In 2016, I applied for a writers' conference, not sure that I would be accepted, not sure that I would fit in. Being an Orthodox Jew in academic spaces and being an Orthodox Jew in spaces of environmental consciousness has not always been easy. But to my surprise, I was accepted and offered a scholarship.
The Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference has been vital in helping me to develop my literary voice and network, shaping and presenting strong work that approaches environmental stewardship not as a partisan political discussion, but as a religious value that is painted vibrantly throughout Torah and is meant to echo in the lives of observant Jews.
I got so much out of the one-week conference, that I applied again the following year. Bread Loaf graciously accepted me, again, and extended additional scholarship moneys. Aside from the financial support, they have been keen to help with religious accommodations, making sure I had access to food I could eat, and that I could arrive before Shabbat at no extra charge when the conference was scheduled to begin on a Saturday.
They have encouraged and nurtured me as a writer, but also as a religious voice in the environmentalist community.
While Bread Loaf has generously extended scholarship funds to me for the third year in a row, the amount does not cover the entire program, and I am unable to afford the program fees on my own, in my current financial situation. A dear friend has offered to pay the majority of the deposit, and the program's administrators have agreed to let me pay the remainder of fees at any point prior to the workshop in early June.
It occurred to me that this is the perfect opportunity to share the work I have been doing over the past few years, with great thanks to the Bread Loaf community. Rather than plead for funds with no strings attached, I would like to extend my work to interested readers. The majority of my writing has fallen into the category of "Jewish Environmental Literature," but very little of it has been released.
Each chapbook will contain 28-36 pages of Jewish environmental literature, pulling from a lifetime spent among trees, a few serious years of Torah study, and a graduate education in creative writing. Work will be separated by genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) and audience (children's stories), assuring that there is something for everyone who might be curious.
Once the project is fully funded, I will do layout and editing of the four chapbooks. When funds are released, the files used to create the chapbooks will be sent to a professional printer, who will print and bind each so that it is sturdy and attractive. After receiving the chapbooks from the printer, I will mail each book. They will arrive ahead of Rosh Hashanah. All profits go towards my tuition at Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference.
Risks and challenges
With a strong background in writing, editing, and publishing, I know that I have the necessary skills to bring this project to life. What stands between us and these chapbooks is simple: funding!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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