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There's Jews in Texas? [Kindle Edition]

Debra L. Winegarten
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
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  • Length: 36 pages
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Book Description

Winner of the 2011 Poetica Magazine national contest.

"Debra L. Winegarten writes frank, funny, poignant, punchy poems. This collection shines with radiant spirit." Naomi Shihab Nye, Guggenheim Fellow.

"Debra Winegarten's poems are sharp, sometimes funny, always on the mark when it comes to our difficult understanding of difference. Her poems move through those childhood lessons of identity and survival to the loss of her mother and the inevitable dislocation such loss may create, exploring always our instinctual hungers for family, ritual and tribe." Dr. Ed Madden, University of South Carolina.

"Oy, Devoreh. A jewel in our shul. She writes from her heart, so that heaven takes notice. Her crafted words bring light to a crowded Ark, helping all of us find our way. Prayer on and off the page. And her challah? Very nice. Jews in Texas? Takke, in Austin. Where else? Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin, Texas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 102 KB
  • Print Length: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Poetica Publishing Company (December 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007QCR9L8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,262,312 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Poetry. Read more than once. July 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Don't let the title fool you. Yes, there are Jews in Texas, but this beautiful book of poetry is about emotions and experiences that are even bigger and more universal. What I loved about each of these poems is how I would think about each one over and over as I went about my day.

I read this book twice. Once in a single sitting, like a big gulp. The poems were pleasing, well crafted. Then I went back and read one poem each day (almost for a month). Wow - what I found is that when I savored each poem, treating it as part of my morning meditation, I would find moments during my day that connected to the poem I read that morning. Each poem became so much more.

It's rare for me to find a book I read more than once and love it more each time. There's Jews in Texas is one of those gems. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Virginia, There's Jews in Texas September 17, 2012
By Tejana
Format:Kindle Edition
Growing up in Dallas, Texas in the 1960s, I'm sorry to say, was to grow up hearing about Jews as if they were some foreign, exotic animal. My parents taught us to think and say all the right things, but that didn't matter one whit when I made my first close Jewish friend at the University of Texas and burst out with, "Oh my God, you're Jewish?" Years later, I was to learn of my own distant Jewish heritage when academic articles began to surface telling the story of Sephardic Jewish migration into the southwestern United States. Names like Lopez, Sanchez and my own family name, Farias, were mentioned. Suddenly many things began to make sense to me. All memory of Jewish ancestry was lost in my family, yet, I always felt a connection, always sensed that something was missing, like a hole in my soul that I didn't know how to fill. I try to fill that hole through my writing. I write about people who have lost their homeland, people who have no community and don't know where they fit into the world. Winegarten writes about some of the same things, only she does it in a way that is so poignant, memorable and funny that I can only hope to achieve the same someday. As a child, Winegarten, also from Dallas, saw the place more charitably than I did. She thought the school put the black kid named Washington next to her so that the black and the Jew could look out for one another. Such optimism permeates her work, whether she is impersonating professionals to save a cat or forgiving her excellent mother for leaving this world. Winegarten is the 'f-ing Cat Police', and she doesn't believe in Hell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry October 11, 2012
You do not have to be either Jewish or Texan to enjoy the poetry in this book. Winegarten is an artist with words and will help you see the world in a different, better way. It makes a great gift, too. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but true November 13, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ms. Weingarten tells of her travails as the lone Jew in an elementary classroom, all with tongue firmly in cheek. Anyone who has ever been the outsider among a group will understand and identify. From her retelling of childish misconceptions, to her acknowledgement of her mother's wisdom, to her irreverent recollections of those she has known, she makes us nod in recognition, she makes us smile, she makes us laugh, and finally she makes us cry. The last poem in her (far too short) book, "Hineni," brought tears to my eyes and left me stunned. I savored every word. I wanted more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant Reflections January 20, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What wonderful reflections of childhood. How childhood exuberance can be disrupted with cruelty and anti-antisemitism. How centering and reliable a mother's love and wisdom can be. How growth and loss build character. How fundamental truths, shared history create connection. Debra does a lovely job with sparse words and images to show us her world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read May 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Amazing Book. Debbie I loved it and we need another. Congrats on your awards, Love and miss you Sharon schwartz Must read, funny, insightful and just wonder ful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching poety June 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These are wonderful, heartfelt poems. My favorite was "Second Grade, Part Three" - what a wonderful exchange of dialogue and thought that reveals the inner thoughts of a child. This short book is full of gems.
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4.0 out of 5 stars oy vay April 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this little jewel is disappointing only in its brevity. i wanted to continue reading. it is a series of poems and prose. each tells a story and conveys deep feelings of both everyday life AND extraordinary character development.
one can only hope that Ms Winegarten will expand on the subject. or perhaps she will grace us with a novel delving further into the topics.
i believe it is a treat for anyone who enjoys humor, true grit and poignant writing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely poetry
Delightful and poignant.
Published 4 months ago by Mary Bryan Stafford
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Apparently this was a collection of free verse reflecting on the author's mother. Very short and not too much substance.
Published on April 10, 2013 by Joyce K. Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, heartfelt poetry.
Debra Winegarten's chapbook There's Jews in Texas? is a collection of powerful poetry touching on both Jewish and universal themes of loss and fitting in. Read more
Published on March 11, 2013 by D.L. Lang
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read - I loved it
Great and funny book. Much too short - It was so good I should have been twice as long. If you're Jewish, you'll love it. If your not Jewish, you'll still love it.
Published on January 6, 2013 by C.J.
5.0 out of 5 stars About Experience more than Texas or Jewish
The poems are about love and loss. About finding community. The story is about finding family, parent/child, and about discovering the 3500 year old mishpucha that is the Jewish... Read more
Published on December 24, 2012 by simpson sherryway
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Virginia, there are!
Funny how many non-Jews have no idea of the deep roots of the Jewish community in Texas - less funny is how few Jews know of or appreciate that legacy. Read more
Published on December 19, 2012 by Victoria B
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Autobiographical Poetry
My heart was touched by the authors poetic writing, especially her description of the flash minyan that formed in the Cairo synagogue as the group responded to the call of the... Read more
Published on November 18, 2012 by TerumahDotCom
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age - a Jewess in Texas
Ms. Winegarten's poems swim in strong Jewish aesthetics, but please any reader of poetry. Her ability to access poignant memories of growing up "Texan" while utilizing an economy... Read more
Published on October 11, 2012 by Janis Benson
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More About the Author

A third-generation Texan, Debra's prowess as a poet began early when her poem, "God is Everywhere," appeared in the monthly edition of Dallas' Temple Emanu-El newsletter. This was actually the instance of her first recorded publication, and at the time the third-grader was pretty sure based on this early success that she would grow up to be an award-winning author. Her writing career was sidetracked a bit when she attended her big brother's band concert where the first chair flute player won the most medals. Debra wanted medals! She took up the flute and decided to be an award-winning flute player, so countries would pay her to perform, and that's how she would sponsor her love for international travel.

Known for being in the right place at the right time, Debra was the third girl to be bat mitzvahed at Temple Emanu-El, in 1973, when the Reform movement decided it was kosher for girls to become adults through this ritual. Fast-tracked through learning Hebrew, Debra's perfect pitch stood her in good stead as she memorized the trope from the cantor's cassette tape recording in record time. She did, in fact, earn many medals playing her flute and has a whole box of medals to show for it. Although countries have never offered to pay her to play her flute for them, she did one time play the theme song from "Exodus" on top of Mount Masada in Israel as the sun rose over the horizon.

Following her confirmation from a conservative shul, her love for Judaism took a back seat when the Rabbi she adored had an affair with the Sunday school teacher she also adored, and at the age of 16, she turned her back on shul, refusing to participate because of the hypocrisy involved. She returned to shul after a 29-year hiatus to say Kaddish for her beloved mother, Ruthe Winegarten. The daily minyan practice "took," and eight years later, she finds herself attending minyan almost daily. She came to adore her minyan mates so much, that she got inspired to start a Facebook site called "Mitzvah Minyanairres" where 6 days a week, she posts one of the 613 mitzvot and encourages the group to take action based on the daily mitzvah.

Along the way, she got a couple of degrees in sociology, one from Texas Woman's University, and a master's from The Ohio State University. She decided to study sociology because she's interested in almost everything and knew in that discipline, she'd never run out of things to learn. She lives in Austin, Texas with her heart partner, Cindy Huyser, whom she loves to the stars and possibly beyond, and a multitude of cats. Her mother once advised her as a writer "not to quit her day job." "But Mom," she protested, "I don't have a day job!" "Then get one," her mother said. So she did. Now she works for the Department of Astronomy at UT Austin, where she is the First Undersecretary of the American Astronomical Society. By night, she writes.


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