Jewish Literary Links

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

  • In which Aviya Kushner closes out “the year of Chava Rosenfarb.”
  • Lilith magazine previews “21 Books We Want to Read in 2024.”
  • “The Sephardic Studies Program of the University of Washington in Seattle and the Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood Foundation are thrilled to partner in presenting the inaugural National Sephardic Essay Competition to open a new space for the telling of Sephardic stories.” (“Essay” is somewhat misleading, as entrants are encouraged to “share an original, previously unpublished work of prose [fictional or memoiristic] that gives voice to the Sephardic American experience [whether from family lore, lived experience, community heritage, life stories, etc.]”) No entry fees. Cash prizes. Deadline: March 22. (Hat tip: Sarah Aroeste.)
  • From Gary Rosenblatt: a critique of The New York Times’s recent Israel/Hamas coverage.
  • And if you haven’t checked it lately, you may want peruse the “After October 7: Readings, Recordings, and More” document-in-progress.

Shabbat shalom.

Jewish Literary Links

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

  • “As journal after journal, press after press, began to share statements of support for Palestine, with no mention of the massacre of Israelis or the hostages who remain captive in Gaza, as incidents of antisemitic hate crimes rose on campuses around the country, we realized we needed to address this issue more directly.” From Yetzirah Poets Executive Director Jessica Jacobs’s introduction to a current advocacy/outreach project.
  • Mazal tov to the authors longlisted for the 2024 Wingate Prize.
  • As noted in Los Angeles Magazine, Artists Against Antisemitism “is launching an online auction on Dec. 15-Dec. 22….The auction’s proceeds will support Project Shema, an organization that trains and supports the Jewish community to nurture compassion for Jews and disrupt the spread of anti-Jewish ideas.”
  • Aviya Kushner is “reading the Uruguayan poet Laura Cesarco Eglin [in translation by Jesse Lee Kercheval and Catherine Jagoe] –and singing Ladino in candlelight.”
  • If you missed it (I did), I highly recommend this recording of Literary Modiin’s second Israel Solidarity event, which featured readings by Yonatan Berg, Joanna Chen, Vivian Cohen, Sherri Mandell, Aviya Kushner, Joan Leegant, and Haim Watzman. And in related news: Literary Modiin’s third Israel Solidarity event is scheduled for this Sunday (December 17). It will feature readings by Rachel Neve-Midbar, Sarah Sassoon, Jonathan Dunsky, Diti Ronen, Elizabeth Edelglass, host Julie Zuckerman, and yours truly! Register here.

Quick reminder that you can continue to find new material in the document-in-progress titled “After October 7: Readings, Recordings, and More.” Wishing everyone a light-filled eighth night of Hanukkah and a Shabbat shalom.

Jewish Literary Links

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

  • “The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2023” (by Rachel Fremmer for Tablet).
  • Just launched: the Kickstarter campaign for Howard Lovy’s From Outrage to Action: A Practical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism, envisioned as a “‘how-to’ book on challenging anti-Jewish attitudes from digital spaces to the real world.” (I’ve backed it.)
  • Two Etgar Keret pieces crossed my screen this week. First: a new short story written, as the Guardian introduces it, “in the aftermath of Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel.” Also inflected by the current moment: Keret’s (poignant) latest Substack post. Both pieces are translated by Jessica Cohen.
  • Missed my daily Jewish Book Month tweets? You can find them here. (I’ll eventually transfer the titles to a Bookshop list.) Note that recently, I’ve included “#ReadIsrael” for relevant tweets, a practice that I plan to continue and encourage others to adopt.
  • And just in time for Hanukkah—a new issue of

Speaking of Hanukkah: This first night of the holiday, coinciding with the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is perhaps a particularly appropriate time to revisit “Fidelis,” my short story that was first aired on NPR’s 2011 “Hanukkah Lights” broadcast. (Apologies: NPR did not provide a transcript.)

Wishing everyone a Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.

Jewish Book Carnival: October 2023

book-filled logo for the AJL Jewish Book Carnival

Months ago, when I volunteered the My Machberet blog to serve as host site for the October 2023 iteration of the Jewish Book Carnival, a monthly event where those who cover Jewish books online “can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts,” I never—not even in my most pessimistic nightmares—envisioned that said Carnival would post barely one week after the deadliest, bloodiest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Organized by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), the Carnival travels around and is hosted on a different participant’s site on the 15th of each month. I’ve hosted it here on My Machberet 15 times in the past.

Nothing is “normal” this week. At least, not for us in the Jewish world.

So I reached out to everyone who had already submitted a Carnival post. I invited them to replace their previous submissions. I suggested that contributors send along either something they’d just posted in response to the current tragedy, or something from their archives that seemed particularly relevant—and resonant—at this terrible time.

This is what they’ve offered: