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  • News Brief

    The public may vote on finalists for the best Jewish fiction of the past decade. The voting, at, will decide among “Ravelstein” by Saul Bellow, “Everything Is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “In the Image” by Dara Horn, “The Puttermesser Papers” by Cynthia Ozick, “The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth and “The Wedding… More ▸

  • Talmudic Study Method Works in Private School, Teachers Find

    As we prepare the course materials for the 10th-grade English classes we teach beginning every fall semester at Havergal College, an independent high school for girls in Toronto, we find ourselves fixated on the Hebrew Bible and the talmudic study method known as chevruta. We learned the chevruta technique, which calls for two study partners… More ▸

  • Condemnations Pour in After Author Gunter Grass Admits SS Past

    Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass’ admission that he was an SS member has drawn both rage and defenses of the writer. While some say the revelation devalues his life’s work, others are showing more understanding for the pressures faced by the teenager who later would write such modern German classics as “The Tin Drum.” Grass,… More ▸

  • Tisha B’av Feature Rummage Sale on a Fast Day? Tisha B’av Marked in Various Ways

    Traditional Jews mark Tisha B’Av by fasting, reading from the Book of Lamentations and observing rituals of mourning But Tisha B’Av at The Valley Temple, a Reform synagogue in Cincinnati, took on a less somber demeanor last year. Temple sisterhood members spent the holiday busily hosting their annual rummage sale, sorting through piles of household… More ▸

  • Arts & Culture Child of Survivors Specializes in Wickedly Funny Holocaust Novels

    On the second page of Lily Brett’s compelling new novel, “You Gotta Have Balls” (easy, the reference is to a meatball recipe), a friend tells the story’s protagonist, Ruth Rothwax, that she’s got to stop obsessing about the Holocaust. Never mind that Ruth, like Brett, is the child of Holocaust survivors. “Grow up,” Sonia almost… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Roman Polanski said his film version of “Oliver Twist” reflected some of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. The European Jewish director was in Israel this week to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, which features first screenings of his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about an orphan in… More ▸

  • Arts & Culture Best-selling Authors Compare Notes on Jewish Families, Israeli Influences

    In their first meeting, Nathan Englander and Etgar Keret playfully joust about influences and literature and how experiencing Jewish and Israeli life informs their writing. Englander, 36, a former Long Island yeshiva boy turned darling of the American literature scene and his Israeli counterpart, Keret, 38, in turns adored and excoriated for his fantastical and… More ▸

  • News Brief

    The Former Czech president and a Czech Jewish writer will receive honorary doctorates from the University of Haifa. Vaclav Havel and Arnost Lustig will be honored in late May, according to the Czech daily Pravo. Havel, 69, has been nominated repeatedly for the Nobel peace prize, and Lustig, 79, for the Nobel prize for literature…. More ▸

  • Arts & Culture Dorothy, Shmorothy: Kansas U. Gets Enthusiastic Yiddish Scholar

    As bullets whistled overhead and the smoke of the Battle of Black Jack wafted through the warm air 150 years ago this month, a terse conversation passed between two men fighting alongside abolitionist John Brown. “Nu, was meinen Sie jetzt?” (So, what do you think of this now?) August Bondi, who later recorded the conversation… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Philip Roth won the prestigious PEN/Nabokov literary award. Roth, whose most recent novel is “Everyman,” won the $20,000 biennial prize given to “a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents achievement in a variety of literary genres and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship.” The PEN American… More ▸