Jewish Literary Links

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

Toward the end of each week, the My Machberet blog presents a collection of links, drawn primarily from the world of Jewish books and writing.

  • “Is Everyone Hanging Out at the Evil Global Cabal Without Me?”—Jewish humor by Rebecca Saltzman.
  • Event alert! “Recently, My Jewish Learning offered recommendations for a Jewish book for every age, from birth all the way to 120. Now, along with the Jewish Book Council, we invite you to discuss our literary picks — and the merits of making such a list — with an all-star group of Jewish authors, whose books appear among our recommendations.” Authors include Eric Kimmel, Naomi Ragen, and Peter Cole. “Their conversation will be moderated by Ben Harris, Managing Editor of My Jewish Learning, and introduced by Naomi Firestone-Teeter, Executive Director of the Jewish Book Council.” Happening online, at no charge, October 19.
  • Sukkot, kidlit, and other Jewish holidays and kidlit (a mini-thread).
  • Hadassah Magazine and jGirls+ magazine, an online publication by and for self-identifying Jewish girls, young women and nonbinary teens, announce their third annual teen essay contest, which this year asks: “Tell us a personal story about an issue that has affected your mental health.” Prize: “The winner will receive a $300 educational scholarship, the winning essay will be published in Hadassah Magazine, both in print and online, and in jGirls+ Magazine. And a one-year subscription to Hadassah Magazine is part of the prize as well.” Eligibility: “open to self-identifying Jewish girls, young women and nonbinary teens between the ages of 13 and 19 who reside in the United States, the District of Columbia and the State of Israel, except where prohibited by law.” Deadline: October 30.
  • As Jeremy Burton reports, there is now a bridge named for American Jewish writer Cora Wilburn (1824-1906).

Shabbat shalom! And keep enjoying those holidays!

Dear College Students: Don’t Dismiss Jewish Communal Life Just Yet

There may be much to react to in New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg’s recent piece about how the current President of the United States has “revived the Jewish left,” but I’ll leave to others the task of a full response. Conditioned, perhaps, by reading the piece while monitoring a wave of photographs on my Facebook feed depicting friends and family members bringing their offspring to college campuses, I’m still enmeshed in this three-sentence paragraph:

Alyssa Rubin, a 25-year-old organizer with Never Again Action, told me that in college, she had little interest in Jewish communal life, much of which seemed to revolve around support for Israel. But in the months leading up to the 2016 election, as Trump spouted rhetoric that smacked of fascism and white nationalists grew giddy at their new relevance, ‘I had never thought about my Judaism more,’ she said. For the first time, anti-Semitism seemed an immediate, urgent threat.

What troubled me most was the implication—an idea that I’ve encountered elsewhere and worry may have been inculcated into the current flock of incoming undergraduates—that “establishment” Jewish life on campus “revolves around support for Israel.” If anecdotal experiences like Rubin’s are to be given representative credence in the paper of record, let’s pause and consider another individual example. Mine.