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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


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

  • Nina Badzin explains why she doesn’t write about politics/Israel–and a few other things.
  • An interesting post by Michael Weingrad on Dan Simmons, “the major science fiction writer whose work most frequently focuses on Jews.” (h/t Mosaic magazine)
  • From the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: “Though submissions are CLOSED for the 2014 play festival, we are currently taking submissions for the 2015 New Play Festival. Scripts should be submitted in hard copy only, along with a $10 processing fee payable to JET and a stamped self-addressed envelope if return is desired.” (h/t Theatre Funding Newsletter)
  • Eminent author Marilynne Robinson recently visited Israel. Beth Kissileff spoke with Robinson about her trip–and her views about the BDS movement.
  • I’ll admit it: I’m more than a little jealous of the 36 high school students mentioned here.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week, III

    More excerpts from noteworthy news items.

    Jodi Rudoren, “Civilian or Not? New Fight in Tallying the Dead From the Gaza Conflict” (The New York Times):
    “[T]he difference between roughly half the dead being combatants, in the Israeli version, or barely 10 percent, to use the most stark numbers on the other side, is wide enough to change the characterization of the conflict.”

    and

    “The Times analysis, looking at 1,431 names, shows that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties.” Continue reading ›

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    Words of the Week, II

    Another collection of noteworthy words:

    Shimon Ohayon, “No Jews = No Outrage” (The Times of Israel):
    “The feigned outrage on the streets of Europe is a peculiar cocktail of hypocrisy, ignorance and above all, hate.”

    Noa Tishby, “Artists Without Borders. Or Facts.” (Jewish Journal):
    “So if you prefer acting or partying to fact-checking that’s fine, but please just stick to that. With power (and millions of Twitter followers) comes at least some responsibility.”

    Jeffrey Goldberg, “What Would Hamas Do If It Could Do Whatever It Wanted?” (The Atlantic):
    “People wonder why Israelis have such a visceral reaction to Hamas. The answer is easy. Israel is a small country, and most of its citizens know someone who was murdered by Hamas in its extended suicide-bombing campaigns; and most people also understand that if Hamas had its way, it would kill them as well.” Continue reading ›

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    From My Bookshelf: Rachel Mennies’s Jewish Poems

    290_glad handMy online path recently crossed that of poet Rachel Mennies, and how glad I am that it did. Soon enough, I was immersed in Mennies’s debut full-length poetry collection, The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards. The book was published this year as the winning manuscript in the Walt McDonald First-Book Series in Poetry, housed at Texas Tech University Press.

    Here, in part, is how ImageUpdate has described the collection:

    Rachel Mennies’s first collection is a powerful lyric account of a woman’s search for self through her relationship to God, Judaism, and history. These carefully-shaped poems arrest the reader with startling imagery and sound. With a compelling voice that is at once anguished and utterly composed, these poems ask: how does one reconcile one’s personal faith and struggles with those of one’s ancestors? And how, within the context of this history, does one come to terms with a God of witness and mercy?

    But, wait–there’s more. I’m so grateful to Mennies for the permission to publish this sample from the book: Continue reading ›

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    Words of the Week

    Another week has begun; here is another installment of words I am compelled to share with you.

    From Elliott Hamilton’s “Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook,” on The Times of Israel:
    “It should not be politically correct to give anti-Semites a voice and an outlet to call for murdering Jews. It should not be acceptable for a social media service to allow such blatant Jew-hatred, or any hatred for that matter. This is not a matter of allowing open dialogue and fruitful discussions on a conflict that has troubled the region for decades; this is a matter of common decency and human dignity….

    So Mark Zuckerberg, if you read this letter, I hope that you take my words to heart and do the courageous thing. Do the humane thing. Do the right thing. Remove all Facebook pages that call for the death of the Jewish people.” Continue reading ›

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