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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.

“But it’s Thursday,” you’re saying!

That is correct. But since I will be in transit to Minneapolis tomorrow–and since many folks will be heading offline for the concluding weekend of Pesach fairly soon, I figured I’d post early this week.

  • I’m currently reading Michal Lemberger’s After Abel and Other Stories, an extraordinary collection that spotlights women’s experiences in the Bible. (If you liked The Red Tent, this book is for you.) Check out the author’s conversation with Deborah Kalb for some more info.
  • Check out the latest links on American Jewish Experience (AJE) over on the Fig Tree Books blog. (My own favorite is the five-year Jewish-holiday calendar from the URJ.)
  • Speaking of Fig Tree Books, this week I was a guest on The Next Best Book Club blog, touting three upcoming releases.
  • ICYMI: a Passover poem & its postscript.
  • Finally, you’ve got some time (but not much) if you’d like to submit poems for Poetry Super Highway’s 17th Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day Issue. Deadline is Friday. (NB: This is not a paying opportunity. But when it comes to Holocaust-related writing, I’m personally a lot more flexible on my own “must-be-paid-for-my-work” rule.)
  • See you all next week.

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    A Passover Poem and Its Postscript

    DayenuThree years ago, Moment magazine and its poetry editor, Faye Moskowitz, did me the great honor of publishing my poem “Dayenu.” As I explained when the poem was shared again on RJ.org during Jewish Disability Awareness Month in 2014, “Dayenu” emerged from a family Seder during which I’d been especially moved by the participation of my young nephew, who as a toddler was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech.

    Fast forward to 2015/5775. And listen to “our little boy” summarize the Passover story. He continues to inspire and impress me — as do his amazing therapists and teachers (not to mention his amazing Mommy!).

    Which reminds me: If you’re reading this and you happen to know S. “in real life,” please don’t mention this post. He can be rather camera/video-shy, and although his mom/my sister has approved my sharing this recording-via-iTalk, he isn’t aware that it exists. Thank you.

    (Oh, there’s a bonus—you get to hear Grandma and Grandpa speak/participate, too!)

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    Words of the Week

    “God, Master of the Universe, please make this world safe for our people this year. Next year may we be in Jerusalem, but this year please take care of the Jews in our holy city and in so many other cities: in Marseilles and Copenhagen, in Argentina and Buenos Aires, Kansas and Seattle, Paris and Tunis, Sderot and Toulouse, Brussels and Donetsk. This Passover evening is a ‘night of vigilance’ [Exodus 12:42]. Please watch over us with divine care and compassion. Protect our sacred tombstones and graves from desecration. Protect our synagogues across the globe from Swastikas and shattering glass. Protect our innocent children on their day school playgrounds and our Jewish communal workers in embassies and community centers. Pour out Your wrath against the world’s injustices so that one day, You can pour out Your love. Ani Ma’amin — I believe that day will come. It is not here yet. Together, we will await that day. We will not wait passively. We will partner with you in a covenant to protect our people and remove them from harm’s way. And we will re-affirm in word and deed our daily commitment to justice, goodness and kindness.”

    From Dr. Erica Brown’s “Pour Out Your Love?” in The Jewish Week

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    Pre-Shabbat (and Pre-Pesach) 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.

  • Truly one of the most exciting news items that crossed my screen this week: Kevin Haworth’s announcement regarding his contract to write a book on Israeli comics artist Rutu Modan.
  • The week also brought a new issue of JewishFiction.Net, featuring work by Isaac Babel, Thane Rosenbaum, Rebecca Klempner, and many others.
  • Now that I’ve finished reading one Jewishly-inflected poetry collection (Lesléa Newman’s I Carry My Mother), it’s time to begin another one: Jehanne Dubrow’s The Arranged Marriage, reviewed this week by Judy Bolton-Fasman for The Forward‘s “The Sisterhood” blog.
  • Over on the Fig Tree Books website, Dinah Fay has contributed a new discussion of Amy Bloom’s Away.
  • “TC Jewfolk is seeking a highly motivated self-starter with experience and passion for blogging, managing writers, and community journalism to be the Editor for TC Jewfolk. This role is a paid, part-time position, with great flexibility. The primary office for this position is located at the Sabes JCC in St. Louis Park, MN.
  • Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Pesach Sameach!

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    From My Bookshelf: Lesléa Newman’s I CARRY MY MOTHER

    Earlier this year, I shared one line from a poem by Lesléa Newman (“Sitting Shiva,” which I’d discovered thanks to Keshet/MyJewishLearning.com) as a “Sunday Sentence” on the Practicing Writing blog. Simultaneously, I ordered a copy of the collection in which that poem appears, I Carry My Mother, in which the poet recounts her mother’s dying and her own grief. But it took me until this week to sit down and actually read the book.

    It is a searing collection. I dare anyone to read it without shedding tears at least once. (Maybe I suspected that would be the case, and maybe I needed some time to steel myself before engaging with the full collection.)

    It is also a remarkably instructive volume for anyone interested in the practice of poetry. And since April is National Poetry Month, it seems appropriate to comment on this quality. 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.

  • On the Reform Judaism blog: another nice review of Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl that hits a lot of notes I’ve been thinking about re: this novel, too.
  • Another review with which I concur: Gloria Kestenbaum’s take on Gina Nahai’s The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., which Kestenbaum calls “[b]y turns hilariously funny and painfully sad.”
  • In time for Passover: Jewish kidlit recommendations from Lisa Silverman (Jewish Journal) and Marjorie Ingall (Tablet).
  • Via Shelf Awareness: a nifty one-stop-“shop”/newsletter for learning all about Fig Tree Books (my employer!) and the novels of American Jewish experience it is publishing this spring.
  • And as we prepare for the final episodes of Mad Men, The Forward’s Anne Cohen talks with Matthew Weiner by phone “to ask him what comes next, what he kept from the set, and really, what’s the deal with all the Jews?” on the show.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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