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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.

  • Typically brilliant and especially timely work from Adam Kirsch: “Wicked Sons: Benjamin Kerstein, Doron Rabinovici, and Norman Finkelstein.” (The Tablet subtitle reads: “Is Jewish rebellion really a form of submission? Two new novels and one political critic examine apostasy.”)
  • Midmonth brought the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted for August by Ann Koffsky.
  • “This book had me hooked with the cover.” So writes Sandee Brawarsky about Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
  • The editors of a new volume, Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950, discuss their fascinating book.
  • “Philadelphia-based humorist and freelance writer Stacia Freedman has a knack for one-liners and her snappy new novel, Tender is the Brisket, is peppered with them.” Read more about Freedman and her work on the Lilith blog.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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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.

  • Tahneer Oksman interviews Roz Chast about Chast’s new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?--one of my favorite books of this year so far.
  • The New York Times reviews a production of Martin Blank’s “The Law of Return,” a play about the Jonathan Pollard case.
  • Another news item about a play that has caught my attention: “Olympics Uber Alles,” by Samuel Bernstein and Marguerite Krupp. As the title suggests, the play deals with the 1936 Berlin Olympics–in which two American Jews were not permitted to compete.
  • Robin Williams’s passing prompted the Los Angeles Review of Books to remind us of the film version of Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day–and in which Williams co-starred.
  • ICYMI: I have a new job! With Fig Tree Books (FTB), a new publishing company that focuses on fiction of the American Jewish experience. Read about my first week on the job on my other blog. And please, follow FTB on Twitter and/or Facebook.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    From My Bookshelf: Rachel Mennies’s Jewish Poems

    290_glad handMy online path recently crossed that of poet Rachel Mennies, and how glad I am that it did. Soon enough, I was immersed in Mennies’s debut full-length poetry collection, The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards. The book was published this year as the winning manuscript in the Walt McDonald First-Book Series in Poetry, housed at Texas Tech University Press.

    Here, in part, is how ImageUpdate has described the collection:

    Rachel Mennies’s first collection is a powerful lyric account of a woman’s search for self through her relationship to God, Judaism, and history. These carefully-shaped poems arrest the reader with startling imagery and sound. With a compelling voice that is at once anguished and utterly composed, these poems ask: how does one reconcile one’s personal faith and struggles with those of one’s ancestors? And how, within the context of this history, does one come to terms with a God of witness and mercy?

    But, wait–there’s more. I’m so grateful to Mennies for the permission to publish this sample from the book: 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.

  • One of many sad consequences of current events: Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua is emigrating. I wish him all the best, and I will renew my efforts to read his books.
  • More TBR ideas in the “Summer Bookfest” issue of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute’s 614.
  • ICYMI here on My Machberet: two posts featuring “Words of the Week” and fiction suggestions for the current moment from D.G. Myers (and others).
  • So much content worth your time in the new issue of Lilith, including “Lot’s Wife,” a retelling of the biblical story, by Michal Lemberger; a stunning account of terror in Jerusalem, by Natasha Basin Levina (translated by Sonia Melnikova-Raich); and superb reviews of two books that I, too, have found remarkable: Marina Blitshteyn on Orly Castel-Bloom’s Textile (trans. Dalya Bilu) and Liana Finck on Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?.
  • An extraordinary essay by Claire Hajaj, daughter of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father. (h/t @alexnazaryan)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Fiction for, If Not of, Our Times

    I have such respect for D.G. Myers. I’m so grateful that he launched this topic on Twitter today. And I’m going to share with you his subsequent tweets for your reference and edification (and for mine). Continue reading ›

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