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Upcoming Events at the Center for Jewish History

Just a quick note about some intriguing events at the Center for Jewish History here in New York:

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2013: Reading Holocaust Literature (panel discussion with David G. Roskies, Naomi Diamant, Samuel Kassow, and Ruth Franklin)
  • Thursday, February 7, 2013: Emerging Writers/Contemporary Literary Landscapes: Fiction (with Nadia Kalman, Austin Ratner, Francesca Segal, Adam Wilson, Josh Lambert, and Ruth Andrew Ellenson)
  • Sunday, February 10, 2013: Jews and Words: A Celebration of Jewish Writing, Language, and Expression (conference with multiple panels/speakers)
  • Check the CJH website for details and ticket info for all of these programs.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish news, primarily of the literary variety, from around the Web.

  • Beautiful, haunting essay on Tablet by David Goldstein, about his grandfather (a Holocaust survivor), and a visit to the grandfather’s village.
  • Another moving “3G” story I discovered this week: “Marcy Rosen had never seen a photograph of her grandfather, Morry Chandler, as a young man. He is a Holocaust survivor, and all pictures from his childhood were lost or destroyed. But then Marcy found a pre-World War II film from his hometown in Poland on the Museum’s website. And she spotted his fourteen-year-old face among a group of children and teens smiling at the camera.”
  • Some background regarding how my novel excerpt, “Rio, 1940,” made its way to the current issue of JewishFiction.Net.
  • From the Association for Jewish Studies: “We are on our way to Chicago for the AJS 44th Annual Conference! Keep an eye on Facebook and and Twitter (@jewish_studies) for updates throughout the meeting. We’ll be using the hashtag #AJS12. Hope to see many of you there!” Conference runs December 16-18.
  • Don’t forget: The December Jewish Book Carnival will go live after sundown tomorrow evening. Please stop back here to see everything we have in store for you this month!
  • Enjoy the conclusion of Hanukkah, everyone, and Shabbat shalom!

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    My Year in Jewish Books (2012 edition)

    Last year, I 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 2012.

    Reviewing my reading for 2012 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, I define “Jewish books” as books with substantive Jewish content/themes. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as particularly Jewish. I read several of those books this year, too.)

    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. Continue reading ›

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • This week, Kenyon Review Online published “The Golem of Zukow,” a gripping short story by Helen Maryles Shankman.
  • Yiddish Book Center staff report back from the most recent American Literary Translators Association, shining a special spotlight on a “Translating Israel” panel.
  • Elie Wiesel and U.S. President Barack Obama will be writing a book together. (UPDATE on Tuesday, November 13: Although this item was reported widely last week, its accuracy is now in doubt.)
  • Among the facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy is The Forward‘s main office in downtown New York. I’ve made a small contribution to help out.
  • I’m off imminently to the JCC Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival in Rochester. Can’t wait!
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    From My Bookshelf: The Curse of Gurs, by Werner L. Frank

    Last weekend, I journeyed to Columbus, Ohio, for a family Bat Mitzvah. There, I had the pleasure of spending time with Werner Frank, whose astounding genealogical research includes some of my own family history (on my dad’s side).

    Werner, who emigrated from Germany as a child in 1937, has recently published a book focusing on a specific strand of this research: the story of the October 1940 deportation of Jews from the Baden region of Germany to Gurs, an internment camp in France. From Gurs, many of these Jews were eventually deported to Auschwitz. This helps explain the book’s full title: The Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz.

    The story is particularly painful because so many of Werner’s relatives were among these Baden Jews (as were some of mine). Moreover, Werner remains acutely aware of his good fortune in having left Baden before 1940 – a realization that I similarly share concerning my grandparents, who were also Baden-born.

    I purchased a Kindle copy of Werner’s book while we were in Columbus; Werner was kind enough to then gift me with a print copy. As an historian, I was wowed from the outset by Dr. Michael Berenbaum‘s introduction: Continue reading ›

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