In a hurry, but must share the following exciting news!!

So, I’ve got a half-hour to carpool and a ton on my plate, but it occurs to me that I haven’t shared several recent developments in my professional life that are kinda exciting. In no particular order:

  • It’s official. I am copyediting The Jewish Home – L.A. I began the gig a couple months back, but it was a test drive. Apparently, we all found the ride comfortable and think the vehicle can handle both surface streets and freeways. 😉
  • Here’s a link to one of my stories from Passover. It’s the one in The Jewish Press/Olam Yehudi, called “Mom’s Request.” It starts on the bottom of the right-hand page.
  • About two or three months ago , I was interviewed for an article by Simi Horwitz. It’s about women who write and/or edit at Hareidi publications. Simi interviewed several notables, too, like Libi Astaire, Rechy Frankfurter, and Baila Olisdort. The article appeared in The Forward yesterday. Here’s the link to that.

I’d love feedback on any of those happenings!

Passover looming ahead: Not quite panicking yet

Due to the onslaught of housework, etc., that Pesach entails, as well as some nifty work assignments, I’ll be posting less for the next month or so. However, I do want to share with my readers several bits of good news: Continue reading

The Role of Periodicals in Jewish Life: Rob Eshman’s “Why We Write”

I read a fascinating essay in The Jewish Journal today.

Publisher-about-to-go-on-sabbatical Rob Eshman relates a recent visit he had with young Israelis, when he had the opportunity to explain why Jewish newspapers have had such a prominent and consistent role in the life of Jewish Americans.

The major reason Eshman highlighted was the importance of communication between communities and unifying them to promote certain, common agendas. He also touched on how this role has changed, from an institution what taught Jews how to become good Americans–find jobs and acclimate to their new environment–to an institution which “teach[es]Americans to be Jews.”

Teaching Americans to be Jews

This latter element particularly struck me. As Eshman mentioned, many Jewish magazines and newspapers exist primarily on the web. In fact, that’s where they now find the majority of their readers.

Jews who live outside major Jewish communities–due to geography or due to a lack of affiliation–can now access information about their co-religionists via websites like The Jewish Journal‘s, The Forward‘s, Kveller, and so on. Need a latke recipe? Look online. Need advice about how to handle the funeral of a relative? Look online. Such sites bring community to people who previously felt excluded.

In the Orthodox world, even, you find magazines devoted to Jewish cuisine, divrei Torah (words of Torah, including all of Tanach, the Oral Law, and commentaries), inspiration, and advice from the Jewish standpoint.

What’s your favorite Jewish magazine or newspaper? Why? What role do you think periodicals have in contemporary Jewish life? Please share your comments.

With Chanukah just over…

Two Men Reading Paper

If Chanukah is over, it means just one thing in the Klempner household: time to prepare our annual Purim Spiel. Traditionally, a Purim spiel is a play, but in our household, we’ve transformed it into a pseudo-newspaper. Our friends and neighbors always enjoy receiving our Purim Spiel, and we put a lot of work into it to make it as wacky as possible.

Picture credit:

My husband, eldest child, and I actually collect material for our fake news stories and ads all year round, but it’s only after Chanukah that we start fleshing the ideas out and laying them out to look like a newspaper. I start collecting all the little bits my husband has emailed himself and scour my journal for bizarre thoughts I’ve scribbled (off-the-wall shaggy dog stories to make people groan, truly terrible puns that would make great names for sham products, off-beat reflections about life in L.A., and so on). As Purim gets closer, we usually mix in more time-sensitive material that’s based on current events.

As much pleasure as our readers get, we also get the pleasure of  knowing that we’re using our talents for goofiness to brighten people’s Purim. (Plus, I love the voicemails people leave for a week after Purim telling us which parts were their favorite.)

What’s really strange is that the more I write for professional purposes, the harder the Purim Spiel gets for me. I noticed it last year, and this year the feeling’s even stronger. It’s still fun to make (especially as it’s a family endeavor), and I still enjoy our readers’ reactions, but my energy is differently directed these days. Luckily, I have family members to keep me in line. We’ll get it done even if I’m distracted, IY”H.