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Stunning Sentences Drawn from JLit

Diary-of-the-Fall_06-242x390Every 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.

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Words of the Week

“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)

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • New find! An English-language podcast on Israeli literature in translation.
  • Awaiting my attention: the latest issue of Lilith magazine.
  • “In honoring [Patrick] Modiano, the Nobel jury has embraced a tortuously and very specifically French-Jewish itinerary of belonging.” (Clémence Boulouque for Tablet)
  • “An outsider reading this extensively researched review of the way women are treated in the modern Jewish State might think that the author was describing Alabama of the 1950s.” (Ellis Shuman in a review of Elana Maryles Sztokman’s The War on Women in Israel.)
  • Guess who’s hosting the next Jewish Book Carnival? Fig Tree Books! Want to join in? Read this.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    From My Bookshelf: The Assistant, by Bernard Malamud

    UnknownLast 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 ›

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    Words of the Week

    “‘I was struck by how much at the conference could easily have happened at Harvard Hillel with no resistance whatsoever,’ Jonah Steinberg, Harvard Hillel’s rabbi and director, told JTA via email. ‘We only refuse to host programs, events, and speakers whose aim is to promote the severing of our essential connection with Israel, which is the destructive goal of the BDS movement.'”
    “After Rejecting BDS Ban, Open Hillel Holds First Conference,” by Batya Ungar-Sargon (JTA)

    “Here are the ways in which technology can prevent you from being killed by Hamas:”
    “Two Minutes,” by Kevin Haworth (Proximity)

    “What started with anti-Israel fliers moved to dirty looks, murmured insults and rising tensions in the Hillel Club’s shared office. It culminated last week in a ‘die-in’ in the school’s New Building on West 58th Street so hostile that some Hillel Club members feared they would be jumped as they left the school.”
    “‘Hostile Environment’ For John Jay Jewish Students,” by Amy Sara Clark (The Jewish Week)

    “So, here are seven reasons why the Palestinian analogy to the Black historical struggle for freedom is hopelessly flawed (and down right offensive).”
    “7 Reasons Why the Palestinian Crisis & the Black Struggle for Freedom Are Absolutely Nothing Alike,” by Dumisani Washington (The Times of Israel)

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