OK, Shabbat is still a day away, but I’m going to be offline for awhile (click here for an explanation), so I wanted to post this today.
- Please enjoy this Q&A with author Anna Solomon, about The Little Bride, a new historical novel featuring a Jewish mail-order bride who leaves Odessa and lands in South Dakota.
- Eric Herschthal previews the October U.S. release of a new Amos Oz book.
- The Jewish Week offers its fall books preview.
- I’m not sure when Hadassah magazine built up its online book coverage, but I’m delighted to see it all.
- Holiday books and videos for the little ones.
- Finally, my story collection, Quiet Americans, has received a wonderfully thoughtful (and enthusiastic) review over on The Short Review.
Shabbat shalom, everyone. See you next week.
The other day, mulling over a possible short story idea, I needed to know how Jewish-American families celebrated a certain Jewish holiday a couple of generations ago. Had the celebrations changed over time, and if so, how? Along with the websites and scholarly books I consulted, I turned to one very special resource: a battered copy of Althea O. Silverman’s Habibi and Yow: A Little Boy and His Dog.
My copy of Habibi and Yow isn’t really mine. First published in 1946 by Bloch Publishing Company (“The Jewish Book Concern”), the book went into a second printing in 1948. That’s the printing that produced the copy that belonged to my father when he was a little boy. It remained in my grandparents’ home once my father was grown.
Since my grandparents didn’t own many books, I spent innumerable childhood hours first listening to my grandmother read me the stories about this little American Jewish boy and his dog, and then reading them to myself. Habibi and Yow provided some of my earliest introductions to the ideas, history, and customs surrounding Shabbat (“Shabbos,” in Habibi and Yow), Purim, and Shavuot (“Shavuos”), among other holidays.
As an adult, I’ve been interested to learn that Althea O. Silverman wrote other books, including one about Habibi’s Adventures in the Land of Israel, which was published in 1951. Her husband, Rabbi Morris Silverman, served a Conservative Hartford, Conn., congregation for nearly 40 years. According to Shuly Rubin Schwartz’s The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life, Althea Silverman was “deeply concerned about the dearth of appealing Jewish educational materials for children.” Habibi and Yow helped address that need. I, for one, remain grateful.
My Machberet is proud to serve as June host for the Jewish Book Carnival, “a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts. The posts are hosted on one of the participant’s sites on the 15th of each month.”
Herewith, this month’s Carnival posts: