The State of Jewish Fiction: A Panel Discussion

I won’t be able to attend this event, but if you’re in New York City tomorrow evening and have the time and inclination you may want to stop by the Tenement Museum and sit in on a panel on “The State of Jewish Fiction.” From the Web site: “Jewish writers, including Joshua Henkin, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Ellen Feldman, and Tova Mirvis discuss faith and culture in literature today. The authors will debate the role graduate writing programs play in shaping contemporary literature.” The event is co-sponsored by JBooks and begins at 6:30 pm. Details here.

San Diego Zeekend: October 24-26

This just in from the folks at Zeek:

Zeek, a journal of Jewish thought and culture, invites you to join us October 24-26 in San Diego as we explore personal, spiritual, and political borderlines during an exciting weekend on the theme, Border Crossings.

Cross from the U.S. to Israel with the dance music of Israeli-American sub-dub performer Badawi, who mixes Middle-eastern melodies with New York hip-hop.

Cross from your secular life to new spiritual experience with Mexican Jewish community organizer Jessica Kreimerman Lew and Cantor Kathy Robbins.

Navigate cultural borderlines with poet David Antin, Israeli-Spanish translator Merav Rozenblum, artist Bara Sapir, and artist Eleanor Antin.

Consider the place of the stranger who has crossed the border during discussions with Sanctuary movement activists and leaders, moderated Rabbi Laurie Coskey.

Participate in a Judaism you’ve never experienced before, with an outdoor drumming circle Friday, an LGBTQ-oriented service Saturday morning, a dance party Saturday night and, on Sunday, a drive out to the border with Methodist minister John Fanestil.

You can’t miss this exciting weekend. Experience all three days or drop-in for just a while. But come!”

You’ll find the complete schedule here.

Writing for Jewish Magazines

I should also mention that the current (November) issue of The Writer magazine includes an article by Ligaya Figueras on “writing for Jewish magazines.” The article was clearly written before the recent demise of Jewish Living, so aspects of the article that focus on that magazine are no longer so useful. But the piece still provides background for those who may want to pitch Hadassah, Lilith, Moment, and Reform Judaism.

Woman of Letters and Other Goings-on at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

In the current (November) issue of The Writer magazine, I’ve contributed a short news item on Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Woman of Letters runs into March 2009, but if you can’t get to the Museum to see it, you can still check it out online.

Plenty of events are being planned in conjunction with this exhibition, among them a discussion of “Jews in Vichy France” (featuring scholars Robert Paxton and Michael Marrus) and another session on “Irène Némirovsky and the Jewish Question,” with my own former professor, Susan Suleiman, and The New Republic‘s Ruth Franklin. Check out these sessions, and other events planned for this fall at the Museum, right here.

(I won’t be blogging on Yom Kippur. See you back here in a few days.)

From My Bookshelf: What Happened to Anna K.? by Irina Reyn

Last week I finished reading What Happened to Anna K.?, the first novel by Irina Reyn, who immigrated to the United States as a child and whose book adds to the growing collection of excellent fiction being penned by Jewish transplants from Russia to the United States. It’s a retelling of Anna Karenina, through a distinctly Russian-Jewish immigrant lens. Highly recommended!

Late last month, Sandee Brawarsky introduced Reyn and her book, as well as another Russian-born fictionist, Sania Krasikov, whose story collection is titled One More Year. Both Reyn and Krasikov are among the “Five Under 35” whom the National Book Foundation will honor this year “as someone whose work is particularly promising and exciting and is among the best of a new generation of writers.”

P.S. from Jewish Living magazine

And here’s a follow-up e-mail from Jewish Living:

Dear Jewish Living Subscribers –

Over the last few days we have been overwhelmed and gratified by the thousands of emails we’ve received from you expressing your deep disappointment at the suspension of publication. We share your disappointment and want to let you know that we did everything in our power to continue publication.

As of this past Sunday night there was no reason to think we were going to suspend publication. We had been operating in good faith and were about to go to press with our Nov/Dec issue.

Given recent market freefall combined with current economic conditions, our investors informed us on Monday morning (Sept 27th) that they would no longer continue funding the magazine. We immediately informed our staff, our subscribers and our suppliers.

That said, we deeply regret the situation we all find ourselves in. As we were a stand alone publication, the staff and principals of Jewish Living will now be starting the new year looking for other employment. We are also aware and very sympathetic to the fact that many loyal subscribers had recently renewed their subscriptions and new subscribers have come on board. Recently received credit card + check payment orders have not been processed.

We are making every effort – as is customary when magazines fail – to ensure that subscribers will receive a replacement magazine subscription to a comparable publication.

Thank you again for subscribing, for sharing the vision with us and – for a short time – for celebrating under the big tent of Jewish Living.


Dan Zimerman
Jewish Living magazine