Another Article Up on Jew in the City, This Time About Yom Kippur, Plus a Little Rosh Hashanah Recap

I’m hoping those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah enjoyed yourselves. We enjoyed the holiday here, even though it definitely was different than in previous years.

Those of you who know me in person or via social media may know that I’m a sucker for good puns, so the custom of Simanim Ilsa, eating symbolic foods often based on puns involving their names, is always fun for me at dinner on Rosh Hashanah. This year, almost everything I served the entire holiday had to do with the simanim. We ate traditional favorites like apples and honey, dates, and fish, but we also ate things like asparagus (so we’d be spared any harsh decrees), celery salad (for a raise in salary), olives (so we’ll all live though 5781), and chicken with mushroom sauce (so next year we’ll all have much more room–currently, we live in a very small space for a family our size). My kids helped a bunch with the cooking (my youngest thought of the pun for olives), and we got the year off to a sweet start.

“G-D, PLEASE SPARE US FROM ALL HARSH DECREES!”
Photo by Foodie Factor on Pexels.com

I haven’t really been looking for writing gigs the last couple months, because dealing with my family has been absorbing a lot of my time and energy, but every once in a while, an editor will reach out to me, and that’s how I ended up in Jew in the City twice in quick succession. The topic I chose for Yom Kippur is affliction and the half-joking comments I’ve heard widely for months along the lines of “Can’t they just cancel all fasts this year because we’ve been afflicted enough?” The jokes *are* funny, but there’s a deeper way to look at them, and I hope I framed my thoughts clearly in that piece. Click here to read that new article on Jew in the City.

I’m hoping that as things settle down, I can get back to writing some fiction. It probably won’t happen till after Sukkot, and not long after that will be NaNoWriMo. Hmmm…

Appearing This Week on Table for Five

Readers of The Jewish Journal and followers of the Accidental Talmudist will find me this week in their “Table for Five” feature. This week’s topic is the first mishnah in Masechet Rosh Hashanah, where we are told that there’s not just one Rosh Hashanah, but four!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It’s always tricky to participate in this kind of event, since you don’t know the approach other participants are going to take to the topic (and I for sure don’t want to repeat what someone else says), but it looks like I managed fine this time. If you want to see my response to the prompt, you can find it here. Print edition is due out tomorrow.

How to Look Forward to Rosh Hashanah When Everything Seems to Be Going to Hell in a Handbasket

I really did end up writing barely a word during the summer, but the moment that my kids resumed school, I got hit up for some pieces by editors who know me. The first one to run went up on Jew in the City last night. Click here for the link.

Writing Goals for 5780

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, which means a new Jewish year is ahead. It’s a good time for me to do some “accounting” for my professional life, looking back at this past year and also planning for the next one.

person holding pen and planner

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This past year, I’ve made over four dozen submissions (most of which were rejections). I got some personal rejections along with some of the form letters, several of which were encouraging. A few of the submissions are still pending–there’s nothing for me to do but pray and keep writing at this point.  Continue reading

As the Year Turns… Looking back at 5774

It’s a week until Rosh Hashanah, which for Jews means this is the last week of the year.

What a year.

The world has suffered through a lot this year. Looking ahead, I see so much to pray for in the coming year: peace for the world, individual nations, and in our personal lives; rescue for captives; and what in Hebrew we call “Menuchas HaNefesh,” the ability to remain tranquil even when in stormy seas. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But looking back professionally, I’m profoundly grateful for a very productive year.

Top 5 Things I’m Grateful For This Past Year As a Writer:

1) I’ve published more in the last year than in the prior 38 years of my life combined. Continue reading

Two places to find me in time for Tu B’Shevat!

Hey, everyone.

wild apple photo from wikipedia

Don’t forget to eat fruits from trees on Wednesday night/Thursday in honor of Tu B’Shevat!

It’s my not-so-little secret that I’m kinda obsessed with Tu B’Shevat, the minor Jewish holiday known as the “Rosh Hashana of the trees” in the Talmud and colloquially as “The Birthday of the Trees.” With that in mind, it should come as no surprise you can find me in print twice the week of this holiday.

Where to find me this week:

The first place you can find something written by yours truly is in Binah Magazine. You’ll find my personal essay near the back, where I’ll contemplate the philosophic implications of gardening.

The second place you’ll find me is in Hamodia‘s Binyan Youth Magazine. One of the stories I’ve written that I’ve received the most positive feedback was one written nearly a year ago (just a week or so before Purim 5773) about a boy with Asperger’s mainstreamed in a “typical” yeshiva high school. I’ve brought the back the character a few times and you’ll meet him up again in this week’s story. I took the theme of trees and fruit in a more metaphorical sense here.

What does the theme “Fruit of the Tree” bring to your mind? Songs, books, poems, experiences? Please share below!