The Seventh Day: Israeli Literature Fifty Years After the Six-Day War

Featuring some of the most prominent representatives of Israel’s literary young guard and acclaimed American writers and intellectuals, this mini-festival presents recently translated Hebrew fiction and non-fiction to explore the volatile political, social, and cultural state of affairs in Israel at a particular point in time—five decades after the Six-Day War and on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the state's foundation. 

Five celebrated Hebrew writers, Nir Baram, Dorit Rabinyan, Eshkol Nevo, Assaf Gavron and Ruby Namdar, will present their perspectives on a wide range of pertinent controversial issues at the core of Israel's existence. Joined by five notable American authors, journalists and academics—Gal Beckerman, David Samuels, Elissa Goldstein, Ronald W. Zweig, and Liel Leibovitz—they will discuss and debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fragility of democracy, forms of domesticity in a turmoiled society, creativity, falling silent and censorship in times of war and peace, Hebrew writing in the diaspora, Jewish life in America, and the future prospects of Israel. 

Locations and dates for each program can be found below. All events except for the December 7th program are FREE and all are open to the public, but registration is required here.

More information about each conversation can be found by clicking the links below:

October 25, 2017 | A Thin Green Line | Nir Baram in conversation with Gal Beckerman 
KGB Bar - 7:00-9:00PM
85 E. 4th Street, New York, New York 10003

October 26, 2017 | Borderlines | Dorit Rabinyan in conversation with David Samuels
Soho House - 7:00-8:30PM
29-35 9th Avenue, New York, New York 10014

November 2, 2017 | Home/land: Haven and Hell | Eshkol Nevo in conversation with Elissa Goldstein 
Congregation Beth Elohim - 7:30-9:00PM
274 Garfield Place, Brooklyn, New York 11215

November 6, 2017 | Wild There, Wild Here, Wild Everywhere | Assaf Gavron in conversation with Ronald W. Zweig
Taub Center for Israel Studies - 6:00-7:30PM
14A Washington Mews, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10003

December 7, 2017 | A Wandering Language | Ruby Namdar in conversation with Liel Leibovitz
American Jewish Historical Society and Center for Jewish History - 7:00-8:30PM
15 W. 16th Street, New York, New York 10011

The Seventh Day Festival director is Hanan Elstein. Read more about Hanan and his work here.

A special thank you to the following sponsors for their support:

More information on the sponsors can be found here.


**RSVP required to gain entry. Early arrival is suggested as space is limited. Entry is not guaranteed.

Questions? Contact

2017 The Seventh Day Israeli Lit Fest Events

A Thin Green Line

Nir Baram in conversation with Gal Beckerman

October 25, 2017 | 7:00-9:00PM
KGB Bar | 85 E. 4th Street, New York, New York 10003

In this opening night for The Seventh Day Festival, acclaimed author Nir Baram will be joined by prize-winning writer and journalist Gal Beckerman for a special discussion about Baram’s eighteen month reportage-styled travelogue exploring the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In A Land Without Borders, Nir Baram chronicles his journey as he navigates the conflict-ridden territory to speak with a wide range of people, among them Palestinian-Israeli citizens trapped behind the separation wall, Jewish settlers determined to forge new lives and Palestinian ex-prisoners who, after spending half their lives in Israeli prisons, are now promoting peace initiatives. Far from an indifferent spectator, Baram, born to a political family in Jerusalem, wanders compassionately through a labyrinth of colliding voices to face painful challenges to his political views and ultimately his deep-rooted belief in the viability of the two-state solution.

Register here.

Nir Baram is the author of five novels, including The Remaker of Dreams, Good People, and World Shadow. His novels have been translated into 13 languages and received critical acclaims around the world. Baram has been shortlisted several times for the Sapir Prize in Israel, for the Premio Roma culture prize for foreign literature, and in 2010 received the Israeli Prime Minister’s Award for Writers. His most recent book, A Land Without Borders (translated by Jessica Cohen, Text Publishing, 2017), was met with enthusiastic reviews.

Gal Beckerman is an author and journalist. Currently an editor at The New York Times Book Review, he has worked at The Forward and the Columbia Journalism Review and written for many publications, including The Washington Post, New Republic and Wall Street Journal. He has been a fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and was also the recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. His first book, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone, a history of the Soviet Jewry movement, was awarded the National Jewish Book Award and the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature by the Jewish Book Council, as well as being named a book of the year by The Washington Post and The New Yorker.


Dorit Rabinyan in conversation with David Samuels

October 26, 2017 | 7:00-8:30PM
Soho House | 29-35 9th Avenue, New York, New York 10014

Dorit Rabinyan will be talking with David Samuels, Tablet Magazine’s literary editor, about creating culture and censorship in a time of conflict, in connection with her fictionalized evocation of the complex relationships between national archenemies turned lovers.

All the Rivers, the latest novel by Dorit Rabinyan, became an instant sensation when it was originally published in Israel in 2015, winning one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards and topping the best-sellers chart for more than a year. It also sparked one of the most prominent literary scandals in Israel’s history: a tender tale of a love affair between an Israeli and a Palestinian, it was deemed by Israel’s Ministry of Education as inappropriate for high school extended-literature students. Government officials argued the book “could do more harm than good" at a time of heightened tensions between Jews and Arabs, though noted it was not banned. 

Register here.

Dorit Rabinyan is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Persian Brides and Strand of a Thousand Pearls. She is the recipient of the Itzhak Vinner Prize, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Award for Writers, the ACUM Award and the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Award. Her most recent novel, All the Rivers (translated by Jessica Cohen, Random House, 2017), was awarded the Bernstein Prize and has been translated into 17 languages.

David Samuels, Tablet Magazine's literary editor, is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and a longtime contributor to The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and other national publications.

Home/land: Haven and Hell

Eshkol Nevo in conversation with Elissa Goldstein

November 2, 2017 | 7:30-9:00PM
Congregation Beth Elohim | 274 Garfield Place, Brooklyn, New York 11215

Eshkol Nevo will be talking with Tablet Magazine's Elissa Goldstein about plights and troubles within modern Israeli society, the grinding effects of political and social ills on the individual's psyche, and the dark aspects of Israeli parenthood.

In his most recent work, originally published in Israel in 2015, bestselling novelist Eshkol Nevo continues to unmask the convenient camouflage of ordinary Israeli bourgeois existence. Set in an upper-middle-class apartment building in a placid suburb outside Tel Aviv, Three Floors Up examines the interconnected furtive lives of its flawed residents, with their typical turmoils, secrets, untrustworthy confessions, travails and problematic decisions. Moving along three emotional monologues of family narratives voiced in Nevo’s signature direct style, this compassionate yet sincere depiction of modern Israel reveals a vulnerable society in the midst of an identity crisis.

Register here.

Eshkol Nevo was born in 1971 in Jerusalem. He is the author of five novels, all instant bestsellers in Israel. His novel Homesick was awarded the Reimond Vallier prize in France, shortlisted for the Sapir Prize in Israel, and longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the UK. His bestselling novel World Cup Wishes won the Golden Book Prize in Israel and was awarded the ADEI-WIZO Prize in Italy. His novel Neuland sold more than 130,000 copies in Israel, and was awarded the Steimatzky Prize for Book of the Year. His latest bestselling novel, Three Floors Up (translated by Sondra Silverston, Other Press, 2017) was hailed in Israel by critics and readers alike.

Elissa Goldstein is the director of audience development at Tablet Magazine, where she also produces the weekly podcast Unorthodox. She has an M.F.A in creative writing from Brooklyn College, where she was the fiction editor of the Brooklyn Review. Her writing has appeared in Tablet Magazine, Lilith Magazine,, and She was selected for the ROI summit in Jerusalem in 2016 for her work in Jewish media and digital culture. You can follow her on Twitter at @book_moth

Wild There, Wild Here, Wild Everywhere

Assaf Gavron in conversation with Ronald W. Zweig

November 6, 2017 | 6:00-7:30PM
Taub Center for Israel Studies | 14A Washington Mews, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10003

Assaf Gavron will be joined by Professor Ronald W. Zweig, the Marilyn and Henry Taub Professor of Israel Studies at New York University, for an insightful discussion of the Wild West Bank, the issue of Jewish settlements, New Zionism, and the necessity of political writing at the present time.

Widely applauded for his distinctive interweaving of scrupulously realistic prose with a comic edge, prize-winning author Assaf Gavron is also one of the most ethically committed Israeli novelists of his generation. His politically-charged humanistic fiction entices us into a hazardous, rarely charted moral ground, challenging the readers to doubt their intransigent opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gavron’s black comedy about suicide bombing, Almost Dead, dares us to reconsider the very nature of terrorism and the ways it affects people, from both a survivor's and a bomber's point-of-view. Dismantling the complicated extreme, violent and absurd reality in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the settlement-saga The Hilltop defies our typical facile approach to the settlement problem, while clearly indicating the author’s rebuke of settlers’ actions and Israel’s policy.

Register here.

Assaf Gavron has published six novels, including Almost Dead (translated by the author and James Lever, HarperCollins, 2010), Hydromania, The Hilltop (translated by Steven Cohen, Scribner, 2014) and Eighteen Lashes. He also authored a short story collection and a collection of Jerusalem falafel-joint reviews, and was co-editor of the anthology Tel Aviv Noir (translated by Yardenne Greenspan, Akashic, 2014). His writing has been translated into 16 languages. The dystopian novel Hydromania won awards in Holland and Italy. Almost Dead was chosen by the LA Times as one of the 10 best books of the year, and won the Prix Courrier International award in France and the Buch für die Stadt award in Germany. The Hilltop was awarded the Bernstein Prize in Israel and praised in Tablet Magazine as “the great Israeli novel”. A prolific fiction translator, Gavron is responsible for the highly-regarded Hebrew translations of J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and Jonathan Safran Foer’s novels.

Ronald W. Zweig is an Israeli historian specializing in Hebrew and Judaic studies. The Academic Director of the Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University since 2004, he is the author of a number of books on Jewish and Israel studies, including Britain and Palestine During the Second World War, David Ben Gurion: Politics and Leadership in Israel (Ed.), German Reparations and the Jewish World: A History of the Claims Conference, and The Gold Train: The Destruction of the Jews and the Looting of Hungary. He was a member of the Historical Advisory Panel to the National Archives in Washington, DC, and has been serving on editorial boards for various international periodicals, among which are Journal of Israeli History, Jewish Social Studies and Israel Studies.

A Wandering Language

Ruby Namdar in conversation with Liel Leibovitz

December 7, 2017 | 7:00-8:30PM
American Jewish Historical Society and Center for Jewish History - 15 W. 16th Street, New York, New York 10011

Tickets: $10; $5 for members of AJHS, CJH, and 14th Street Y. Tickets can be purchased directly here or you will be sent a purchase link once you register with the above festival event form.

Ruby Namdar will be conversing with Tablet Magazine's Liel Leibovitz on issues at the root of Namdar’s experiences as an Israeli expat, insider and outsider traversing along two languages and worlds. Do language and literature have a territory? What do we mean when we speak of “American Literature”, "Israeli Literature" and “Jewish Literature”? The discussion will be followed by a reception, a book sale and signing by the author.

In the spring of 2000 Jerusalem-born author Ruby Namdar found himself wandering in the streets of New York, taking in the magnitude and glory of this larger-than-life city. Written in New York, in an unusually rich and complex Hebrew prose, The Ruined House was Namdar’s literary response to this experience, as well as to the experience of living and working outside of the “Hebrew territory”. Winner of the 2014 Sapir Prize, Israel’s most important literary award, the novel describes a year in the life of a university professor whose life begins to unravel as he is visited by a string of inexplicable visions of the Holy Temple in Roman era Jerusalem. A few months after Namdar won it, the Sapir Prize committee changed the guidelines in order to prevent other expat Israeli authors living outside of Israel from submitting their work in the future. This controversial decision caused a lively debate, echoes of which still resonate now and then in the Israeli press.

Register here. 

Ruby Namdar was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His first book, Haviv (2000), a collection of short stories, won The Israeli Ministry of Culture's Award for Best First Publication and The Jerusalem Fiction award. His critically acclaimed novel The Ruined House (2013) has won the Sapir Prize (the Israeli Man Booker). He currently lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters, and teaches Jewish literature, focusing on Biblical and Talmudic narrative. The English edition of The Ruined House (translated by Hillel Halkin) will be published by HarperCollins in November 2017.

Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and the author or co-author of seven books, including, most recently, A Broken Hallelujah: Rock n' Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen.

Festival Director

Hanan Elstein is an Israeli literary editor, translator and essayist living in Brooklyn and serving as the LABA Journal Editor and Literary Curator for the 14th Street Y. He has edited hundreds of works of Hebrew and world literature, both fiction and non-fiction, and translated dozens of titles from German. His work has been supported by Goethe-Institut, Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft (EVZ) Foundation, The Heinrich Böll Foundation, OMI International Arts Center, Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, Pro Helvetia and EURODRAM. His literary essays and theater reviews were published in books, magazines and newspapers, among them Haaretz and Israel Hayom

Sponsors and Hosts

Produced and Supported by:

14th Street Y (Arts + Culture and DJL)

Co-Sponsored by:

Hosted by:
KGB Bar, Soho House New York, Congregation Beth Elohim, Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU, American Jewish Historical Society, and Center for Jewish History.

A "special thank you" goes to Vick Giasov (Israeli Consulate in NY), Ofer Ziv (Lion House Agency), Anita Altman, Gil Kulick, Laura Beatrix Newmark, Esther Cohen, Chandlar Klang Smith (KGB Bar), Lee Bob Black, Joshua Furst, Omer Lachmanovitch, Josh Lambert.

Thanks to Mario Kaiser, Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, Julius Omega Baltonado (Bowery Poetry), Cody Stuart Madsen (Book Culture), Guy Ben-Aharon, Ben Clague.