August 19, 2010

My Machberet's New Home

Shalom, chaverim. It is my pleasure to announce the imminent launch of my new website. Beginning later this evening, My Machberet will be housed on Click here to go directly to the new My Machberet.

Please bear with me (and my web designer). We think we've anticipated everything that needs to happen to ensure a smooth transition, but you never know what will happen! Any inconvenience will, I hope, be worth the trouble. The new website is a beauty...and it's got some wonderful features I can't wait to share with you!

August 18, 2010

Jewish Literary Festival Writing Contest Announced

From the DC JCC, home to the Hyman S. & Freyda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival (October 17-27, 2010):
Community Prize for Writing on a Festival Theme
Strangers in a Strange Land: The Lives of Jewish Immigrants

We surround ourselves with communities that sustain and enrich our lives. When we leave those communities—by choice, by force, or both—our lives are upended. What do we choose to take with us to the new environment, and what do we leave behind? This year’s Opening Night explores these questions of immigration and home.

Jews have often found themselves strangers in strange lands, but new environments are not always the result of physical displacement. Tell us a true story—from your life or a family member’s—of finding oneself alone in a new place or situation.

Submissions are open to all and will be judged blindly. Work will be considered in two categories: 1) 18 years and under, and 2) over 18. Please include your contact information and age category on the first page only. Send submissions of 500 words or fewer to litfest(at)washingtondcjcc(dot)org by September 27, 2010.

A selection committee will choose three entries in each category to honor during the Festival and online. These winning entries will be published on the 16th Street J’s website and The Blog at 16th & Q. The first place selection in each category will win the Community Prize for Writing and a $100 Visa gift card.

Note: No previously-published work, please.

August 16, 2010

Jewish Book Carnival: Part Deux

The second monthly Jewish Book Carnival, organized by the Association of Jewish Libraries, is now online. (My Machberet is a proud participant.) Please check out all the terrific news and reviews of Jewish books, and help spread the word.

August 13, 2010

Notes from Around the Web

Rachel Shukert, Zionist Secret Agent (and Memoirist).

On the Jew Wishes blog, a review of Ghita Schwarz's new novel, Displaced Persons.

An atypically negative take on Gary Shteyngart's new novel (and the work of his "nominal cohort").

"Rozinkes mit mandlen" appears on author Steve Stern's playlist.

Shabbat shalom!

August 11, 2010

Words of the Week (Or, Why Nicholas Kristof Has Lost Credibility With Me)

"In his recent columns, [Nicholas] Kristof discusses the occupation as if it came about through Israeli avarice and greed alone. He manages to write about the situation in Gaza with hardly a reference to the rocket attacks that led to the Israeli blockade; he writes about the security barrier as if it wasn't built to stop a flood of suicide bombers from the West Bank. Kristof is a smart columnist but he undermines himself by refusing to acknowledge what [Thomas] Friedman understands, that the Middle East is maddeningly complicated, and that what appears to be easy-to-understand often isn't."
Source: Jeffrey Goldberg

My only disagreement here with the greatness that is Goldblog is in the use of the word "comically" elsewhere in the post, as in: "Read Friedman's column carefully; it seems to me he's talking directly to Kristof, whose writing on the Middle East has become a bit comically one-sided." Emphasis is mine. I find nothing comical about Kristof's columns about Israel. I find them shameful and infuriating.

August 9, 2010

High Holiday Poetry Contest 2010

MyJewishLearning is running a High Holiday Poetry Contest--and you're invited to participate.

Submitted poems "can be funny, or serious, or both. They can rhyme. They can be long (though we are from the Internet short-attention-span-generation). We want to be entertained, and we want to be inspired."

Submit by August 25. Winning entries will be published online in time for Rosh Hashanah.

There will be prizes!

For more info, check MyJewishLearning.

(via the Jewish Book Council)

August 8, 2010

My Machberet Receives A Beautiful Blogger Award

Our friends at the Jewish Book Council recently nominated us for a Beautiful Blogger Award (thank you, again!). To claim this prize, we need to share seven little-known facts about My Machberet...and pass the award on to seven other bloggers.

So here are some things you may not know about My Machberet and the blogger behind it.

1. The Hebrew name of My Machberet's author is Yocheved. I am named for my maternal grandmother's mother ("Yettie"), who was born in Galicia in 1891 and died in Brooklyn in 1931.

2. One of my earliest and favorite childhood reads was a beat-up, falling-apart storybook that was kept at the home of my paternal grandparents (I think it was my dad's when he was a child--our copy, which I now possess, is from the second printing in 1948). Its title: Habibi and Yow: A Little Boy and His Dog. It is through this book that I first learned about many Jewish holidays, blessings, and traditions. I can still hear my grandmother's voice reading it to me....

3. I've attended Hebrew School/religious instruction in Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform settings.

4. Since the summer of 1978, I have been a proud Reform Jew.

5. The first published writing to earn me a paycheck was a poem that appeared in Young Judaean magazine (I was 15 when I wrote it).

6. I resigned from the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) in 2006 when the then-president of the organization refused to stop using the NBCC blog as a bully pulpit for his own anti-Israel preachings (and harassed me personally when I objected to the practice). Now that he has moved on to other projects, I occasionally consider rejoining. But the experience left me with a lot of bad feelings.

7. My soon-to-be-unveiled new website will feature a resource section tailored to Jewish writing/writers.

And now, please allow me to introduce another seven "beautiful bloggers":

The Arty Semite
The Boston Bibliophile
Brave New Words
Jeffrey Goldberg (if you're a regular reader of My Machberet, you knew that that one was coming!)
Jew Wishes
Jewish Muse
What Would Phoebe Do

I hope that you find all of these blogs as interesting, informative, and inspiring as I do!

August 6, 2010

Notes from Around the Web

A big todah rabah to the Jewish Book Council for tapping My Machberet for a "Beautiful Blogger Award" (now, it seems I need to script a post to "claim" the award proper).

Other news from the JBC: The group's next Twitter Book Club will take place on Wednesday, September 15. The chosen title: Mitchell J. Kaplan's By Fire, By Water.

"Hans Keilson is not entirely unknown in America," writes Adam Kirsch for Tablet. But before I read Kirsch's article, Keilson was unknown to me. I am glad that Kirsch (and, in the Boston Globe, Linda K. Wertheimer) have enlightened me, and I plan to read both Death of the Adversary and Comedy in a Minor Key asap.

Meantime, of course (and as per usual), Josh Lambert, also writing for Tablet, also adds to my tbr list.

So, too, does the Jewish Book Council reliably provide tbr titles. In this case, fall fiction from Israel (in translation).

Wise words from Allegra Goodman.

Thanks to Jewish Ideas Daily for pointing me to this very interesting review of Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France.

The latest Jewish Reader book-group guide from the National Yiddish Book Center focuses on Joan Leegant's new novel, Wherever You Go.

And if you're looking for a new calendar to mark the quickly-approaching Jewish New Year, consider the latest offering from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute's calendar project, which features "Jewish Women Writers: The Cities Behind the Stories."