“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.
When 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 ›
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.
“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”
“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.”
Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories (Last Light Studio), which is an ALA Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding Jewish literature. Quiet Americans was also named a Notable Book (The Jewish Journal) and a Top Small-Press Book (Shelf Unbound). Erika is a contributing editor for Fiction Writers Review and an advisory board member for J Journal: New Writing on Justice, and she wrote the section on “Choosing a Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing” for the second edition of Tom Kealey’s Creative Writing MFA Handbook (Continuum, 2008). Erika is also the editor/publisher of The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) e-newsletter featuring advice, opportunities, and resources on the craft and business of writing for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.
A high-ranking Nazi’s wife and a Jewish doctor in prewar Berlin. A Jewish immigrant soldier and the German POWs he is assigned to supervise. A refugee returning to Europe for the first time just as terrorists massacre Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A son of survivors and the family secrets modern technology may reveal. These are some of the characters and conflicts that emerge in Quiet Americans, in stories that reframe familiar questions about what is right and wrong, remembered and repressed, resolved and unending. Portions of the proceeds from sales of Quiet Americans are being donated to The Blue Card. Quiet Americans has been named a 2012 Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title (American Library Association) and recognized as a “Notable Book” (The Jewish Journal) and “Top Book” (Shelf Unbound).
For nearly seven years, subscribers have welcomed The Practicing Writer, a free monthly e-newsletter that helps fiction writers, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction with their craft and business. Always listing paying publication opportunities, always announcing contests and other opportunities that don’t charge entry/application fees. Click here [HYPERLINK TO http://www.erikadreifus.com/newsletter/ ) to learn more, click here [HYPERLINK TO http://www.erikadreifus.com/newsletter/current/) to read the latest issue online, or go ahead and subscribe right now (and get a free writing-contest guide!).