I was all set to wait patiently for the U.S. release of Leah Kaminsky‘s debut novel The Waiting Room (which will happen next fall). But then, the author—an Australian whom I’ve yet to meet in person but with whom I’ve developed another of those wonderful “online friendships” I’m so grateful for—sent me a gift copy of the original Australian edition, which was published this past September. And how pleased I am that she did.
There’s so much that’s noteworthy about this book, beginning with the subject matter. What I realized only a few pages in is that The Waiting Room brings together two topics that are often categorized separately among Diaspora readers. First, there’s its Holocaust thread. Protagonist Dina Ronen, Australian-born, is the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. Her father died during Dina’s childhood; her mother has passed away by the time the novel opens, with Dina a married mother of one young son and another baby about a month away from delivery. But her mother’s ghost speaks throughout the book, and we return often to her parents’ histories in flashbacks. Continue reading ›
“I read web and social media and it’s shocking how liberal Jews (I consider myself one, recall) so quick to righteously protest the sufferings of just about everyone else in the world, rarely have expressed any sorrow for the knifing of Jewish children. Sadly they seem to have been bullied by the BDS types, by the social media sewer of anti-Semitism, the Shylockization of Netanyahu. By the ‘moral equivalence’ ‘cycle of violence’ narrative. Can’t feel bad about murdered Jews if a right wing government’s in power. To the extent that if a liberal Jew speaks up for the murdered at a dinner party he is suddenly Sheldon Adelson. Or the Jew in the Annie Hall dinner scene abruptly finding himself clothed in Hasidic garb (not that there’s anything wrong with that).”
Source: Ron Rosenbaum, “Thinking the Unthinkable: A Lamentation for the State of Israel” (Tablet)
Rebecca Klempner is one of the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of getting to know via the Internet, where I frequently read her essays and reviews and “converse” with her via email and social media. Several months ago, she announced that she’d be publishing a book of short stories for younger readers. As soon as Sliding Doors and Other Stories was available, I purchased a copy for my Kindle. It took me a little while to focus on reading them, but I’m happy to say that I have finally done so. And as part of the wonderful #Readukkah initiative from the Association of Jewish Libraries, I’m proud to share this Q&A with the author just as we prepare the kindle this year’s first Hanukkah candles. (I suspect that I am bending the #Readukkah rules somewhat by presenting a Q&A instead of a review, but I hope that I’ll be forgiven for so doing.)
Sliding Doors and Other Stories comprises 17 short stories (and one essay). In a note to readers, the author explains that she wrote the stories in this collection “for several of the magazines that serve the Orthodox community.” Elsewhere, she has indicated that the target readership for this book is likely between 11 and 16 years of age.
Rebecca Klempner is an wife, mother, and writer living in Los Angeles. Born in Baltimore, she grew up in Columbia, Maryland; Israel; and Las Vegas, Nevada. She attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland and American University, where she obtained a master’s degree in applied anthropology. In 1998, she headed to Los Angeles for a stint in Teach for America. She remained there and taught for five years before becoming a stay-at-home mother. In 2005, she sold her first picture book: A Dozen Daisies for Raizy was published in 2008 by Hachai. Subsequently, she’s written for many magazines – print and online – including Mishpacha, Ami, Hamodia, Binah, Tablet, and The Jewish Home.
Please welcome Rebecca Klempner! Continue reading ›
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
Paid, part-time editorial internship opportunities with Tablet magazine!
For the Forward, Judy Bolton-Fasman spotlights The Hours Count, Jillian Cantor’s second historical novel, “mainly a fictional portrait of Ethel Rosenberg.”
From Lisa Silverman and Jewish Journal: “It’s time for a top-10 list of a few of the best recently published Jewish books for this Chanukah season. All make wonderful gifts and span different age and interest levels.”
If you have an hour or so to spare, your time will be well spent listening to this Book of Life podcast: “Enough with the Holocaust Books for Children!”
And on my other blog: some notes about Israeli author Amir Gutfreund, who passed away this week.
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Shabbat Shalom—and Happy Hanukkah.