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Sunday Sentence

In which 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.”

“‘This means a lot to me,’ he said. ‘Of course.'”

Source: Robin Williams, quoted by Rob Eshman, “Remembering Robin Williams, ‘Honorary Jew'” (Jewish Journal)

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Words of the Week

Karen Lerhman Bloch, “Losing Facebook Friends Over the War in Gaza” (Tablet):
“As has been well noted, pro-Israel commentators were a little slow at the starting gate in the social media war, but within a matter of days, Israeli groups were sending out plenty of visually succinct PDFs and news stories that weren’t making it into traditional media, and a segment of my Facebook friends and I began to post and share them. Despite a residual discomfort in becoming a ‘public Jew,’ I actually never felt as though my skills were being put to greater use.”

Mayim Bialik, “Why I Wear My Jewish Star” (Kveller):
“Oh, Israel. What a month it’s been for you and me. I lost a lot of fans this month because of my love for you. But it’s OK. I love you more than popularity, even when you make me crazy. And even though I don’t always agree with Israeli policy, I’m still a Zionist.”

Rachel Azaria, “The People on the Train” (The Times of Israel):
“We need to make sure that those who attack and blame Israel are perceived as attacking human rights in Gaza or anywhere, because this is what they are doing. Supporting Hamas is supporting the annihilation of basic human rights for their people. In retrospect, it’s kind of ironic and at the same time completely logical that a man indiscriminately shouting at a woman and a baby on a subway is not really interested in human rights. We just need everyone else to see it that way.” Continue reading ›

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Friday Finds for Writers

Treasure Chest
Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend.

  • “We who love literature face an urgent crisis: a gruesome epidemic of articles worrying over the demise of literature, reading, English Departments, and apparently (along with them) culture, art, morality, humanity, and ALL KNOWLEDGE AND CIVILIZATION.” I’ll admit that I’ve wearied of reading those articles. But I enjoyed Tasha Golden’s Ploughshares blog post on “the problems with doomsday laments” themselves.
  • Speaking of we who love literature: David Abrams is one of our literary culture’s great heroes. The latest example of his goodliness: the new edition of his Front Porch Books column, “a monthly tally of books–mainly advance review copies (aka “uncorrected proofs” and “galleys”)” that have made their way to his Kindle–and the pile of packages on his front porch.
  • It may sound silly or self-evident, but, as The Renegade Writer cautions us, “If You Don’t Read Magazines, Don’t Try to Write for Them.”
  • “In Praise of Vacation Time.” I think we can all use this reminder.
  • And on a somber note: I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about and grieving for Robin Williams. I’ve also been prompted to revisit William Styron’s seminal Darkness Visible, which you can find in its magazine form on the Vanity Fair website.
  • Have a good weekend, everyone.

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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.

  • Tahneer Oksman interviews Roz Chast about Chast’s new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?--one of my favorite books of this year so far.
  • The New York Times reviews a production of Martin Blank’s “The Law of Return,” a play about the Jonathan Pollard case.
  • Another news item about a play that has caught my attention: “Olympics Uber Alles,” by Samuel Bernstein and Marguerite Krupp. As the title suggests, the play deals with the 1936 Berlin Olympics–in which two American Jews were not permitted to compete.
  • Robin Williams’s passing prompted the Los Angeles Review of Books to remind us of the film version of Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day–and in which Williams co-starred.
  • ICYMI: I have a new job! With Fig Tree Books (FTB), a new publishing company that focuses on fiction of the American Jewish experience. Read about my first week on the job on my other blog. And please, follow FTB on Twitter and/or Facebook.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week, II

    Ellen Willis, z”l, “Is There Still a Jewish Question? Why I’m an Anti-Anti-Zionist” (essay originally published in 2003; reprinted online this week by Tablet):
    And yet I count myself an anti-anti-Zionist. This is partly because the logic of anti-Zionism in the present political context entails an unprecedented demand for an existing state—one, moreover, with popular legitimacy and a democratically elected government—not simply to change its policies but to disappear. It’s partly because I can’t figure out what large numbers of displaced Jews could have or should have done after 1945, other than parlay their relationship with Palestine and the (ambivalent) support of the West for a Jewish homeland into a place to be. (Go “home” to Germany or Poland? Knock, en masse, on the doors of unreceptive European countries and a reluctant United States?) And finally it’s because I believe that anti-Jewish genocide cannot be laid to rest as a discrete historical episode, but remains a possibility implicit in the deep structure of Christian and Islamic cultures, East and West.

    Oren Kessler, “Hamas Lies–and the Media Believed It” (U.S. News):
    “It’s the Mideast equivalent of ‘Dog bites man,’ but it took the media nearly a month to recognize its sheer obviousness: Hamas lies.” Continue reading ›

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