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Words of the Week: Aiden Pink

“The real problem with J Street, though, has less to do with its specific political positions, or the identities of its funders, or its disturbing willingness to give forums to those who would be happy with Israel’s destruction. The problem is what J Street represents: The idea that American Jews have the right and the responsibility to “fix” Israel when it is perceived to have erred—to impose their ideas in contradiction to Israeli self-determination. This idea weakens Israel, weakens the American Jewish community, and—most problematically—contains at its heart an implicit repudiation of Zionism itself.”

Source: Aiden Pink, “The Anti-Zionism of J Street,” for The Tower

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Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • Atar Hadari explains why we read the book of Ruth on Shavuot.
  • “The Rabbi’s Wife”: a short story by Robin Black.
  • In “Ex-Hasidic Writers Go Off the Path and Onto the Page,” Ezra Glinter explores “How OTD Literature Became Its Own Literary Genre.” (See the article for a definition of “OTD”.)
  • On my agenda: listening to this podcast featuring George Prochnik, talking about his new biography, The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World.
  • Judith Thurman reports on Philip Roth’s honorary degree from JTS.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • On my reading list: the latest issue of 614, the eZine from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Issue theme: “Jewish Women and Comics.”
  • Something else I didn’t quite get to focus on (yet) this busy week: “a newly reissued short story from the under-appreciated late writer” Shirley Faessler that “revives Jewish Toronto of the 1930s.” On Tablet.
  • Also on Tablet: a long piece about the events that are at the heart of a play I’ve written about, Motti Lerner’s “The Admission.”
  • The latest New Yorker fiction podcast features Joyce Carol Oates on Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl.”
  • Brief post about the inaugural Seminar on Jewish Story.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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    Words of the Week: Jonathan Marks

    “The anti-Semitic tropes in these statements are not subtle. But even if they were, I wonder why the academic left, which is usually so attuned to the subtlety of racism and sexism, puts up such a high bar for anti-Semitism. Suddenly ‘But I said Zionist, not Jew’; or ‘I’m a Jew, so I can’t possibly be in league with haters of Jews’; or ‘Yes, I’m focusing on the Jewish state and no other state, but so what?’; or ‘Sure, I’m echoing standard anti-Semitic tropes, but they’re really applicable here’ are incontrovertible arguments, and it becomes bad form to suggest that anti-Semitism is at work unless someone is screaming anti-Semitic slogans.”

    Source: Jonathan Marks, “‘Zionist Attack Dogs’? The MLA’s Debate on Israel Might Go Viral,” on The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “The Conversation” blog. (Please do read the whole thing. Then, you’ll see why I’m not at all unhappy that I’m no longer an MLA member.)

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    From My Bookshelf: “The Hope,” by Faye Rapoport DesPres

    Faye Rapaport DesPres

    Faye Rapaport DesPres

    Sometimes I marvel over the literary connections that the Internet has brought into my life–and the many pages of beautiful, important writing to which they’ve led me. Case in point: I have yet to meet Faye Rapoport DesPres face-to-face. But I feel as though I know her, in part through our social-media exchanges, and in part through her memoiristic writing.

    Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Faye’s memoir-in-essays, Message from a Blue Jay: Love, Loss, and One Writer’s Journey Home (Buddhapuss Ink). The book, available this month, includes one essay that I wanted to spotlight for My Machberet‘s readers. I’m delighted that Faye agreed to answer my questions (especially since she also took the time to participate in another interview about the broader collection; that Q&A will appear in the next issue of The Practicing Writer).

    Faye Rapoport DesPres was born in New York City, and over the years she has lived in upstate New York, Colorado, England, Israel, and Massachusetts. Early in her career, Faye worked as a writer for environmental organizations that focused on protecting wildlife and natural resources. In 1999, after switching to journalism, she won a Colorado Press Association award as a staff writer for a Denver weekly newspaper, where she wrote news stories, features, and interviews. Faye’s freelance work has since appeared in The New York Times, Animal Life, Trail and Timberline, and a number of other publications.

    In 2010, Faye earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College’s Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program, where she studied creative nonfiction. Her personal essays, fiction, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines, including Ascent, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Eleven Eleven, Fourth Genre, Hamilton Stone Review, Necessary Fiction, Platte Valley Review, Prime Number Magazine, Superstition Review, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Continue reading ›

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