A personal account of a two-minute pitch that can catapult or sink an author.
Editor and Publisher
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It’s every author’s dream. And nightmare.
The chance to address several hundred people from around the country who, deeply attentive, have come to New York for three days and one purpose — to find speakers for their local Jewish community book fairs, sisterhood luncheons and other cultural programs.
Israel’s reading-readiness project provides 45,000 schoolchildren with Arabic-language children’s books.
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Jaffa, Israel — The children at the Arabic-speaking Ofek preschool in Jaffa have spent a lot of time this month thinking about a mouse named Soumsoum, the character of a picture book all the kids read with their parents at home.
Gratitude, scientists tell us, is one of the healthiest of emotions. Jewish liturgy is replete with prayers of thankfulness; the reason why many observant Jews attend morning minyan, they say, is to start each day with an “attitude of gratitude.” The Torah suggests that God created humanity, in part, because He needed applause for his sublime authorship. And not just people — the Rabbis believed that every living thing acclaimed God with the song of its own species; these lyrics are contained in the ancient text, “Perek Shirah” (“Chapter of Song”).
Former New York Times reporter Allen Salkin interviewed more than 200 people for “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network” (Penguin Group). The book, which was ranked among the top 10 of 2013 by NPR, makes juicy revelations about controversial stars such as Emeril Lagasse; Paula Deen, who cooked fatty foods without disclosing she had diabetes and then later fell from grace amid reports of racist comments; and Chef Robert Irvine, who was replaced for a season of “Restaurant Impossible” after questions emerged about his resumé.
Matti Friedman was awarded the largest Jewish literary prize, the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, for "The Aleppo Codex” (Algonquin). His book, published in 2012, traces the unusual history and complicated provenance of the precious manuscript, considered to be the authoritative text of the Bible. The codex was hand-written about a thousand years ago.
In his thoughtful and provocative new book, “The American Jewish Story Through Cinema” (University of Texas Press), Eric A. Goldman refers to Hollywood films about American Jewish life as “a Haggadah,” the Passover text that is savored and studied annually.
For Andre Aciman, A.J. Sidransky and Jessica Sofer, questions of identity, assimilation and food.
Jewish Week Book Critic
In his memoir and essays, Andre Aciman has captured the inner life of exile, what it’s like to stand in one place and be reminded of another, to long for that other place, even knowing it no longer exits. He embraces his new land of America, while Egypt and Europe, his motherlands, are very present. A masterful writer, Aciman is most at home in the place of not feeling at home, anywhere.
Avivah Zornberg overlays a dizzying tapestry of midrashic, psychoanalytic and literary sources on her biblical themes. Her most satisfied listeners allow for the unmooring of the categorical mind. Zornberg, most recently the author of “The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious,” suggests that the hidden meaning of our classical texts is best perceived with our own porous and poetic unconscious minds.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.