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December 27, 2012 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-12-27

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arts & entertainment

A New Home On The Internet

JewishFiction.net is the only online or print publication
in the world devoted solely to Jewish fiction.


Jeffrey F. Barken



peaking over lively klezmer music
in a Krakow cafe, Canadian author
and freelance journalist Menachem
Kaiser wonders if Jewish readers are com-
fortable with the term "Jewish fiction:'
Kaiser is a recipient of a Fulbright
Fellowship in Lithuania, where he
teaches creative writing. His story Din,
was recently published alongside several
prominent authors in a new online journal,
Din is a sensitive account of the personal
guilt and private anguish of "genetic incom-
patibility" faced by a young Jewish couple,
each a carrier of the lethal Tay Sachs dis-
ease gene. Although Kaiser admits that his
Jewish background strongly influences his
work, and that "highly Jewish" themes often
rise to the surface and become his focus,
he is reluctant to narrowly define the genre
that he and fellow Jewish writers produce.
"Are we writing in a closed language?"
he tells JNS.org, warning against typifying
Jewish motifs. "We're not exactly an endan-
gered species, and it's not an emerging mar-
ket. In many ways, it is actually a dominant
If not dominant, Jewish voices have
always been impacted by the cultural and
political realities that surround the faith.
Always at the center of modern public
dialogue and debate, Israel is the source
of strongly emotional and disparate views

Ann Birstein, Chava Rosenfarb, Yorem
Kaniuk and others — lending the publica-
tion real prestige.
To achieve broad appeal, every issue
reserves space for bright, energized, up-
and-coming new writers. Gold's team of
reviewers is swamped with submissions
and blessed with an abundance of young
talent. Gold herself won a Canadian Jewish
Book Award for Marrow and Other Stories.
As editor-in-chief, Gold pays particular
attention not only to gender balance but
also to the language mix represented on
the site. Every installment includes at least
two or three Hebrew works translated into
English. Stories have also been translated
g from Spanish, French, Russian, Romanian,
il Serbian, Turkish, Croatian and Yiddish.
Gold recalls founding JewishFiction.net
in part because she worried that upheaval
Left: Elie Wiesel,
among readers.
build a bridge, and a dialogue,
in the publishing industry might limit
of the well-
For Dr. Nora Gold, the
between Jewish writers in Israel
opportunities for Jewish voices to be heard.
known featured
founder and editor of
and the Diaspora."
The global nature of the Internet allows
authors on
JewishFiction.net, publishing
Since debuting in September
her to portray a vivid perspective of Jewish
Jewish stories from around
2010, the JewishFiction.net
communities previously isolated by lan-
Right: Nora
the world has highlighted and
website — which can be found
guage barriers but also provides a vehicle
Gold, founder of
linked unique perspectives.
at www.jewishfiction.net and
for spotlighting quality storytelling other-
"I see this journal as a
can be read free of charge — has
wise rejected by mainstream publishers due
means to bring together in
attracted readers in 95 different
to its Jewish content.
one place first-rate Jewish fic-
countries. Registered as a non-
Ostracizing Jewish writers is a serious
tion from many different countries, thus
profit in Canada, the site is the only online
charge. Yet, several writers in Gold's circle
allowing us all to experience simultaneously or print publication in the world devoted
readily recount rejection because their work
the rich diversity that exists within Jewish
solely to Jewish fiction.
focused on Jewish themes unfamiliar to gen-
culture and the core elements that unite
Gold actively solicits and receives sub-
eral audiences. Indeed, many also worry that
us," she writes in the "About" section of the
missions and translations of works by dis-
hints of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli senti-
journal. "I am also committed to trying to
tinguished authors — including Elie Wiesel, ment influence modern media practices.

A New Home on page 52



Nate Bloom

Special to the Jewish News



The Hammer
J:11 Help
You probably remember The Hebrew

Back in 2003, this indie film
CI Hammer.
played briefly in theaters but was

seen because Comedy Central
4 1 widely
paid $500K upfront to have the rights

(0) to show it almost as soon as it was

released and for five years thereafter.
It starred Adam
Goldberg, now 42,
as a Jewish private
detective (modeled
after Shaft) who
is enlisted to save
Chanukah from the
"evil son" of the
(good) Santa Claus.
There were tons of
Jewish jokes/cul-
tural references that most, if not all,


December 27 • 2012


thought were funny and not offensive.
Eventually, Vanity Fair and the Boston
Globe put it on their lists of the best
holiday movies of all time.
Now, after five years of legal wran-
gling, the film's
director, Jonathan
Kesselman, is solicit-
ing for 200K in dona-
tions to start filming
a sequel, The Hebrew

Hammer v. Hitler,

next May. The dona-
tion page, which can
be easily found on
the site Jewcer.com ,
is pretty funny and explains what you
get for your donation (i.e., for $18, a
digital download of the film).
Partially filmed in Michigan, This
Must Be the Place opens exclusively
at Cass City Cinema in Detroit on
Thursday, Dec. 27. In the film by

Italian filmmaker
Paolo Sorrentino,
Cheyenne (Sean
Penn, 52), a retired
rock star living off his
royalties in Dublin,
returns to New York
City to find the man
responsible for a
humiliation suffered
by his estranged, recently deceased
father in Auschwitz during World
War II. Frances McDormand and Judd
Hirsch, 77, co-star. Casscitycinema.
com .

Joffrey Ballet

An American Masters 90-minute
documentary titled Joffrey: Mavericks
of American Dance traces the strug-
gles and triumphs of the pioneer-
ing American dance company and
premieres on PBS stations at 9 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 28 (check
your local cable guide
for Detroit showings).
The film is nar-
rated by actor
Mandy Patinkin, 60,
a Chicago native.
Rahm Emanuel, 53,
the present and first
Jewish mayor of
Chicago, was offered
a ballet scholarship
to the Joffrey, then in
New York. He turned
it down in favor of
Sarah Lawrence
College, which has
a strong dance
program. Now the
Joffrey is a jewel in
Emanuel's kind of town, Chicago.

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