I contributed to a massive undertaking — 101 Great Jewish Books: A Catalog of the Works that Shape the Jewish Mind in America Today — that went live on Tablet magazine today.
It is definitely a quirky list. I (playfully, I swear) took issue with a ton of it on Facebook. I am still désolée that some of my picks, despite my super-fierce defense of them, did not make the final cut. There are books I am gobsmacked to see there instead of the CLEARLY SUPERIOR choices I argued for. There are not enough 20th and 21st century Sephardic writers represented. But Alana Newhouse, the editor-in-chief, made it very clear that this is a list of great books that shape American Judaism — not the most important or best or most essential Jewish books ever written — and I’d add that the selection is colored to a great degree by the thoughtful and impassioned people who argued most forcefully for the books that influenced them the most. The list is a launch point for discussion, not the end of the discussion.
I wrote the entries for The Diary of Anne Frank, The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln, Where the Wild Things Are, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and the Adventures of K’ton Ton. I gave up some of my picks to other writers (I’m a giver). I won’t provide individual links, because the whole list is worth reading. (And each entry is really short! No more than 200 words! And the ones that are 200 words instead of 100 words are 200 words because SOME WRITERS COULD NOT FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Yeah, yeah, your pics are the awesomest and warrant more space. GET IN LINE.)
Here’s the list of contributing writers. Being allowed to play in this ball pit is pretty incredible.
(FYI: For some reason I can’t caption things anymore — it looks fine in the edit window and then goes kerflooey when I hit “publish.” So what I would have said in a caption/link to the photo in the caption is the tattoo is from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, and it is not on this list, and I would not argue that it should be on the list but it is a cool tattoo that seemed fitting for this post, and it is by the very talented Speck Osterhout who works at Tattoo Candy in Chicago. That is all.)
Let us revisit my 7th most popular all-time post, a look at the pressing problem of which designer shoes to wear while reading to your children! I have MORE THOUGHTS. [click to continue…]
This week’s Tablet magazine column is on illustrated biographies for kids (and grownups!) that will absolutely knock your socks off…thus making you look like Einstein. [click to continue…]
My dad wrote this for the Providence Journal in 1982. It shows his humor, his activism, his healthy sense of self, his enthusiasm and his unconventional approach to psychiatry. [click to continue…]
The Christian Science Monitor recently reported, incorrectly, that the last telegram in the world would be sent on July 14. (A single telegram service is shutting down in India; the CSM somehow got the idea that this meant all services were ending everywhere. Telegram services will continue to serve India and over 200 other countries.) But something good came out of this mistake: There was a lovely story in Tablet magazine today about the one telegram a woman received in her life, in 1985. You should read it.
It made me think about the telegrams my grandfather sent my grandmother. [click to continue…]
The anti-vaccine crew got hold of my Tablet magazine piece about the HPV vaccine, and the comments section is going nutso.
Vaccination is always a third-rail topic. But I really was conscious about being fair in reporting this piece. I acknowledged my own anxieties and doubts, interviewed only experts who took the anti-vax folks concerns seriously and found answers to each concern raised. No matter. When people are sure that anecdotal data is better than data from big studies, or can’t accept that there’s a difference between correlation and causation, they can’t be convinced to see another side…no matter the quality of evidence marshaled. Still, as the daughter of a man whose body was ravaged by polio, and as a writer for Jewish publications who’s watched measles get more and more common in Orthodox enclaves, I’m a little sad. In my head, I actually thought a piece that took seriously the concerns of anti-vaccine folks (who include my friends!) might change some minds. Which is, of course, profoundly arrogant. If public health experts can’t figure out how to reassure people that a vaccine could save their child’s life, why would I think I could. Chutzpahdik!
Please feel free to check out the finger-waggy and head-patty goings-on over at SorryWatch.
This week in Tablet magazine: 13 Signs You Attended Jewish Summer Camp in the ’80s. It’s getting a ton of hits. Because JEWISH SUMMER CAMP IN THE 80s. No-brainer.
I came up with 63 signs in about five minutes (what can I say, the topic resonated) and took a lot longer to edit it down to 21, and then my editor Wayne (seen here teaching Israeli dance at Camp Moshava in the ’70s) further whittled it down to 13. Behold, 9 that got cut: [click to continue…]
As some of you may know (since I have not stopped yammering about it on Facebook), I’m working on an auction of children’s book art to help Maxie’s adorable little public school try to save its embattled library and the job of its wonderful librarian. [click to continue…]