Signs you might want to buy one of my new books

BOTH MY NEW BOOKS ARE UP AND RUNNING ON AMAZON! WAHOO!

(Do I sound excited?)

Mazal’s Luck Runs Out is for ages 8-11.

My life is being taken over by marketing (What? Did you say there’s a Jewish holiday coming? More than one? You mean I have to cook, too? ARGH!). Also, I’m working on no budget here, but at least people can actually buy both Mazal’s Luck Runs Out and Sliding Doors and other stories online now.

With no further ado… Continue reading

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A Tribute to My Favorite Uncles

Looking for some Shabbos/weekend reading?

I’ve got a new story in this week’s Inyan Magazine, inside Hamodia (dated August 26, 2015). The story is called “The Favorite Uncle,” and it’s a sorta reversal of real-life situations between my kids and their beloved uncles, as well as a paean to my own awesome uncles, Ira and Larry.

Synopsis: 11 year-old Alex Silverstein’s favorite uncle frums out (becomes Orthodox), and Alex is not amused.

I’d love feedback from anyone who reads the story!

I also thought this would be a great opportunity to answer a question I’ve been getting a lot lately, included from professional (non-fiction) writers:

How do you write a short story?

Usually, the first step for me is Continue reading

Personal life as a metaphor

In literature, we often use the intimate details of personal life to represent broader issues. In my latest article on Tablet, I used my experience of leaving Israel after making aliyah in childhood to connect to the annual season of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Have you read any memoirs, essays, or even novels where the personal serves as a microcosm for the world at large? Please share in comments below.

Soul-bearing writing–writing personal essays that are a little too personal for comfort

Tablet published a new piece of mine today, about the untidy family life of a person who is an Orthodox Jew with relatives who are devout Christians. The comments are busy, and no trolls have appeared so far (meaning that anyone who disagrees with me does so with politeness and reflection).

I’ve published the piece because the problem I described in the article is a surprisingly common one  (among the “baalei teshuvos” who come to religiosity as adults) that most people ignore.

It’s sorta mortifying. This is a problem that is very private for me, and–like many who share it–it is a source of pain that I usually sweep under the rug. I’ve had to explain the absence of half of my family to many people over the years, and it’s never comfortable. Now the entire world can read about it (and share! and comment!).

In general, I don’t write about my family unless it is 100% positive. I felt that this needed to be an exception, in order to support people who share this type of situation. I intentionally omitted the name of my father’s family, and I tried to protect their identities. I wanted not to expose them, but the problem. Nonetheless, one of the commenters pointed out that I was still airing my family’s laundry in public.

I’d love it if readers weighed in here (in a comment below) or in the comments section on Tablet.

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Believe it or not! Writing reality that’s stranger than fiction

Tablet just published a personal essay about my grandfather.  Please check it out. (And share, and like, and comment!)

Passover seder has been a bit spooky (in a good way) for me ever since childhood, when my sister and I were convinced Elijah the Prophet was none other than the Bogey Man.

And then we had a real ethereal visitor during Pesach.

It’s one of those stories that you tell and people think you are making it up. I probably would have thought that it was a figment of my imagination if my husband hadn’t recalled the event, as well. I feel a little more confident about the subject matter now, too, since the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg (zt”l) described a similar encounter by her parents in a recent issue of Binah Magazine. 

Have you ever written a piece of non-fiction about something readers might not believe is possible?

Grandma: A stellar source for writer’s research & just on the other end of the phone line

grandma and little girl

This grandmother may be cute, but she’s not as awesome as mine! (On the other hand, the little girl is much cuter than I ever was.)

I happen to be blessed with an amazing grandmother. At 92 (she should live to 120!) she’s slowed down a bit, and I wish I could spend more time with her. I used to phone just once a week, but I’m trying to call her more often, as it’s now hard for her to get out and about the way she used to. I fill her in on what’s going on around here, and she tells me what she’s been up to.

Frequently, what my grandma is up to is sorting through old letters, photos, magazines, and other memorabilia. Continue reading