Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.

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.

Lee Mandel’s “Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey from the Pulpit to Iwo Jima”

9781455619870Lee Mandel is another author I’ve come to know via our online interactions. I’m delighted to present his latest book–an important history you can learn more about here. And I have Lee’s permission to share his kind email message with you.

Hi Erika- you probably know that you are a mentor to a lot of aspiring writers such as myself. I mentioned in the past that I frequently read your web postings. My new book, Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey From the Pulpit to Iwo Jima, is due out late December (it’s been delayed from the original publication date of September 30). Last year I saved a file from your website “Advice for Writers: Six Ways to Publicize Your Jewish Book.” In it you mentioned that one of your first speaking engagements for Quiet Americans was at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. Well, I followed your lead and contacted Mike Rugel at the museum and I’m pleased to say that I’ll be speaking there on March 8. I thank you so much for the advice! Although the book isn’t out yet, I’ve already given two talks and the response has been highly favorable. My publisher (Pelican Publishing Company in New Orleans) is arranging several more and they have contacted the World War II Museum in New Orleans. They are very interested in the book, especially given that the 70th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima is this coming February. Once again Erika, thanks for the guidance you provide to us all on your website!

And thank you, Lee, for sharing the news of your book–and my small role in helping you help others get to know it.

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Words of the Week

“There’s something else that bothers me about the binary formulation that Zionism = particularism and Diaspora = universalism. It doesn’t take into account the attachment Jews feel for one another and the need for community — even, dare I say it, that squishy word ‘peoplehood’ — that undergirds a Jew’s sense of being in the world.

Such attachment doesn’t have to take the form of Adelson’s crass particularism and unthinking solidarity. But it does require liberals to do something that many of us obviously find difficult: To privilege our own. To be able to say that Jewish tradition is special, that Jews should feel a responsibility to one another that does not negate our responsibility to the wider world but sometimes preempts it.”

Source: Jane Eisner, “Is Exile Good for the Jews” (The Forward)

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Lit 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.

  • Poems and thoughts “written by some of Hevria’s writers in reaction to the terror attack…in a Jerusalem synagogue” this week.
  • Among this week’s book reviews: Judy Bolton-Fasman on Sarah Wildman’s Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind and Harvey Freedenberg on Adam Kirsch’s Rocket & Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas.
  • Here’s a “theme” for a Bat Mitzvah celebration that I think we can all get behind.
  • It’s time to apply for the summer 2015 Great Jewish Books program. (Interested? Might know a high-schooler who could be? Read 2014 participant Hannah Elbaum’s reflections.)
  • Finally, this week brought the release of the latest newsletter from Fig Tree Books. Check it out!
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    “It is not enough for Kerry to listen to what Abbas or Erekat are telling him in English. Instead, Kerry and Obama must also start listening to what Palestinian leaders and activists are telling their people in Arabic.

    Moreover, it would also be a good idea for Obama and Kerry to go online and view the most recent Palestinian campaigns that encourage and applaud terror attacks on Israelis. Perhaps then they will understand that as long as the incitement continues, there is no chance — zero — for the success of any peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”

    Source: Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinians’ ‘Car Intifada’ and Obama’s Peace Process” (Gatestone Institute)

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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.

  • Enjoy this remarkable account of “Two Days with I.B. Singer,” courtesy of Jewish Currents.
  • The Fig Tree Books blog launched a new feature: American Jewish Experience (AJE) Around the Web.
  • “Commenting on the [Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Prize] longlist, Director of the prize Rachel Lasserson says, ‘This generation of writers was born into stories of epic scale. Our longlist reflects their struggle to make sense of these huge stories.’”
  • With help from one of his children, Library Journal remembers author Howard Fast on the centenary of his birth.
  • And on my other blog this week: “Midrash on Happiness.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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