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Words of the Week

“When it finally happened, and someone I knew compared Israelis to fascists, I looked at her post for an hour before I gathered the courage — after four decades of keeping quiet — to speak up. Virtually, at least.”

–Margarita Gokun Silver, “From Russia With Anti-Semitism” (OZY)

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Words of the Week

“Regrettably, instead of giving voice to the aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis, this text addresses the concerns of only one side. It is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that are not conducive to negotiations between the parties, including unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns. In addition, this resolution was put to a vote without a discussion or due consideration among Council members, which is highly unusual, especially considering the gravity of the matter at hand. We must proceed responsibly, not take actions that would risk a downward spiral.”
–Ambassador Samantha Power, “Explanation of Vote at the Security Council Session on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question”

“[The American Historical Association] would instead be correctly seen as an organization that places political opinions ahead of assiduous scholarship. It would send a chill especially to young scholars whose careers could be ended or damaged if they were to take a different view of these events.”
–Jeffrey Herf, quoted in “US Academic Org Ushers in New Year with Anti-Israel Vote” (The Times of Israel)

“[N]ot only does the committee stop short of calling for Salaita’s restoration, it also cites ‘legitimate concerns’ about whether Salaita’s anti-Israel expressions on social media make him ill-equipped to stand before a classroom.”
–Liel Leibovitz. “U. of Illinois: Donors Didn’t Derail Salaita Hiring” (Tablet)

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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.

  • “A smarter dream would be to get a quality Jewish paper in the hands of every Jew in America. At the very least, that would keep Judaism in the game for the multitudes that now ignore it.” So argues David Suissa as he explains “Why Judaism Needs Journalism.”
  • And several Jewish journalists and writers are among Batya Ungar-Sargon’s “10 Women’s Voices We Want To Hear More From.”
  • The Jewish Week‘s Gary Rosenblatt does a superb job presenting the significance of Yossi Klein Halevi’s Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist: The Story of a Transformation, one of the most memorable books I read in 2014.
  • ICYMI: Remember the Scholastic map flap last year? This time, HarperCollins is in the hot seat.
  • Just under 2 weeks left to enter poetry for this year’s Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards for Poems on Jewish Experience. No entry fee indicated.
  • 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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    Words of the Week

    “Why, indeed, is it that the Palestinians rejected Israel’s offer for an independent Palestinian state comprised of virtually all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and a capital in East Jerusalem in 2000, in 2001, and then again in 2008? After all, acceptance of any of those peace deals would have resulted not just in an end to the settlement construction that the Palestinians assert is the obstacle to peace, but the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israelis from the West Bank. What inference is a reasonable person to draw from that rejection?”
    –Jeff Robbins, “A ‘Very Good Question’ in Mideast Conflict” (Boston Globe)

    “Moreover, we were distraught about his implication that so many news sources have anti-Israel tendencies because Israel is in the wrong.”
    –Hayley Nagelberg, “Today I Was Asked By CNN If I Am Brain Dead” (The Times of Israel)

    “Another opportunity in the Holy Land has been lost. The waste is unconscionable, tragedy indeed.”
    –Roger Cohen, “Why Israeli-Palestinian Peace Failed” (The New York Times)

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    Words of the Week

    “Rabbi Held and other Jewish leaders involved in the protests fittingly cited the Torah, and its insistence on equality, for their actions. ‘Do not stand idly by while the blood of your neighbor is shed,’ the passage from Leviticus (19:6), was noted in Rabbi Ayelet Cohen’s opinion essay on the Garner death and its aftermath. She also quoted Leviticus 24:22: ‘There shall be one law for all of you.'”
    –Source: Editorial (The Jewish Week)

    “The issues here in New York and across America are great. I bless you, and ask you to bless me that we meet the challenge of our community, inspired by the glorious and holy words of the Torah, tzedek tzedek tirdof. (Deuteronomy 16:20) This does not only mean ‘justice, justice you shall pursue’ but even more importantly, ‘justice you shall justly pursue.'”
    –Source: Rabbi Avi Weiss, “Eric Garner, Jacob and Esau: The Ethics of Confrontation” (The Jewish Week)

    “While Open Hillel’s stated aims are open dialogue and inclusiveness—worthy goals—the organization in actuality has something else in mind. The people who claim that Open Hillel’s main objective is to garner support for the BDS movement may not realize just how right they are.”
    –Source: Holly Bicerano, “Standing Athwart Lies: Why I Left Open Hillel” (The Times of Israel)

    “We need you to keep the faith, and become the advocates that Israel deserves and we and the Jewish people need.”
    –Source: Rabbi John Rosove, “An Open Letter to Young American Jewish Liberals About Israel” Continue reading ›

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