My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past six years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2017.

Reviewing my reading for 2017 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)

But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.

Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first). I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library [or otherwise borrowed]), G (gift). (more…)

Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Two poems that caught my attention this week: Rachel Chabin’s “Equilibrium” and Marcela Sulak’s “Cell.”
  • “The Jewish Theological Seminary of America last week announced the appointment of Rabbi Bronwen Mullin as its rabbinic artist in residence.” (via The Jewish Week)
  • I am so tired of finding news stories like this one: “Artists ask Lincoln Center to Boycott Play Supported by Israeli Government.”
  • Envious of the teenagers lucky enough to study “Great Jewish Books” at the Yiddish Book Center each summer? I sure am. But I’ll take what I can get—so I’m happy that the Center has given all of us a taste of the experience with this reading list.
  • Last chance! We’ll be hosting the July Jewish Book Carnival right here on the My Machberet blog. For background on the project and instructions if you’d like to contribute a #JewLit-focused link (not a self-promotional one, if you please!), do check the Carnival HQ. Deadline: July 10.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • I’m among those theatergoers swept up in the power of Oslo, which won a Tony award for Best Play this week. Itamar Rabinovich’s review for Jewish Review of Books offers some insights I appreciate knowing.
  • Speaking of plays: Check out this nice feature on the Jewish Plays Project by Amy Oestreicher for Broadway World.
  • I was lucky enough to be in the audience one recent evening when authors Matti Friedman and Nicole Krauss were in conversation—on writing about Israel and more—at Central Synagogue in New York. And now, thanks to JBSTV.org, you can catch a video of their discussion.
  • For The New York Jewish Week, George Robinson shares the four films that he believes are “the best Jewish or Israeli films of the first half of the year.” See if you agree with his choices (or add some titles to your to-be-watched list).
  • And a hearty mazal tov to all of the individuals and publications recognized in the latest round of the Simon Rockower Jewish Journalism Awards.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    The (Jewish) Plays Are the Thing

    Is it just me, or is it an especially rich time for Jewish theater at the moment? Especially here in New York?

    On Sunday, I had the great privilege of attending a performance of “Through the Darkness: The Story of Four People Who Outran the Holocaust.” Staged at The Workshop Theater, the play is the creation of Alan Breindel, a member of my home congregation. (more…)

    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Some Israeli publishing data for 2015, courtesy of the country’s National Library.
  • “The Koffler Centre of the Arts is proud to announce a significant new literary award in Canada – the Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature.” (Unfortunately, I’ve found out about this too late to help anyone for the current round–submissions closed in early June.)
  • If I can manage to sit through a three-hour play, it may well be this one. And I’m sorry to have to miss this one–which I’ve just learned about but won’t be able to catch during its brief engagement.
  • In this talk, novelist and literary scholar Dara Horn explores the role Hebrew can play in a living contemporary American Jewish culture, as she has experienced it as a reader and as an American writer. This lecture was part of the 2016 Stroum Lectures, ‘Hebrew and the Creative Imagination,’ hosted by the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Washington.”
  • And ICYMI: a note about a new essay of mine, on being a “3G” writer.
  • May it be a good and peaceful Shabbat for all. Shabbat shalom.

    Words of the Week

    I’m going to break a bit with the usual format of these “Words of the Week” posts.

    A couple of weeks ago, the wonderful 24/6: Jewish Theater Twitter feed alerted me to an amazing online offering: a full video of the recent Signature Theatre production of Arthur Miller’s play Incident at Vichy, presented via WNET-THIRTEEN’s Theater Close-Up series. I was lucky to catch a performance of the play here in New York a few months ago. It was excellent, and I recommend that you take this opportunity to see it for yourself from the comfort of your own screen.

    As WNET has noted of this production: (more…)