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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 thoughtful review of Nora Gold’s Fields of Exile, which you’ve heard about here before.
  • Interesting call: “For this special issue of Prooftexts on Jewish Literature/World Literature, we seek papers that address Jewish literary multilingualism, translation, and circulation. Essays should combine theoretical and methodological concerns with readings of Jewish-language texts to illustrate the productive intersections of Jewish literature with the discourse on world literature.”
  • On the Lilith blog, Talia Lavin writes “On Mothers, Sisters, Narrative and War.”
  • “The interdisciplinary symposium ‘Global Yiddish Culture, 1938 – 1948′ invites historians, literary scholars, sociologists, cinema and theatre scholars to think about the nature of Yiddish culture that developed during this difficult period in Jewish history.”
  • Finally, I’m sad to say that this poem of mine, “Questions for the Critics,” is once again relevant.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week: Daniel Handler on I.B. Singer

    Isaac Bashevis Singer

    Isaac Bashevis Singer


    “Though Singer was an American writer, with a couple of National Book Awards to prove it, that doesn’t feel like the right nationality to put down on the Nobel list. Nor does Polish, which matches his birthplace. Jew is the word we’re looking for here. He’s not the first Jew to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he’s the first one to win it for writing in Yiddish, and we’re not going to see another one.”

    Source: Daniel Handler, “What the Swedes Read,” a recurring column in The Believer. The column on Singer appeared in the May 2014 issue, which I had the delight of thumbing through over the weekend.

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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.

  • Rabbi David Wolpe: “I’m often asked to recommend books. Here are five unique and powerful modern works that you may have missed or forgotten. These works will enrich, elevate and educate any Jew, indeed any human being.”
  • Moment magazine is looking for a part-time online editor.
  • Fathom shares an interview with Sayed Kashua, “one of the [Israel]‘s most successful writers.” (A lot to think about here–but I admit getting stuck with the suggestion that Gaza is currently “occupied” by Israel.)
  • I’ve got other plans, but if I were free to attend, I’d be interested in hearing Ruth Wisse speak about Jacob Glatstein at YIVO on March 4.
  • “As I discovered while conducting dissertation research on this topic, the ‘belle Juive’ (beautiful Jewess) trope was to early 19th-century French literature something like what the ‘shiksa’ would become for American Jewish writers: an exotic object of desire, but also someone one might marry to affirm progressive, universalist ideals.” Phoebe Maltz Bovy offers some interesting thoughts on “the intermarriage script.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    My Year In Jewish Books

    StarFor the past two 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 2013, even if Hanukkah came so early this year that this 2013 iteration lacks the same usefulness a gift-inspiration guide.

    Reviewing my reading for 2013 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that 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” 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 particularly 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. Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews, essays, and newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; and the odd blog post. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy/complimentary seminar copy), L (library). Continue reading ›

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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.

  • The Association for Jewish Studies annual conference begins on Sunday, December 15. I’ll be following along via the Twitter hashtag #AJS13.
  • My thanks to Zackary Sholem Berger for this introduction to the poetry of Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, on The Forward‘s Arty Semite blog.
  • This week I’m reading Jason K. Friedman’s prize-winning short-story collection Fire Year, described by Publishers Weekly as “seven funny, fearless outsiders’ tales set in Savannah and Atlanta—some depicting bygone orthodox Jewish communities, others the rife-with-irony ‘New South’.” The opening story, “Blue,” previously won the Moment-Karma Foundation fiction contest.
  • Must confess that I’m not satisfied with the conclusions drawn in “What is a Jewish Poem?” But the piece did add another essay to my tbr list.
  • “The YIVO Institute and Bard College are pleased to announce the third year of the Winter Program on Ashkenazi Civilization. This program, the first of its kind in the U.S., presents an integrated curriculum in the culture, history, language, and literature of East European Jews.” Courses offerings include “The Other Sholem Aleichem,” with Jonathan Brent; “New York Intellectuals Revisited,” with Adam Kirsch; “Jewish Literary Life in the Soviet Union,” with Gennady Estraikh; and more.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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