Today, for many reasons, I’m going to use this space to cross-post the bulk of what I typically mention here only in passing each week: a corresponding Friday post on “my other blog,” which is titled “My Machberet” (“machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook,” and, tellingly, “machberet” is one of the few words that remained with me from my childhood Hebrew-school lessons).
Have a wonderful weekend.
Every Friday, My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety. This Friday, as you may have suspected, many of those links will reflect the influence of what happened last Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Tablet magazine’s coverage from and about Pittsburgh—including an episode of the “Unorthodox” podcast recorded on site—has been remarkable. (I haven’t even managed to keep up with all of it, but I know that I can review it all in this archive.)
“Jewish media has a long and proud history in America, and we pledge to continue our mission to inform, reflect and bind our communities — even more necessary in this painful time.” A powerful joint editorial from an array of leaders of American Jewish publications.
As I mentioned in one part of a lengthy Twitter thread, I’ve visited the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in person—and thanks to The Last Chicken in America, Ellen Litman’s novel-in-stories, I’ve been there on the page, too. Litmus’s book is among the titles featured in this Pittsburgh-focused book list from Ed Simon, published by The Millions in 2016. (Also cited there for its specifically Jewish texture: the work of poet Gerald Stern, with which I am insufficiently familiar. I will be rectifying that.)
And from the Association of Jewish Libraries: a message to accompany a new project, titled “Love Your Neighbor”: “In response to the tragedy at the synagogue in Pittsburgh and to rising anti-Semitism in the United States, the Association of Jewish Libraries offers this series of book lists for young readers. Books read in youth impact future outlooks, and it is our hope that meeting Jews on the page will inspire friendship when readers meet Jews in real life. This is the first in a series of book lists intended to provide children and their families with a greater understanding of the Jewish religion and its people.” You can find the first book list, which “features stories of Jews and non-Jews standing up for each other, working out differences, and confronting prejudice,” on the AJL website. And learn more about how the project has developed via The Book of Life.
I’ll conclude, as per usual, with wishes for a Shabbat shalom.
And I’ll add these thoughts from author Jenna Blum:
I’m extra psyched now for my Jewish Book Council events..Let us congregate & talk books, ideas, history, & what shall be done. Let’s do it without fear — or, if we have fear, let’s do it anyway because we are more than fear. We are better than this.