Notes from Around the Web

  • Howard Jacobson’s latest novel, The Finkler Question, was already on my tbr list. Adam Kirsch’s review only solidified my interest.
  • On a lighter note, if you’re starting to look for Chanukah gifts for the little ones, you may want to check out this list of new titles.
  • I am so excited for the next Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club! The chosen book is Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge; the author will participate; and the event will take place online on Tuesday, October 26.
  • Mazel Tov to author Max Apple on winning a Pew Fellowship (you may recall my appreciation for his collection, The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories).
  • More about David Grossman and his newly translated novel, this time from The Jewish Week.
  • Now up on The Jewish Reader: Philip Roth’s Nemesis.
  • This will be my final post for ten days or so. I’m heading to Israel tomorrow night! I don’t expect to be online much (if at all) while I’m there, but I do anticipate returning with lots of discoveries to share. Shabbat shalom, and see you when I’m back!

    Jewish Currents Call for Submissions

    Just received via e-mail from Lawrence Bush, editor of Jewish Currents:

    For the “Concealed/Revealed” column in the Winter, 2010 issue of Jewish Currents, we are seeking essays of up to 300 words on the theme of “Darkness.” These should focus on personal experiences that have been transformative, provocative, or just plain unforgettable. Names can be withheld upon request. The theme is inspired by Hanuka, the darkest time of the year, but has many, many meanings. Essays should be submitted to lawrencebush(at)earthlink(dot)net or mailed to POB 111, Accord, NY 12404. Deadline: November 10.

    NB: When I’ve inquired in the past, I’ve been told that these are nonpaying publication opportunities.

    Words of the Week: Defending Israel’s Right to Exist (and in Peace)

    Normally, my Friday posts on this blog provide a slew of literary links from around the web just in time for Shabbat. But I’m still going through all the links associated with Wednesday’s Jewish Book Carnival, and I suspect that you may be, too.

    Moreover, we are nearing Yom Kippur, and I am still thinking about my rabbi’s extraordinary Rosh Hashanah sermon last week. Our rabbi voices disagreement with Israeli policies when he feels that it’s warranted, and I’d say he has a rock-solid reputation for “progressive” attitudes and a focus on social justice. But on Rosh Hashanah, his sermon reminded us that whatever Israel’s flaws may be, there is no excuse for the constant, one-sided, and hypocritical attacks and assaults on its integrity and legitimacy. And he urged us to speak and act on Israel’s behalf. (I am oversimplifying his remarks, which I very much hope will soon be published and accessible to everyone.)

    So I am speaking and acting. Here. Or, more precisely, I’m pointing you to others who are doing a good, honest, job of it.

    • You may have heard that “Israel doesn’t care about peace.” (TIME magazine has said so!) But that’s not quite accurate.
    • In fact, if you want to see and hear some people who really don’t want peace for and between Israel and its neighbors, the stars of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement are excellent exemplars.
    • Coincidentally, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a post this week about the efforts to delegitimize Israel. The post was occasioned by Goldberg’s attendance at an event on behalf of a new organization, one that is dedicated, in his words “to the proposition that Israel has a right to exist.” Which is itself enough to have made Goldberg find the event “so depressing. What other country, sixty-two years after its birth (rebirth, actually) requires advocates to argue that it should continue to exist? Why is it that the world’s only Jewish country is the only country to persistently face questions about its own legitimacy? ” In those lines, he was echoing some of my rabbi’s sermon.

    Yes, the sermon, too, was in some ways depressing. As is the necessity to expose the true motives of the BDS activists. As is the need to monitor and counter pernicious stories in the mainstream media.

    But we can’t be paralyzed by the depression. We must continue to read, think, write, and speak. We must continue to defend Israel.

    Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday, and an easy fast.

    L’shanah Tovah!

    Happy New Year to all of My Machberet’s friends. We’re going to take a brief break for the holiday, and skip Friday’s Shabbat lit links this week. We’ll be sure to post again before Yom Kippur. L’shanah tovah!

    Notes from Around the Web

    It’s good to be back presenting Friday Lit Links for you! I have to confess that a shocking number of links this week will take you elsewhere within, but thankfully, I have managed to find several items worth your time elsewhere, too!

    Let’s get going:

    • A conference presentation podcast I hope to listen to myself this weekend, on “what’s hot in Israeli fiction.”
    • This profile will help American readers get to known British author Howard Jacobson
    • A review of Jon Papernick’s new short story collection, There Is No Other (a book that I’m hoping to read soon).
    • A teaching job for an English-language fiction writer in the creative writing program at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
    • An interview with author Allison Amend
    • And, given the rapid approach of the High Holy Days, an essay from my own archive: “Reflections During the Days of Awe.”

    Shabbat shalom!