Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.

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

UnknownWhen William Daroff speaks, I listen. Thus, last week’s vacation reading included Einat Wilf‘s new e-book, Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel (edited by Daniel Rubinstein).

Prior to downloading and reading the e-book, I was not familiar with Wilf’s work (or, at least, did not clearly recall her byline). Formerly a member of the Israeli Knesset, she is a self-described “Roving Ambassador for Israel and Zionism, telling our story to a variety of audiences.” Judging by the essays in this collection, that’s good news for Israel and Zionism–and by extension, for all of us.

Since the book essentially compiles a number of Wilf’s published writings, I can point you directly to some of the essays that impressed me as especially cogent, insightful, and relevant to discussions and debates I’ve seen play out elsewhere. Continue reading ›

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Words of the Week: Matisyahu, Part II

(For more/background/printed lyrics, I point you here.)

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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.

  • This week brought the August edition of the Jewish Book Carnival, featuring news, reviews, and interviews from the world of Jewish books.
  • The week also brought this wonderful news: Marge Piercy has chosen my friend Rachel Hall’s gorgeous manuscript of linked short stories, Heirlooms, as winner of the BkMk Press/G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Friends, you will love this book, and I’ll be telling you more about it as it continues its way toward publication.
  • Thanks to the Tikvah Fund, you can listen in on a recent conversation with Dara Horn on Jewish literature and life.
  • And thanks to our team at Fig Tree Books, you can enter a new giveaway to win an advance copy of Edward Lewis Wallant’s The Pawnbroker, featuring Dara’s extraordinary new foreword.
  • Speaking of Fig Tree Books, our August newsletter went out to subscribers this week.
  • Shabbat shalom to all

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    Words of the Week: Matisyahu

    Unknown-1“The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. – Blessed Love, Matis”

    Source: Matisyahu’s Facebook page.

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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.

  • Early in the week, I was pleased to read a new article by my friend Judy Bolton-Fasman on “recent ex-Hasid memoirs.”
  • At the same time, later in the week, I appreciated Andrew Silow-Caroll’s nuanced thoughts about the collective interest in this sort of writing by ex-Orthodox Jews.
  • The Washington DCJCC is looking for a Temporary Jewish Literature Festival Manager.
  • Touching story about a Holocaust Survivors Memoir Writing Workshop, via jweekly.
  • Finally, something I wrote for the Fig Tree Books blog this week.
  • Shabbat Shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    “The strong response of the Israeli public and leaders to the arson attack is, truthfully, somewhat comforting. The wall-to-wall Israeli condemnation of this crime has left me and other Palestinians not only ashamed, but also embarrassed — because this is not how we Palestinians have been reacting to terror attacks against Jews — even the despicable murder of Jewish children.”

    Source: Bassam Tawil, “Palestinians: The Difference between Us and Them,” Gatestone Institute

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