Writer. Reader. Reviewer. Resource Maven.

My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past five years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2016.

Reviewing my reading for 2016 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)

But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.

Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first).  I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library), G (gift), or FTB (for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor OR as part of the ongoing series of spotlights posts on past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award). Continue reading ›

Share

Labels: , , , , ,

Share

Words of the Week

“But the secretary and his president long ago lost much of the Israeli public, even many of the settlement critics, by underestimating the depth of Palestinian opposition to the very fact of the Jewish state’s existence. The president and his secretary have underestimated, too, the consequent scarring — physical and psychological — that the Israeli public has accumulated over decades of war, terrorism, and demonization as the Palestinians and those who championed their cause have sought Israel’s obliteration. Continue reading ›

Share

Labels: ,

Share

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. Since we’ll be taking a blog hiatus for the “rest of the year,” this is the final batch for 2016. See you again in January!

  • ICYMI: check out my dispatch from this year’s Hadassah magazine/Harold U. Ribalow Prize ceremony.
  • Speaking of prizes: Mazal tov to Ayelet Tsabari and Amy Gottlieb, who have been named winner and runner-up (for their respective works The Best Place on Earth and The Beautiful Possible) for the 2016 Edward Lewis Wallant Award.
  • On Hevria: writing advice from Matthue Roth.
  • Better late than never: I should have shared Judy Bolton-Fasman’s poignant essay “Memories of Cuba Past” several weeks ago.
  • And I’ll leave you with this Hanukkah poem for our times.
  • Shabbat shalom, chag sameach, and all good things until we meet again!

    Share

    Labels: , ,

    Share

    A Hanukkah Poem

    Giorgione’s “Judith”

     

    Rightful Places (A Poem for Hanukkah 5777/2016)

    By Erika Dreifus

    When, today, a woman’s right
    to wear a prayer shawl
    or read from the Torah
    or blow a shofar at the Kotel
    is actually the focus of a bill submitted to the Knesset,
    who can be surprised
    that Judith’s story
    is excluded from the Tanakh?

    For if Judith—
    brave,
    articulate,
    smart,
    powerful,
    pious,
    latter-day
    Hanukkah heroine

    Judith—
    had been granted admission
    to those holy pages,
    how on earth,
    all these centuries later,
    could anyone possibly justify
    denying her daughters
    our own rightful place?

    Share

    Labels:

    Share

    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.

  • Via The Tower: an interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy ahead of the U.S. tour for The Genius of Judaism, translated by Steven M. Kennedy and slated for January publication.
  • Looking for Jewish kidlit recommendations ahead of Hanukkah? Rachel Kamin offers her suggestions for the Horn Book‘s Family Reading blog, while Marjorie Ingall compiles recommendations over on Tablet.
  • This month’s Jewish Book Carnival, with news, reviews, & interviews from the world of Jewish lit, posted yesterday over on the Fig Tree Books blog.
  • Speaking of Fig Tree Books, there’s a new giveaway running over on Goodreads–enter for a chance to win an advance copy of Abigail Pogrebin’s forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew.
  • And this weekend’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, inspired a new poem of mine that appears on the Lilith blog.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Share

    Labels: , , , ,

    Share

    Words of the Week

    Meant to share this several days ago. The entire video is of course worth viewing; if you have limited time, do forward to the 55:30 mark and listen to Elisha Wiesel’s tribute to his father.

    Share

    Labels:

    Share