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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.

From My Bookshelf: World Literature Today’s “New Hebrew Writing” Issue

may15cover_thumbIt isn’t every day that I’m inspired to purchase a single issue of a magazine, journal, or newspaper. I subscribe to a sufficient abundance of periodicals such that the tower of books on my nightstand at any moment is equaled by a nearly equally tall stack of periodicals.

But when I saw that World Literature Today‘s special May-August 2015 double issue included a feature on “New Hebrew Writing”–only a small sampling of which was available online–I went ahead and ordered a copy. And I’m glad that I did so.

For the most part. Continue reading ›

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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.

  • Fab photos from Monday evening’s Scribblers on the Roof reading at Ansche Chesed in New York. (I was lucky to be in attendance.)
  • This collection of poets’ reflections on memorable summer-reading experiences includes some especially “Jewish” recollections.
  • Over on NewYorker.com, Arthur Krystal chronicles a story of “[F. Scott] Fitzgerald and the Jews.”
  • The Fig Tree Books blogs celebrates a “Malamud-apalooza” of sorts, with three writers revisiting novels by Bernard Malamud.
  • May the memory of E.L. Doctorow be a blessing.
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone.

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    Words of the Week

    “Information changes when it moves from one context to another. To cite a recurring example in the kibbutzniks’ conversations at the time: it is one thing to remark that seeing displaced Palestinians in wartime reminds you of the situation of Jews in the Holocaust—meaning that you remind yourself of the Nazis—if you are speaking in Hebrew to other shaken Jewish veterans in a bomb shelter a week or two after returning from the battlefield. Saying the same thing, as this movie does, to a sated film-festival audience at Sundance or Cannes is something else. It is one thing to say this at a time when many Israelis were gripped by elation at their victory and when the plight of the Palestinians was largely ignored both in Israel and abroad; it is quite another to do so in 2015, when Israel has become singled out as the world’s most egregious violator of human rights, if not the new incarnation of Nazism. And it is one thing to draw a comparison with the Holocaust in a booklet intended for other kibbutzniks, which is what the soldiers believed they were doing in 1967—and quite another to say this in a movie co-produced by Germans.”

    Source: Matti Friedman, “Israel and the Moral Striptease,” Mosaic magazine.

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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.

  • Hosted by Deborah Kalb, the latest Jewish Book Carnival was posted this week.
  • Quite an interesting piece by Beena Kamlani on editing Saul Bellow’s last novel.
  • As editor, I’m always pleased to share the latest issue of the Fig Tree Books newsletter. (Check out the giveaways now being offered!)
  • Unless you’ve been living under a rock of some kind, you’ve likely been reading and hearing a lot about Harper Lee this week. Notable in the discourse: Alexandra Levine’s piece on “Harper Lee’s Jewish Lessons,” for The Forward.
  • And the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is advertising for a PJ Library Program Assistant.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    The Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Review

    As many of you know, last month I had the great pleasure of attending the annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) for the first time. I was there in my capacity as Media Editor of Fig Tree Books; you may have even caught my account of one of the conference sessions, a panel on book-reviewing, over on the Fig Tree blog.

    Indeed, I did sneak out to a few of the many wonderful sessions. But I remained based primarily at the table where Fig Tree books, galleys, and flyers were displayed.

    So I’m especially happy to see that the AJL has very generously assembled a set of conference proceedings. Continue reading ›

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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.

    • Via Kenyon Review Online: “Chapter 1,” a beautiful poem by Jessica Lieberman.
    • Author Gina Nahai and her husband, David Nahai, are featured in The Forward.
    • Interested in writing for Kveller? Listen to this.
    • Weekend reading: the new (summer 2015) issue of Lilith (though I’m tempted to wait until my print copy arrives).
    • The JCC of Greater New Haven [Connecticut] is looking to hire a PJ Library Programming Associate.

    Shabbat shalom.

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