“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, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I’ve chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.
“The sheer bluntness of far-right anti-Semitism makes it easier to identify and stigmatize as beyond the pale; individuals like David Duke and the hosts of the “Daily Shoah” podcast make no pretense of residing within the mainstream of American political debate. But the humanist appeals of the far left, whose every libel against the Jewish state is paired with a righteous invocation of ‘justice’ for the Palestinian people, invariably trigger repetitive and esoteric debates over whether this or that article, allusion, allegory, statement, policy, or political initiative is anti-Semitic or just critical of Israel. What this difference in self-definition means is that there is rarely, if ever, any argument about the substantive nature of right-wing anti-Semitism (despicable, reprehensible, wicked, choose your adjective), while the very existence of left-wing anti-Semitism is widely doubted and almost always indignantly denied by those accused of practicing it.”
Source: Jamie Kirchick, “The New Jew Hatred: Right and Left” (Commentary)
“The aforementioned invitation arrived several moments later, to myself and other editors at Tablet, strongly suggesting that it had more to do with stanching the bleeding of a public relations problem that seriously resolving a brutal moral error. Even more insulting and infuriating is the fact that the invitation suggests that the New School sees this as a matter of balancing out two equally legitimate sides, each with its own point of view.”
Source: Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
(An announcement received from the Great Jewish Books Summer Program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts; every year, when I receive this announcement, I wish that this program had existed back when I was in high school.)
At the Great Jewish Books Summer Program, rising high school juniors and seniors read selections from important works of modern Jewish literature and consider how they speak to the opportunities and challenges we face today. Under the guidance of college professors, they consider how the rich legacy of modern Jewish literature can inform us in the twenty-first century.
Although the program’s focus is on reading, this is not school in any conventional sense: Great Jewish Books is a lively program full of social, cultural, and recreational opportunities—and no grades—for students who read for the love of reading and who are eager to discover the treasures of the Jewish canon.
Every admitted participant receives a scholarship for the full cost of tuition, room, board, books, and special events. Continue reading ›
“The Balfour Declaration sought to restore a Jewish homeland while respecting the interests of the non-Jews who share this land. Thirty years later, the UN set out a specific framework for achieving this. This was not acceptable to the Arabs of Palestine and those who spoke for them at the time, since their desire for a first-ever Palestinian state was outweighed by their hostility to the notion of a revived Jewish state alongside them. And it is all too evidently not acceptable to the Palestinian leadership now.
In declaring diplomatic and legal war on the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian leaders are telling the world — to their and our enduring misfortune — that nothing has changed in 100 years, that their opposition to our state in any borders remains greater than their desire for their own independent entity. A century later, they are affirming that their refusal to share any part of this land with the Jewish people remains absolute.”
Source: David Horovitz, Times of Israel
P.S. The My Machberet blog will be on a brief break for the next several days, so you won’t receive the usual pre-Shabbat post on Friday. Thanks for your patience—and see you again next week!