Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
“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.
I’ve mentioned the poetry of Yehoshua November in blog posts before, generally within link roundups. But I’ve just had the chance to read November’s new collection, Two Worlds Exist. And even if I don’t feel equipped to write a full-fledged review of this (or, frankly, any other poetry book), I want to draw your attention to this beautiful volume. (Especially at the start of the #Readukkah celebration!)
These are poems about prayer, and marriage, and parenting (and parenting a child who has a disability). And loss. Some are spare; all are powerful.
Reading this collection–which I did in a single sitting–I was struck anew with the realization of how “diverse” Jewish literature is, not merely in comparison with writing that reflects other traditions and cultures, but also within itself. November’s Judaism is not quite the same as my Judaism, and so along with the proverbial and familiar “mirrors” that I discovered as I read there I also encountered, perhaps more importantly, many quietly dramatic “windows.”
Here are just a few places online where you can find a few of the poems that appear in this book: Continue reading ›
“Every day we are learning how to speak up and face down hatred. Last year, my son’s middle school learned what happened on April 20—Hitler’s birthday. The seventh grade boys sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Hitler during lunchtime. After this happened we learned from my son that the song leaders had been making anti-Semitic comments and telling ‘Holocaust jokes’ in my son’s presence. My son is one of four Jewish-identified kids in his school. While the principal immediately disciplined the students who sang, I met with the principal to make it clear how we interpreted these incidents. This was not merely bullying. When a group of students tells another that his community should have been wiped out in the Holocaust, that is terrorizing.”
Source: an important, timely essay by Francine Green Roston, “What It’s Like Being a Jewish Family Who Lives in Montana,” on Kveller.