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Writing for ESRAmagazine


I love to write for ESRAmagazine. It's challenging and rewarding too. It is very satisfying to imagine people reading and, hopefully, enjoying your work. Because I wanted to be more involved, not long ago I joined the editorial board. Sitting in on the meetings which take place a few days after publication of an issue, I saw firsthand how the board deliberates over submissions and recommends which ones (without partiality, mine included) are worthy of appearing in the magazine. Merle Guttmann, the editor in chief, always asks what each of us can contribute to the coming issue.

Even before I joined the board I remember suggesting to friends that they write for the magazine. "If Eli can do it, I can too" I imagine them saying to themselves. And three of them did! Debbie Sherman wrote articles about her experiences as a young New York woman newly arrived in Tel Aviv. My neighbor, Emil Murad, has written a number of articles about his life as a young Jewish man in the Iraq of the late 1940's and early 1950's. And my friend and former roommate, J. Leonard Romm, writes about Jewish life in Israel from a religiously sensitive perspective.

But it was only when I began to spend more time in Chicago that I found myself pivoting from the role of writer and editorial board member to that of goodwill ambassador for the magazine. The people I meet in Chicago are mostly Jewish professionals and academicians. When I ask them, "Do you have an article in you for ESRA Magazine" it is also with an eye to the publicity the magazine will receive in the greater Chicago Jewish community. So far, there have been four articles. Nonagenarian Nancy Weinberg, whom I "discovered" in the nursing home where I volunteer, wrote on the portraits she paints of her societal heroes. Professor Jeff Winter wrote on the changing musical tastes of American Jewish audiences. Rabbi Jeffrey Weill wrote on aging, an article based on his Yom Kippur Yizkor sermon in memory of his father who wrote poetry on the subject. Rabbi Barry A. Friedman wrote on his the Gemara Hevruta which he joined when he retired to Chicago. All four articles were circulated and read in the greater Jewish community and all mentioned ESRAmagazine where the articles first appeared.

Before writing for ESRAmagazine, I had never written an article for publication in my life. It was Merle's encouragement and my being able to imagine who the readers of the magazine are that opened the tricklegates (I am not so delusional as to write floodgates) of my writing.

I'm happy to be the catalyst for other writers and at the same time help spread the good name of our ESRAmagazine which it so richly deserves.

Eli Libenson




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Monday, 22 July 2024

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