7 / 5 / 20
It started as a casual conversation when an Iranian-born colleague asked me if I knew anything about Holocaust refugees in Iran and ended a decade later with a 417-page book. The book is about my journey in the footsteps of a quarter million Polish Jews who survived World War Two in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India and Eretz Yisrael.
6 / 18 / 20
One of my most meaningful encounters with the work of Franz Kafka did not make it into Kafka’s Last Trial. From 2011-2014, I taught a “great books” seminar to Palestinian students at the Al Quds-Bard College for Arts and Sciences in East Jerusalem, the only dual-degree liberal arts program in the Middle East.
6 / 7 / 20
Books or newspapers? It is a constant battle.
On the one hand, there is the daily news: keeping up with it, understanding it and analyzing it. On the other hand, there are the stories that I know need more and that the reader needs to be taken into deeper.
5 / 22 / 20
Nehemia is a Hebrew novel by Yakov Z. Mayer published in Israel to rave reviews in January 2019. The novel is based on the real historical figure of Nehemia HaCohen, a Polish kabbalist who denounced the false Messiah Shabbtai Zvi as an imposter.
Ayelet Tsabari, Matti Friedman, Evan Fallenberg
5 / 14 / 20
On Sunday, May 10th, the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize winner Ayelet Tsabari and the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize winner Matti Friedman participated in a literary conversation moderated by Sami Rohr Prize judge Evan Fallenberg as part of the Jerusalem Writers Festival's first digital edition.
Michael David Lukas
4 / 30 / 20
Not too long ago, in what feels like an entirely different world, a prominent Jewish organization invited me to give a speech. I was asked not to say anything too "political" in my speech, for fear of offending their donors. I thought I would share with this forum the short preamble I added as a response:
4 / 20 / 20
I did not cry the first time I went to Mannheim,
when my father and I studied the nameplates
listing the residents of the building on Ifflenstrasse
where his mother had been born, and grown up...
4 / 12 / 20
“I’m an extrovert in an introvert’s profession,” Rabbi Joseph Telushkin said, at our biennial Sami Rohr Institute a few years ago. I found myself nodding in agreement. As a child, I fell in love with the sound and weight of words, what it felt like when they were spoken out loud, or read in silence. Even though I could disappear into...
3 / 26 / 20
“I then have my coffee and come down to this room, sit at my desk, and wait. Without reading, listening to music, or answering the phone.”
That’s how Amoz Oz, whose words these are, wrote 40 books, including 14 novels...
3 / 12 / 20
When I tell people I got my M.D. and then left medicine to become a fiction writer, they often say, “That was brave.” This is, I think, another way of saying, “You are obviously insane.” It’s perhaps particularly hard to walk away from medicine as a Jew. In Jewish families going back to Maimonides and before...
2 / 27 / 20
Hanoch Levin is often called Israel’s greatest playwright, whose absurdist style drew acclaim and criticism and was often compared with Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett. During his foreshortened life (1943-1999) he wrote more than 60 plays, many of which became instant classics...
Sarah Abrevaya Stein
2 / 13 / 20
Determining when a book is done is a struggle for any writer. Realizing that a work of history is still unfolding is a revelation. It is in such a state that I find myself two months after the publication of my most recent book, Family Papers: a Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century...
Carolyn Starman Hessel
1 / 28 / 20
The format in which you are receiving this message is one I could only have dreamed about when the Sami Rohr Prize was established. Appropriately, this website is being launched at the beginning of a new year: a time of new beginnings, exciting initiatives and a fresh image as SRP enters the digital arena...