Yael Shahar

Goodreads Author


Born
in The United States
Website

Genre

Influences

Member Since
September 2013


After an adventurous and unattributable career in security and intelligence, Yael Shahar divides her time between writing and learning Talmud with anyone who will sit still long enough.

A dynamic and sought-after public speaker, Yael has lectured worldwide on subjects related to non-conventional and techno-terrorism, threat assessment, and asymmetric conflict.

Her research into the internet as an enabler of networked political and social change led her to a deeper study of Jewish society over the ages. She is currently working on her next book, a whimsical dip into the Sea of Talmud with her one-eyed cat as a study partner.

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Yael Shahar "Writer's block" is, for me, a sign that I need to take a break. Sometimes the answer is to do some gardening or other manual work, and let the…more"Writer's block" is, for me, a sign that I need to take a break. Sometimes the answer is to do some gardening or other manual work, and let the subconscious get on with formulating the next bit of writing. A bit of non-verbal recreation can go a long way towards getting me back on track.

However, at times, the problem is simply a lack of inspiration. I'm plugging away at a piece, pounding out my thoughts on the keyboard, and suddenly I draw a blank. I simply have no words to chuck into the space that I've opened up there on the page. Sometimes I actually run right over the edge into empty space, and, like Wiley Coyote, it takes me a moment to realize that there's nothing beneath my feet.

So I back up, make a note of where I was in the thought process, and go in search of some inspiration. And what constitutes inspiration? For me, the best place to go is into a book by one of my favorite authors: Loren Eisely, A. J. Heschel, J.R.R. Tolkien....

I don't need to read the whole book, I just need to drink in the flavor of their imagery, a taste of their sense for scenery and emotion. Usually, just a few pages is enough to get me back on track. The words that I needed to fill in that hole in my prose will be there waiting for me when next I sit down at the keyboard. Inspiration is always only a bookshelf away. (less)
Yael Shahar The best thing about being a writer is being part of a chain of transmission. Today's writers are fulfilling much the same function as the bards of…moreThe best thing about being a writer is being part of a chain of transmission. Today's writers are fulfilling much the same function as the bards of old: we decide what stories are worthy of remembering and passing on.

In his iconic work Zakhor, about Jewish cultural memory, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi wrote: "The Holocaust has already engendered more historical research than any single event in Jewish history, but I have no doubt whatever that its image is being shaped, not at the historian's anvil, but in the novelist's crucible."

This is true of anything that we live through and record. Our writing allow us to transmit crucial lessons in ways that will shape future generations. A novel or a memoir will transmit more than mere facts; it will allow the reader to re-experience something, and come out of that experience with an intimate understanding of what it was like to "be there".

Art, literature, and film play the same role for civilizations as dreams do for individuals; they allow us to integrate our experiences and learn from them. They allow us not just to remember what happened but to be changed by it.

Writing allows us to see the experiences that formed us in a way that holds a mirror up before us. Our challenge is to decide what to do with the reality that is reflected back to us.(less)
Average rating: 4.34 · 62 ratings · 32 reviews · 4 distinct worksSimilar authors
Returning

4.29 avg rating — 58 ratings — published 2014 — 9 editions
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In a Time of Persecution: M...

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Returning: Reflections & Re...

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating2 editions
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Foreword to A Damaged Mirro...

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2015
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.


Here in Israel the first rains have fallen and the nights are getting cooler. A great time to get cozy under the blankets with a glass of wine and a good book. Here are some recommendations from around the Jewish blogosphere (in more or less alphabetical order). Note that cover images link to the relevant affiliate-linked book page on Amazon.


Enjoy!



The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleas...

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Traitor (Religion & Spirituality)
1 chapters   —   updated Dec 13, 2015 09:44AM
Description: An Excerpt from A Damaged Mirror.

Yael’s Recent Updates

Yael Shahar wrote a new blog post



Here in Israel the first rains have fallen and the nights are getting cooler. A great time to get cozy under the blankets with a glass of wine and... Read more of this blog post »
Yael Shahar made a comment in the group Goodreads Authors/ReadersPost your website! topic
" Hello everyone!

I write on Jewish education and philosophy at: https://www.yaelshahar.com. Plenty of educational materials for the month of Elul!
"
Returning by Yael Shahar
"I have always been intrigued by the notion of memory—lost memory, sacred memory, revealed memory…. This is probably related to my own background; I am a daughter of survivors. As I watched my mother’s face entreating the names of her lost family,..." Read more of this review »
Yael Shahar and 1 other person liked Esther Cameron's review of Returning:
Returning by Yael Shahar
"Of all the books I've read about the Holocaust, this one gives me the feeling of going deepest into the experience of those who went through it (or didn't get through it). For the protagonist, Ovadya, the central agony is the memory of wrong choic..." Read more of this review »
" I'm not really sure they can be combined, as the new version has a fair bit of material not included in the older version. Not a problem in any case. ...more "
Yael Shahar rated a book it was amazing
An Unexpected Afterlife by Dan Sofer
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Three times daily, we Jews praise God for “reviving the dead”. The thing is, no two Jews are likely to agree on what it means. Some, following the prophet Ezekiel, prefer to think of it in metaphorical terms—the resurrection of Jewish national life o ...more
Yael Shahar rated a book it was amazing
The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel
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Still a classic!

A. J. Heschel's The Prophets remains one of the most readable and moving works on prophecy in Israel. He points out that, while most religions concern themselves with attaining mystical union with God, the Jewish prophet is concerned
...more
Yael Shahar rated a book it was amazing
חכמים - כרך ראשון by בנימין לאו
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Rav Benny Lau has done a brilliant job of fleshing out the sources and bringing to life the personalities of First Temple times. This is a period for which there is very little historical or literary background. But Rav Lau manages to combine the few ...more
חכמים - כרך ראשון by בנימין לאו
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More of Yael's books…
“Every action in this world, every word, every thought, has an effect. But the actor is also acted upon by his action. The condition on which you are allowed to make a change in the world is that the world changes you as well.”
Yael Shahar, A Damaged Mirror: A story of memory and redemption

“Are we not, all of us, in some way, damaged mirrors? Are we not constantly engaged in focusing the light of thought—memories out of the depths of human experience—onto the photographic plate of each moment? The image captured in this instant is a snapshot of all eternity, subtly altered by our own brokenness. And who’s to say that the image formed by a damaged mirror is not a truer picture of the universe?”
Yael Shahar

“The connections that we have with others, the things we learn, and yes, our prayers—all of it is a web of connections that bind us into the fabric of reality and make us part of something greater than ourselves. And if our reality is only a tiny reflection of a much greater reality, still it is also an essential part. And the same is true of each individual life. Each deed and thought—each word between friends—adds a new thread to a tapestry so vast that we may never be able to step back and see the whole.”
Yael Shahar, A Damaged Mirror: A story of memory and redemption

“We stand on the edge of the abyss, across whose unknowable face we paint meaning so as not to see into it. It is always there. But we’re here too, and we are no less real than the abyss. We are no less meaningful for being transient creatures caught up in something too big for us. There is still value to our lives. I’ve learned that those things that are most fragile are also the most precious.”
Ovadya ben Malka, A Damaged Mirror

“We give to God of our strength, not our weakness. But we also say: “Da lifneh mi ata omed”—Know before whom you stand. We know what we are in the face of that. We see the full picture—God and ourselves. We cannot see ourselves as more than we are because we see how much greater is the reality. But we must not lessen our value in our own eyes either, because we are a necessary part of this reality. It is no small thing that we are able to “stand” and to address that reality.
It would be good if we could approach life the way we approach prayer, knowing before whom we stand.”
Ovadya ben Malka, A Damaged Mirror

“It’s true that the hatred is still there. But it doesn’t change anything. Our obligations are the same—to live and sanctify all life with our own. To participate in the world the best we know how, leaving it a better place than we found it. To raise families and teach our children to value life. What more can we do? Should we refuse to live because of the threat of death hanging over us? We’ve always been under sentence of death. Every generation that lives out its days in peace is a victory. Every day we live is a victory.”
Ovadya ben Malka, A Damaged Mirror

“....[T]he night terrors were no match for the glory of waking up to a new day in the Land of Israel. In every conscious moment, Yael was aware that she was living through times that would form the legends and myths of future generations. Just as her generation told and retold the story of the Exodus from Egypt—the event that changed the nature of Israel forever—so would her people hundreds of years from now tell of the end of the Great Exile and the return to this land. The wonder of it touched everything around her, casting a golden glow over even the most mundane events. Nothing seemed impossible, and nothing seemed entirely real.”
Yael Shahar, A Damaged Mirror

“Are we not, all of us, in some way, damaged mirrors? Are we not constantly engaged in focusing the light of thought—memories out of the depths of human experience—onto the photographic plate of each moment? The image captured in this instant is a snapshot of all eternity, subtly altered by our own brokenness. And who’s to say that the image formed by a damaged mirror is not a truer picture of the universe?”
Yael Shahar

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3158 Holocaust and genocide — 519 members — last activity Apr 29, 2018 11:16PM
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6449 Jewish Historical Fiction — 501 members — last activity Oct 31, 2018 01:49PM
For those that love Jewish historical fiction representating as many cultures, countries, and time periods as we can find.
26989 Goodreads Authors/Readers — 29350 members — last activity 2 hours, 23 min ago
This group is dedicated to connecting readers with Goodreads authors. It is divided by genres, and includes folders for writing resources, book websit ...more
105786 Goodreads Reviewers' Group — 5445 members — last activity 46 minutes ago
This group helps to bring Reviewers and Authors together! Reviewers can make their own thread to post their reviews in, or post their reviews in the r ...more
173873 Jewish Book Review — 41 members — last activity Oct 25, 2018 08:17AM
A group for people who want to review and discuss Jewish books.
25x33 Orthodox Jewish Book Reviewers — 29 members — last activity Sep 10, 2018 06:22AM
Are you an orthodox Jewish author who'd like to get reviews for your book, without having to read dodgy genres and unkosher stuff? So this is the grou ...more
2066 Israeli Book Exchange — 260 members — last activity Nov 08, 2018 11:31AM
Exchange books with fellow English-speakers in Israel. Recommend books, recommend bookstores, lend and borrow books, and meet new friends with common ...more
153704 Jewish Book Club — 400 members — last activity Sep 16, 2018 10:54AM
Read & Discuss one Jewish book a month. The monthly reads will be chosen from both group suggestion, and from Best Seller lists. Books of all genres a ...more
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