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.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

  • One of this week’s highlights was the latest Jewish Book Council “Twitter Book Club”. Up for discussion this time: Deborah E. Lipstadt’s new book, The Eichmann Trial. If you missed the chat, you can read the transcript (the author participated).
  • Another fascinating piece by Adam Kirsch, this time about Israeli writer Lea Goldberg, whose novel And This Is the Light (trans. Barbara Harshav) is available from Toby Press.
  • New podcasts on the Association of Jewish Libraries website!
  • A writing prompt led to this lovely pre-Holy Days post from Frume Sarah.
  • I am going to have to see this film.
  • This week marked the six-month anniversary of my short-story collection, Quiet Americans, which was released last January. Read my “half-birthday” reflections here.
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone.

    Notes from Around the Web: Literary Links for Shabbat

  • Having recently read Hans Keilson’s Comedy in a Minor Key (trans. Damion Searls), I appreciated this profile of the almost-101-year-old author
  • As we conclude National Poetry Month, let’s take a moment to celebrate that remarkable poet from the past, Hannah Senesh. as well as a newer, current poetic voice: that of Yehoshua November.
  • Poet and editor Jill Bialosky is now also the author of a memoir, about her sister’s 1990 suicide, and in this interview she discusses Jewish mourning rituals–and Judaism’s complicated relationship with suicide.
  • Yom Hashoah begins at sundown on Sunday, May 1, and that makes me it seem especially important to share with you today my latest essay-review for Fiction Writers Review: “Looking Backward: Third-Generation Fiction Writers and the Holocaust.”
  • On my other blog, this week’s “post-publication post” provides some background on the real-life inspiration for one of the characters readers are meeting in my short-story collection, Quiet Americans.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Notes from Around the Web: Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

  • Looking for some book suggestions? Check out these reviews from the spring issue of Jewish Book World. (Ahem, does one of those books look especially familiar???)
  • If you’re interested in writing Jewish-themed children’s books, you’ll want to take a look at this workshop offering.
  • Remember when I told you about The Forward‘s poetry contest commemorating the centenary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire? Here’s the winning poem in English. (And here is a special section from The Forward presenting translations of coverage from 100 years ago.)
  • Josh Lambert’s latest books column for Tablet features a number of Italy-themed offerings. (And why not?)
  • Continuing with Italy: This week, I happened to discover Janna Malamud Smith’s striking essay, “An Italian Tragedy.” Smith’s father was Bernard Malamud; her mother was the daughter of Neapolitan immigrants.
  • In my previous life as a student and teacher of 20th-century French history, I would have been sure to attend next week’s event at Columbia University, a conference at the Maison Française on “The Rescue of Jews in France and its Empire during World War II.” The conference is free and open to the public, and it will feature evening film screenings by Pierre Sauvage, whose work I’ve mentioned on this blog before.
  • This Tablet story is the kind of thing I read and immediately begin envisioning as a work of fiction. I seem to be drawn to moral quandaries that confront families.
  • And speaking of families, here’s a glimpse of my niece’s Purim costume. (Of course, when R. first told me that she’d be dressing up as “Three Musketeers,” Aunt-Erika-the-Author imagined a more literary outfit.)
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone, and Chag Purim!