Tuesday, April 30, 2019

An Emoji Month in Summary

An incredible month caps off with the The New York Times declining me.

This was the only interview I had for The Emoji 
Haggadah that didn't make it to print. I was told: "...they did indeed decide to cancel it. The decision comes from above."

But I have no complaints. The coverage I got was astounding. It was an amazing month.

I've warehoused everything - interviews, reviews, essays, and name-drops - here for your perusal: 

351 Shopping Days left to Pesach!: 

i) Bodek

Monday, April 22, 2019

These Reviews Come with Stories

Moed Tov!

1) A fellow co-worker, so enamored with The Emoji Haggadah, reached out to her previous place of employment, asked if she could review my book as one last hurrah of sorts, and was granted her request! The result is the best nuts-and-bolts under-the-hood look at what I was thinking throughout my creation process. If you really want access to my brain, this piece teases out the machinery better than any other:
2) Talk about full circle: over 20 years ago, I published a series of dating columns in The Jewish Press' "Im Yirtzeh HaShem by You" column. The Jüdische Allgemeine, Germany's last weekly Jewish newspaper, reached out to me, asking for permission to translate and publish. Of course! I still have the copies in my archives.
Two decades later, I publish The Emoji Haggadah, and The Jüdische Allgemeine - still kicking around, still the last of its kind standing - reaches out because they'd like to review my book. Of course!
Speak German?: enjoy.; Speak Yiddish?: you'll get about 2/5th of it.; Speak English?: Click the translate button, and have fun reading the awkwardly formal result, and my gender all wrong, but the article remains quite good:

5) Now in six libraries and spreading fast.
6) I hear that, during his Shabbos Hagadol speech, Rabbi Moshe Shmiel Rottenberg of Bais Moshe Shmiel in Brooklyn, mentioned my book as a way to keep kids involved. That's 2!

7) Excuse me while I go find out what's going on with that New York Times article.
8) If you enjoyed my book over chag, I would be pleased with a kind word on Amazon. Thank you very much!: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1602803463

-Martin(i) Bodek

Friday, April 19, 2019

My Pesach Vinch (Passover Wishes)

My favorite author, AJ Jacobs, published his 6th book recently. It was called Thanks A Thousand. He goes on an adventure thanking everyone up the chain who is responsible for his daily coffee. It's a book entirely about gratitude. I think he got more press for this than he did for any of his previous works.

I, too, published my 6th book this year. You may have heard. It's called The Emoji Haggadah. It's published by KTAV Publishing House. I'm thankful to a lot of people who have helped me throughout the process. All I feel is gratitude. I know I got more press for this than any of my previous works.

With this book, I have finally gotten access to a world previously closed to me. The door opened. I went supernova. I got zany coverage from all corners of the globe. Newspapers in Australia and New Zealand covered me; I was tweeted at from all over Asia. A German paper reached out for an interview; Israelis were some of the first to order; Indian and British work colleagues were thrilled for me. 5 libraries, in 5 different states, already have it in their collections. Stores all over the U.S. and Canada welcomed me in, and the globe follows after chag. I've sold thousands of copies; I was in the top 0.14% of Amazon sellers; I'm noticed in the streets; I now walk around with a Sharpie in my pocket; everyone thinks I'm handsome.

But what elevates my heart is not just this feeling of self-actualization, not just this enervating kerpow of personal accomplishment after years of rejection.

No, what pervades my entire body, heart, and soul is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, to all those who took a chance on me, who offered me advice and encouragement, who gave me solid leads, who interviewed me, who reviewed me, who connected me with some heavy hitters, who walked into stores to pitch for me, who pounded pavement for me.

It is good to feel gratitude. It's good to feel that people have your back. More than all the emotions I've experienced, this one sits at the top of the pyramid.

I'm thankful to all of you, and I wish sincerely that this feeling of gratitude should sit in your hearts as well. It's the best feeling in the world. You deserve it.

Have a wonderful chag, and I hope that my humble work helps add meaning to your seders, and helps engage with those at your table.

-Mordechi (Martin[i]) Bodek

P.S. And today, erev Pesach, is my birthday. How fitting is that? My wife got me an emoji cake, because that’s perfect, and she’s awesome. And vice versa.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Emoji Digest 2, or Only Two Shopping Days Left to Pesach!

As if I'm the only one in your inbox reminding you there are two days left:

Let's see now, what do I have to report?. Ah yes:

6) My wife dreamed up some more clever ads (attached) which we spread around social media.
7) TheKnish.com is back, and will be revived in full shortly. For now, I'm warehousing the compendium of the coverage The Emoji Haggadah is getting. It's become quite astonishing: http://www.theknish.com/
8) My book is now in 5 US libraries, in 4 states and DC. Having a book in a library is a feeling of permanence that has great meaning for me.


1) The Jüdische Allgemeine - Germany's last Jewish newspaper - will be featuring the book. Link will be available next week.
2) The Jewish Book council. They're quite high-brow, and are obsessing over grammatical details before release.
3) The New York Times. That's the big one. Bated breath!

If this is my last e-mail before chag, then have a great one, everybody! Thank you for the love and support! There are chunks of possibilities that wouldn't be available to me without your impassioned input, and assistance, and invaluable advice. I'm truly thankful and grateful. I also hope you enjoy your seders and that I have a hand in making it more enjoyable for you and your children, and your children's children, and your parents and grandparents, and heck, just everybody.

-Martin(i) Bodek

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Easier-to-Digest Emoji Haggadah Digest


My apologies for crowding your mailbox with all things Emoji Haggadah. Truth is, the pace at which I'm bombarding you is restrained in comparison with the absolute whirlwind I'm experiencing at the moment, which I'm simply delighted to share with you, my friends and family.

5 of you have asked me to take you off my e-mail list. I totally get that. Granted.

As for the rest of you who still love me, I'll digest as much as I can into single e-mails, and create space in between. You have to understand that every time I head to the post office to mail another book somewhere, my phone blows up with yet another interview request, or google alert, or friend offering congrats. It's been amazing.

So this has happened lately:

1) The Jewish Vues, splattering me all over Brooklyn: https://view.flipdocs.com/?PID=1000741#20
4) The book is now in 20 stores (the latest: Eichler's on Coney, and Judaica Gallery in Highland Park) and online outlets and continues to roll.
5) I'm #2 in Jewish Prayerbooks on Amazon, having vaulted over Elie Wiesel, OBM, and stuck behind the Kveller product: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12569/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_books
6) I have 5 reviews, but I always will welcome more, and thank you in advance: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1602803463

Okay, that's more than enough for today. I'll practice restraint again, but still pending are my interviews with The Bergen Record, Jewish Book Council, The New York Times (gosh, that's just too nuts too comprehend), and whatever happens between now and Pesach, which is 8 days away - and which will happen to be my birthday. Nice harmony there.

-Martin(i) Bodek

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Onward and upward, I’m in the ⏩



Still pending publication are my interviews with:

The Jewish Vues.
The Jewish Book Council.



The New York Times.

Yeah, that's a big one.

10 days left to Pesach. Get your copies now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1602803463

Also, enjoy the cute ads attached, courtesy of my wife's clever noggin, and splattered all over social media. She's awesome.

-Martin(i) Bodek

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Vos Iz Neias Tosses a News Grenade, and The Emoji Haggadah Blows Up

Vos Iz Neias is, no joke, the Associated Press of the frum world. No sooner did they put this out, when Baltimore Jewish Life picked it up, followed by several outlets, followed by my phone completely blowing up with 1) congrats 2) social media shares galore, and 3) additional new outlets requesting interviews. This all happened before I could even have a chance to click on the article.

Sandy Faska Eller was there at the beginning, when I self-published, and she's there in the middle, when my creation is blowing up (I'm in the top 1/5th of 1% of Amazon sellers) thanks to my new relationship with KTAV Publishing House. She is exceptional, and proves her mettle here once again.

Here's the bottom line with what I shvitzed over for two years to produce: I want to be at your seder. Will you have me please?:

- Martin(i) Bodek