THE BOOK OF LIFE - Family Meeting
12:33AM Mar 23, 2020
Welcome to The Book of Life, a podcast about Jewish kidlit, mostly. I'm Heidi Rabinowitz. Today my husband Matthew joins me to help me run a family meeting. Hi, sweetie.
Hi, honey. What are we talking about today?
Well, our own family is fine, thank goodness. But I want to check in with our Book of Life family as we all settle in for a long haul of social distancing, as the coronavirus takes over the US.
Well, you haven't waited for your stuffy nose to clear up before recording. Is there something you need people to hear right away?
Well, yes. When I heard some of my author friends online talking about their book tours being canceled due to coronavirus. I realized that I could use the podcast to help them and to feel less helpless, like I was doing something. So I came up with this project and I'm calling it Books in the Time of Coronavirus. And I'm inviting authors or illustrators of new Jewish books, whose promotional events have been canceled this spring, to self record a brief interview, and then I'll play it on The Book of Life.
That sounds great. But what's the rush?
I didn't even want to wait for my nose to clear up because I was just in a hurry to get started on this right away. I'm hoping a lot of authors can go ahead and send me their recordings. actually really soon, like by the end of March would be perfect. So if you're listening after that, you should still check in with me because I'll probably want to do another round. I've posted detailed instructions at BookofLifepodcast.com so that people will know exactly what to do.
Okay, good. What else is on your agenda for this family meeting?
Well, Passover is coming up. And I wanted people to know that I helped the Association of Jewish Libraries add a list of Passover books to the Love Your Neighbor series. And that's a series of Jewish book recommendations aimed at all readers, not just Jewish readers, because it's meant to combat prejudice by reading children's literature. So that is not directly a podcasting project, but it is something I want everybody to know about. Because fighting prejudice is really important right now, especially with xenophobia spreading along with the fear of the coronavirus.
You've been doing some other work to fight prejudice. Talk about the Stand Up section on your website.
Oh, thanks. Yes, that is really important. The Stand Up section at BookofLifepodcast.com is a list of 10 simple things that people can do to push back against antisemitism.
Well, like sharing the solidarity image that was created by the Association of Jewish libraries. You can share that image on social media. Or signing the petition, the "book community statement of solidarity against antisemitism" that's up there, or using the Love Your Neighbor recommendations of reading lists, and of course, sharing Jewish podcasts like this one, especially with your non Jewish friends, every little bit helps. So look for the Stand Up tab at the top of the webpage.
I think you also had some Book of Life housekeeping things you wanted to talk about. Tell everybody about the transcripts?
Oh, I'm glad you asked about that. Almost a year ago, I started making transcripts of each podcast episode so that people can read it as well as listen to each episode. And it's helped me reach some people who are hearing impaired, but also people like it because it's just easier for some people to read it than to listen. And the cool thing is, you can actually do both at the same time. When you look at an episode on the blog at BookofLifepodcast.com and you see the transcript link and you click on that, it will take you to a page where you can see all the words in front of you, but you can click the play button too. And it will actually highlight the words on the transcript as it plays the audio for you.
Oh, that's really helpful. Wow, it seems like you're using the podcast to help people in a lot of ways. Is there a way people can help the podcast?
Well, yes, there's a couple things. First of all, the show is free to listen to, but it's not free to produce. I don't have ads, because I don't like hearing ads. So I don't want to make other people hear ads. But it's always great if "listeners like you" want to support the show.
Okay, how do people do that?
There's a few ways: people could become patrons of the show at Patreon to offer a small amount each month. I do that with a few projects that I like, other podcasts and artists, I just send them like $1 a month. It doesn't hurt me and it helps them. But one-time donations are good too. If you click on the Support tab at the top of the page of bookoflifepodcast.com there are links where you can make a donation to my library at Congregation B'nai Israel, which is the home base for the podcast. And any kind of donation will get you a shout-out on the podcast, so that can be fun.
All right. Well, but what if people don't have money to spare and still want to support Book of Life, is there another way to be helpful?
Yeah, it's really helpful when people rate and review the show, and share the podcast with friends, and that helps me find more listeners. It's also super helpful to get feedback from listeners so I don't just feel like I'm talking into the void. And there's a Contact tab at the top of BookofLifepodcast.com, and that tells you how to reach me by email and phone and social media and just so many different ways. And there's even a survey that you can take as well to send me some feedback.
You're always working on at least a dozen projects at the same time. Do you want to talk about any of those others right now?
Yes, I do. Thank you for asking that. There are two projects that I'm working on right now with my friend Susan Kusel.
Oh, yeah, you two are on the phone all the time.
Yes, we are on the phone or texting or emailing or Facebook messaging or on Zoom. Sometimes we're doing several of those at the same time. Anyway, in May 2019, Susan and I started a Facebook group called Jewish Kidlit Mavens, and it's for people who work with Jewish children's books or teen or YA books. And we've got over 600 members now, and the group is super active. And the most amazing thing about it is that everyone in the group is a mensch, even when we disagree, everybody's really civilized about it.
Wow, that's really good.
It is, it's so unusual. But it's wonderful. And then another project that I'm doing with Susan and also with our friend Chava Pinchuck, is a brand new blog and it's called the Sydney Taylor Shmooze.
Sydney Taylor Shmooze. What's that?
It's a mock Book Award blog for people to try to predict what will win the Sydney Taylor Book Award for the best Jewish kids books of the year. And it's at SydneyTaylorShmooze.com, and it's got a tricky spelling. So please just go ahead and follow the link in the show notes.
Well, that sounds like fun.
Yeah, we've already had over 20 people sign up to be book reviewers for The Shmooze. And the first review is already out for You're the Cheese in My Blintz by Leslie Kimmelman, which is a charming board book. So yeah, it's gonna be really fun.
All right! Hey, honey, what was that new trailer thing you've been working on?
I am so glad you asked. Well, this is another way that people can help, is by sharing this trailer with new listeners who you think might like the show. And this can give people a taste of what the show is like. I made this three minute trailer about The Book of Life with clips from different interviews. And if a listener wants to share it with the world that would be really helpful.
How do you share it with your friends?
If you go to BookofLifepodcast.com, look for a tab at the top called Trailer. You will see what link you should use to share that with your friends. You can also look for the share icon that you can tap on to share it on social media. But just up for that Trailer tab at the top.
All right, well, can we hear the trailer?
Sure I'll play it right now. Meeting adjourned. Thank you, honey.
[TRAILER: MUSIC] This is The Book of Life. a show about Jewish kidlit, mostly. I'm Heidi Rabinowitz.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Oh, wow. What a cool question.
Right now we're in a time and a place where we want more stories of resistance and resilience. That's one of the things that I'm excited about participating in this podcast, is about inspiring others and bringing more Jewish voices to the fore that can tell the stories that are stories of Jewish life, not Jewish death, that are stories of resistance and resilience.
I am just so thankful to you, Heidi for having this wonderful podcast. To be able to share things from my Jewish heritage is so deeply meaningful to me.
It's not incumbent upon us to finish the task, but neither may we shirked it, each of us can do something. And if enough people do enough, something's change will happen.
Thank you for that, because that particular piece of the pirkei avot for me is life saving. When I'm getting depressed at the state of the world, you know that, that gives me hope. So thank you for bringing that up.
Heidi, I love being the Canadian correspondent of The Book of Life. It allows me to meet other authors or musicians or journalists and talk about their books and explore this whole world of Jewish culture and literature.
Is there anything else you'd like to talk about that I haven't thought to ask you?
Nope. No, I mean, you know, you got me started. Once you get me started, it's hard to stop. You know,
It'sTikkun Olam time, and this is your opportunity to invite listeners to some kind of action that will help heal the world.
I think especially in the context of Jewish podcast, the way that I am working these days on Tikkun Olam, on making the world whole, is by trying to point out the ways you can raise your voice, you can talk and you can use honesty and kindness to tear down systems of racism of white supremacy and patriarchy.
That was amazing. Thank you!
The microphone drop moment. It really was.
Can we just say ditto?
Thank you, Heidi. It's been a real treat. you contribute so much to the literary community, particularly for Jewish kids. And it's really an honor to have your podcast be the world premiere of our audio book series.
Aw, thank you.
[OUTRO] You can find all of that and more at BookofLifepodcast.com. Thanks for listening and happy reading!