November 25, 2007

(Reb Yudel)

How the Writers Strike made me a better parent... alas!

After decades of thinking about going to watch a TV show being taped, and six months after applying on the Daily Show web site, we were scheduled Wednesday to watch the Daily Show being taped. It was the same night as our kids' parent-teacher conferences, but really: What's more important? Hearing good news about our kids, or bad news about our political leaders?

So our course was clear.

But then along came the Writers Strike.

Really, though, the Writers Strike is about more than just good parenting. Watch this clip, in which the writers for the Daily Show explain it all in the manner we've come to expect from America's finest news source:

November 15, 2007

(Reb Yudel)

The Jewish Week likes our poet

Everyone says that publishing poetry is bad business. But what could we do? We loved Isidore Century's poems!

So it's particularly gratifying that the Jewish Week seem to love him too. From their guide to fall books:

Open “From the Coffee House of Jewish Dreamers” (Ben Yehuda Press) in one direction, and you can read Isidore Century’s “Poems of Wonder and Wandering”; from the other, “Poems of the Weekly Torah Portions.” On one side of the cover, the author is drinking coffee with the Cyclone behind him; on the flip side, he’s got his coffee at the same table, with the Kotel behind.

Isidore Century is a wonderful poet. He writes of traveling to Coney Island; visiting Israel and returning there to the land of Yiddish in which he grew up; his father, who escaped from Poland and made his way illegally to the U.S., where he became an official in the Painter’s Union; and about his own reluctant and penetrating faith, “I keep running from a God/in whom I do not believe/hoping he catches me.”

His poems are brief stories: they’re funny, deeply observed, without pretension, written with a knowingness and rhythm of things old and new. Those related to Torah readings are poetic, original midrashim. He brings the figures of the Bible to Central Park, or places the poet in Egypt and service as Joseph’s valet and butler, adding his distinctive accent to the text.