I finished Judaism and World Religions

I have been silent for the last two weeks not because I was on vacation but because I needed to finally finish the manuscript for my book Judaism and World Religions. The publisher had eighty pages of instructions on editing, publicity, production, marketing and submission. My deadline was Friday and it took more than few days of concentrated attention, crossing t’s and dotting i’s, to finish it for submission.

If any of you ever read the ABOUT page on this blog, I started this blog in Sept 2009 as a way to stay focused on the book. This way I forced myself to sit down regularly and write. It also allowed me to blog things that caught my notice so as to get the distraction out of my way to continue, to put it out of my mind. It also allowed me to work on formulations of certain selections in the book, hence all the interfaith material on the blog. They ideally wanted the book in 14 months and I did it in 23 months.
It was by average about a page a day. (I dont count blog writing.) In contrast, Joseph Dan at his height of productivity once said he averaged 3 pages a day. And Moshe Idel is averaging way more than that.

During the year I asked to produce an Orthodox Forum paper on popular culture, I wound up writing that article as a series of blog posts. Along the way, new phrases such as Post-Orthodoxy, Half-Shabbos, and cruise ship Orthodoxy took on lives of their own. When I worked on a paper on Maharal, it never made any appearance on the blog. And over time, I posted less on Kabbalah.

At this point, my ABOUT page is no longer true. I will no longer be forcing myself to write to make my deadline. The blog needs a new purpose and About statement. I am not sure of its new purpose. I will continue blogging but my hours and topics may change. I am not sure how they will change.I will take much longer breaks from my computer but still post things that interest me or first drafts of reviews. This past year even trips to Norway, Poland, and Turkey did not take me too far away from the computer.

My book Judaism and World Religions comes out in March 2012, once again by the very efficient Palgrave-McMillan. We have not set the exact production schedule yet. But I assume that I get the edited manuscript back in OCT and then proofs a month later.

My 2010 book Judaism and Other Religions will be out in inexpensive paperback in 2012. It has already been assigned in three courses and there are already 150 pre-publication copies of the paperback ordered. People are sending me their corrections because I get to revise it for a second edition. It is interesting to note that the digital version did not sell well.

I thank Thanbo for responding to one of the blog posts soliciting a cover by providing a .gif scan that will be used on the cover.

I have to determine which should be my next manuscript to pitch to a publisher: Varieties of Modern Orthodoxy? Kabbalistic Meditation? A popular book on Judaism and Christianity: The Differences in the 21st Century?

Immediate focus – what do I do with Google+? Necessary Plug-ins? Does anyone have better circle arrangements that don’t sound like an MCI plan of friends and family? Should I arrange it as Academics, Interfaith, Orthodox chatter, Kabbalah, Former student still into Jewish stuff, Former Students, and Online acquaintances, and then family and friends? How many incoming streams and feeds are people setting up? And other than announcing my posts, is there any purpose in Twitter for those of us who don’t comment in less than 500 words.

17 responses to “I finished Judaism and World Religions

  1. Mazal tov on finishing the book! Any chance you need a book indexer? I’m a professional. (Also, a former student of yours, but I’ll e-mail you privately to tell you who, if you don’t know.)

  2. Mazal Tov on the book! And thank you for your blog, which I believe offers a needed window (plus informed analysis) into current trends in US Judaism.

    About Google+ I have no clue, but I want to ask about your proposed book on Kabbalistic Meditation (a subject which I am trying to have a clue in) – from which angle do you think of viewing this? Are you going to survey the methods offered by different kabbalists, or to survey the methods modern Jews are saying are offered by different kabbalists?

  3. Mazel tov!

    Re G+, I think that there’s two non-exclusive ways to organize circles. The first is by how you want to read content. Put people who share around similar topics into the same circles, like you would use a Twitter list. The second is by how you’d like to share/broadcast content. Make circles based on levels of appropriate privacy and topic interest. That will make it easier for you to share your content to the people who want to read it.

  4. Mazal Tov! So, when are you coming over for Shalosh Seudos? We will celebrate appropriately with Egg Creams and Tuna Fish!

  5. Mazal Tov on achieving a goal! Few things round us out as much as that. I look forward to the book and the soft-cover edition of the first.
    I personally would love you to do a lot on Kabbalah. You introduced me to R’ IM Morgenstern for which I’m very grateful!

  6. Mazel Tov on finishing your book.I would be interested and I believe there would an audience for a book about varieties of Modern Orthodoxy (as an Intellectually history of Modern Orthodoxy ).

  7. Thank you for the congratulations.

    Abacaxi Mamao- Sorry, indexing and book production has been outsourced to Chennai, India.

    Jordan, we cant make it this week but pencil us in for July 30.

    Tomer- it would be on the medieval texts. Most scholarship explains kavvanot in general. This would be on how they get scripted into tefilah- from berakhot to shema to amidah and after.

    Is this a US blog? NYC has the largest group of my readers but the next city is Gush Dan. Most of the people I interview are Anglos in Israel-Buckholtz, Joshua Berman. I review Jewish studies produced in Israel. This blog does not reflect American Jewish concerns like Mah Rabu or Velveteen Rabbi. Is it American?

  8. Congratulations!

    I, too, would be most interested in your next book being on Kabbalah, though Jewish-Christian issues seems interesting, too.

  9. Congratulations. Does the publisher have any plans to create Kindle versions?

    Also just wondering if you or any of your readers have read “What is Talmud? The Art of Disagreement,” by Dolgopolski? Sounds interesting, but I was hoping for a recommendation.

  10. Congratulations on finishing the book.

    Re: US blog – in some respects, it’s a less judgmental observer of new trends in Orthodoxy (particularly Modern) that serves as a good counterpart to Hirhurim.

  11. Congratulations on the book. I was hoping you would keep your excellent blog as is. There is something here for everybody, which would change if you concentrated on kavanot or some such subject.

  12. Congratulations.

    Personally none of those topics appeal to me – but if you wrote a book on modern Kabbalistic meditation practices, that would be very interesting.

  13. Mazal Tov on finishing your book.

  14. Mazal Tov!

  15. Mazal Tov. I look forward to the book’s publication early next year.

    Obviously, I’m a bit biased about your future writing endeavors as I have taken courses in both kabbalistic meditation and varieties of modern Orthodoxy with you. So I too would like to see those subjects become books, especially the one on kabbalistic meditation as I have been awaiting that for years.

    In terms of the twitter question, I do think that in the long run, twitter’s use is more about informing people than as a network to further conversation. I would keep to facebook and google plus for commenting purposes.

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