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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.

  • A gorgeous poem by Rick Chess, “The Next Abraham,” in a blog post of the same title.
  • Marvelous short story by Susan Daitch, “Festival of the Departed,” on Tablet.
  • “PJ Library®, an international, award-winning, Jewish family engagement program created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), is seeking an International Lead to take a lead role in managing and growing PJ Library programs and the various partnerships that sustain them around the world.”
  • “Israeli banknotes will soon be graced with female faces of the Hebrew poetesses Rachel Bluwstein and Leah Goldberg.” (See the Forward‘s dispatch.)
  • And over at the day job, the Fig Tree Books team was thrilled to see another enthusiastic pre-publication review for Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    My Year in Jewish Books

    StarFor the past five 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 2016.

    Reviewing my reading for 2016 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (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).  I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library), G (gift), or FTB (for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor OR as part of the ongoing series of spotlights posts on past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award). Continue reading ›

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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.

  • If, like me, you didn’t make it to the launch of a new Forward anthology Monday evening in New York, you’ll be especially grateful for Talya Zax’s dispatch from the festivities. (Okay, you’ll also really be kicking yourself for not having been there.)
  • I did manage, however, to spend some wonderful minutes listening to the latest episode of the Israel in Translation podcast. In this installment, host Marcela Sulak reads from David Grossman’s A Horse Walks Into a Bar, which came out in Jessica Cohen’s English Translation last month in London (and will evidently be here in the USA in February).
  • #Readukkah week ended yesterday. See the event page on Facebook for the virtual celebration of Jewish lit.
  • The Kveller site, “for those who want to add a Jewish twist to their parenting,” is “super excited to announce the launch of the Kveller Writers Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to give moms (or dads!) who are also writers the support, mentorship, and experience necessary to take a transformative step forward in their careers.” NB: “The fellowship is open to writers of any experience. The four writers selected for the fellowship will work remotely, but will be flown out to New York City during the course of the fellowship for a day of in-person workshops with the team (and dinner. And drinks. Definitely drinks). The work produced during the fellowship will be published on Kveller, and fellows will receive payment for each contribution.” Application deadline: January 1, 2017.
  • And my Fig Tree Books colleagues and I so appreciated the invitation that Foreword Reviews extended to our publisher to help launch a post-election series of commentaries featuring small publishers and independent authors of diverse perspectives.
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone.

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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.

  • On Hevria: an important essay by Ayala Tiefenbrunn, who is descended from “a long line of proud Yemenite Jews.”
  • Nice Canadian Jewish News article spotlighting some of the Israel-focused fiction featured on JewishFiction.net.
  • Reminder from Fig Tree Books (where I am Media Editor): There’s a giveaway going on now for readers interested in early copies of Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. (And if you’re a librarian/reviewer/bookseller, we’ve got digital galleys for you to request, too.)
  • Coming soon: the #Readukkah challenge. Learn all about it over on the Association of Jewish Libraries website.
  • And applications are open for a number of compelling lit-related summer programs at the Yiddish Book Center. There’s the Great Jewish Books program for high-school students. There’s a Creative Writing program for twentysomethings. And there’s a program for writers of Children’s Literature–blessedly open to us old fogies, too.
  • 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.

  • So much excellent work on Hevria this week, including “How the Rebbe Inspired Me to Be a Writer”; “Orthodox Writers, Meet Your Role Model”; and “Mermaid Esther: An Astonishing Fire.”
  • Montreal has a new mural–honoring Mordecai Richler.
  • A follow-up to Moment magazine’s recent list of Jewish podcasts—this time featuring readers’ recommendations.
  • If video is more your thing, check out the Forward‘s list of 10 Jewish movies you can stream for free (the Forward is calling them “overlooked,” but I’m not sure that’s always the case).
  • From the revelation that it took him about two years to really inhabit the protagonist of To the End of the Land to a reflection on how each of his books has been necessary to the writing of those that have followed, David Grossman shared a multiplicity of quiet insights—personal, professional, and political—during his recent appearance at the JCC Manhattan.
  • 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.

  • People are talking about The Secret Book of Kings, the fifth of Yochi Brandes’s six novels, which is now available in English translation (by Yardenne Greenspan). Check out Israel in Translation’s spotlight.
  • TBR: special section in the new issue of Words Without Borders on Yiddish literature (curated and introduced by Sebastian Schulman).
  • My bookshelves will never forgive (or even accommodate) me if I bring in piles of new tomes, but if YOU have space for more books—and can spare the $25 for admission—check out the upcoming “Raid the Shelves” event hosted by the Jewish Book Council here in New York (and let me know what you bring home!).
  • Among this week’s many tribute to the late, great Gene Wilder, I recommend Tablet magazine’s re-publication of Abigail Pogrebin’s profile.
  • And be sure to check out the latest newsletter from Fig Tree Books, publishing the best fiction and nonfiction on American Jewish experience.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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