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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! 

imageHere, 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 Jewish angle at non-Jewish events)
  • Reflective essays related to Jewish literature, which may include reflections on the process of creating a specific title (this is the one instance in which authors/publshers might discuss one of their own books, in a meaningful and non-commercial way that serves a larger goal)

The Jewish Book Carnival also has a GoodReads page, for discussions and more. Whether or not you’re participating, we hope you’ll stop by, join and take part!

If you want to host a future Jewish book carnival on your blog (and who wouldn’t?!?), contact Heidi at

And now… for the good stuff: 

The posts!

To start us off, Jill at Rhapsody in Books reviewed "The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach" by Pam Jenoff (book link here), a story about what befalls a young Italian Jewish immigrant Adelia (“Addie”) Montforte who arrived in America in 1941, having been sent by her parents to take refuge from the Germans.

Freelance writer and editor Deborah Kalb (who’s hosting next month’s JBC) interviews Alan Dershowitz about his new book, Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer. (book link here

Did you know they have a Jewish Book Festival in Alabama?  I didn’t.  As part of the 2nd Edition Jewish Book Festival in Birmingham, AL, author T.K. Thorne will speak about her historical novel Angels at the Gate (book link here)Considered controversial by some for including the role of the feminine divine in early Hebrew history and her twists on the story of Sodom and Gomarah and the woman who turned to salt, her novel has received rave reviews. The talk is free and open to the public on November 18th, 5:30pm at the Levite Jewish Community Center.  More info here.

Over at the Book of Life podcast, there’s a new interview with filmmakers and authors Sue & Lloyd Ecker, who have taken their fascination with major 20th century entertainer Sophie Tucker to the big screen and into the pages of a “fictional memoir.”  (book link here)

The Fig Tree Books blog celebrates the reissue of a terrific book, The Pawnbroker, by Edward Lewis Wallant (book link here), with a new forward by wunderkind author Dara Horn, along with a new essay exploring Horn’s own work.

On her blog My Machberet, Erika Dreifus rings in Jewish Book Month with some brand-new Jewish poetry titles.

Just found a new-to-me Jewish Book Review blog with an awesomely perplexing name: Emunaroma.  Over there, Rivka Levy reviews 'Calling out to you' - a new collection of essays, poems and interviews exploring an authentic Jewish approach to clinical depression and anxiety.

In his monthly Jewish books column at, Howard Freedman serves up some tasty new Jewish offerings that’ll make your mouth water.  One reason, he says, that food is so central to Jewish culture is that “we recognize how it tells a story.”  Check out these stories in his column here.

At her Shiloh Musings blog, Batya Medad reviews Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ collection of short essays on the weekly parsha, Lessons in Leadership (book link here).  You can find her review here.  (hint: she liked it!)

Chava Pinchuk spent "Yet Another Literary Day in Jerusalem" going to her favorite used bookstore and then to Yad Vashem. Then she spent the rainy afternoon reading… all over at Life Is Like a Library.

And me, you ask?  What have I been up to??  Actually… I just released a new book for kids sharing a different approach to learning tefillah (prayer), illustrated by the sweetest little wooden dummies.  The book’s called Day of Blessings: Traditional Jewish Morning Blessings in Rhyme (book link here), and you can find out what’s so different about it over here in this blog post.


Finally, Jewish Book Council launched its 30 Days, 30 Authors series, part of its 90th Jewish Book Month this November.  They invited thirty leading writers to answer fun questions about reading, writing, and living Jewish literature in delightful video shorts.  They’re also proud proud to announce the inauguration of their digitized archive of Jewish Book Annual, presenting over half a century of national discourse on Jewish literature in an interactive, searchable format.

Thanks for reading… and thanks for READING!  A wonderful, blessed chodesh Kislev to all.

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


  1. Thank you for hosting! Better late than never with a great selection of links.

  2. Check out my recent review of The Pawnbroker at The New York Journal of Books ( I haven't seen as much groundswell of discontent about a book and an author for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Wallant is very descriptive, particularly with insight into the human character. It does not resemble any other Holocaust book, even though the Shoah is the constant 6 million pound elephant in the room. The pawnbroker's personality and existence has been warped by the events of the Holocaust in a terrible, permanent and frightening way. Despite Wallant's detractors, I enjoyed the book and I felt sad that the poor author only lived to the age of 36.

    P.S. The film starring Rod Steiger is just as terrific as the book. He was exceptionally well-cast.

  3. This post was chosen to be included in the very latest roundup of  Jewish and Israeli Blog Posts, aka Havel Havelim, which now comes out every few weeks. Please visit, comment and share thanks. And you're very welcome to get more involved in the Jewish blogging community.


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