Iyar/May 2007 Newsletter

Dedicated to creating a supportive environment for English writers in Israel


  1. May events in Israel and general info.
  2. Interesting web sites and events for writers
  3. Your publications
  4. My Jewish Writing Life

1. May events in Israel

On May 19th from 5-6:30 Emily Budick from the Hebrew University will deliver a lecture: “In this country but in another language: The extra-territoriality of American Jewish Fiction.” Yakar Synagogue, Rehov HaLamedHey, Old Katamon, Jerusalem.

On May 20th at 6 PM. Aharon Appelfeld will read a chapter from All Whom I Have Loved: A Novel at the Dedication Ceremony of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University. If you want to attend, please email me.

If you are interested in writing Jewish stories, call me at +972 (0)2 570 9744. I am organizing a highly informal writing group on Friday mornings from 10 – 12 to create a course on Jewish writing that I will teach after Sukkot in Jerusalem. Space is limited. The first session is May 11th.

I am trying to stay young, so I am going to become a jogger, no, I mean a blogger. Anything is better than jogging, right? I hope I will master blogging. I never mastered the Video and I have become as low tech as you can get without living in a teepee. This is my blog address http://judylabensohn.wordpress.com/. You can find past newsletters there from Dec. 2007, should you want to reread them some morning at 3:30 when you can’t sleep. It could be that next month I will be so technologically savvy that I will send you a one-sentence email telling you to check my blog for the June newsletter.

Save the Date: on June 18th at 4:30, American mystery writer Michael Wiley will give a writing workshop in Jerusalem at the American Center, entitled “Making a Scene in Fiction: Writing as Striptease.” More details in the June newsletter.

For an introductory 2 ½ hour creativity workshop, call Margalit Jacobs, Creative Arts Therapist and Coach, Tel. +972 (0)2 671 8364 and leave a message.

Joan Leegant, author of the prize-winning story collection, An Hour in Paradise, is going to be teaching during the Fall 2007 semester in the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan. If any of you are thinking about devoting more time to your writing, now is the time to apply to Bar-Ilan. Go to the web site for an on-line application. http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/home/cw/

2. Interesting web sites and events

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/helpInfo.php?ID=7Yonatan Udren sent us this: From the above site you can purchase books in England, which are shipped free of charge to Israel.

If you self-published a book, why don’t you enter it in the DIY (Do It Yourself) Book Festival on October 20, 2007 in Los Angeles? For details, visit http://www.DIYConvention.com and click Events.

Thanks to Channa in Maaleh Adumim for sending this great blog for anyone struggling with writing a novel.

Michael Loftus sent us this worthwhile site for anyone who wants to submit an article to a Jewish newspaper in the US: American Jewish Press Association list of editors of Jewish newspapers: www.ajpa.org/memberdirectory.php

Check out http://iwwg.org/index.php?page=851 for The International Women’s Writing Guild’s “Remember the Magic” summer writing conference at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, June 15-24 (or parts thereof). Sharon Bachar went a few times and swears these are great seminars.

Check out www.bmj.org.il

Esther Hecht says www.anotherealm.com/preditors/ is a wonderful guide to publishers and writing services for serious writers.

I know some of you are going to attend a writing workshop abroad this summer. After the experience, send me a short description so I can spread the word.

3. Your Publications

Reuven Goldfarb from Safed published “How’s Your Hebrew? My Life in Ulpan” in The National Jewish Post and Opinion on February 14th. He also had an Op-Ed piece in The Jerusalem Post on April 5th.

Please send me your publication acceptances. More than 300 Anglo writers in Israel want to hear about your success.

4. My Jewish Writing Life

Whoever attended the conference Kisufim in Jerusalem on April 16-18 could not help wonder if he or she is a Jewish writer. Apparently, it’s not enough to be a Jew who writes to be considered a Jewish writer. Zadie Smith’s second novel The Autograph Man, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction and she’s not even Jewish. If you feel like an outsider, in exile, and/or alienated, this may help you qualify to be called a Jewish writer. If you do not feel in exile, even if you live in Montreal, this too, is acceptable, because People who have The Book need never feel in exile.

Though only People who have The Language can be the deepest Jewish writers, because their words, like Agnon’s, resonate back to The Book, you can still be a Jewish Writer if you write in Serbian and live in Calgary.

If you wander incessantly, this can help define you as a Jewish writer.
If you have an erotic attachment to the writers of the Torah, do not call a psychologist. You are simply on your way to becoming a Jewish writer.

As you can see, there is no one definition of a Jewish writer, so pick your own, if you care enough.

After the Conference, I read through my collection of stories and realized many of them echo back to earlier Jewish texts. I created a definition of a Jewish writer that defines me: A Jewish writer is one whose writing is in dialogue with Jewish texts.
I plan to push this definition, build a course around it, and thereby claim legitimacy as a Jewish writer.

May you all become the writer you want to become, Jewish or non.

For a delightful take on Jewish writing, see a prose poem by Hugh Behm-Steinberg at http://www.zeek.net/702poetry/

Benediction for May:

May you all be delighted by the smell of roses and sweet peas.
May you decide to start a new project and follow through.
May you decide to finish an old project and follow through.
May all your rejection letters turn into acceptances.

Warm wishes,

About Judy Labensohn

I'm a writer and teacher of writing.
This entry was posted in Jewish writing, Newsletter, The Writing Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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