Full Submission Guidelines for "A Family Treasury of Mitzvah Stories"

Good writers in your family? Enter a Mitzvah Story and
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Reclaiming Judaism Press

Full Submission Guidelines for

"A Family Treasury of Mitzvah Stories"

in Honor of Danny Siegel


Deadline for Submissions: November 15, 2012
Juried story review process: Dec 2012- Jan 2013

Notifications to authors: Feb 1, 2013

Story edits to authors: April 1, 2013

Response to edits by authors: May 1, 2013

Stories finalized: June 1, 2013

Book design: Summer 2013

Book release: Fall 2013

Honoree: The esteemed educator Danny Siegel

So many of us have been guided and inspired by Danny Siegel – his Ziv Foundation mitzvah projects and books, teachings at conferences worldwide, his poetry volume Soulstoned that opened up the world of Jewish spirituality for yearning Jews of the 60's, and his new volume of love poems, From the Heart. This juried mitzvah story competition allows you to honor Danny, whether you know him yet or not, while making an important contribution to Jewish lore and family learning.

Criteria and Author Rights:

1. Story submissions should not exceed 2500 words. Please submit by e-mail to Rabbi Goldie Milgram, editor-in-chief, Reclaiming Judaism Press, publisher@reclaimingjudaism.org. Double-space with 1" margins, 12 point Times Roman. Acceptable document formats are: .doc, docx, and .rtf. 

We invite previously unpublished, mitzvah-centered stories written for Jewish family reading, taking the form of engaging tales of good literary quality that inspire and support a mitzvah-centered life. (Examples below)

Please craft your submission as an original literary tale, revisioned traditional folk story, or draw upon your life experience for creative expression and/or expansion upon one or more mitzvot. Except for journalistic recountings,  and undeveloped vignettes/memoir, all storytelling genres can work for this volume.

We expect these new stories will embody such 21st century values as gender and age inclusivity, environmentalism, justice, listening and awareness skills, care for our people and all peoples, etc.

Help is available: Many distinguished authors contribute to Reclaiming Judaism publications, and also volunteer to assist unpublished authors with polishing selected stories for inclusion.

2. Which mitzvot? Mitzvah examples given through the ethos of Reclaiming Judaism can be found at this link in the article Appreciating Mitzvah as the Core of Jewish Practice, from Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning, the first volume in the Mitzvah-Centered Life Initiative. The wording of those mitzvot will help you grasp the orientation of this initiative, your submission need not be limited to those mitzvot; all mitzvot are welcome.

3. There will be a juried process to select stories for inclusion in the print, e-book & podcast/audio versions of this collection, provisionally titled A Family Treasury of Mitzvah Stories. Stories may also appear on the ReclaimingJudaism.org website.

4. What is the Jury looking for? Successful submissions will capture the imagination of family readers/listeners, by offering memorable situations, settings and characters, dramatic tension, and successful narrative flow.  We hope stories will stimulate curiosity, learning and practice, and have the potential be valued and retold for generations to come.
Keep in mind this guidance from Peninnah Schram: "I do know that any story I tell for children, I also tell for adults."

5. Here are links to example stories from the first volume in this series, Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning:

1. A Father’s Gift by Noa Baum

2. A Single Seed of a Pomegranate retold by Cherie Karo Schwartz   

3. Light by Israel Bernath

4. The Half Blanket, from Peninnah Schram's The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales, published by Sterling.

Note: This volume will be the second major book in the Reclaiming Judaism "Mitzvah-Centered Life Initiative", which includes a first volume in honor of Peninnah Schram, Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning (available through ReclaimingJudaism.org and Amazon.com), a Mitzvah Stories Discussion Guide by Shoshana Silberman and matching, professionally illustrated decks of Mitzvah Cards. Our contributing authors are invited to co-create and participate in Reclaiming Judaism Mitzvah-Centered Life workshops, trainings & storytelling programs for all ages.

All income from sales is applied to providing program support and educator scholarships, in this case the Danny Siegel Fund for Mitzvah-Centered Living to bring this initiative's resources, programs, in-service trainings and contributing authors to communities world-wide.

Contributing Author Rights:

a. If your submission is accepted by the Advisory Committee, you retain copyright to your work, as well as the non-exclusive right to republish your offering, so long as you credit or footnote this volume as the first point of publication. The credit line should read as follows: "Originally published in [Final Title], Reclaiming Judaism Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission."

b. Be aware that readers and professional storytellers will be advised that they have the right to tell your offering wherever and whenever, to re-craft or adapt it as the see fit, so long as they credit you as the author of the original story.

c. Copies: No free copies will be available for contributing authors, you will be able to purchase a minimum of 10 copies to gift, or sell on the road, at a 15% discount. This project is a volunteer labor of love, unfunded and Reclaiming Judaism Press is a 501(c)(3) non-profit publishing house. Sales Outlets:Books and resources from Reclaiming Judaism Press are sold through all major booksellers and on-line at ReclaimingJudaism.org and Amazon.com.

d. Promotion: Jewish Book World and all major reviewers and newspapers receive press releases and other marketing materials.

Volume Advisors:
  Ellen Frankel, Arthur Kurzweil, Batya Podros, Mindy Shapiro, and Shoshana Silberman.

Publisher: Reclaiming Judaism Press is a non-denominational, non-profit subsidiary of Reclaiming Judaism. We create inclusive, innovative resources for meaningful Jewish living. Our editors and writers are leading educators, authors & clergy from across the full spectrum of Jewish practice, all of whom volunteer their services, skills and guidance. Each volume is created in honor of a gadol, a great Jewish teacher of our generation.

Thank you for participating in the
Reclaiming Judaism Mitzvah-Centered Life Initiative