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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.

  • First: This week brought the release of an English translation of a newly discovered poem, “Hora to an Exiled Girl,” by Hannah Senesh.
  • Next up: Michael Chabon’s latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, will be released next week. Reviewer Diane Cole describes it as a “lively portrait of a community where blacks and whites, Jews and Christians, politicians of every party, all manage to overcome their own latent (and sometimes blatant) prejudices to settle conflicts, both personal and public, and live peacefully together.”
  • And if you’re looking for some more fall books on Jewish themes, this preview should help you find a few.
  • As The New York Times notes, Philip Roth has a new biographer.
  • A college student whose grandmother survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest reflects on “generational memory” of the Holocaust and her writing. (I can’t help thinking that, as is being reported, not everyone in the third generation may be “traumatized” by their grandparents’ histories. But there sure are increasing numbers of us writing about it these days.)
  • And if you missed it on my other blog, a couple of days ago I shared some thoughts about (and examples of) “Bat Mitzvah poetry”–plus a family photo.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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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.

  • First up this week: The Jewish Book Council has announced the schedule and opened registration for the next Jewish Children’s Book & Illustrators Conference, taking place in NYC on November 18.
  • Next: I’m not sure how I missed my friend Andrew Furman’s review of Shalom Auslander’s Hope: A Tragedy, but, as the saying goes, better late than never. (The review’s basic message is summarized by the subtitle: “Bad things happen when Jews move to the country, in fiction, anyway.”)
  • Shoshanna Olidort offers a thoughtful take for the Los Angeles Review of Books on Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
  • My own latest published review looks at Jeffrey Lewis’s Berlin Cantata.
  • And in case you missed it, over on my other blog, I’ve shared excerpts from a (rejected) panel proposal titled “From Generation to Generation: 2G and 3G Approaches to Writing About the Holocaust.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    “We Are Still Here,” A Documentary Film by Evan Kleinman


    It’s no secret that I have a special interest in how members of the so-called “third generation” have responded to their family Holocaust histories. And that interest motivated me to attend an event here in New York City last week: a screening of Evan Kleinman’s documentary, “We Are Still Here.” Held at the Museum of Tolerance (which I was visiting for the first time), the screening was co-sponsored by the Museum and The Blue Card Fund‘s Young Leadership Division.

    The film introduces us to Evan’s family, including his Polish-born paternal grandparents. It documents a journey to Poland undertaken by Evan, his parents, and his sister. The audience at our screening was especially privileged to have all of these Kleinmans (and others!) in attendance last week.

    I was reminded, yet again, that every time you may think you’ve heard all of the “Holocaust stories” there are to tell, you’re proven wrong. And there’s something truly remarkable when it’s those who “are still here” who do the storytelling.

    The next screening of “We Are Still Here” will take place in Boston on August 23rd. If you have the opportunity to attend, seize it.

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    From My Bookshelf: Fiction by Etgar Keret

    Confession: I frequently read, admire, and link to Israeli author Etgar Keret’s nonfiction/essays (particularly his columns for Tablet), but I haven’t always been as comfortable with Keret’s fiction. I read The Nimrod Flipout when its U.S. publisher sent me a review copy of the English translation several years back (2006), and although I understood what the fuss was about–Keret is one prodigiously talented, not to mention prolific writer–my own reading tastes just don’t hunger for the sheer strangeness–call it experimentalism, fabulism, magical realism, whatever–that seemed to characterize the collection.

    Moreover, back then–around the time of the Second Lebanon War–my nascent interest in attempting to understand contemporary Israel through its literature was intensifying. There was so much about Israel that I, a Diaspora Jew, needed to learn (this remains all too true six years later). Keret’s fables and flash fictions didn’t seem to engage with the seriousness of what the Israelis call hamatzav– “the situation,” namely, the pervasive conflict that suffuses life in their country. It occurred to me only hazily (if at all) that this was a selfish indulgence of my Diaspora self; living within “the situation,” Keret could certainly be excused from spending still more time with it in his fiction.

    But last week, a review-essay on The Millions caught my eye. Titled “The Maturation of Etgar Keret” and written by Bezalel Stern, it captivated me. And it sent me hurrying to add two new volumes to my bookshelf: Suddenly, A Knock on the Door (Keret’s latest book to be released in English, with translations by Nathan Englander, Miriam Shlesinger, and Sondra Silverston) and Four Stories, a slim collection I’ll address in greater detail shortly. Continue reading ›

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

  • It’s always a good week when the quarterly Jewish Book World arrives in the mail. I’ll signal to you the essays from Sami Rohr Prize winner Gal Beckerman, Rohr Choice Award winner Abigail Green, and Rohr finalist Ruth Franklin. (You can download a digital copy here.)
  • Next up: How about an anthology featuring work by women writers from the Middle East? Great idea! Just leave out the Israelis, please. Or else. (Can you imagine the response if it had been an Israeli author who campaigned for the exclusion of Palestinians?)
  • Benjamin Ivry writes about Swedish-Jewish novelist Stephan Mendel-Enk.
  • Job alert: “The Yiddish Book Center seeks a Program Manager to join a dynamic cultural organization and to join its education team. The program manager will oversee an exciting new national education program designed and led by the Book Center. The program targets Jews in their 20s and will offer week-long sessions exploring diverse aspects of modern Jewish culture and creativity.”
  • “As the publishing world waits with baited breath for the opening of Book Expo America this weekend, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is doing its part by bringing together authors from the Museum family to talk books with visitors. Six survivors and one survivor/US Army vet who have written books – or whose story is told in a book – will sit at tables in the lobby and talk about their books and their experiences during the war.” If you’ll be in NYC this Sunday, consider stopping by for this free event.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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