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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Lit 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.

  • On the Reform Judaism blog: another nice review of Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl that hits a lot of notes I’ve been thinking about re: this novel, too.
  • Another review with which I concur: Gloria Kestenbaum’s take on Gina Nahai’s The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., which Kestenbaum calls “[b]y turns hilariously funny and painfully sad.”
  • In time for Passover: Jewish kidlit recommendations from Lisa Silverman (Jewish Journal) and Marjorie Ingall (Tablet).
  • Via Shelf Awareness: a nifty one-stop-“shop”/newsletter for learning all about Fig Tree Books (my employer!) and the novels of American Jewish experience it is publishing this spring.
  • And as we prepare for the final episodes of Mad Men, The Forward’s Anne Cohen talks with Matthew Weiner by phone “to ask him what comes next, what he kept from the set, and really, what’s the deal with all the Jews?” on the show.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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    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.

  • Coming in March, in Boston: an evening seminar on Writing About Religion, taught by Linda K. Wertheimer at GrubStreet.
  • Mazal tov to the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards winners and honorees.
  • On the Moment magazine blog, Nomi Eve and Stephanie Feldman discuss “Why We Write Jewish Historical Fiction.”
  • There’s always something thought-provoking on the Hevria site. This week, I was especially moved by Chaya Lester’s “The Laryngitis of Jewish Women.”
  • And last–but not least!–the January edition of the Fig Tree Books newsletter. Complete with giveaway info for three upcoming novels of Jewish interest.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    My Year in Jewish Books

    StarFor the past three 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 2014.

    Reviewing my reading for 2014 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively; it seems that this list comprises about half of the titles I read this year in toto. (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, this year). Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews, essays, and newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; “Sunday Sentence” citations; and the odd blog post. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library). This year, I’m adding a category: FTB, for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor. Continue reading ›

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Lit 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.

  • Poems and thoughts “written by some of Hevria’s writers in reaction to the terror attack…in a Jerusalem synagogue” this week.
  • Among this week’s book reviews: Judy Bolton-Fasman on Sarah Wildman’s Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind and Harvey Freedenberg on Adam Kirsch’s Rocket & Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas.
  • Here’s a “theme” for a Bat Mitzvah celebration that I think we can all get behind.
  • It’s time to apply for the summer 2015 Great Jewish Books program. (Interested? Might know a high-schooler who could be? Read 2014 participant Hannah Elbaum’s reflections.)
  • Finally, this week brought the release of the latest newsletter from Fig Tree Books. Check it out!
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    From My Bookshelf: Barbara Krasner’s Children’s Book About Golda Meir

    I don’t often discuss children’s books here on My Machberet. But I decided to make an exception when Barbara Krasner contacted me about her new picture book, Goldie Takes a Stand: Golda Meir’s First Crusade (Kar-Ben Publishing; illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley), mainly because of my longstanding interest in Meir.

    One hopes that most of the adults who pick up this book already know who Golda/Goldie is. For the younger folks, a biographical note after the main story explains the basics: Our heroine was born in Kiev in 1898, immigrated to Milwaukee in 1906, and went to Palestine in 1921. She was Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974.

    The note adds: “Although the dialogue in this book is imagined, the events are true.” The story takes place in Milwaukee, and the plot depicts the child Goldie undertaking a fund-raising effort. As leader of the American Young Sisters Society, she directs a campaign with the purpose, as she explains, of “trying to raise money to buy school books for kids who can’t afford them.”

    What’s especially nice here is the way that Krasner situates Goldie as an American girl, a Jewish immigrant in Milwaukee. Yes, she’s far better known in Israel. But the book reminds us of yet another bond between Americans and Israelis and a major figure in whom both countries can rightly take pride.

    My thanks to Kar-Ben Publishing for the complimentary review copy.

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    As I mentioned on my other blog, I’m about to take a brief blogging hiatus (don’t worry–I’ll be back next week!). So I’m giving you the weekly Jewish literary links a day early. Shabbat shalom, and see you next week.

  • “We are delighted to announce that the Jewish Plays Project is now accepting Submissions for its 2015 season!”
  • The Whole Megillah interviews Kathy Kacer, author of fiction and nonfiction on World War II and the Holocaust.
  • New this week: Hevria, “a combination of the Hebrew words Hevreh (group of friends) and Bria (creation). We are a group of creators, coming together. By working together, by combining our forces, I believe we will be incredibly powerful. I believe we can make a difference in the way the Jewish world writes. And I believe we can raise the spiritual sparks of creativity.”
  • The YIVO fall events program is online.
  • And a fun Jewish literary quiz from My Jewish Learning.
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