Books, Articles, a Commentary Review, and Pesach and Summer Plans

It has been a while since my last update, but there’s lots to tell. We’ve got books, articles, and travel plans.

Let’s start with the travel plans. If you don’t have Pesach plans yet, please consider joining the Fischers on a riverboat cruise along the Danube River, where Pesha and I will be scholars in residence. In addition to shi’urim on Pesach themes, we will be discussing some fascinating aspects of Austro-Hungarian Jewish history. Check out a list of some of our topics. If you decide to join us, please mention my name in your application. We will also be in the US this summer, for the first time since 2011. If you are interested in bringing one or both of us in as a scholar-in-residence during July or August, please let me know.

I haven’t written a book (yet), but I’ve had a hand in a few that have come out recently. During the summer, Rabbi Benny Lau’s Jeremiah: the Fate of a Prophet appeared, and next week, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed’s Peninei Halakha: Laws of Pesah is scheduled for publication. Both are published by Koren/Maggid, and I edited both volumes. In the case of Rav Melamed’s work, it is the first of a projected 15 (!) volume series. Two volumes on the Laws of Shabbat and two volumes on the Laws of Prayer (one specifically geared toward women; sponsorships are available, so please be in touch if you are interested) will appear in the near future.
A copy of Prof. Moshe Halbertal’s Maimonides: Life and Thought should be arriving in by mailbox any day. I had a small hand in this volume as well, having translated a chapter that originally appeared in Hebrew. I look forward to sinking my teeth into the rest of the volume.
Last but not least, The Iranian Talmud by my brother-in-law Shai Secunda is hot off the press. He and I have collaborated on articles, but this one’s all his (though he graciously mentions me as a “valued interlocutor” in the acknowledgments). We are absolutely thrilled for him!

There have been quite a few opportunities for me to write articles lately, with more on the way. A few months ago, New York’s Jewish Week gave me the opportunity to express some thoughts on Rav Ovadia Yosef upon the occasion of his passing (there has also been some interest in translating R. Benny Lau’s book on R. Ovadia; once again, there are sponsorship opportunities. Contact me if you are interested). More recently, the same publication gratified my penchant for pot-stirring by publishing my article on get­-withholding, in which I buck conventional wisdom. The backlash has been milder than expected, at least for now.
The most recent issue of Jewish Action has a section on “out of town” communities. They asked me to write an article on building a college campus community. It’s a short piece, but I managed to make some points while also sneaking in some veiled cynicism.
Most recently, I reviewed Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land for Commentary. It is very exciting for me to be published in such a venerable and well-regarded magazine. Hopefully this is not the last time. The review is paywalled, but one blogger posted a fairly extensive excerpt.
A few articles I translated have appeared as well: some of R. Dr. Avie Walfish’s recently posted material on Mishna Mo’ed and an important article by R. Eliezer Melamed on domestic partnerships and Jewish marriage in Israel. You may have also noticed that the Jordan Valley has been in the news a lot lately, in context of the ongoing negotiations between Israel and the PA. I’ve been helping my sister, Elana Diner, with her blog about life in the Jordan Valley called “(Jordan) Valley Girl.”  Check it out!

It’s Tu Bi-Shvat in less than a week. To help you prepare, take a look at an article I wrote last year and a Tu Bi-Shvat “Haggadah” that I compiled a few years ago, which divides the “Seder” by time period.

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