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Bound in the Bond of Life:  Pittsburgh Writers Reflect on the Tree of Life Shooting

Publication date: October 27, 2020

Publicity contact: Chloe Wertz at University of Pittsburgh Press, cwertz@upress.pitt.edu

Press Coverage and Reviews

Publishers Weekly August 14 2020 “This remarkable collection is a powerful testament to how individuals and communities cope with an act of unbelievable violence. “

Hey Alma August 26, 2020 ” I was particularly struck by the wide range of writers Lidji and Kissileff found to contribute to the volume, and saw my own experience covering the tragedy reflected back at me through the essays of the journalists.

Read if you’re into: things that will make you cry and feel proud to be Jewish.”

Erika Dreifus Practicing Writing blog, Forthcoming Jewish Books  – “Slated for an on-sale date of October 27—coinciding with the second anniversary of the murderous attack—this anthology surely won’t be an easy read. But, knowing a few of the contributors, I suspect strongly that it will be an important and worthwhile one.”

Hadassah Magazine, Sept/ Oct 2020 “Gathering accounts from local journalists, academics, rabbis and community members, Eric Lidji and Beth Kissileff reveal efforts to make sense of the shooting, from raw, first-person descriptions to pieces by those who translated the horror into activism.”

Pittsburgh Post Gazette September 27, 2020.  “Sweat Equity: A Tragedy made writing harder, but she needed the stories to move forward.”  Article by Tony Norman about my writing life.

Pittsburgh Current.  October 6, 2020.  Cover Story.  “The voices that animate this collection are varied and stunning.”  Words of Remembrance: In new anthology, Pittsburgh writers Reflect on the 2018 Tree of Life tragedy. 

Too Jewish podcast.  October 12, 2020 taped October 7, 2020.  Discussion about anthology with Rabbi Sam Cohon, longer segment about minute 37, shorter at minute 15.

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.  October 15, 2020.  David Rullo writes, “The Pittsburgh journalists, spiritual leaders, historians, writers, poets and academics presented in the collection share their pain, fear, confusion and anger in writings that are scholarly and personal, raw and profound.”

Jewish Boston. October 19, 2020.  Judy Bolton-Fasman writes,  “Anthologies by their very nature can be uneven, but each of the essays in this book is an accomplished, genuine and exquisite paean to the tragedy.”

TribLive. October 20, 2020.  Pittsburgh Writers reflect on Tree of Life Massacre in New Book.  

PittNews.   October 21, 2020.   Siddhi Shockey quotes me, ““And I think anybody that’s coping with any kind of difficult event will find something of value and of meaning in the book.”

Questioning Return

Publication date: November 15, 2016.

Publicity contact: Robert Mandel at Mandel Vilar Press, robert@americasforconservation.org.

Press Coverage and Reviews

  • Review on the JOFA blog by Rosellen Bell says “this sensitively written novel will delight the reader by appealing both to the intellect and to one’s appreciation of the senses.” Posted May 5, 2020.
  • Review in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette by Laura Malt Schneiderman says   “The narrative has an almost Russian-novel quality, following each thought of the protagonist” and that ” small observations pepper the story, drawing the reader in.”  Posted December 3, 2017.
  • Review by Sandee Brawarsky in the New York Jewish Week  “This is a novel of ideas about academic life, returning to tradition and Jewish observance; Kissileff writes with originality about Americans abroad in Israel, Jewish identity and heavenly and earthly Jerusalem.” Posted June 21, 2017
  •  Review in the Reporter Group by Rabbi Rachel Esserman “The inclusion of a wide variety of voices – from a Reconstructionist rabbinical student to Modern Orthodox Jews to baalat teshuvah – makes the discussions fascinating, as all struggle to discover a religious path that speaks to their spiritual needs.”
  • Review in the  J Weekly by Howard Freedman says “a memorable story of personal challenge and change set against the city’s unique spiritual landscape.”
  • Review in the Jewish Standard by Rabbi Avraham Bronstein says “Kissileff does an excellent job of conveying the intellectual and cultural depth of Wendy’s world” and concludes ” If the most Jewish answer is another rhetorical question, she is saying, then the best teshuvah is the kind that leads to ever more she’eilot.”
  • Review by writer Risa Miller in The Lehrhaus   calls the novel “erudite” and says “I’d invite her to my house any Shabbos; she has an open invitation.”
  • Listed as one of the “best buys for bookworms” by U Penn affiliated authors. http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v63/n15/holidaybooks.html
  • Interview with Rabbi Brad Hirschfield in The Wisdom Daily .   November 16, 2016

Reading Genesis

Published February 25, 2016.

Publicity contact:  Celeste Scollan at Bloomsbury, CeleReading Genesis _ Reading Religionste.Scollan@bloomsbury.com

Bloomsbury includes Reading Genesis among its best selling titles! http://email.bloomsburynews.com/q/1Hk0mnOvICKuorDBBLZsO/wv

Press Coverage and Reviews

  • Review in Reading Religion a publication of the American Academy of Religion by Philipp Reisner “This original volume succeeds in introducing the reader to the pitfalls and neuralgic points of Genesis studies. It not only invites people from diverse fields and backgrounds to read the first book of the Bible, but also encourages people to ask how the many conundrums presented by the text will be resolved by future readers. One can only wish that many people read this interesting and entertaining book to test their preconceptions and broaden their general knowledge of Genesis and its rich and thriving reception history.”
    posted April 28, 2020
  • Review in Regent’s Park Oxford Reviews.   “This is an original, and sometimes outstandingly good book which will be enjoyed by all who care about reading, preaching and living Genesis.” Rosa Hunt.  April 2017. http://www.rpc.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/RR-April-2017.pdf
  • Questions in Genesis.  A book of essays asks, is the Bible literature? How is a blessing like an oath? And what if Eve was just hungry?  By Rabbi Anna Levin Rosen in the Christian Century. May 4, 2017.
  • Reviewed in San Francisco J Weekly “a collection of essays assembled by Beth Kissileff with startling breadth” http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/78812/off-the-shelf-from-abraham-to-jonah-new-books-offer-fresh-bible-insights/ November 3, 2016
  • “Reading Genesis: Scholar compiles views of Bible’s first book through many lenses” http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/reading-genesis/  New Jersey Jewish Standard, October 27, 2016
  • Reviewed in Hadassah Magazine http://www.hadassahmagazine.org/2016/09/22/review-reading-genesis-beginnings/ October, 2016
  • Featured book in “Book Marks,” Chicago Jewish Star, September 23-29, 2016
  • Mentioned in University of Pennsylvania alumni magazine  The Penn Gazette http://thepenngazette.com/briefly-noted-17/ June, 2016
  • Mentioned as part of holiday traditons in newletter of Horace Mann School 12/29/2016
  • Bible spotlighted as local author hosts book launchThe Jewish Chronicle, 2/18/2016
  • ‘Reading Genesis: Beginnings’: a treasure trove of modern interpretationsThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/21/2016
  • Twenty-Three Ways (and Counting) of Looking at the BibleZeteo Journal, 6/28/2016

Essays