Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
  • In this podcast from the Yiddish Book Center, “Ilan Stavans sits down with Josh Lambert to answer questions about the concept behind his documentary-style fotonovela, [email protected]:53am, a fictional meditation of the two hours before the 1994 terrorist attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.” The [email protected]:53am exhibit at the Yiddish Book Center runs into early November.
  • Coming soon: The Toronto Jewish Book Festival (June 4-7, 2012), featuring, on June 6, a celebration of’s second anniversary.
  • If you missed the latest meeting of the Jewish Book Council’s Twitter Book Club (as I did), you can read the transcript of the chat with Ramona Ausubel, author of No One Is Here Except All of Us.
  • Zackary Sholem Berger’s Tablet article introduced me to a slice of Jewish writing that is utterly new to me: a sort of underground Hasidic literary culture.
  • Still waiting to read my story collection, Quiet Americans? Here’s another opportunity to win a free copy. Simply leave a comment on Christi Craig’s generous Q&A with me about the book.
  • Shabbat shalom, and Chag Shavuot Sameach.

    Announcing the Yugntruf Zhurnal Writing Contest

    From Yugntruf (Youth for Yiddish): the Yugntruf Zhurnal Writing Contest:

    Are you the next Sholem Aleichem or Avrom Sutzkever?
    We’re looking for young emerging Yiddish writers and poets who need a modern literary platform suited to their unique voices.

    That’s because Yugntruf – Youth for Yiddish is reviving its Zhurnal – its Yiddish-language literary journal of poetry, short stories, editorials and articles.

    Debuting this August 2012, our new Zhurnal, co-edited by Jordan Kutzik and Leyzer Burko, will be available to Yugntruf members and to subscribers worldwide in both full-color hard copy and online download.

    So, if you’re 35 years of age or younger, you’re invited to submit your original, unpublished Yiddish poetry or fiction to our ZHURNAL YIDDISH LITERATURE COMPETITION to win cash awards — and publication in our new Zhurnal! (more…)

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
  • The New York Times divulges author Nathan Englander’s Sunday routine.
  • Speaking of Nathan Englander, not everyone will agree with Adam Kirsch’s take on his latest work, but you can’t deny that Kirsch’s conclusion is tantalizing and provocative: “Perhaps the great Jewish fiction of the near future will have to be less psychological and social than is currently the norm, and more explicitly political. And perhaps the great dividing line in contemporary Jewish life is not the one between religious and secular Jews, but between those who see themselves as members of a historical Jewish nation, and those who find such an identity archaic or delusional.”
  • JTA, “the global news service of the Jewish people,” is hiring.
  • New graduate program in Jewish cultural arts.
  • Deborah Feldman’s new memoir, Unorthodox, is making waves. Read all about it.
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
  • Zeek has published the winning poems from the latest Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize for Poetry on the Jewish Experience. On her blog, first-prize winner Jehanne Dubrow explains: “One of the really nice things about this award is that it includes both a monetary award AND publication. Of course, I should add that any prize also serves as encouragement, a little push to keep the writer writing. These prose poems come from my manuscript-in-progress, The Arranged Marriage, which has certainly received plenty of little pushes lately. I will keep writing.”
  • The Yiddish Book Center introduces its new Academic Director, Joshua Lambert.
  • The latest winner of Israel’s Sapir Prize for Literature is Haggai Linik.
  • On the Image journal blog, Rick Chess offers a beautiful and personal meditation inspired by Jacob and Esau.
  • Delighted to discover this interview with Joan Leegant on the Fiction Writers Review website.
  • Presenting the 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Awards’ winning, honor, and notable titles. (“The Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. The award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Pasadena, California this June.”)
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Step Right Up to the Jewish Book Carnival

    My Machberet is proud to serve as January 2012 host for the Jewish Book Carnival, “a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts. The posts are hosted on one of the participant’s sites on the 15th of each month.”

    Herewith, this month’s goodies: (more…)

    The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

    If you’ll be in New York before January 29, you must stop by the Jewish Museum and take a walk through a wonderful exhibition, “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats.”

    When I first heard about this exhibition a few months ago, the very title evoked a pleasing memory. I visualized Peter, the child protagonist of The Snowy Day, as he appeared on the pages of the book before me in my kindergarten classroom in Brooklyn oh-so-many years ago. I remembered the book’s sheer beauty, its vivid colors and the magical way—still astonishing to me as a young reader, still astonishing now—that it captured the very same sense of wonder that I, too, experienced on snowy days.

    Visiting the exhibition this past weekend, I recaptured some of that wonder.

    But I have learned so much more about Keats’s life and work. For starters, the exhibition reveals that Keats was the son of impoverished Eastern European Jewish immigrants. He was born in Brooklyn—as Jacob Ezra Katz.

    This weekend, I was awed anew by his (largely self-cultivated) artistic talent. Moreover, thanks to an exhibit-within-the-exhibit (“From Sambo to Stevie: African-Americans in Picture Books”), I learned a lot that I hadn’t fully appreciated about Keats’s contribution to the history of multicultural children’s literature (and about that subject more broadly).

    Again, I urge you to spend some time at the Jewish Museum exploring the exhibition for yourself. But if that isn’t possible, you can get a substantial glimpse into this remarkable cultural offering online. However, here’s one item that I don’t believe you’ll find online: this sweet and friendly letter from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Ezra Jack Keats. (Please accept my apologies for the quality of my iPhone photo. I’ll confess that I was a bit verklempt in the moment, too!)

    P.S. If I haven’t sufficiently swayed you, please read this take on the exhibition from The New York Times. That should do it!

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Shabbat shalom!

    Attention, High Schoolers (and Parents Thereof)

    It’s not every day (or, frankly, any day) that I wish I could be a high-schooler again. This new program is perhaps the only thing that could entice me to go back in time if I had the opportunity to do so.

    Great Jewish Books brings together eighteen rising high school juniors and seniors to read, discuss, argue about, and fall in love with some of the most powerful and enduring works of modern Jewish literature.

    During a week-long residency at the Yiddish Book Center on the campus of Hampshire College, participants will study with some of the nation’s most respected literary scholars, meet prominent contemporary authors, and connect with other teens from across the country. The 2012 program runs from Sunday, July 29 through Sunday, August 5.

    High school students entering their junior or senior year in fall 2012 are eligible to apply.

    Apply now!

    Tuition, room, meals, and books will be provided for accepted students through a generous grant from Michael Steinhardt.

    Application deadline is March 15, 2012. There is no application fee.