Just a note to let you know that while I’m away attending a conference—I leave tomorrow morning—I don’t expect to be blogging. Look for new posts next week. Thanks so much for your patience!
“Machberet” is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it’s also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, until I returned to language study well into adulthood, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remembered), I’ve chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.
“We have but one Jewish State. It shocks me to the marrow of my bones that conservative, reform, liberal and reconstructionist Judaism are legally unrecognized by the State of Israel. That indeed only one expression of our religion is officially sanctioned from birth to death and all the intervening mitzvot. Yes, other societies have, do and will discriminate against Jews, but it is only the State of Israel that bars official state recognition of what you, in this audience, so devoutly observe.”
—from a speech delivered by Charles R. Bronfman at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Graduation Ceremonies in New York on May 3, 2018 (via Matzav Review)
Yossi Klein Halevi’s new book (to be published May 15 by HarperCollins) is ostensibly addressed to a Palestinian reader. To that end, in an opening Note, the author mentions that the book is being made available in Arabic translation for free downloading (at a link not yet available in my electronic advance copy). Moreover, he invites Palestinians, and others from the Arab and Muslim worlds, to write to him (at that link) “in response to any issue raised in this book. I will try to respond to every letter, no matter how challenging, that is written in a spirit of engagement. My intention is to initiate a public conversation on our shared future in the Middle East.”
Who knows, yet, where that invitation will lead? Who knows how many Palestinian neighbors the author will reach? I can’t help thinking that there is an expanded audience for this book, and that audience includes anyone who really wishes to try to understand “the Jewish story and the significance of Israel in Jewish identity”—while remaining open to and aware of the “neighbor’s” narrative and beliefs. Continue reading ›