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Showing posts from November, 2015

7 tricks I’ve learned to conquer my fear of doing interviews

What’s the secret to my success as a writer? (asks nobody, ever… I know, I know) Actually, I would say I’m doing okay as a writer.  I’m writing more or less full-time these days, even if it’s not all the kind of writing I love to do. Shifting identity I don’t usually offer a peek behind the scenes into my writing life.  However, one of the big shifts of moving to Israel has been transitioning my own identity, from being a homeschooling stay-home mom to a full-time freelance writer. Over the years, probably the biggest hurdle I’ve cleared as a writer is learning the art of interviewing.  I knew, starting out, that I couldn’t just sell my own words.  Interviews make almost any type of article better and more authoritative. Why interview?  Being able to interview well opens the door to a richer, more successful writing career in a few ways: You can cover more topics, with experts to make your articles fascinating and well-rounded. You can create Q&As with well-known people

Why I never run up to people and shout hello (a small story)

I was standing alone in the playground during recess when I spotted my grandfather all the way across at the other entrance to the park. “Zaidy!” I screamed, and started running to meet him, arms out wide though he was not the hugging type. What was he doing here? Maybe he was coming to take me out of school? Maybe he’d pop me in his car and he’d drive, jerky like usual, the way my brother thought was hilarious. He’d pretend he had a donkey in the trunk, and take me somewhere special, just the two of us. “Zaidy, hi, Zaidy,” I called, waving my arms frantically. “It’s me, it’s Jennifer!” He did not turn. He could not see me. My zeidy was a quiet man who didn’t talk much. “Ess gezinteheit,” he’d say when we sat down to eat. My father said it meant, “Eat in good health.” He was the only person I knew who said that. He drank coffee every Saturday morning out of a huge glass mug with PAT on the side, which was not his name. He’d stir it, stir it, ever so carefully, before silently takin

If this is Kislev (so soon?)… this must be the November Jewish Book Carnival!!!

Welcome, welcome!  Only 2 days late and perhaps (as I tediously always say), a couple dollars short.  My excuse?  I have none… just working.  Life on Israel time is so incredibly fast-paced.  I would never have believed that having an extra working day in the week could possibly mean I would feel MORE busy.  Weird how that works.  So enough about that.  This is my third time I’ve been lucky enough to host the Jewish Book Carnival, and I’ve received so many terrific submissions from folks who are passionate about Jewish books.  Even if you're not Jewish, you can step inside (okay, scroll inside) and find some great books and writers about books from all over the internet.  I hope you’ll discover a new favourite blog or book today. What goes on in a Jewish book carnival? Glad you asked!  Here, you’ll find… Reviews of Jewish books Interviews with authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, librarians, etc. about Jewish literature Reporting on Jewish literary events (or the Je

Day of Blessings: a fun new book about Jewish prayer

Why wait until kids are older to start explaining the ideas behind Jewish prayers?  I created this book to share a new approach: explaining the series of brachos (brachot = prayers) we say each morning in a way that was clear and kid-friendly, not to mention fun.  Don’t you love these little wooden dolls???  They’re doing something different on every single page of the book!  They’re a great way to get the point across in a way kids can relate to. What you’ll find inside: Full Hebrew text (with vowels!) of the 15 morning brachot (blessings) Easy-to-read new English translations Light rhyming verses to communicate core concepts Fun, lively illustrations highlighting one key idea behind each bracha Available in Print or Ebook form (Kindle, unlocked and convertible to Epub or any other form you like for reading on screen or device) Check out the back cover of the book, along with a few sample spreads from inside: Honestly, I want to share the whole thing with you – but th

What does it mean when Hashem makes a promise? Thoughts for Chayei Sarah

Over the last 3 parshiyos since we first encountered the personality of Avraham Avinu, we've seen Hashem making two distinct promises to him: ארץ/ eretz and זרע/zera, the land and the offspring. Hashem makes these promises not once, not twice, but... FIVE SEPARATE TIMES. Yet in each of these three parshiyos, we've repeatedly seen the future of these two promises called into doubt. Last week, with Hashem's call to kill Yitzchak at the akeida, for instance (a friend pointed out that Hashem didn’t say to kill Yitzchak, but rather to take him up – fair point, but since they brought along wood and a knife, I have to believe that one or both of them probably figured there would be killing going on). In this week's parsha, there are two themes that threaten those promises: the haggling with Efron over the cave and the desperate search for a wife for a middle-aged, pining-over-Sara Yitzchak. Now, keep in mind that I’m coming at this story as a writer.  From the perspecti