Interview with Adam Rovner and Nathan Devir for Jewish Book Council
Adam Rovner: Your book focuses on “emerging Jewish communities.” Can you explain what that means?
Nathan Devir: “Emerging” is an imperfect term, sometimes used alongside qualifiers such as “Judaizing” or “neo-Jewish.” These words indicate that a community is not part of a conventionally-recognized sector of klal yisrael, the worldwide Jewish people. Because Jews are such good record keepers, and because correspondence between divergent communities about matters of halacha has been part and parcel of post-exilic Jewish life, we have a pretty good idea about where Jews have settled.
Jewish Book Council
Shavuot begins after sunset on May 19
Shavuot, also known as The Festival of Weeks, is a Jewish holiday where the Jews celebrate the anniversary of when God gave the Torah to the Jewish People on Mount Sinai. The holiday is celebrated by eating mostly dairy foods, and learning the Torah late into the night on the first night of the holiday. It was one of the three Shalosh Regalim, the biblical pilgrimage holidays the Jewish People celebrate. Megillat Rut, or The Book of Ruth is read on this holiday.
Here are some great works of fiction, non-fiction, and cookbooks for Shavuot.
Chag Sameach/Happy Holiday!
From Jewish Book Council
The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a program of the Jewish Book Council, has announced the five Fellows who are eligible for the 2018 Prize of $100,000, the largest award of its kind. In addition, the second prize of $18,000 and three remaining presentations of $5,000 each will be announced in July 2018.
Please click here to download the press release with full list of finalists.
By Alexander Aciman for Tablet Magazine
Bookworm: Gangsters, kidnappers, a pencil-maker, a Shakespearean actor, a toothpaste magnate, and other 20th-century ghosts in Daniel Wakin’s surprising new account of a section of Riverside Drive
I’d never noticed them. Not in the years I spent visiting friends on 106th Street and Riverside Drive, not on walks with my dad in the 1990s down that same block, not on long meandering runs in the fall. I’ve lived on the Upper West Side almost my entire life. You’d have to be an idiot not to know that the stretch of rowhouses on Riverside is special. But it took Daniel Wakin’s book, The Man with the Sawed-Off Leg and Other Tales of a New York City Block to show me just how special this particular block is.
By David Mikics for Tablet Magazine
Beate and Serge Klarsfeld’s moving memoirs trace the evolution of a new idea: that Germans were responsible for the Nazi past. Can today’s Europe learn from their moral courage?
Beate Klarsfeld had been saying for weeks that she would slap the chancellor. Twenty-five years earlier Kurt Georg Kiesinger had been Hitler’s assistant director of foreign propaganda in France. Now he was Germany’s head of state, and this ought to be a scandal, Klarsfeld thought. On Nov. 7, 1968, the 29-year-old Klarsfeld rushed across the stage during a meeting of Kiesinger’s Christian Democratic party and struck the surprised chancellor across the face. “Ohrfeige für den Kanzler!” (“A slap for the chancellor!”) the newspapers excitedly proclaimed.
Sarah Aaronsohn and Her Nili Spy Ring by Gregory J Wallace
About the Book
Though she lived only to twenty-seven, Sarah Aaronsohn led a remarkable life. The Woman Who Fought an Empire tells the improbable but true odyssey of a bold young woman—the daughter of Romanian-born Jewish settlers in Palestine—who became the daring leader of a Middle East spy ring.
with Michael Dobkowski for Jewish Book Council
In (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, Jonathan Weisman explores the disconnect between his own sense of Jewish identity and the expectations of his detractors and supporters. He delves into the rise of the alt-right, their roots in older anti-Semitic organizations, the odd ancientness of their grievances―cloaked as they are in contemporary, techy hipsterism―and their aims―to spread hate in a palatable way through a political structure that has so suddenly become tolerant of their views.
Michael Dobkowski: In many ways your book is about Jewish identity and experience in the Trump era. How has the American Jewish experience changed―generally, and for you, personally?
Jonathan Weisman: I grew up in a very Reform household. Although I was raised to identify as Jewish, I—like many Jews of my generation—drifted away, in part because Jews had become entirely comfortable in a pluralistic, liberal democracy that seemed to be progressing inexorably toward tolerance and acceptance.
Jewish Book Council; Mark Sarvas is the author of Memento Park: A Novel. He is blogging here as part of Jewish Book Council's Visiting Scribe series.
"I’m a terrible Jew," I used to say—by which I meant that I was wholly ignorant of tradition, taking a sort of perverse pleasure in the shock value of the comment. I was raised by postwar, secular European parents who decided they’d had enough of religion. I didn’t know Sukkot from Shavuot, and we grew up with Christmas trees and Easter eggs. Researching this essay, I learned that into her teens, my younger sister thought one of our parents was Catholic and one was Jewish. I remember being asked to sign the ketubah at her wedding (her husband was observant), and looking blankly at the rabbi when he asked me my Jewish name. He ended up coaching me, with some reproach, through a hastily imitated Hebrew “Moishe.”