How Are You, Readers?

Our next few reviews will feature Purim and Passover stories, just a little out of season. This topsy turvy posting seems fitting in our current pandemic situation, where things feel so mixed up. It made us think that this was a good time to check in and see how everyone is doing.

How are you, readers? If you like, let us know in the comments. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe. We want to acknowledge the amazing job being done by our Shmooze reviewers, who are persevering despite the chaos. We hope that our continuing stream of book reviews brings a little normalcy to you, and helps showcase great titles that aren't getting their normal exposure in bookstores and libraries.

Above you can see Shmooze editor Susan Kusel in a Highlights Foundation Zoom meeting held on April 27, 2020 for members of the Jewish Kidlit Mavens Facebook group. Panelists Susan Kusel, Linda Epstein, Becca Podos, Erica Perl, Ruth Horowitz, and Veera Hiranandani discussed issues in Jewish children's literature, and the event highlighted a silver lining of quarantine - the ease of participating in events for fun and for professional development. Speaking of which, we'd love to see you at the Association of Jewish Libraries' Digital Conference: Staying Connected, June 28-July 2, 2020, where you can hear from the 2020 winners of the Real Sydney Taylor Book Awards. More info here

We'd like to leave you with a reading recommendation: the Bathtub Pandemic Poems of Jewish artist and musician Alicia Jo Rabins, unfiltered reflections on a worldwide pandemic from a bathtub in Portland, Oregon. Here's a favorite:


I love seeing the inside of your home.

I love seeing your cats perch on

Your chair, your children tear through the

Room, your small dogs nestled on your lap.

I love your houseplants and your dressers,

And for those of you who are good

With technology, I love your fancy

Backgrounds and what they say

About your souls: you love San Francisco,

Or would live in a jungle given the choice,

Or are a priestess of the occult

With a hundred candles and one giant cat.

I love your couches and your kitchen cabinets,

Your hanging pot racks, your bed piled

With laundry or perfectly made,

Your bare walls or tastefully hung art,

Your surprisingly inspirational bookshelf

Decorations: “Believe” in silver script.

All these years we’ve worked together

And only now that we are far apart,

Can we be this unguarded. I remember

My seventh grade boyfriend—we never

Spoke at school, but on the phone at night

There were no secrets between us.

My fellow meeting attendees, we

Are like that now: so separate, so far

Apart that we can finally invite each other

Into our holy of holies.