Two Writing Opportunities for Taglit-Birthright Israel Alumni

If you’re a writer who is also a Taglit-Birthright Israel alum, you are in luck! There are two current opportunities you should know about.

First: the Fall 2009 Alumni Essay Contest. It’s actually open to poems, too. The contest theme is “Celebrating Ten Years: What Taglit-Birthright Israel Has Meant to Me.” Two first prizes of round trip flights to Israel will be awarded, with multiple second and third prizes of $300 and $150 gift certificates, respectively. Deadline: September 18, 2009.

Next: Birthright Israel NEXT and Nextbook Inc. invite submissions for a literary anthology written by Taglit-Birthright Israel trip alumni. “The book, to be published in 2011 by The Toby Press, will focus on the experiences you had on the trip, and afterword. It will include many types of content, from essays and poems to graphic art and photographs. What all the pieces will have in common is that they’ll be created by Birthright Israel alumni like you, and they’ll focus on how the trip has changed you.” I do wish the call for submissions included information on the compensation to be offered selected writers, but so far, I don’t see any. Submissions will be accepted soon (a link is coming), and should be sent before December 15, 2009.

In Praise of Adam Kirsch

It’s not that Adam Kirsch’s name and criticism are new to me. It’s just that for some reason, his Tablet book reviews are raising him to Jeffrey Goldbergesque status in my mind: As soon as I see his byline, I know I’m in for something that’s quite likely to resonate. And it will definitely be something terrifically written.

Two recent examples: this review of Rich Cohen’s Israel is Real, and this one of Fred Jerome’s edited anthology titled Einstein on Israel and Zionism.

Like the aforementioned Goldberg, Kirsch is incredibly well-informed. His incisive commentary has, in the case of these two books, saved me the trouble (and doubtless, aggravation) of reading them. And for that, I am grateful.

Mystery Magazine Job

Interesting–albeit mysterious–job announcement for a part-time magazine editor:

Non profit organization seeks part-time managing editor for 3 – 5 magazine editions yearly. Must have thorough knowledge of print production, strong writing and copy editing skills. Knowledge of Israel, plus Jewish history and culture a must. Knowledge of the Hebrew language a plus. Must be familiar with working with freelance writers and photographers, printers, graphic designers, volunteer leadership and development staff. Must be able to multi-task and meet deadlines.

More information–just a bit–here.

Notable Items in the New Moment Magazine

I received the latest issue of Moment magazine a few days ago. There’s a lot worth noting:

1) An article in which “three Israeli authors [A.B. Yehoshua, Naomi Ragen, and Etgar Keret] “shed the guise of fiction to tell us about their favorite places in the country they love.”

2) A compilation of “the best of Israeli blogs.” (This should keep me busy for awhile.)

3) Commentary on “Jews of Questionable Taste,” those who “exploit their identity to enhance the impact of their anti-Jewish speech and action.”

4) An important “Editor’s Column,” on a “media frenzy” I’d completely missed. (I guess I haven’t been sufficiently attentive to the magazine’s blog.)

5) A poem by Frederick Pollack.

And there’s much more.

New Literary Journal from Israel: The Arava Review

A sincere “todah rabah” to Tova Gardner, co-founder of The Arava Review, for telling me about the new Israel-based journal:

From the Web site:

We’re looking for excellent works of poetry, fiction, and visual art. Though you don’t have to be previously published, do send us your best work.

A few words about the Arava (Arava Rift Valley): An area in southeastern Israel that divides the Negev Range from the Edom Mountains to the east. The meaning of Arava is “arid wilderness”. Its first known reference is in Deuteronomy 1:1: “These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab.”

These are our first few weeks online. We’ve begun receiving submissions and are excited to put up content, so please submit!

Submit, read, and enjoy!

Write On for Israel Invites Applications

From a notice in The Jewish Week:

“We are pleased to announce that applications now are being accepted for ‘Write on for Israel,’ an extensive and exciting two-year program to train a select group of high school juniors to become advocates for Israel through journalism.

A project of The Jewish Week, ‘Write on for Israel; teaches students about Israel, Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict and empowers them to become effective advocates through writing, broadcasting and public speaking.

Qualified sophomores entering their junior year of high school in the fall of 2009 are invited to apply for the fellowship. Applications can be downloaded from our website at”

Application deadline is May 22, 2009.