The Arty Semite

Author Blog: For the Sake of Unification

By Lisa Alcalay Klug

Earlier this week, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote about a surprising discovery in Nachlaot and about how her work is informed by her father’s experiences during the Holocaust. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


Soon after learning my late grandmother’s family lived in Nachlaot, I accepted an invitation for Shabbat dinner from sweet friends, Mottle and Batya Wolfe. Spending Shabbat in Nachlaot definitely felt like the most fitting way to honor my newly discovered roots. When I shared how much I wanted to spend more time where my grandmother grew up, the Wolfes seemed to read my mind and invited me to their Seder. I was so touched by their invitation, but Passover was four months away. I was still touring for “Cool Jew” in what was fast becoming the Energizer Bunny of book tours. It just kept going and going… Could I really return so soon?

At my next stop, Limmud UK, the answer effortlessly appeared. Several participants suggested I present at Limmud Berlin and Limmud Amsterdam, both slated for May. I could fly early to Europe, add on a trip to Israel for Passover and return in time for both conferences. I would barely be home between now and then but I was used to that (!) and Passover in Nachlaot was clearly where I was meant to be… It just kept getting validated. Was it the luck of Cool Jew, my grandmother’s orchestrations on high or something else at work?

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Lisa Alcalay Klug, Hot Mamalah, Books, Author Blog Series

Author Blog: Seeking Connection

By Lisa Alcalay Klug

Earlier, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote about how her work is informed by her father’s experiences during the Holocaust. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


If there is one consistent theme in the ongoing discoveries of my family history it is meaningful coincidence. Some people call this synchronicity. Our sages call it hashgacha pratit, Divine providence.

In 2009, I received an email from David Abitbol, whom I had met the year before when I presented at the Jewlicious Festival he co-founded in Los Angeles. David had made aliyah and spotted a vintage photograph of a Jerusalem couple named Alcalay displayed near his apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot. He asked if they were my relatives. I didn’t know. My mother didn’t know. My grandparents were no longer living so I couldn’t ask them. Months passed and the question lingered. If I could find more details about the image, I might discover how we are related.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Hot Mamalah, Books, Author Blog Series, Lisa Alcalay Klug

Author Blog: It's Not All in a Name

By Lisa Alcalay Klug

Lisa Alcalay Klug’s most recent book, “Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe,” is now available. She is also the author of “Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe,” a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


It’s clear from the names of my two pop culture humor books, “Cool Jew” and “Hot Mamalah,” that my Jewish background is a primary force in my writing. What these titles don’t reveal is how much my work is informed by my father’s experiences during the Holocaust.

They say every child of a Holocaust survivor is born with a tear in her eye. This is far from an obvious starting point for cultivating humor. But like many other creatives, my “weighty inheritance” significantly contributes to the overall tenor of my writing about contemporary Jewish life — in both revealed and unrevealed ways.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Lisa Alcalay Klug, Hot Mamalah, Books, Author Blog Series




Find us on Facebook!
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.