I wanted to take a moment to give a shout-out to folks who have mentioned or reviewed 70 faces recently, and also to offer a reminder of upcoming events -- I've got 3 events in the Boston area on the weekend of March 12-13, and my first Berkshire County event is in Williamstown on the evening of March 16. (Read more about all of those events here.)
For several years now I have been inspired by the Jewish-American wisdom coming from the pen of Rachel Barenblat, who writes a blog under the title of "The Velveteen Rabbi", whose blog motto has been "When can I run and play with the real rabbis?" Having received ordination from ALEPH - the Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rachel is now Rabbi Barenblat, and has changed her motto to "Now running and playing with the real rabbis!" At the same time, this talented woman has also just seen publication of "70 Faces", poems written in response to the Torah in the longstanding tradition of midrash.
(This is as much a post about this blog as it is a post about the book, but he does say kind things about the book as well as the blog -- thanks, Tony!)
Zackary Sholem Berger reviewed 70 faces for the Forward: Torah Poems That Bring Comfort, Not Questions. Unfortunately, he didn't love the book (my first not-so-positive review!) though he found some things to like about it, at least:
Barenblat, who is also a rabbi and blogger, can make the patriarchs and matriarchs immediate and narrative possibilities concrete: "Maybe there’s always a ram," she writes, "waiting just outside the frame."
...But the fatal flaw of the book is its failure to live up to the claims the author makes for it.
And finally, one of the poems from the book was reprinted in a blog post: First Step:
This is maybe not a book I would normally own, becuase a) I'm very picky about my poetry, and b) I'm not Jewish, but I really like Rachel's poetry.
Thanks, Celli! And thanks to all who've taken the time to write something about the book or to share a favorite poem with friends.