I did not love the Superheroes in Gotham exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. I liked it. It was cute. It could have been so much more.
I do, however, love the manly facial pelt of Aaron Rodgers. In Movember, November, all the ever.
I also enjoyed an evening of documentary shorts at DOC NYC.
I did not enjoy the weak apology of the Mizzou prof who bullied two student journalists. Look, apologize or don’t; skip the self-justifying and blame-throwing and ambiguity. If you don’t feel you can fully own the apology, just skip it. Or call the students to apologize privately (if you think that’s warranted) and say nothing publicly. It’s an option.
I spoke at a conference for writers and illustrators of Jewish children’s books.
I went to the NYT Best Illustrated Books ceremony. It was lovely! And there was much excellent fashion! And I still love the books we chose! And Christian Robinson kindly autographed my daughter Josephine’s copy of Josephine and drew a little jazz dancing figure inside! (He won for Leo but I do not have a child named Leo.)
Here are the winners, minus Csil from France & Guojing from China, who couldn’t attend, sadly. The photo is by Earl Wilson for the New York Times.
And now I am working like crazy on Tablet’s Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2015 list. And sopping up the blood resulting from a sudden kitten attack on my earring.
I was a judge for the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015. I loved working with Monica Edinger and Frank Viva; we got along well and were respectful of each other’s opinions. They had to deal with me whining a lot about having to eliminate titles which IS PART OF THE GIG I GET IT BUT IT STILL SUCKS. [click to continue…]
I reviewed a bunch of SCAWY SCAWY children’s picture books in The New York Times, and shared with the world the fact that my dad was semi-apeshit.
I wrote this essay for Tablet on diversity in children’s literature and where the Jews fit in (or should fit in). It is, granted, confuzzling. We should not be defining ourselves by our experiences with anti-Semitism, or by protesting that WE TOTES DO SUFFER, or by bringing out the big guns: HELLO THE HOLOCAUST IS OUR ULTIMATE TRUMP CARD. There are lots of ways to explore Jewish culture that we’re screwing up or missing out on, which is a reflection of where we are as slightly-confused betwixt-and-between American Jews. (I didn’t write this in the piece, but I saw a roundup of Jews on a web site about diversity, a site that had never before addressed Judaism, and the topic was “Tell us about the anti-Semitism you’ve experienced.” Offensive! That’s like asking a bunch of LGBT novelists only “Tell us about your experiences with bias and hate”! Also, all the writers interviewed were white women — Jews aren’t all white! — and not all of them even ADDRESS Jewish identity in their work! I remember a piece I wrote a million years ago for Sassy about Deaf culture, and how much I learned from that research; Deaf activists don’t define themselves by their “disability,” and see themselves as part of a group connected by language, history and tradition. If you can possibly believe it about Deaf people, why not Jews? You have to look for the writers and books that DO address Jewishness in a complex, thoughtful, clueful, creative way in their work. And a problem is that those books are hard to find. (Look at my year-end lists for Tablet on the best Jewish children’s books as a starting point in looking for them.)
Other stuff: A funny (I hope) piece about my children’s and my attempt to build a medieval paper castle — sent to me, bafflingly, for review — while wondering how we could put a positive Jewish spin on what was in general a pretty shitty time for the Jews of Western Europe. (Among our re-imaginings: Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.
I also did a little piece on sympathy cards for miscarriage and stillbirth. And as ever, you should check out our doings over at SorryWatch.
Here is why I think Stephen Colbert is the best exemplar of a person of faith in America today, and why he’s such a good moral exemplar for American Jewish liberals. (I like the title my editor came up with: “The Gospel of Stephen Colbert.”) And here is a parody of the Grub Street Diet, in which annoying Rosh Hashanah observers keep food diaries. No new SorryWatch posts this week, sorry!
I got super-excited about the return of B&H Dairy, the last kosher dairy restaurant on lower Second Avenue. (I am kinda obsessed.)
I demanded that Lore Segal’s classic children’s book Tell Me A Mitzi be returned from out-of-print Siberia.
I recommended a friend’s funny and erudite book of Shakespeare-inspired cocktails and snackage. (I have quoted her amusing Everyday Shakespeare blog here before.)
And I suggested ways to observe Labor Day — books, movies, activism — with your kids, whatever their ages.
Over at SorryWatch, I discussed the Napa Wine Train racist debacle and subsequent groveling, and rolled my eyes at Tila Tequila’s apology for past Hitler lovin’. (Plus Bic Pens in South Africa social-media’d stupidly, a Spanish reggae festival blamed the pernicious pressure of BDS for its own anti-Semitic actions, and Duggars were horrible.)
Also: I did my first podcast — Unorthodox, over at Tablet. I was wearing my SorryWatch hat, explaining to host Mark Oppenheimer how to apologize in advance of the High Holidays. I was very nervous–I’d never been in an actual recording studio, with the baffled soundproofing and big headsets and gigundo microphones.
Also, went to RI and hung out with mom and kids while husband was at Burning Man.
Here’s a piece on where teenagers get their news and how to raised a politically informed kid. (Now with less Jon Stewart.)
Here’s one about a horrid romance novel between a Jew and a Nazi. (Let it be known that I beat every media outlet to this story except Flavorwire, and that was only because my editor wanted me to add the Summer of My German Soldier reference, which slowed me down. Not that I’m competitive.) Here is one about menstruation-tastic apps for Orthodox Jewish women to track when they’re pure and impure, and thus able to have contact with their husbands.
And on SorryWatch, two literary apologies! One from a bookstore owner who gave refunds to customers who pre-ordered the “new” Harper Lee novel, Go Set a Watchman, and one from the author of the offensive Jew-Nazi romance novel.
And finally, here is a study by my grandfather, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1930, about Jewish women getting tapeworms from tasting raw gefilte fish.
Today in Tablet magazine, the history of pickles in America. (No dogs were harmed in the actual writing of the article.)
Bonus: A look at sexy fat-girl powerhouse Sophie Tucker.
Let’s see, since we last spoke I wrote about the way Jewish summer camps’ programming for Tisha B’Av traumatized generations of tiny Hebrews (and offered suggestions of better ways to observe this sad holiday). I also did shorter pieces on a big grant that helps would-be parents dealing with infertility; the battle to save the East Village’s historic B&H Dairy restaurant; and journalist Samuel G. Freedman’s forthcoming book and audio documentary about his colleague, Jeff Schmalz, the pioneering AIDS reporter for the NYT.
Oh, plus a piece for SorryWatch confirming that nope, Lance Armstrong is still not actually sorry. Film at 11.