all weekend, I wanted to share the post anew.]



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 Literary 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.

  • Just received in the mail: the latest issue of Moment magazine. There’s so much here that I’m eager to read, including a profile of Edward Hirsch, “the poet laureate of grief,” and work by the latest young-reviewer-winners of the magazine’s “Publish-a-Kid” contest.
  • Nice press attention this week for our Fig Tree Books authors: a Forward interview with Jessamyn Hope, a blogger’s take on The Book of Stone for The Times of Israel, and the first review of Ben Nadler’s forthcoming The Sea Beach Line.
  • New this week: Unorthodox, a podcast from Tablet (and Slate’s Panoply network) hosted by editor-at-large Mark Oppenheimer and featuring senior writer Liel Leibovitz and deputy editor Stephanie Butnick. “Unorthodox is a smart, fresh, fun take on Jewish news and culture.” I listened to the inaugural episode; I was impressed!
  • Lisa Silverman’s “Good Summer Reads for Kids” article for Jewish Journal includes some great-sounding books.
  • Finally, over on the reBar project, I reveal the one way becoming a Bat Mitzvah might have been even more meaningful to me.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    The Alan Cheuse Literary Review

    Among the new writing that I’ve done this past week is a short piece that I sent in for the Alan Cheuse Literary Review, a project spearheaded by Alan’s students as Alan remains hospitalized in California. I’ve offered to help the organizers as they assemble and publish the contributions; in any case, I will be sure to share the finished product when I see it. (FYI: Alan’s family continues to post updates on his progress on this CaringBridge page.)

    Also New

    Posted on the My Machberet blog: appreciations and concerns associated with a “New Hebrew Writing” feature in World Literature Today.

    It’s Good to Have Friends!

    Finally: This lovely tweet from my friend Sara has made my week (already!):

    What’s new in YOUR writing world?

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    From My Bookshelf: World Literature Today’s “New Hebrew Writing” Issue

    may15cover_thumbIt isn’t every day that I’m inspired to purchase a single issue of a magazine, journal, or newspaper. I subscribe to a sufficient abundance of periodicals such that the tower of books on my nightstand at any moment is equaled by a nearly equally tall stack of periodicals.

    But when I saw that World Literature Today‘s special May-August 2015 double issue included a feature on “New Hebrew Writing”–only a small sampling of which was available online–I went ahead and ordered a copy. And I’m glad that I did so.

    For the most part. Continue reading ›

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