December 09, 2017

Review of New Joys of Yiddish

The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely UpdatedThe New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated by Leo Rosten

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never read the original cover to cover, just looked up words I was interested in. I'm glad I took the time to read all of this updated version. I both enjoyed and learned from this book. While I am familiar with most of the words here, many I needed reminding of their meaning again. I definitely like this new version better than the 1968 original. I hadn't realized how sexist [perhaps even misogynist] the old one was, but thankfully the editor calls out Rosten on this, as well as Rosten's tendency to criticize Reform Judaism. Things have certainly changed in 50 years.

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Posted by maggie at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2017

Baruch Dayan HaEmet Neil Gillman

Immensely sad upon learning of the death of Prof Neil Gillman on Friday, Nov 24. We've been friends since meeting at an UAHC Kallah [learning week] in Santa Cruz in 1994. He was teaching a class on the prophet Hosea that wanted us to think about Godís relationship with Israel as that of an abusive husband with his tormented wife. I showed Neil another way to interpret that text, one he hadnít considered, that God, suffering terribly by his beloved Israelís betrayal, was lashing out at the source of that pain. We spent days discussing our views and their ramifications, and came away with a relationship where each of us was both student and teacher.

Neil was fascinated that I was writing a novel about Rashi as a father. He encouraged my writing and ultimately blurbed my first "Rashi's Daughters" novel. We kept in touch by phone and whenever I found myself in NYC, which was 2 or 3 times a year once my first book was published, we'd have lunch together at JTS and chat privately in his office. Over the year he learned things about me I never told anyone else and I came to know such things about him. Too sad to write more, here is a tribute in his memory.