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

“Jewish history and Black history are actually replete with flawed heroes, dating all the way back, in Jewish history, to the biblical patriarch Jacob, who deceived his father, stole his brother’s birthright, and played favorites among his children. In America, there have been Black leaders like W. E. B. Du Bois who reviled Jews, and Jewish leaders, like Mordecai Noah, who reviled Blacks. Perfect heroes, for obvious reasons, have been few and far between. Indeed, the more closely we probe, the more flaws even the greatest of our heroes inevitably display.”

Source: Jonathan Sarna, “Woodrow Wilson Was a Hero to Jews: What Should We Do with His Racism?” (Forward)

Words of the Week

The question, then, isn’t whether but how to criticize. If you must criticize Israel, do so with the intention of helping Israel grow. Criticize with pride in our achievements, not only with disapproval of our failures. And don’t delight in the role of rebuker.