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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

“‘Please remember, don’t make us out to be political,’ the man said. ‘We just want recognition as Jews.'”

Source: Chris Buckley, “Chinese Jews of Ancient Lineage Huddle Under Pressure” (The New York Times)

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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.

  • “Amy Gottlieb’s debut novel, ‘The Beautiful Possible’ (Harper), is one of the most Jewish of stories, if one considers novelist Rebecca Goldstein’s definition of a Jewish book as one in which Judaism matters on the page. In a style that feels natural, Gottlieb weaves Jewish wisdom, texts and storytelling into narrative and dialogue; many sentences have the cadences of prayer.” So begins Sandee Brawarsky’s marvelous review for The Jewish Week.
  • And I keep singing the praises of Rachel Hall’s magnificent new collection of linked stories, Heirlooms, which is the subject of this highly informative Q&A with Deborah Kalb.
  • Happening next month in North Carolina: “Faith in Literature: A Festival of Contemporary Writers of the Spirit.” It looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Lucky attendees!
  • ICYMI: My wonderful colleague Michelle Caplan, Editor-in-Chief for Fig Tree Books, will be attending the upcoming BinderCon in New York. Here’s some information about her–and the kind of work that she’s seeking to acquire–that may be helpful to anyone with a manuscript on American Jewish experience.
  • And we’ll close with a weekend-reading recommendation: the latest issue of JewishFiction.Net.
  • Shabbat Shalom.

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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.

  • So much excellent work on Hevria this week, including “How the Rebbe Inspired Me to Be a Writer”; “Orthodox Writers, Meet Your Role Model”; and “Mermaid Esther: An Astonishing Fire.”
  • Montreal has a new mural–honoring Mordecai Richler.
  • A follow-up to Moment magazine’s recent list of Jewish podcasts—this time featuring readers’ recommendations.
  • If video is more your thing, check out the Forward‘s list of 10 Jewish movies you can stream for free (the Forward is calling them “overlooked,” but I’m not sure that’s always the case).
  • From the revelation that it took him about two years to really inhabit the protagonist of To the End of the Land to a reflection on how each of his books has been necessary to the writing of those that have followed, David Grossman shared a multiplicity of quiet insights—personal, professional, and political—during his recent appearance at the JCC Manhattan.
  • Shabbat Shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    Ah, when a pro-BDS* academic reviews Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel for a literary website! Such…interesting…historical/political perspectives can result.

    As it happens, the site posted another review of the same title on the same day—this one, by an author who actually focused on the book. Imagine that.

    (*I don’t want to link to evidence about the reviewer’s pro-boycott position, because I don’t need the nuisance of a pingback. But you don’t really need me to do it: Google is our friend, friends.)

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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.

  • News about the next annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
  • Enjoyed learning about the Jewish Arts Collaborative via Jewish Boston’s podcast this week.
  • Good news for Limmud fans–a North American hub is in the works.
  • Northwestern University Press is looking for an acquisitions editor: “Areas of acquisition include, with some flexibility, philosophy, literary criticism, Jewish studies, and regional trade.”
  • And over on the Fig Tree Books blog, I’ve provided a new installment in a series spotlighting past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    “Though they will hear its rhetoric and see its demonstrations, few students will ever visit the BDS website, where one learns that the movement is avowedly part of the Palestinian national struggle against the very existence of the State of Israel. BDS materials say nary a word about the partial responsibility of the corrupt Palestinian government in the West Bank or the murderous Hamas regime in Gaza for the failure of the peace process thus far. One hears a great deal from BDS and affiliated groups like Jewish Voice for Peace about Jewish and Israeli culpability — but nothing about mistakes made on the Palestinian side, oppression committed by it, the blatant anti-Semitism built into its policies and publications. BDS is silent about the many countries that are guilty of abuses far worse than those charged to Israel.”

    Source: Arnold M. Eisen (via JTA)

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