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On “Jewish” Writing: Reflections on Tablet Magazine’s New Fiction Series

As someone who spends a lot of time reading, writing about, and promoting Jewish literature—including, and perhaps especially, Jewish fiction—I’m mystified by the direction that Tablet magazine appears to be taking with its new fiction series.

Tablet, as you may know, bears the trademarked tag line, “a new read on Jewish life,” and describes itself as a “daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture.” It’s a magazine that I admire and enjoy; I was delighted when it added original fiction to its mix this fall. But that delight has turned to puzzlement–and a degree of dismay. Continue reading ›

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Talking About Poetry (and Israel) on the Radio

If you’re reading this before Sunday morning, November 25 (around 9 a.m., Eastern time), you still have time to prepare to catch me on the radio! I’ve been asked to appear on Shalom USA Radio to read my poem, “Questions for the Critics,” and talk a bit about its genesis. I’m looking forward to this opportunity (even if I’m slightly terrified to be broadcasting live). If you want to listen in, you can do so here. Please wish me luck!

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Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • On the occasion of the publication of Herman Wouk’s latest novel, Adam Kirsch revisits Wouk’s major writings and career.
  • A big thank-you to The Kenyon Review for posting audio of Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech on November 8, when he received the 2012 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.
  • Paid, part-time internship opportunity with the Jewish Book Council in New York. Apply by December 17.
  • Further thoughts stemming from Philip Roth’s retirement announcement, from Jason Diamond and D.G. Myers.
  • Right after his November 15 reading at Baruch College, Etgar Keret headed home to Israel. Shortly thereafter, it seems, he wrote this.
  • This week was, again, a time when I (to paraphrase a rabbi friend) thought often of our cousins in the East. To stay informed, I relied extensively on The Times of Israel, Tablet, Jeffrey Goldberg, and the URJ’s Israel page.
  • Shabbat shalom to all. And special thanks to RJ.org for publishing my poem, “Questions for the Critics,” on Tuesday.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • Coming soon (as in: next Tuesday, November 20): the next meeting of the Jewish Book Council’s Twitter Book Club, featuring Shani Boianjiu and The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
  • You’ve likely heard the news: Philip Roth is done with writing! Eitan Kensky reads the announcement more closely.
  • From Judy Bolton-Fasman: Q&A with Michael Lowenthal, whose latest novel, The Paternity Test, “gracefully merges gay marriage, Jewish identity, sexuality, the Holocaust, Jewish continuity and sexual fidelity in one story.”
  • Moment magazine has announced the topic for this year’s “Elephant in the Room” essay contest. Click here for details.
  • Glad to see that The Jewish Week’s “Well Versed” arts blog seems to be back.
  • Wishing everyone–especially in Israel–a Shabbat Shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • This week, Kenyon Review Online published “The Golem of Zukow,” a gripping short story by Helen Maryles Shankman.
  • Yiddish Book Center staff report back from the most recent American Literary Translators Association, shining a special spotlight on a “Translating Israel” panel.
  • Elie Wiesel and U.S. President Barack Obama will be writing a book together. (UPDATE on Tuesday, November 13: Although this item was reported widely last week, its accuracy is now in doubt.)
  • Among the facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy is The Forward‘s main office in downtown New York. I’ve made a small contribution to help out.
  • I’m off imminently to the JCC Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival in Rochester. Can’t wait!
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Some Jewish literary links to close out the week.

  • First up: Looking for some titles for your book club? Check out Makom’s suggestions for books by Israeli writers (books in English translation).
  • Next: Earlier this summer, I was lucky enough to attend “The Uses of History in American Jewish Fiction,” featuring novelists Anna Solomon and Dara Horn and moderated by Josh Lambert. And now, all of you are lucky enough to be able to watch the event on video.
  • Some exciting changes are afoot at The Forward.
  • Guess who’s coming to CUNY’s Baruch College this fall? Etgar Keret! I’m already marking my calendar.
  • As we begin preparing for Rosh Hashanah, The Whole Megillah has announced its First Pages Competition for Jewish-themed middle grade and young adult manuscripts (fiction or nonfiction). Deadline to enter: September 15.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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