Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

For your Shabbat reading, please find below some links I’ve liked this week (and some I hope to explore further over the weekend):

  • In case you missed its debut on Tuesday, you can still enjoy the November Jewish Book Carnival.
  • Looking for book (and educational toy) ideas for Chanukah? Look no further than these suggestions from my very own sister.
  • Leslie Epstein, on Aharon Appelfeld.
  • Have I mentioned before that sometimes I dream of a career writing biographies for young people? That’s just one of the reasons why I’m so interested in this Whole Megillah interview featuring both the author and the editor behind a new Leonard Bernstein biography for young readers.
  • A hearty Mazel Tov to the Jewish Book Council on its sparkling new website (replete with renamed blog)!
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Looking for a Holy Day Service?

    From a press release received this week:

    Synagogues across the country are also stepping up to the plate to meet the needs of the next generation of Jewish people. Many of these synagogues have been collected into a single database that specializes in publicizing these dynamic services. No Membership Required is a free and comprehensive online database of synagogues across the country that offer social, engaging and educational Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services for non-members. It lists Synagogue details (and prices where relevant) and indicates what range of services are offered including additional programs such for youth, teen, and explanatory services.

    Anyone interested in learning more about the No Membership Required service … can visit the website www.nomembershiprequired.com.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

  • The September Jewish Book Carnival has gone live. This month’s host, forwordsbooks, has done an amazing job collecting the links to Jewish book news, reviews, and interviews.
  • Mazel tov to the winners of the first annual Yiddish Book Center Translation Grant competition.
  • Lisa Silverman spotlights new holiday books for children (and a few for adults).
  • A new monument honors Isaac Babel in Babel’s native Odessa.
  • I was very sorry to miss a literary conversation between Lucette Lagnado and André Aciman here in New York, so I’m most grateful for this summary in The Jewish Week: “Egypt: Fondly Remembered, Currently Feared.” Both authors’ new books are on my tbr list.
  • Josh Lambert summarizes two years “On the Bookshelf.”
  • Shabbat shalom!

    From My Bookshelf: Habibi & Yow, by Althea O. Silverman

    The other day, mulling over a possible short story idea, I needed to know how Jewish-American families celebrated a certain Jewish holiday a couple of generations ago. Had the celebrations changed over time, and if so, how? Along with the websites and scholarly books I consulted, I turned to one very special resource: a battered copy of Althea O. Silverman’s Habibi and Yow: A Little Boy and His Dog.

    My copy of Habibi and Yow isn’t really mine. First published in 1946 by Bloch Publishing Company (“The Jewish Book Concern”), the book went into a second printing in 1948. That’s the printing that produced the copy that belonged to my father when he was a little boy. It remained in my grandparents’ home once my father was grown.

    Since my grandparents didn’t own many books, I spent innumerable childhood hours first listening to my grandmother read me the stories about this little American Jewish boy and his dog, and then reading them to myself. Habibi and Yow provided some of my earliest introductions to the ideas, history, and customs surrounding Shabbat (“Shabbos,” in Habibi and Yow), Purim, and Shavuot (“Shavuos”), among other holidays.

    As an adult, I’ve been interested to learn that Althea O. Silverman wrote other books, including one about Habibi’s Adventures in the Land of Israel, which was published in 1951. Her husband, Rabbi Morris Silverman, served a Conservative Hartford, Conn., congregation for nearly 40 years. According to Shuly Rubin Schwartz’s The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life, Althea Silverman was “deeply concerned about the dearth of appealing Jewish educational materials for children.” Habibi and Yow helped address that need. I, for one, remain grateful.