Stopgap measure: 4 (okay, it’s really 5) totally awesome literary links

Sorry for the recent lack of posts. Camp was out, day school was still out, kids were home, and Mr. K. started his school year the second week of August. As you can imagine, I’ve been a little busy…the only significant writing I’ve done in the last several week has been a few episodes of my serial.

I’ve got kids home from school for one more day, but recently I’ve been seen some really interesting stuff out there on the web which I believe will be of interest to followers of this blog. So I’m posting those links in lieu of a truly original post by yours truly (although I’ve got an idea about what I want to post next).

Top 4 Cool Things I’ve Seen on the Internet Recently:

  1. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is the best analysis of Israel media coverage ever, with fascinating insider details.
  2. Hevria is the new project of Elad Nehorai from PopChassid. He’s brought together an amazing range of writers to solve problems in the Jewish community through positive action and creativity.
  3. The L.A. Times periodically publishes poetic op-eds. Here’s the latest bunch.
  4. And finally, the geektastic interview with Rabbi Goldfeder about how truly intelligent robots MIGHT actually count in a minyan. I’ve actually had an idea for a SF story for a while with robots, and Rabbi Goldfeder’s research will definitely come in handy.

Hopefully, I’ll be ready to publish the aforementioned post later this week. As a teaser, I’ll tell you that it is partly based on Nina Badzin’s essay from earlier this summer about the things she doesn’t write about. So I guess that’s link #5.

Have you read any of those articles? What did you think? Share your opinions in the comments.

An interview with author Batya Ruddell

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with you another interview. In this post, you’ll meet the funny, talented Batya Ruddell. For those of you who read Binah Magazine or Hamodia, her name will certainly be familiar. Batya is one of the foremost writers in the Hareidi world today, and her work is beloved both by readers and other writers. Next week, she’ll be presenting at the Jerusalem Writers’ Conference, and this week, she’s answered a few questions for me via email.

RK: How long have you been writing? First, as an amateur, and then professionally? 

BR: I think I was writing in the womb!! Seriously, for as long as I can remember I’ve had a pen in my hand. Writing was always my passion but a botched attempt at getting into Journalism school (I knew NOTHING about politics or current events, LOL), led me down a different path to a career as a pediatric and neonatal intensive care nurse. I worked in this field for almost three decades before switching tracks to my initial dream a few years ago and becoming a professional writer. 

Continue reading

In the Courtyard of the Novelist: An interview with Ruchama King Feuerman

I’ve got a treat here today: an interview (conducted via email) with award-winning author, Ruchama King Feuerman. Her latest book, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, just came out in September as an ebook. Recently, she signed a contract to expand the release to paperback. I became acquainted with Ruchama through Tablet Magazine online, where both of us have published essays. She was gracious enough to send me a copy of her new book and even more gracious to answer a few questions the novel left me with.

R.K. – In your first book, Seven Blessings, the central figure is a very strong female character. In this new book, you primarily follow two male, unmarried characters. What was that like for you as a married woman?

new book from Ruchama King Feuerman

In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, now out from NYRB LIT

R.K.F.I prefer writing from the male point of view. This way I don’t worry about slippage, about parts of  my personality leaking into my characters, it’s just cleaner — what’s me is me, and what’s them is them.  I feel much freer to invent and have fun when I write as a man.  I do tend to prefer singles maybe because they are inherently dramatic. Continue reading

A picture is worth a thousand words: what photojournalists don’t want you to know about their images

Two recent articles are worth a peek for what the reveal both about contemporary politics and about the nature of photography itself.

The pieces–one in the Washington Post, the other on Breitbart.com–describe misleading pictures published during the recent Gaza conflict. Most notably, photos of dead and maimed children were used by pro-Palestinian journalists in order to accuse the Israelis of being brutal assassins of the young. Whether you feel Israel’s actions were justified or not, Palestinian children were hurt and killed during battle (and so were Israeli children). However, further investigation revealed that one of the photos–said to portray a Palestinian child gravely wounded by Israelis–was in fact a child attacked by Syrian forces in the conflict in that country. And another child, supposedly killed by Israelis, was most likely killed by a Palestinian rocket that misfired. These are only two among many “photo-ops” that were intentionally mislabeled for political purposes.

ink bottle

If I spill some ink from this bottle, what will you see?

Of course, as the Washington Post article points out, the misrepresentation isn’t always by the pro-Palestinian side (although usually Israeli press just doesn’t publish images of Palestinians who are hurt or injured). And I don’t really want to get into the political aspects of this case. What I would like to do is point out how this issue goes far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Continue reading

Has your child received their free Hebrew-language picture books, yet?

The division of the PJ Library that sends Hebrew language books to the children and grandchildren of ex-patriot Israelis in the U.S.–Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA)–is now accepting new families to join the program. Children will receive monthly books in Hebrew, often tied to events on the Jewish calendar. The first year of the program was a success, and its leadership has launched a new website in English that includes many of the features in the Hebrew website. Follow this link to check out the improved site and sign up: http://www.sp-ba.org/.

Shall we play a funeral dirge?

Yes, it’s time to break out a little Chopin funeral march.

Tiras Cham (Hebrew)

Two of our favorite Hebrew picture books have been officially loved to death: the classic Tiras Cham and HaShalom shel Michael. Their tattered pages are currently being mourned by the members of the Klempner household.

This event has sent me on a new adventure: finding new copies. I’ve been successful at finding Tiras Cham. That book is so popular in Israel that Steimatsky there sells Tiras Cham-themed pajamas (possible Chanukah gifts for my little ones?) and you can easily purchase books through their website. However, HaShalom shel Michael is nowhere to be found on the internet. It’s like it never existed. I’ve tried transliterating in a variety of ways and even translating despite my relatively poor Hebrew skills (Should that be Michael’s Hello or Michael’s Greeting?). Zilch!

I’m a little traumatized. Perhaps I’ll patch up the sad, dilapidated pages that have fallen out of the binding and onto the floor. It’s such a beautiful story, all about greeting everyone with a “panim yafot,” as Shammai suggests in Pirkei Avot. I highly recommend the book to everyone…if you can just find a copy!

My time isn’t a total loss. The plus side is that I discovered a neat-o blog about Hebrew language education with some nifty things in it (like an art project/lesson plan to go with another Israel classic, HaBayit Shel Yael):
http://inoursmallgarden.wordpress.com/childrens-books/
Then that blog led me to another:
http://www.dafdaf.co.il/
And another!
http://www.internationalchildbook.com/hebrewlanguage/1318031?page_483032555=2
And yet another!
http://justhebrew.com/