Volume 9 Number 20
                       Produced: Tue Sep 14 17:52:38 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Computer Jobs in Israel - August Update
         [Jacob Richman]
Jewish Children's Fiction
         [Rick Dinitz]
Jewish Fiction (3)
         [Nadine Bonner, Michael Kramer, David Ben-Chaim]
Jobs in Israel
         [Kibi Hofmann]
Visiting Jerusalem for Sukkot
         [Howie Pielet]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 93 19:33:06 -0400
Subject: Computer Jobs in Israel - August Update


The new August 1993 CJI Listing has 317 companies with job offers.
Below is a re-post of how to subscribe.

Computer Jobs in Israel (CJI) is a one way list which will 
automatically send you the bi-monthly updated computer jobs document. 
This list will also send you other special documents / announcements
regarding finding computer work in Israel. Mailings are one per week.

During the first 2-3 months (startup) please do not send any requests 
to the list owner regarding "I have this experience who should I contact".
Eventually this list will be an open, moderated list for everyone to 
exchange information about computer jobs in Israel.

To subscribe send mail to <listserv@...> with the text:

sub cji firstname lastname

Good luck in your job search,
Shana Tova,

Jacob Richman (<jrichman@...>)
CJI List Owner


From: tekbspa!<dinitz@...> (Rick Dinitz)
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 17:26:14 -0400
Subject: Jewish Children's Fiction

 Esther Posen speculates [in m.j v9#14] that the reason behind the
poor quality of Jewish books for children is that few religious Jews
choose fiction writing as a profession.

 My analysis of this sad situation locates the source of the problem
in the nature of the market.  There are so few _good_ Jewish books for
children because there are so few Jewish books for children at all.
Why?  Because they don't sell well enough.  The market is not only
small, it's also highly fragmented.

 In my opinion it isn't that Jews can't or don't write, it's that Jews
don't agree on what we buy.

 Publishers don't print many Jewish children's books because there's
not much money in it.  To begin with, the number of people who would
buy a Jewish children's book is small compared to the rest of the
kid-lit market.  One might think that this would constitute a good
niche market, and indeed a small handful of publishers collectively
produce about a dozen books per year.  This is not a large offering,
and few of them strike it big.

 The problem of a small market is compounded by its fragmentation.
Jewish book buyers are not of similar mind, nor similar taste.  An
Orthodox parent will not usually buy the same books for their children
as would a Reform parent, and assimilated parents hardly buy any
Jewish children's books at all.  Publishers don't see the potential
for a Jewish children's blockbuster or strong backlister, and this is
the root of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  <<The Carp in the Bathtub>>
is a notable exception.

 The same market pressure also results in unattractive books.  Most
Jewish children's books are low-budget productions.  Publishers don't
expect to sell many, so they don't want to invest much money to print
books with beautiful illustrations, high-quality color printing, good
paper or bindings.  Yet these features are expected by those who buy
children's books.  Another self-fulfilling prophecy.

 Libraries constitute an important chunk of the general children's
book market.  Publishers know that they can rely on a certain number
of sales to libraries on the strength of a few good advance reviews.
I suspect that this logic doesn't necessarily carry into the Jewish
children's market.

 When seen in this context, Esther's comment reveals an important
possibility.  If we could make a living at it, perhaps more Jews would
write Jewish children's books.

 Perhaps if some wealthy patron of the arts would endow Jewish
children's publishers to produce several dozen high-quality books per
year (and sell them at a loss) we might end up with more winners.

Copyright 1993, Rick Dinitz


From: <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner)
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 93 23:47:34 -0400
Subject: Jewish Fiction

I've been following this discussion and am surprised that Chaim Potak
hasn't been mentioned yet.  Or at least I haven't seen him mentioned.
He seems to be one writer who has managed to infuse Judaism into his
writing and still appeal to the general public.  Most of the conflict in
his books revolves around very Jewish issues, and although there is
often a touch of romance, he manages to avoid sex because it has nothing
to do with his story.

I am an avid mystery reader myself and am amazed by a recent flood of
mysteries with Jewish themes.  Faye Kellerman has just released the
fifth in a series about a ba'al tshuva LA policeman and his former mikve
lady wife.  Israeli/American journalism Robert Rosenberg has two books
featuring Jerusalem policeman Avrum Cohen.  And I just finished a very
sacchrine offering featuring Fanny Zindle, described as a Jewish Mrs.
Polifax.  What I find interesting about these books, especially the
Kellermans, is the reaction of the gentile readers.  Most of them admit
that Kellerman's mysteries are only so-so, but they find the Orthodox
Jewish background fascinating.

The publishing industry isn't interested in literature, only sales.  So
if books with Jewish themes sell, they'll print them.  A recent success
has been Naomi Ragen's "The Sotah".  Ragen is sort of an Orthodox
Danielle Steele.  There is a lot of romance, no bad language or explicit
sex.  And the gentiles find the Orthodox/Israeli background exotic.

So we may be finding more Jewish books on the shelves, even if they
aren't what you'd call literature.


From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1993 13:53:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Jewish Fiction

Re: Norman Miller's call for "a better definition of what we're talking
about . . . and a theory as to why Judaism and the literary imagination
don't mesh so well."

[ In catching up with my mail-jewish reading, I noticed that my recent
remarks about why there is no Orthodox fiction echo, in only slightly more
academic language (an occupational hazard, I can't help it), the remarks of
Esther Posen.  My apologies to her and to all of you for not citing her.
(Well, since I got that message before I sent out your first message, I
guess you have cited her Mod.) ]

As an observant Jew who is also a literature professor (who teaches
Jewish American and other ethnic and American literature) I've often
wondered about these issues--in and out of the classroom.  It's almost
impossible to arrive at a definition of "Jewish" that is acceptable to
all and that covers all instances that we might commonsensically refer
to as Jewish.  (This difficulty is shared by all designations, e.g.
"American," "Black," even "literature.")  So I won't even attempt to
address it here on mlj.

But as to the second question, here are two possibilities:

1.  Sociological: Creative Orthodox minds have simply not been attracted
to novel writing but to halakha, to midrash, to philosophy.  Novels are
frowned upon as frivolous, and it would have been quite surprising is
that stigma were ignored.  I think this answer actually begs the
question, but versions of it have been used to explain, for instance,
the dearth of good literature in America before Emerson (Creative
Americans were out doing practical things, like conquering a continent,
forging a constitution, etc.)

2.  Lumdish: Orthodoxy, as the Rav tells us, is fundamentally normative.
In other words, the goal of halakha is to mold the life of an individual
in a certain pre-defined way.  We believe that this is indeed a creative
process and not simply conformist but, nevertheless, it is normative.
And anyone who has lived in an frum community knows that non-conformity
(at a sociological level) is severely frowned upon.  Novels, on the
other hand, explore (sometimes celebrate, sometimes condemn)
non-conformity.  Think of classic American novels, such as The Scarlet
Letter, Moby Dick, Huck Finn, The Portrait of a Lady.  Think of
detective novels.  Understood this way, Orthodoxy and Novels do not mesh
so well.  Of course, there are many Jewish _stories_ (hassidic tales,
etc.) but these are not novels.

Just some random thoughts.

Michael P. Kramer
UC Davis

From: <DAVIDBC@...> (David Ben-Chaim)
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1993 9:10:45 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Jewish Fiction

1) I don't think that anyone mentioned Marek Halter's "Book Of Abraham"
which I read on a lonely business trip to Greece and Turkey. It reminds
one of "The Source", but this one being written by a Jew is much more
moving. When recently in N.Y. I looked for the book in used books shops
(It was printed in 1987 but I couldn't find it in any of the new book
shops) and then I came across the sequel, "The Children of Abraham". I
bought in hardcover figuring it would be a continutation of the moving
first volume, and despite being a librarian, I was ready to burn it.
It's one big long overblown ode to himself and how he supposedly carried
on all kinds of secret missions to the Arab world to single handly bring
about peace between the children of Abraham. I would only recommend the
first book.

2)   >This might also explain the poor quality of jewish books for children 

 In Israel the publishers of children's books started a few years ago to
put a hat on all of the little boys in the illustrations, that broadening
the market to include the growing percentage of the traditional/orthodox
Israeli public.  Many video/audio cassettes come with transliterated 
lyrics or subtitles for the English speaking market, the only problem with 
the video cassettes being that in Israel we use the European standard of
TV rather than the American standard. (We have about 30% more lines per
inch so the picture is clearer - especially in these days of wall to wall
tv screen sizes.)

|    David Ben-Chaim                      |
|    Coordinator, Computerized Services  Elyachar Central Library
|    The Technion, Haifa, Israel 32000. Tel: 972-4-292503 or 292502          |
|    email: <davidbc@...>    |


From: Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 14:36:04 BST
Subject: Jobs in Israel

I'm a 25 year old, single English guy & I'm hoping to make Aliya in
January '94 to Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem.

I have a first class honours BSc in Materials Science (Metallurgy) and
am currently writing my thesis for a Computer Science MSc. Once in
Israel I hope to work in either of the major fields suggested by those
two disciplines or in fact anything with a scientific slant which I
could get into.  (yes that's a bit wide, but I've been told to keep my
options open!).

Can I use the members of m.j. to elicit some information about jobs in
this (these) field(s) in Israel? (not just general facts but some sort
of specifics is what I'm after) Also, if anyone is going out the same
time and/or to the same place I would be very glad to hear from them.

Of course, job offers and large sums of cash are also acceptable!

Please send information to <hofmanna@...>

Thanks very much.
A Happy and prosperous new year to all m.j. readers
Kibi Hofmann


From: <pielet@...> (Howie Pielet)
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 93 00:31:05 -0400
Subject: Visiting Jerusalem for Sukkot

bs'd IY'H, we'll be visiting our children and grandson in Telshe Stone
and Neve Yaakov for Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  I'd enjoy saying hello in
person to m-j posters.  Is there anything in particular that someone
would like us to bring?  Does anyone have a car seat we could borrow for
a 1 1/2 year-old?  Does anyone have information about chemical/process
metallurgy in Israeli universities and industry?

K'siva Vachasima Tova

Howie Pielet   Internet: <pielet@...>  (East Chicago, Indiana, USA)


End of Volume 9 Issue 20