Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Watching my grandfather--a refugee from Nazism and a U.S. Army WWII veteran--kindle the Hanukkah candles in 1972.
Watching my grandfather–a refugee from Nazism and a U.S. Army WWII veteran–kindle the Hanukkah candles in 1972.


Since Hanukkah began last night, I planned to share something I posted here last year: this photo of my grandfather and me, accompanied by a link to the archived story of mine that was included on National Public Radio’s “Hanukkah Lights” broadcast back in 2011. That story, “Fidelis,” was on my mind again last year when I caught this article in The New York Times Magazine on the anniversary of a World War II battle (Tarawa) that is central to it.

Lo and behold, I returned from a Hanukkah celebration last night (to which I happened to wear, as I often do, a ring that belonged to my grandfather on a silver chain around my neck), to discover that “Fidelis” has been “re-upped” to be part of the 2014 “Hanukkah Lights” broadcast, too. Icing on this cake (or jelly doughnut, as the holiday case may be): NPR is calling the story “a classic” from its “vault.” To which all I can say is: Wow.


Last week I had the pleasure of attending two literary-award events. The first, last Wednesday, honored this year’s recipient of Hadassah magazine’s Harold U. Ribalow Prize, Helene Wecker. Although much of the program rightly honored Helene and her winning novel (The Golem and the Jinni), I was at least equally fascinated to learn about the Ribalow family. I hope that all of the remarks–especially those delivered by Sharon Pomerantz and Mr. Ribalow’s niece (on her cousin’s behalf)–will be made available for reading/viewing sometime soon.Moment

The very next evening it was time to head to the Jewish Museum for the Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Fiction Contest Awards Ceremony. At the outset, the authors of this year’s three winning entries—Paul B. Cohen, Danielle Leshaw, and Courtney Sender—read brief (and enticing) excerpts from their stories.

Then, it was time for a conversation between Anita Diamant and Dara Horn. I’m told that the video from the event will be made available soon, and I’ll be sure to share it.

(Need I mention that part of the fun of attending these events was the opportunity meet several writers/editors I’d previously only “known” via online exchanges? If so, consider that fact mentioned!)


So remember last week when I mentioned that a poem of mine had just found a home. Said poem has now been published. You can find it on the Lilith website. Thanks for reading!

11 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Congratulations, Erika! You’re a superstar. Happy Hanukkah!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Well, I’d hardly go THAT far, DK! But thank you!

  2. Amy Morgan says:

    How wonderful Erika – a classic to be treasured!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Amy, thank you!

  3. Erika,
    Mazel tov on a wonderful week for you as a writer. Thanks, too, for the brief recap of the literary events. Your story on NPR is a classic, and I suspect someday that the poem in Lilith will be too. It was so powerful.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Wow, Linda, thank you. We’ll see!

  4. I’m so looking forward to the video you mentioned about of the Dara Horn/Anita Diamant convo!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I’ll be looking out for it, Becca. Promise.

  5. Erika, It was great to meet you at the Moment awards ceremony, and thank you for all you do for writers both in the US, and worldwide.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Ah, Paul–’twas a delight to meet you, as well, and congratulations again on your marvelous winning story. Happy New Year!

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