Monday, November 21, 2011

Jewish Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference and Me (Lucky 13)

The Conference
      I am a Jew this quote has been said many times over the years. Yesterday I spent a whole day in a book conference in Temple Emanu-El on east 65th street. It is a much smaller conference then SCBWI but it is very specific to the topic of Jewish books. The market is starting to rise now. This conference had many great speakers including agents, Editors, authors, publishers, the Sydney Taylor awards, Jewish Book  Council and PJ library All the speakers I listed above made wonderful speeches. They focused on the usual stuff. Everyone is looking for a fresh voice, great characters, wonderful dialog and Jewish themed books. What are Jewish themed books you ask. "Look at them as a table with five legs" one publisher said. Family, holidays, Community, Hebrew language and the leg of Israel. All these topics were covered and discussed closely.

What does it mean to be a Jew?
     I was born in Russia and was a Jewish refugee when Ronald Reagan made a deal with the USSR, he exchanged pipes for 20.000 Jews to come to USA. The deal was made in 1980's. I was among that group.

To me being Jewish means a connection to community, helping others in need, Studying the old Testament, making a convent with one God and becoming a man through a Bar Mitvah. Everything works together as one. Exodus says "we were strangers in a strange land."   That is what I was in Russia, you see under communism life was not easy for anyone. We could not practice our religion freely, we could not speak out in public, we had very little food and hard lives.  I would like to end this post with five Jewish Quotes.

1) "Good Deeds are better then wise Sayings." -Talmud: Pirke Avot
2) "The Wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations."  Benjamin Disraeli
3) "Experience is what we call the accumulation of our mistakes." -Yiddish folk saying
4) "If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past."  -Baruch Spinoza
5) "Life is God's novel so let him write it." -Isaac Bashevis Singer

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