Friday, September 23, 2016

Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf



The new picture book Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe was brought to my attention by Rachel Kamin and Kathy Bloomfield during the 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Charleston, SC. They had some major concerns about the message it conveys to young readers, and they were so impassioned about it that I sat down with them to record their conversation. I later contacted author Greg Wolfe to invite his feedback, but to date have received no response.



Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL. She is the Children's and Teens' Book Review Co-Editor for AJL Reviews, and a past Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.

Rachel has left a review of Shmelf on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads. Please read her review and add your own comments at those locations and/or here at The Book of Life.

Rachel reached out to Bloomsbury with her concerns about this book but the only response she received was that they “stand by the book as a celebration of Hanukkah and Jewish culture.”



Kathy Bloomfield is the Executive Assistant to the Clergy and Communications Manager at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda, MD. She is the President of AJL's Schools, Synagogues, and Centers Division, and a twice-past member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. She is a book reviewer for AJL Reviews, and she blogs at ForWordsBooks.com.

Kathy's and Rachel's comments are based upon the advance reader's copy received by Rachel in her capacity as AJL Reviews Co-Editor.





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Friday, September 16, 2016

Top Ten(ish) Jewish Podcasts


Moment Magazine's July/August 2016 issue included a rundown of their Top Ten Jewish Podcasts. While they did not mention The Book of Life, I was happy that listener Erika D. mentioned it in the comments. I was also pleased to see several of my own favorite Jewish podcasts on the list: Can We Talk? from the Jewish Women's Archive and The Kibitz from Reboot. Many commenters mentioned another one of my favorites, Unorthodox from Tablet Magazine, and I took it upon myself to add a comment about the sadly now-defunct Vox Tablet (hear my interview with host Sara Ivry here).

It's exciting that there are so many Jewish podcasts that a top ten list can be made, with more podcasts to spare! What are your own favorite Jewish podcasts? Go to http://www.momentmag.com/top-ten-jewish-podcasts/ and leave your own comments!


Thursday, September 01, 2016

The Book of Life by Email

 Some of you already receive The Book of Life by email via Feedblitz. I've noticed that Feedblitz has started embedding ads, so I've created a new ad-free subscription service with MailChimp.

If you would like to receive nice, clean, ad-free Book of Life posts in your in-box, please go to Bookoflifepodcast.com and look on the right hand sidebar for "get the book of life by email." Enter your email address and hit the Subscribe button. You'll be asked to confirm your subscription, and then you're all set.

Let me know if you have any questions by emailing me at bookoflifepodcast@gmail.com. Enjoy!