Jewish Literary Links

Each week as Shabbat approaches, the My Machberet blog presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • From Alma: “20 Books by Black Jewish Authors You Should Read.” (I’ve just begun reading one of the books on the Alma list, James McBride’s The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, in preparation for a book club.)
  • By Jane Eisner: an analysis of “The Uncertain Future of Jewish News Media.”
  • LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Art and Culture, “a non-religious house of study at the 14th Street Y” in New York that aims to be “an international incubator for creativity” and annually “selects a group of ten fellows to join us for a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme” is now accepting fellowship applications. The theme for 2020-21 will be “Chosen,” and “artists and culture-makers from any creative field” may apply. NB: “All applicants must apply to LABA with either a work-in-process or a concrete project idea connected to the theme of CHOSEN. Our goal is to be informed and inspired by the study sessions, which, we have found, happens on a much deeper level when the fellows have a specific goal in mind. LABA fellows receive a $1500 stipend and a small stipend (up to $250) for a LABA-focused presentation.” Application deadline: July 13.
  • From the Yiddish Book Center: Pakn Treger‘s 2020 Translation issue.
  • Happening this Sunday (June 14): Jerusalism’s Mekuvan series will host an online reading by and discussion with poet and scholar Alicia Ostriker.
Re-upping this video from March because of its connection with this week’s Torah portion. Enjoy!

Shabbat shalom.

Jewish Literary Links

an open book (with Hebrew pages visible); subtitle reads "Jewish Literary Links"
Image by Yedidia Klein from Pixabay

Each week as Shabbat approaches, the My Machberet blog presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

A quick prefatory note: Like many of you, I’ve been awash in Jewishly-focused online offerings lately. This week’s links reflect that current reality.

  • One evening this week, I celebrated Ellen Meeropol’s newest novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, by joining in an online book party featuring some short readings. (I’d been looking forward to learning more about the book after reading an essay that Elli published in Lilith last fall.)
  • Prompted by another evening’s online discussion, I’ve just finished reading The Drive by Yair Assulin (trans. Jessica Cohen; New Vessel Press, 2020). In the tradition of the short novel set within a brief time span—in this case, a drive to a psychiatric appointment and the visit that follows—we meet a young Israeli soldier who is seeking relief from the emotional suffering he’s experiencing in his post. I’m not certain that, by the end, the novel is quite as “anti-militarist” as the publisher argued in the event description, but that’s a more complicated topic than I can take on here. Interested readers will some helpful background provided in this Los Angeles Review of Books interview.
  • I’d intended to follow the Forward‘s discussion of “(Jewish) Journalism in the (Coronavirus) Crisis” as it unfolded on Zoom, but shortly before it began, I learned that my friend Aimee Pozorski was virtually addressing a library gathering on Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America at the same time. So over to Aimee I went! I don’t believe that Aimee’s event was recorded, but the Forward‘s was, and I plan to catch it on YouTube sometime soon.
  • Speaking of The Plot Against America—the HBO adaptation (and its accompanying podcast series) ended this week. I’m still catching up on a number of the related commentaries that are out there to absorb, but for the moment, I’ll point you to this one, by Gabe Friedman.
  • This week also brought us Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Mindful that we’re also still observing National Poetry Month, I’ll point you to an online poetry event, curated by Erika Meitner, that I “attended” Tuesday evening; to these poems by Edith Bruck (b. 1932), translated by Jeanne Bonner; and to one of the Holocaust-related poems in my own poetry collection, re-published this week by on the website of the Sami Rohr Prize.

Shabbat shalom.