“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.
“On the other hand, Israel is meant to be the state for all of the Jewish people. It is meant to be a place where all Jews can feel at home, can pray freely and practice their religion the way they want, with respect and dignity. It was one thing when the cabinet passed the Kotel deal in 2016 but then got stuck with its implementation. At least it seemed on the surface to be trying to move things forward. Now, the message to millions of Jews around the world is that Israel simply doesn’t care about them.
Reform and Conservative Jews throughout the US already feel like second-class citizens when it comes to ritual in Israel like conversion and marriage. By annulling the decision to create a prayer space that all Jews can call home, the government is leading this relationship toward an even greater divide.
For years, Netanyahu has told the Israeli public that there is no one better than him who understands America and American Jewry. Today we finally understood what that means – he doesn’t really care about them.”
Yaakov Katz, “Shameful Day for Israel as It Freezes Plan for Pluralistic Prayer Site at the Kotel” (Jerusalem Post)
Last Tuesday I spent a delightful day at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference (held this year right here in New York). And I was lucky enough to sit in on the latest iteration of a session titled “Recommended Reads: The Latest & Greatest in Jewish Fiction for Adults.” It was helmed, as in the past, by librarian Rachel Kamin, who was joined this year by Rosalind Reisner and Judy Weidman.
From left: Judy Weidman, Rosalind Reisner, Rachel Kamin
At one point, the session previewed some forthcoming novels “by favorite authors.” Among those that were mentioned: Continue reading ›
“In my travels and talks and meetings, I am constantly running up against this problem. When people are polite, they often tell me how ‘difficult’ supporting Israel in their communities has become, because of the settlements, or because of offensive statements by Israeli politicians. The problem is a sincere one, but it is a structural one, and will not go away so long as (i) American Jews relate to Israel as principally a political cause rather than a civilizational force, (ii) American Jews relate to some policies and not others as resonating to the core of their own identity as Jews, and (iii) American Jewish politics are so different from Israeli politics, which is unlikely to change.
And that’s when they’re polite.”
Source: David Hazony, “Israeli Identity and the Future of American Jewry” (The Tower)
“The problem is not the work itself but the way Waldman and Chabon are promoting it. In interviews, they have turned their brief tour of the West Bank into undeniable evidence that they’ve discovered the absolute truth of the conflict: It’s Israel’s fault. And they describe the situation in such shallow and simple terms, I half-wondered if “Kingdom” was a children’s book. (It’s not.)”
Source: Danielle Berrin, “Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman Undermine Peace for Palestine” (Jewish Journal)