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This Summer Come to Jerusalem to Write

Monday, March 16, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

This summer come to Jerusalem to write

The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University is pleased to invite you to participate in creative writing seminars in both creative nonfiction and fiction with exceptional writing teachers, to be held in late July, early August 2009 at the Stern House in Jerusalem’s Yemin Moshe neighborhood.

The Instructors:

Ilana Blumberg’s Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman among Books (University of Nebraska Press, 2007) won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Choice Award in 2008, was a finalist for the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in Women Studies and a finalist for a Moment Magazine writing award. She is a prize-winning teacher from the University of Pennsylvania and is an assistant professor of humanities, culture, writing and Jewish studies at James Madison College, Michigan State University.

Ehud Havazelet, highly-acclaimed writer and teacher, has written two collections of short stories — What Is It Then Between Us? (Scribners,1988) and Like Never Before (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998) and the novel Bearing the Body (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007). Havazelet has received a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and Oregon and California Book Awards for fiction. He teaches creative writing at University of Oregon and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program, one of the leading writing programs in the United States.

Creative Nonfiction with Ilana Blumberg

Monday, July 20 – Wednesday, July 22, 2009
9:00 am – 5:30 pm

Day One: Writing Memoir

Monday, July 20

The success of a memoir depends on the voice of the narrator. The story of our own personal past can speak to readers who do not know us or care about us only when that voice is trustworthy, reflective and even wise. In this way, memoir differs dramatically from the diary we might have written about the same events. How can we transform and organize our past personal experience into a form that will inspire the interest and concern of readers? How can we find a voice that will encourage readers to trust us?
Readings and writing exercises.

Day Two: Creative Nonfiction and Jewish Culture: Between Languages and Lands

Tuesday, July 21

Jewish writers turn to many sources for inspiration: the Bible, the Talmud, midrash, Hasidic tales. Yet such texts also pose challenges when we want to respond to them in our own writing. How do writers of creative nonfiction manage the various translations necessary to move between texts from different lands and other languages (mainly Hebrew) when we import them into our writings? How can we bring such powerful, historical sources into relation with our own experiences to best effect for a wide readership?
Readings and writing exercises.

Day Three: Meditation and Action

Wednesday, July 22

One of the biggest challenges writers of creative nonfiction face is the balance between action scenes/ dialogue/ and plot and meditation/ reflection/ and memory. How do we insure that a narrative keeps moving forward when it seems also to require moments of stasis, backward movement and limitation to one voice or consciousness? What different models do accomplished writers provide?
Readings and writing exercises.

Participants can choose 1, 2 or 3 days of creative nonfiction. See costs below.

Fiction with Ehud Havazelet – 2 seminars

What’s Next? A 3-Day Seminar for intermediate and experienced writers

Monday-Wednesday, July 27-29
9:00 am – 5:30 pm

As you already know, a story can begin in many places: a life event; a person who has made an impact on you; a family tale repeated, cherished, distorted; the love of words and a need to apply them to life. In other words, Material. Together we will look at how some successful stories have taken the next step, from material to fruition, by focusing on craft choices the authors made: point-of-view; voice; character development; i.e. the formal tools of the trade. Noah got the idea of the Ark from on high; he needed the hammer and nails. That’s what’s next. Readings and writing exercises.

Where to Begin? A 2-Day Seminar for beginning fiction writers

Monday-Tuesday, August 3-4
9:00 am – 5:30 pm

If you are reading this, chances are you’ve been drawn by an impulse to write. History, family lore, experience, love of language or books – all are spurs to interest, but where to begin? By reading a few stories for discussion we will analyze how some writers have approached the issue. By drafting a piece of fiction and discussing it together, we will see if their strategies might help in beginning ours. Readings and writing exercises.


All seminar classes will be limited to 18 participants on a first come first served basis.

When you register for a seminar, you will receive a list of readings to complete before the seminar.

Participants can choose 1, 2 or 3 days of creative nonfiction.

In fiction, it’s a choice between a 3-day or 2-day seminar.

The prices listed below are in US dollars. If you want to pay in another currency, please go to for a conversion table. (To access the shekel option, at “To this currency” go to “More currencies available” at the bottom of the dropdown list. Click. Go to “Israel new shekels.” Type in amount at “Convert.” Click “Go.”)

Number of Days Cost


One $150

Two $285

Three $392

Four $487

Five $572

Six $652

Students and alums of The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing are entitled to a 10% discount on all prices.

Your payment can be made in three post-dated checks made out to Bar-Ilan University, the final check dated no later than July 10, 2009. Make sure your ID number or passport number is on the back of each check.

Mail your checks to:

Judy Labensohn, Coordinator

The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing

English Department

Bar-Ilan University

Ramat Gan 52900



Along with your checks, please note the following information:

1. the exact program and date for which you are registering
2. your name, address, and phone number
3. your email address

Refund policy:

A registration fee of $35 is non-refundable. If you cancel and we can fill your place, you will receive your full payment minus the $35 fee, (though this may take several months.) If we cannot fill your place by July 10th, you will receive 50% of your payment, minus the $35 fee.

There will be no refunds after July 10th.


Each day there will be a 2-hour lunch break at 12:30 pm. Participants are free to bring lunch, use the Stern House fridge and eat in the House.

Within a 5-minute walk of the Stern House are parks, numerous restaurants and coffee shops of all persuasions.

Within a 10-15 minute walk, you can avail yourself of an even larger choice of restaurants on Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony.

We will supply coffee, tea, and bottled water throughout the seminars, as well as cookies/ snacks and fresh fruit.


There are many Bed and Breakfast establishments within walking distance of the Stern House. Go to and or just surf the net.

Nearby hotels include Beit Shmuel, Inbal, David’s Citadel, YMCA, Scottish Hospice, King David, King Solomon, Mount Zion, Dan Panorama, Dan Boutique and Mishkanot Sha’ananim. Birgitta, the woman who lives next door to the Stern House, offers unusual and colorful sleeping arrangements at reasonable rates. Tel. 02-5243877

If you plan to commute each day, know that the instructor will start promptly at 9:30 am.

Queries? Please email