The ProsenPeople

Your Daily Dose of Reflection and Inspiration

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Jewish Lights is releasing a new book by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky in July with inspiring quotes from Jewish sources and personal reflections to help one focus on their spiritual life: Life’s Daily Blessings: Inspiring Reflections on Gratitude and Joy for Every Day, Based on Jewish Wisdom. An appropriate book for these difficult times! We’ve received permission from Jewish Lights to offer you a dose of today’s “Daily Blessing” from Rabbi Olitzky’s new title:

Finding the Path
April 21
Give me direction on life’s roads.
PSALM 16:11

This is one of the great psalms from the book of Psalms. It is also one of the psalms in what Rabbi Nachman of Breslov called a tikkun k’lali, “a general remedy.” Reb Nachman taught that if this group of psalms (16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, and 150) were read in this order, the individual could actually be delivered from sin. But the individual must also make a commitment to not return to a previous life of sinning.

When facing major decisions–or even minor ones–some people simply pray to God and ask for direction. Some people pray for the answer to a specific question. Others ask for more general insight. But all these approaches have one thing in common: dialogue with the Divine brings clarity to our own thinking. Maybe that is why this text is part of Reb Nachman’s general remedy. It is a blessing for all that ails you.

Blessing is from Life’s Daily Blessings: Inspiring Reflections on Gratitude and Joy for Every Day, Based on Jewish Wisdom (c) 2009 Kerry M. Olitzky (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing). Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091,

For more information about the title, please visit here.

Rise of the New Yiddishists

Monday, April 20, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Vanity Fair explores the next generation of Jewish authors:

Thirty years ago the American Jewish fiction of Philip Roth and Saul Bellow was all about Yiddish insults, blonde shiksas, and getting away from the past. Today’s talented crop of young Jewish writers, such as Nathan Englander, Michael Chabon, and Dara Horn, are weaving tales bound in a newfound ethnic pride that has revitalized Jewish literature in America.

To read the complete article, please click here.

Michael Chabon: A Life in Books

Wednesday, April 08, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone

Author Michael Chabon is the subject of “A Life in Books” in the April 6, 2009 issue of Newsweek. Chabon lists his “Five Most Important Books” along with a sentence explaining why each made the list. To read, please click here.

And, check out the the film version of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Chabon’s 1988 debut novel, now in theaters! You can view the trailer below:

Music Pairings

Friday, April 03, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

I recently spent some time on the Largehearted Boy blog, enjoying his Book Notes series, in which authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published books. There are plenty of authors to skim through, but I’ve selected a few playlists to check out from the following authors:

Another Israel Event for your Calendar (2010!)

Friday, April 03, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The 2nd International Writers Festival in Israel will be held at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center, in Jerusalem, May 2-6, 2010.

According to Uri Dromi, the General Director of Mishkenot Sha’ananim:

The first festival was a huge success, bringing together Nadine Gordimer, Amos Oz, Niall Williams, Meir Shalev, Nicole Krauss, Lidia Jorge, Anita Diamant, David Grossman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nathan Englander and many others. Huge crowds of enthusiastic readers flocked to the tent we erected on the roof of and to the other venues. I . . . .[include a] link to a clip showing Amos Oz interviewing Nicole Krauss during the festival:

The present list (March 2009) of foreign writers who have confirmed their participation in the 2nd International Writers Festival at Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center, Jerusalem, May 2-6, 2010, include: Russell Banks, Paolo Giordano, Kathryn Harrison, Liliana Heker, Yu Hua, Lloyd Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Kuipers, Erri de Luca, Jann Martel, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Bich Minh Nguyen, Senel Paz, Richard Powers, Michael Rips, Porter Shreve. We are expecting more leading writers to confirm. The foreign writers will join their Israeli fellows – Amos Oz, A.B.Yehoshua, David Grossman, Meir Shalev, Etgar Keret and many others – in a unique world literary event.

Win a FREE copy of The Jewish Body

Thursday, April 02, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

In each issue of Schocken Books’ e-newsletter (sign up here), Lauren Helman (the new Schocken books expert) will ask readers about a holiday custom. The first five people to email her the correct answer will receive a FREE copy of THE JEWISH BODY.

This month’s installment:

Sholem Aleichem, best known as the “Jewish Mark Twain”, is the author of TEVYE THE DAIRYMAN, the collection of stories that inspired what Broadway musical?

Send your answer by e-mail to Lauren Helman at

It’s National Jewish Poetry Month

Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | Permalink
Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

April is National Jewish Poetry Month on

Amir Gutfreund Shortlisted for the JQ-Wingate Prize

Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

2007 Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award Winner Amir Gutfreund (Our Holocaust) has been shortlisted for this year’s JQ-Wingate Literary Prize for his new work The World a Moment Later. Established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate, the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize is now in its 31st year. The winner of the 2009 prize will receive £4,000. For more information about the prize, pleast visit here.

The complete 2009 Shortlist:

Amir Gutfreund – The World a Moment Later (Toby Press)

Zoë Heller – The Believers (Fig Tree)

Ladislaus Löb – Dealing with Satan (Jonathan Cape)

Denis MacShane – Globalising Hatred (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Fred Wander – The Seventh Well (Granta)

Jackie Wullschlager – Chagall: Love and Exile (Allen Lane)

To read the 2009 press release, please visit here.

More Israeli Authors at PEN World Voices Festival

Monday, March 30, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

After posting the earlier link to the Israeli authors at the PEN World Voices Festival, I received news that there are two more events to keep on your radar:

Women Translating Women: with Suzane Adam
April 29th, 6:30pm @ The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction

1,000 Words: The Power of Visual Storytelling: David Polonsky
May 2, 2009 , 2:30–4 p.m @ The Great Hall, Cooper Union

To see the full list of Israeli authors at PEN World Voices, please visit the Israeli Consulate of New York’s website.

Have a Little Faith

Monday, March 30, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Publisher’s Lunch reports that Have a Little Faith: A True Story of a Last Request, Mitch Albom’s first work of nonfiction since Tuesdays with Morrie, will be published this September.

The Detroit Free Press reports, “Albom explains there are three central characters: One is an inner-city pastor who was a criminal in Detroit before turning his life around and taking over a church that helps homeless people. The second character is a 90-year-old rabbi from the suburbs of New Jersey. The third is Albom himself.”

Read the full article in the Detroit Free Press here.