In a unique 15 minute film shot in Israel exclusively for our Jewish Book Week audience, the multitalented writer and film-maker Etgar Keret and internationally acclaimed writer Amos Oz opened Jewish Book Week 2008 with a discussion on Israel at 60.
A substantial body of Jewish mystical tales constitute the legendary dimension of the Jewish mystical tradition.
‘Closing the Sea’, Yehudit Katzir’s first book (published in Israel in 1990), has captivated readers’ imagination in an unprecedented way. Subsequent publications: two novels, a collection of short stories and children’s books, reaffirmed her rare gift of story telling.
The peculiar fusion of religion and nationalism in pre-modern Judaism has had a unique impact on contemporary Jewish secularism. For many centuries one could not distinguish between the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.
In his book, The Crime of My Very Existence, Michael Berkowitz investigates the myths and realities of “Jewish criminality”. Philip Kerr has given vivid depictions of German society in his dazzling Berlin Noir Trilogy.
Through The Roman Mysteries Caroline Lawrence draws readers into the world of Ancient Rome following the stories of Flavia, a young Roman girl and her closest friends.
Pomegranate Puppet Theatre presents ‘Joseph and his Coat of Many Dreams’
What themes preoccupy Israeli literature today and how do they reflect and shape the national psyche? What space do ‘private homes’ occupy within the national one and how do they voice their own concerns? How far did Israeli literature go from the initial call for ‘one nation - one voice’?
Conventional accounts maintain that the Dreyfus Affair was the turning point in Herzl's life towards Zionism. However, a careful analysis of his writings and voluminous diary suggest a much more complex picture.
The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated in 1656, branded a heretic by the Amsterdam Jewish community.
Israel’s odyssey over the last sixty years has been a remarkable cocktail of resilience, innovation and agony. Many Israelis agreed with David Grossman when he bemoaned Israel’s current path.
Here, three highly distinctive writers explored dysfunctional families; mining relationships, love and betrayals, secrets and lies.
Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London is the oldest synagogue in Britain.
Jewish Mysticism is concerned with the infinity of meaning embedded in the sacred text and with grasping the divine being which transcends the boundaries of time and space. The Jewish mystical tradition is expressed in a huge diverse library written in the course of the last three millennia.
A lively debate which went beyond the current issues and will looked at some of the really major questions that can only be approached with a sense of perspective: antisemitism and islamophobia, paralleled by hatred of Israel and fear of the Arab world; the multiplication of diasporas as a result
“I have faith that, sooner or later, somehow or another - I'm not sure how - Jews and Arabs will find a way to live together that is totally acceptable and beneficial to us both. In doing this, we can also impact the region around us and, further afield, the world around us.”
Willow Winston interweaves emotional energy and mathematical form, bridging visual arts, science and music. In some of her book art, metallic threads between reflective pages create the illusion of 3D geometric figures.
In his remarkable and original epic, part memoir, part reportage, part mystery, and part detective work, Daniel Mendelsohn tried to reconstruct the reality of the lives the six members of his family - his great-uncle Shmiel, his wife and their four daughters- who perished in the Holocaust and who
In her then new novel, Linda Grant wrote about a sensitive girl growing up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. The dramatic arrival of a glamorous uncle, violently unwelcome by her parents, changes everything.
David Rubinger has captured some of the most powerful images of his time. No one has done a better job of showing the history of Israel in all its glory and pain. The stories behind those photographs and the people he has met are utterly captivating, but one of the most fascinating and poignant
A careful analysis of Sir Isaiah Berlin's writings and lectures suggests a multi-layered Jewish identity. On the one hand, a deep commitment to Zionism and Israel, growing out of a merciless analysis of the failures of emancipation and assimilation.
Preliminaries (Anat Even, 2005)
Michael Freedland chaired a discussion with Gerry Black, author of Frank's Way: Frank Cass and Fifty Years of Publishing, and other friends and colleagues from Frank Cass's long and successful business and communal career.
When Ruth Borchard, died some years ago an unpublished manuscript written in 1941 was found amongst her papers.
S. Yizhar (1916–2006) was widely considered the finest of native-born Israeli writers. His books and stories are marked by a deep love of the landscape of the Land of Israel and by a profound concern for moral questions, as well as by an original and distinctive Hebrew style.
Momik, an only child whose parents survived the Holocaust, grows up in the shadow of their history, determined to understand the nature of the Nazi "beast".
George Steiner described its child's-eye grappling with the taboo of the Holocaust as "one of the great feats in modern fiction".
Zionist historiography, written in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, was essentially mobilized, official historiography, which typically portrayed the war as a straight conflict between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, in which the Jews were always blameless and wise and the Arabs, evil and
The $3 Trillion War is a devastating reckoning of the true cost of the Iraq war - quite apart from its tragic human toll - which the Bush administration has estimated at $50 billion, but which Stiglitz and his co-author Bilmes show underestimates the real figure by approximately six time
Jerusalem is surely the most extraordinary city on earth. Fought over for centuries and now the iconic symbol of the terrible dispute between Arabs and Jews, it is the place where civilisations are layered on top of each other in ancient stones.
(Micha Shagrir, 2007)
Israel as seen through the eyes of David Rubinger, the laureate of the Israeli Prize for Photography, eyewitness to the dramatic events that took place in Israel throughout its existence.
Three acclaimed authors tackle the the pain, awkwardness and strange joy of growing up. Esther Freud has frequently returned to this theme in her novels.
JBW 2008's School Day looked at ‘Storytelling Histories.' We invited year 6 classes to sample some of the most exciting parts of the festival in a series of three specially designed sessions with some multi-talented and award-winning writers.
Jonathan Freedland, alias Sam Bourne, tackles the Middle East conflict in his second gripping thriller, The Last Testament.
There is no such thing as unbiased information but how does the system work? What is omitted and why? During the Lebanon war of 2006, Lisa Goldman managed to keep communication going with Lebanese bloggers, a fact which attracted the attention of the international media.
A pillar of the British acting establishment, lifelong socialist, humanist and thoroughgoing maverick, Miriam Karlin tried to tell us in 30 minutes some of the many things she is passionate about.
Random Acts of Heroic Love is a novel with two intertwining threads. The first, set in 1992, is the story of a man coming to terms with the loss of his girlfriend in a road accident in Latin America.
Jonathan Garfinkel journeys from a Zionist education in Canada to a quest for a true perspective on the Israel-Palestine imbroglio. He witnesses the reality of life on both sides of the divide and also explores Jewish identity.
(James Nutt, 2005)
Dealing with Satan, Rezso’s Kasztner’s Daring Rescue Mission is the story of Reszo Kasztner, the man responsible for saving Ladislaus Lob and 1670 Jewish men, women and children from Bergen-Belsen.
An eclectic fusion of music and spoken word with a dose of Yiddish swing, the popular Bookniks Cabaret returned: hosted by Laoise, with writer and stand-up comic Lana Citron, poets Adam Taylor and Eva Salzman, novelist Rudolph Delson and storytellers Rachel Rose Reid and Ellaya Ayal Mor.
The characters in Jon Canter, Lana Citron and Rudolph Delson's novels seem to be mostly bewildered at life, often angry. They meet romance by accident as they certainly can't believe in it being either misanthropic or disillusioned. The results are hilarious.
Shalom Auslander is angry and scared. Angry at God, at his family, his orthodox upbringing, at the world we live in. Scared, because as hard as he may try, he is still a believer and convinced that a vengeful and cruel God will punish him for his irreverence.
Marie Phillips told us what led her to imagine Greek Gods living a pretty miserable life in Hampstead today in Gods Behaving Badly. Artemis is a dog-walker on the Heath, Apollo a cheesy TV host and Aphrodite a telephone sex operator. A hilarious novel about myths, faith and love.
Both Linda Kelsey and Judith Summers have written about lives turned upside down. Here they spoke about the process of putting it all on paper, about how much of yourself you put into a novel and how you protect your loved ones when you write an autobiography.
Roth’s short novel, Everyman, explores sex, relationships, remorse and dying. The protagonist, an "everyman" figure (reminiscent of the medieval drama), is profoundly aware of the fate that awaits us all.
In her award winning novel, Nancy Huston explores the past through four consecutive generations, taking the reader backwards in time from California to New York, Haifa to Munich, from 9/11 to Nazi Germany, through the terrible fault lines that scarred our recent history.
This session was developed from Howard Schwartz’s book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Few have recognized the essential role of mythology in Jewish folklore.
Lisa Goldman spoke about her blog ‘On the Face’ which continued throughout the 2006 war in Lebanon, a conflict she says is the most blogged war in history.
א. ב. יהושע ישוחח עם הקהל על ספרו אש ידידותית הנוגע בלב ההוויה הישראלית: שכול, אובדן משמעות והחיפוש אחריה במחוזות רחוקים ובלתי צפויים. כמו בספריו הקודמים מעלה יהושע לדיון שאלות נוקבות ביחס לחברה הישראלית, גולה, מולדת, ספרות וסופר.
We went back to our roots and celebrated the folktales and folk tunes of Yiddish yore with the Jewish Community Centre’s tribute troupe.
Bernard Kops remembers the East End of his childhood, desperately poor and teeming with Jewish immigrants, full of hopes and ambition. His Hamlet of Stepney Green brought the vernacular East End voice to the stage and made him famous overnight.
The evening opened with the award ceremony for the Chaim Bermant Prize.
"I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon." - Tom Stoppard
Written as the diary of the head of a commando team stationed at Beaufort during the last winter of Israeli occupation, Beaufort is a revolutionary and potent look at the triviality of war and death, and the courage it takes to put an end to it. This is not a story of war, but of retrea
This is the classic story of a Brooklyn Jewish boy, the child of immigrants, who turned himself into one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Philip Davis has written the first-ever biography of Bernard Malamud who died in 1986 and has suffered a certain neglect since then.
In Mad, Bad and Sad, cultural historian and novelist Lisa Appignanesi took us on a journey through extreme states of mind and explored how a rising profession of mind doctors has diagnosed them over the last two hundred years.
‘Language as much as deeds laid down the lines of a political tragedy’
Is reconciliation between Poles and Jews possible?
The history of Jewish novelists has been a history of emigration: of exile and translation. From Kafka to Italo Svevo, from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Saul Bellow, Jewish novelists have often been marked by a cultural and linguistic cosmopolitanism. But what is the value of displacement?
Jacqueline Wilson peoples her stories with teens and pre-teens who struggle with hopelessly imperfect lives; beloved and believable characters.
The all-singing, dancing and storytelling JCC Tribute Troupe brought to life the work of Shel Silverstein.
Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent and an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land.
Dancing Arabs, Sayed Kashua’s first novel, has been praised around the world for its uniquely human portrayal of a bright young Arab educated in an Israeli school who, trying to fit in two societies, ends up becoming a stranger in both.
In 1909, Freud visited America for the first and only time. In spite of a very successful reception, he seemed to have developed a severe antipathy for the USA.
Packed houses at festivals, bookshops and schools across the world have experienced ‘The Joe Craig Show’. His tall tales, improvised stories, and surprising theories about writing have enthralled and entertained audiences every bit as much as his Jimmy Coates books.
What does it mean to travel from a rural Ethiopian village to the heart of urban Israel?; To leap between two worlds so far apart that one would expect it would take several generations to bridge?
Holy Land Mosaic tells of Daniel Gavron's personal journey through the relatively unknown territory of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, cooperation, partnership, and friendship that exists despite the reality of enmity and daily violence.
In his fascinating book, The Second Bounce of the Ball, Ronald Cohen argues that the entrepreneur’s challenge is to take advantage of situations of uncertainty and that this is where substantial gain can be made. He discussed with John Kampfner his book, what makes a successful entrepre
Looking for adventure, romance, political satire? Worried about what’s left on the shelf? We helped participants find a book they will treasure for years to come.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug--Mark Twain
In an illustrated talk, Simon Louvish re-examined Hollywood's most enduring legend who directed lavish recreations of The King of Kings, The Sign of the Cross, Samson and Delilah and two versions of The Ten Commandments. In his day he provoked at least as much
Sunday 2 March was the final day of Jewish Book Week 2008. The main festival ran from 23 February to 2 March at London's Royal National Hotel. More than 100 challenging and entertaining speakers took part in 71 sessions, presenting arguments and many different points of view.