The Holy Days are barely behind us, and we’re already preparing for Hanukkah (the first day of which, as some have realized, coincides with American Thanksgiving this year). But between these events comes something else that should be on your calendar: Jewish Book Month.
Running this year from October 26 to November 26, Jewish Book Month is associated most visibly with the New York-based Jewish Book Council. Many of the author visits to North American synagogues and Jewish community centers that are highlights of local Jewish book festivals occur during this time period. Check this list of sites associated with the Jewish Book Council to see what may be planned during Jewish Book Month in your area.
But whether you’re in New York or New Zealand, you can find ways to appreciate the richness and diversity of Jewish books and writing over the next month. Here are 10 suggestions:
Read the rest of my article for The Forward‘s Arty Semite blog right here.
“Myth number one. Some nations seem to believe that a great injustice was done to the Palestinian people when the UN voted to partition then British-Mandate Palestine into two states. In fact, in 1947, Resolution 181 which divided the British Mandate over Palestine, speaks of the creation of a Jewish State no fewer than 25 times. The resolution declared that: ‘independent Arab and Jewish States shall come into existence.’
The Jews welcomed the plan and joyously declared a new state in their ancient homeland. But the Arabs rejected the plan and – joined by the armies of five Arab nations – launched a war of annihilation against the newly born Jewish state.
Sixty-five years later you still don’t hear the Palestinians talk about two states for two peoples. Sure, Palestinian leaders call for an independent Palestinian state, but they insist that the Palestinian people return to the Jewish state. This is a euphemism for the destruction of the State of Israel and a major hurdle to peace.”
Source: Text of speech to UN Security Council, by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, October 22, 2013. Read about Myths 2-5, too.
(I often think that Ambassador Prosor has one of the most thankless jobs in the world. For some insights into how he manages it, check out Yair Rosenberg’s recent Tablet article.)
I’ve only read smatterings of the work of Amos Oz, a weakness that I hope to rectify asap. I’m motivated by my recent reading of Between Friends, a story collection (translated by Sondra Silverston) that will certainly rank among the very best books that I’ve read this year.
The book comprises eight linked stories featuring characters who live on the same (fictional) kibbutz circa the 1950s. I borrowed the book from the library, but I may have to buy a copy of my own. In the meantime, eager to at least sample as much of Oz’s oeuvre as I can, I’ve ordered The Amos Oz Reader (edited by Nitza Ben Dov and tanslated by Nicholas de Lange), and I can’t wait to dive in.
If you’re a New Yorker subscriber, you can find the book’s opening story, “The King of Norway,” in the magazine’s archive. Similarly, Harper’s subscribers have access to the second story, “Two Women.” (I’m disappointed that I can’t find the concluding story, “Esperanto,” online; it is, in my view, exceptionally good as a standalone piece as well as a perfect wrap-up for the linked collection.) And available to all: Tablet magazine’s superb interview with Oz, on the occasion of this book’s release.
Have any of you read Between Friends? And do you have any special suggestions as I attempt to consume as much of Oz’s writing as I can?