Friday, June 28, 2013

What is Jewish Fiction?

I would like to thank Erika Dreifus for sharing this video.  It sounds like to me that there is a fine line. Still no one has the answer. Like always there could be 5 Jews and everyone has a different opinion.  It will never be answered. Which is fine by me.  To me I think it is your own experience, and your own interpetation.

For me Jewish fiction has to be:
1) The author must be JEWISH.
there are some authors that say their book is Jewish when they never experience being Jewish. Going one time to a passover seder doesn't cut it.
2) The Jewish experience and ideas
 Just because a person writes in a few Jewish names doesn't make a book Jewish.

What are your thoughts leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jewish Grand Strand Reads 2013 Part 2

Jewish Grand Strand Reads event was held yesterday. With 30 people in attendance. We picked Mr. Fish to have the event. It is owned, by Ted and Lisa Hammerman. Lisa, is one of our long standing book club members of 38th Ave. Diva Readers. It is centrally located and across the street from our temple, Temple Emanu-El.  The presentation of the food was so pretty you don't want to eat it. I would rather look at it.  That would be a great way to lose weight. You know the joke SEAFOOD!!!  The food and service was excellent.  I ordered the Talapia blackened sandwich, with a cuke, and tomato salad.  You can't forget the hush puppies either.
We discussed the novel, Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton. Our guest speaker was Rabbi Debbie Slavitt.  She is a wonderful speaker, and she draws everyone.  Her discussion, and questions made for interesting topics further to explore and ask more questions.

Rabbi Debbie Talked about the temple before the destruction of the second temple, and the exiles that left before the second temple and after. What was it like without a temple?  How did Judiasm survive without the Temple?  without sacrifices? What was the culture like in Jerusalem vs. Babylonia? What happened to the Sanhedrin, now that there was not a need for them?

 Why Rabbi's? The concept of synagogue and Rabbi is not what we think of today in daily life.  Rabbi's did not have a pulpit, or lead prayer.  The word for "Rabbi", is teacher. Rabbi's formed the conversations from different generations of sages for oral  Jewish law called the Talmud. When we modern Jews think of Talmud we think of  many, many books. But, in actually printing press did not come about till 1500 years later.  So, it was passed on to their students by word of mouth, and discussion of other Rabbi's and debates, etc.

In Rav Hisda's Daughter here are the talking points:
(For reason's I won't get the name right. I will call her Rav Hisda's Daughter)

Why did her father ask her to name the one she wanted to marry. What was the reason she said Rami, and Abba. Was it so she wouldn't embarrass the boys?

Why did Rav Hisda allow sorcery, and magic in his home if he is a learned Rabbi? That is the point back then the Rabbi was only a teacher. He did not dominate Jewish life, and judge and tell you, what is right or wrong. He wanted to be accepted in the secular world as well. Just like today assimilation is possible. The Babylonia culture was all around us.  So, you had to take it in.

The incantation bowls that were put upside down to catch the demons, the evil eye on a baby sleeve, etc, etc.

Then we talked about the mosaics in the bath houses and the significance of them.

The Culture between Jerusalem vs. Babylonia was different. Why do you think that is? You would think it would be the same. But, in Babylonia you were surrounded by all kinds of people. In Jerusalem it was just one kind. The point is that there were differences all around you. There was not sameness.

Our second annual Jewish Grand Strand Reads was a large success this time than last time.  Our attendance doubled.

 A few of the authors sent me autograph copies of their newest novels. I was showcasing southern beach reads by Mary Kay Andrews, Dorthea Benton Frank, Beth Hoffman, and Susan M. Moyer.

                                                       Til next year, looking toward 2014.

Jewish Grand Strand Reads 2013

I have been organizing our Jewish Grand Strand Reads. The first year I did not know what I was doing.  We had a small group of people. Our book event was Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman.

  This year, we chose Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton.

I did not reach out to the Jewish synagogues or organizations for help because I did not know if there was a need. But, yesterday I got my answer. We had a total of 30 people show up, with a few cancellations.

There are some drawbacks though when it gets larger. But, I love the idea of the Jewish community of Myrtle Beach,  reading,  and discussing and sharing ideas. Especially around one book.  It is alot of work, but if you have the commitment, drive and willing to sweat a bit, and some sleepless nights.  It is worth it at the end.   But, you must have the passion and the love for the writing, the book, and the author.

 With the help of my friend Donna, I pursued my idea. I don't think I would have done it without her support. There has been crazy times that I get ideas in my head, and I call her all different times night or day.  I hope I don't cause her to get a divorce. LOL!!! My friends think I am a bit eccentric because of my love of reading and books. Because I talk, eat, and sleep books. I am known as the "Book Maven" or " Book Diva", depending on who you talk to.

Why I am posting this if you have a idea and you are passionate about it. Do it! Don't think it can't be done.  Go on your PC, and do a lot of research. See if someone else has done it. I can't tell you how many hours of research I did. Reading recommendations, and contacting other organizations to talk to them.  Nancy Pearl, from the New Jersey Jewish Federation took the time and gave me so many resources and information how to organize.

So many people told  me it couldn't be done in this area.  Mainly because we don't have the resources. We are a resort town, and a small Jewish community. Up north, authors are always willing to come to book events. But, in the south everything is spread out.  There are not plentiful authors that are willing to come down here without charge.

 There are always books that have topics to find discussion, and a jumping point for discussion.  To enhance, and enrich the the book experience.

We have something better.  We have one thing they don't have, Rabbi Debbie Slavitt.   She is and will be our next speaker.  She is wonderful to listen to and get ideas and share with.

You would think I am done, and can take a rest. You are wrong even before we started our book event yesterday.  I had a meeting with Sisterhood of , Temple Emanu-El to discuss working together for the Jewish Grand Strand Reads.

They will be supporting me and my idea.   They realize there is a need here. Especially when some of them attended the book event yesterday.  They realized how many people came with out that much publicity.  Can you imagine if it was really publicized.

Thanks for visiting, and if you are planning a book event  and you need some help you are welcome to contact me.

Here is our new logo that our temple secretary made for next year's event.  It is awesome and now official, Jewish Grand Strand Reads 2014:

Imagination Designs
Images from the Glamor Amour by Irene Alexeeva