“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.
Every Sunday, I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” Typically, I post the selected sentence on my Practicing Writing blog and share it on Twitter.
Now, a lot of my reading falls what within might be called “Jewish literature,” so maybe it isn’t all that surprising that more than just a few of my Sunday Sentences also come from the world of JLit. This week, for instance, I posted a line from Diary of the Fall, a novel by Michel Laub translated by Margaret Jull Costa:
My grandfather lost a brother in Auschwitz, and another brother in Auschwitz, and a third brother in Auschwitz, and his father and his mother in Auschwitz, and his girlfriend of the time in Auschwitz, and at least one cousin and one aunt in Auschwitz, and who knows how many friends in Auschwitz, how many neighbors, how many work colleagues, how many people he would have been quite close to had he not been the only one to survive and set off on a boat for Brazil and spend the rest of his life without ever mentioning any of their names.
Other weeks, I’ve shared sentences from work by Stuart Rojstaczer. By Roz Chast. By Gary Shteyngart. And so many more. Take a look. And if you’re on Twitter and just learning about the hashtag here, please join in and share your own #SundaySentence selections in the future.
“But what has become even more stunningly clear in recent years is that even if the United States could fix the Palestinian issue and produce a two-state solution, that accomplishment alone would not stabilize the angry, broken, and dysfunctional Middle East. The region is already in the process of melting down for a tsunami of reasons that have nothing to do with the Palestinians. But talking about the consequences of not fixing the Palestinian issue, particularly in Chicken Little the “sky is falling” terms, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been wont to do, doesn’t help matters — it makes them worse.”
–Aaron David Miller, “It’s Not Washington’s Fault” (Foreign Policy)
“You can take for granted the way a grandfather feels for a granddaughter that has just been murdered,” he said. “You can see it.”
–Shimshon Halperin, grandfather to Chaya Zissel Braun, quoted broadly, including by JTA.
“The Met has the First Amendment right to present this opera, and people certainly have a similar right to attend. It is their choice.
Equally, all of us have as strong a First Amendment right to make our position clear and warn people that this work is both a distortion of history and helped, in some ways, to foster a three decade long feckless policy of creating a moral equivalency between the Palestinian Authority, a corrupt terrorist organization, and the state of Israel, a democracy ruled by law.”
–Rudy Giuliani, “Why I Protested ‘The Death of Klinghoffer'” (The Daily Beast)
Last June, I shared a short list of books I hoped to read over the summer. Bernard Malamud’s 1957 novel The Assistant was on that list, because, as I explained “I should have read it long ago.”
Alas, the summer ended without my meeting the goal. But there’s a good postscript: I did manage to read the book this past week.
It’s phenomenal. The edition I’d purchased happens to include an introduction by Jonathan Rosen, and that introduction drew me in from its first two paragraphs: Continue reading ›