Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month (May!), our friends over at Open Road Media passed along some great content to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture. A sneak peek of some of the content can be found here, more can be found below:
- Is Stanley Elkin a “Jewish Writer”? — Stanley Elkin was one of the most important American writers of the last century. “No serious funny writer can match him,” wrote The New York Times. Although Elkin, much like his friend Saul Bellow, grew up in a comfortable middle-class Jewish home in Chicago, he is not typically thought of as a Jewish writer. Instead he is frequently associated with postmodern novelists like Thomas Pynchon, William Gass, and Robert Coover. To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, Open Road will feature a series of essays about Elkin and his relationship to Jewish literature on its blog. The series will include contributions from literary critics Daniel Green and Peter J. Bailey, as well as Elkin’s biographer David C. Dougherty. Learn more about Elkin here.
- Sophie’s Choice by William Styron — Winner of the 1980 National Book Award, Sophie’s Choice is William Styron’s classic novel of love, survival, and regret, set in Brooklyn in the wake of the Second World War. The novel centers on three characters: Stingo, a sexually frustrated aspiring novelist; Nathan, his charismatic but violent Jewish neighbor; and Sophie, an Auschwitz survivor who is Nathan’s lover. More about Open Road and Styron can be found here.
- Home in the Morning by Mary Glickman — A powerful debut from a new literary talent, this novel tells the story of a Jewish family confronting the tumult of the 1960s—and the secrets that bind its members together. It explores the Jewish experience as the Old South becomes the New South. More about Glickman can be found here.
- Remembering Haven — When Ruth Gruber’s book Haven was published, the New York Times called it “a visceral jolt.” The people agreed. The book tells the powerful story of a top-secret mission to rescue one thousand European refugees in the midst of the Second World War. A simulated general with the approval of the US Government, Gruber escorted the refugees on this secret mission across the Atlantic to Oswego, New York. Each day carried the threat of Nazi capture. And each day, Gruber recorded the fears, dreams and stories of the passengers aboard the ship. In this short article, Open Road shares a special excerpt of Haven, along with new, unreleased quotes from Ruth Gruber herself. More about Gruber can be found here.
- Unearthing the Archives — Lucy Dawidowicz (1915–1990) was a Jewish historian and author whose bestselling book The War Against the Jews: 1933–1945 was one of the most groundbreaking and influential books on the subject of the Holocaust. Open Road shares an inside look into the life and work of Lucy Dawidowicz, as well as an excerpt from The War Against the Jews: 1933–1945. For more information on Lucy Dawidowicz, visit here.
- Video: Author Rafael Yglesias on Mixed Heritage — We live in a multicultural society. In this embeddable video clip, author Rafael Yglesias (Fearless, Dr. Neruda’s Cure for Evil) discusses his experience growing up in a half-Jewish, half-Latino family: “I tend to see many more similarities in those cultures than they see in each other.” Learn who in his family Yglesias considers the most classic “Jewish mother” he ever met—it may surprise you! More about Yglesias here.