“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.
“If I was to look at America through the unforgiving prism those loud, marginal If-Not-Nowers use for viewing Israel, I would call my American friends and yell: ‘What kind of a country do you live in? Is that all there is? The underclass and the overclass? How did America get so broken and break for so many people? Maybe “America really ain’t a good idea.”‘
Instead, I still believe in America, like I still believe in Israel. I believe both have serious problems, but also believe that both have serious resources, including tremendous creativity and goodwill, to solve them. And I’d rather be a Jewish and American Voice for Balance than a screechy crank whose extremism today guarantees irrelevance and just more anger tomorrow.”
Source: Gil Troy, “Love of Israel, America, Can Take on Many Forms” (The Jerusalem Post)
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety. Continue reading ›
“She had only been there that one summer after the war, and she said the streets were filled with a fantastic energy, and everyone was singing ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ celebrating the fact that they could return to the Western Wall and explore the ancient alleyways of our forefathers and mothers…the places that the poets and the sages wept and dreamed over, the very place where our exile began 2000 years ago.”
Source: Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Jerusalem, Dream and Quartered: A Year Spent Living in the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem (cross-posted as the “Sunday Sentence” on the Practicing Writing blog)
Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.
“Two Brothers,” a poem of Purim and Passover, is the latest brilliant work from Julia Knobloch to appear on the Jewcy site.
I no longer work for the publisher who brought Jessamyn Hope’s debut novel Safekeeping to readers, so I have no financial incentive to share the fact that you can buy it at all. But I love this book. (As I’ve said before—and I’ll say again—it reminds me of Amos Oz’s kibbutz fiction. If that appeals, then so will this.) And Safekeeping is currently a Kindle special for just $2.99, so if you’ve been waiting to purchase it, now’s a good time!
Yesterday was International Women’s Day; I’m going to extend my observance over the weekend by taking a closer look at Beth Kissileff’s “list of inspiring books by Jewish women” over on The Wisdom Daily.
Reminders about some other posts that appeared here on My Machberet this week: a call for fiction from Moment magazine, and a poem from my own archive.
And if you’re looking for some weekend viewing, consider this recording of authors Dara Horn and Ruby Namdar in conversation about “Jewish time, language, and stories,” with Sandee Brawarsky. I’m looking forward to watching it, myself.
Shabbat shalom, chaverim.
Posted here with permission from Susan Keselenko Call, Moment‘s fiction editor:
“Moment Magazine is putting together a fiction issue this summer and we are looking for previously unpublished short fiction, up to 4,000 words. We do pay a small fee—in the $300-350 range. Flash fiction/graphic stories, etc. also welcome. (Not entirely sure what the pay scale will be for shorter work but DM me with questions.) Please send work to me before May 1 at collsusanj(at)gmail(dot)com THANKS!”
NB: If you’re sent a submission to Moment‘s fiction contest, and would like to have the same piece considered for this fiction issue, please re-submit to Susan directly and indicate that you’ve already entered the piece in the contest. Note also that for this opportunity, Susan has indicated that Jewish content “helps” but is “not a strict requirement.”
This weekend brought the sad news of the passing of Charles Elbaum, a charming man whom I had the pleasure of meeting when his middle son and my bff became engaged in the early 1990s. Over the years, I’ve had the joy of sharing many Elbaum simchas with their family.
Beyond his warmth and sweetness, Charles was quite brilliant (he was a physics professor at Brown University). He was also a Holocaust survivor.
In his memory, I share here a poem I wrote shortly after his eldest grandchild became a Bat Mitzvah, in a service that featured one of these rescued scrolls. Continue reading ›