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Tevye in Amherst: A Glimpse into the Great Jewish Books Program

I have known Hannah Elbaum literally since before she was born. Hannah’s mom and I have been fast friends since our freshman year in college; I was a bridesmaid in Hannah’s parents’ wedding; and I was among the first to hear that Hannah was on the way (and to meet newborn Hannah in the hospital).

So you can imagine how I began kvelling when I heard that Hannah had been accepted to the 2014 Great Jewish Books Summer Program for high school students at the National Yiddish Book Center. I asked Hannah if she would be kind enough to write up a guest post about her experience, in part because I wish I could attend the program myself. How I would love to spend an entire week in beautiful Amherst, Massachusetts, reading, discussing, and arguing about Jewish literature! When Hannah agreed to contribute her insights, I suggested that she might share with us a typical day in the program. She complied, and I’m delighted to present this glimpse into what was apparently a vibrant and memorable week.

Hannah Elbaum is a high school senior, eagerly awaiting the next chapter in her life. She was a Diller Teen Fellow of 2012-2013, and a Rising Voices Fellow of 2013-2014. Currently, she is the president of the senior youth group at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she has held a variety of leadership roles and is an active participant in the North American Federation of Temple Youth-Northeast Region.

Please welcome Hannah Elbaum! Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Nina Badzin explains why she doesn’t write about politics/Israel–and a few other things.
  • An interesting post by Michael Weingrad on Dan Simmons, “the major science fiction writer whose work most frequently focuses on Jews.” (h/t Mosaic magazine)
  • From the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: “Though submissions are CLOSED for the 2014 play festival, we are currently taking submissions for the 2015 New Play Festival. Scripts should be submitted in hard copy only, along with a $10 processing fee payable to JET and a stamped self-addressed envelope if return is desired.” (h/t Theatre Funding Newsletter)
  • Eminent author Marilynne Robinson recently visited Israel. Beth Kissileff spoke with Robinson about her trip–and her views about the BDS movement.
  • I’ll admit it: I’m more than a little jealous of the 36 high school students mentioned here.
  • 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-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Barbara Krasner fills us in on the most recent conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries.
  • In this month’s Mosaic essay, Martin Kramer questions Ari Shavit’s much-publicized account of Lydda, 1948.
  • On Lilith blog: an interview with Nora Gold about her new novel Fields of Exile (which we discussed with her, too).
  • I mentioned last week how disappointed I was that I wouldn’t be able to attend “Pew-ish: Artists Responding to the New Jewish Identity,” a staged reading of short plays. Luckily, though, Gordon Haber made it to the event–and covered it for The Forward.
  • TBR: short stories from Poetica Magazine, which features contemporary Jewish writing.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Facebooking the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference

    (Received yesterday via email and re-printed with permission.)

    The 49th Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada starts in a week and a half! I am looking forward to seeing many of you there, but I hope that those who can’t join us in person will keep an eye on Facebook for the duration of the conference (June 22-25). We’ll be posting photos and status updates live from Vegas to www.facebook.com/jewishlibraries.

    If you are not a Facebook user, don’t worry! You don’t have to sign up or log in to view AJL’s Facebook page! Just go to www.facebook.com/jewishlibraries and you’ll see everything we post!

    If you ARE a Facebook user, please click Like on AJL’s page if you haven’t already. This will allow you to receive our posts in your news feed, and it will mean you can post comments on our photos and status updates. We would LOVE to hear from you, so please do add your “likes” and comments once we start posting from the conference!

    To those who will be in Las Vegas – I’d be happy to have additional volunteers help Facebook the conference. If you’re interested, send a friend request to Heidi Rabinowitz Estrin (if we’re not FB friends already) and message me to let me know you’d like to be part of the fun!

    See you all soon in Vegas and on Facebook!

    Heidi Rabinowitz Estrin
    President
    Association of Jewish Libraries
    www.facebook.com/heidiestrin

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • “A decade after its publication, Canadian author David Bezmozgis is turning his debut short story collection, ‘Natasha and Other Stories,’ into a film.”
  • The Well Versed blog chimes in with a dispatch from the Fourth International Writers Festival in Jerusalem.
  • Fathom interviews Philip Mendes regarding his new book, Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance.
  • Read Hebrew? You may want to look into Granta Israel. Beth Kissileff has the background.
  • On my own weekend reading agenda: Saul Bellow’s “A Silver Dish,” now available on NewYorker.com.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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