My Machberet

“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.

Words of the Week: Model Language for Wartime Reporting

Having observed this language, more than once, in reporting from The Times of Israel, I share it here as a model for how such statistics should be presented.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says over XXX people have been killed in the fighting, though these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over XXX operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

I wish that that Hamas would surrender this minute. That they would return the remaining hostages (including, as awful as this sounds, the bodies of the dead). No more people would die.

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Words of the Week: Mitchell J. Kaplan

“In the narrative war between Israel and Islamism (obviously not the same thing as Islam), the views of one side – the side that has the oil, the side that funds Middle East Studies programs at U.C. Berkeley, Harvard, and many other universities in the United States – are generally given more credence than the views of the other side. Antisemites claim that Jews control the media and even the government. This is of course a lie, and a very old one. The narrative truth of Jewish experience – and of my experience personally – is that Jewish identity is the identity of a tiny minority, struggling to survive in a world of cultural bullies.

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Jewish Literary Links

an open book (with Hebrew pages visible); subtitle reads "Jewish Literary Links"
Image by Yedidia Klein from Pixabay

Toward the end of each week, the My Machberet blog presents a collection of links, drawn primarily from the world of Jewish books and writing.

  • At the Yiddish Book Center, they’re taking applications for the Great Jewish Books Summer Program for rising high school juniors and seniors. “Every admitted participant receives a scholarship for the full cost of tuition, room, board, books, and special events.” Deadline: March 4.
  • The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) has issued a call for “Flashpoint features.” The guidelines indicate compensation of a “modest honorarium”; via e-mail, I was informed that payment is $180 USD. No deadline indicated.
  • A message from “out-loud and proud” Jewish author Jean Meltzer.
  • In New York, the Forward is hiring an opinion editor. “This is a senior leadership role, reporting to the Editor-in-Chief, with a salary range of $80,000 and $110,000 depending on experience, and generous benefits.” No deadline indicated. (Cross-posted on Practicing Writing.)
  • Via Jewish Insider‘s Matthew Kassel: “Noa Tishby, Israel’s former special envoy for combating antisemitism and the author of a popular explainer on Israel, is releasing a new book in April, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew, co-written with Emmanuel Acho, a Fox Sports analyst and former NFL linebacker.”

Reminder: If you haven’t checked it lately, you may want to peruse the “After October 7: Readings, Recordings, and More” document-in-progress.

Shabbat shalom.