Blogkeeping & a reading list

Blogkeeping = housekeeping for a blog??

Some small items of blogkeeping:

I know that some of you are reading these posts by email, and don’t automatically get to see the comments that people post on the blog site. If you have the time, I encourage you to visit the blog and check them out!

It turns out I have a group of very wise and eclectic friends. There have been comments posted by a couple of Episcopal ministers, a Jew-turned-Unitarian, a Muslim-turned-atheist, plus other assorted very thoughtful people. It is wild to have people from totally different parts of my life “talking” to each other this way! Many of these folks have been thinking about this stuff for far longer and in far deeper ways than I have; their comments are worth reading.

Meanwhile, others of you may not have figured out how to subscribe by email. It’s easy. Look on the right side of the blog page, and click on the words “subscribe to this blog by email.” Follow the directions, and then future posts will be sent automatically to your email box shortly after I write them.

Shifting gears slightly, I’d like to share my current Bat Mitzvah reading list. In response to my list of “things I’d like to learn,” my rabbi suggested a number of books. Among them:

  • Who Wrote the Bible?, by Richard Elliott Friedman. This uses archeological and historical evidence to theorize about when, why and by whom different sections of the Torah were written down. I haven’t started this one yet.
  • My People by Abba Eban, a history of the Jewish people from way-back to almost-now. I’m reading the first 100 pages for the history up until around 70 CE (Common Era, Jewish alternative to the Christian term of  AD). Basically, if I want to understand who wrote the Bible per Friedman, I need to get a handle on the history and politics of the time.
  • Finding God: Selected Responses, by Rifat Sonsino and Daniel Syme. Very accessible, simplified summaries of how different Jewish thinkers have viewed God. I was delighted to see that it includes Erich Fromm, the 20th century humanist psychologist who was a major inspiration to me as a teenager.
  • What Happens After I Die? Jewish Views of Life After Death, also by Sonsino and Syme.

Just for the heck of it, and because I can’t leave a bookstore unless I am staggering under the weight of my purchases, I also bought the new Robert Alter translation of the Torah, an A.B. Yehoshua novel called Mr. Mani and a historical novel about an11th century young woman who secretly studies Talmud called  Rashi’s Daughters.

Okay, Ilana… quit typing and start reading!

5 Responses to “Blogkeeping & a reading list”

  1. Susie Miller Says:

    The author of Rashi’s Daughters is speaking at our synagogue on Jan. 13. Check out for more info (though there isn’t much yet!). Also, I listen to a variety of podcasts these days and just listened to this one from “To the Best of Our Knowledge” (which I love) last night: God is Back! . Thought of you while I listened…And one more thing…Ben and I were out in our pasture mucking up (or cleaning up the muck), an oddly meditative chore, when he said to me: “So, right now do you feel more like dust and ashes or for your sake the world was created?” I almost dropped my pitchfork load of manure!

  2. Jody Says:

    …I’m still on the connectedness subject, but related to “Blogkeeping and Reading List” – because we (my family) don’t attend church and don’t consider ourselves ‘religious’ I’m always looking for meaningful ways to make spirituality part of our lives…it’s especially difficult with teenagers. I listened to a podcast one day and realized the guy talking was Dwight from “The Office”…Rainn Wilson. Turns out he was raised in the Baha’i faith and is a really bright and thoughtful guy. Anyway, he started this website called “Soul Pancake” – it’s a venue for kids to think about really big questions.

  3. Molly Says:

    I think you might be interested in what A.B. Yehoshua has to say about Americans for Peace Now…a pro-Israel pro-Peace organization.

    • Ilana DeBare Says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I actually got Yehoshua’s note in an email (I’m on the Peace Now email list). I also have one of his novels, Mr. Mani, sitting on my bedside table but won’t get to it for a while.

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