Unpack­ing the Book: Sovi­et Roots, Amer­i­can Branches

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pro­gram Co-Spon­­sors: The David Berg Foun­da­tion, Nation­al Book Foun­da­tion, and Gen­e­sis Phil­an­thropy Group

Media Spon­sor: Tablet Magazine

This pan­el fea­tures writ­ers who are part of or write about the Russ­ian Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Each year brings a new crop of voic­es reflect­ing on Russ­ian Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca, and we’re bring togeth­er a range of voic­es with the goal of pro­vok­ing a dis­cus­sion about what it means to be a Russ­ian Amer­i­can Jew today and why Russ­ian Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture is such a stand-out in the field. Mod­er­at­ed by Baris Weiss.

Yele­na Akhtiorskaya was born in Odessa in 1985 and raised in Brighton Beach, Brook­lyn. She holds an MFA from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty. She is the recip­i­ent of a Posen Fel­low­ship in Fic­tion, and her writ­ing has appeared inn+1, The New Repub­lic, Triple Canopy, and else­where. She lives in New York City. Pan­ic in a Suit­case (River­head) is her debut novel.

Gal Beck­er­man is the opin­ion edi­tor at The For­ward. His first book, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone, was pub­lished by Houghton Mif­flin Har­court in Sep­tem­ber 2010. It was named was one of the best books of the year by The New York­er and the Wash­ing­ton Post, and received both the 2010 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jew­ish Lit­er­a­ture.

Boris Fish­man immi­grat­ed from the USSR at age nine. He stud­ied Russ­ian lit­er­a­ture at Prince­ton, was on staff at The New York­er, co-wrote the US Senate’s Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na report, and has received a Ful­bright to Turkey. He’s writ­ten for The New York­er, The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, Tablet, The For­ward, The Jerusalem Report, and many oth­ers. A Replace­ment Life (Harp­er) is his debut nov­el. He lives in New York.

Join­ing us for Sovi­et Roots, Amer­i­can Branch­es” will also be Ali­na and Jeff Bli­u­mis, who will be pho­tograph­ing guests as an exten­sion of the project fea­tured in their new book, From Self­ie to Groupie. Read more about the book below, which will be for sale at the May 19th program.

From Self­ie to Groupie by Ali­na and Jeff Bli­u­mis is a book of pho­tographs and essays that explores the vari­ety and intri­ca­cy of Jew­ish-Amer­i­can iden­ti­ty, begin­ning with the Russ­ian-Jew­ish immi­grant enclave of Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach and con­tin­u­ing in loca­tions from New York to Philadel­phia, Mia­mi, Sono­ma Val­ley, and St.Paul. Thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants have helped make this a vital por­trait of the com­mu­ni­ty today — in its many shades, shapes, and sizes — and a col­lab­o­ra­tive state­ment about col­lec­tive iden­ti­ty. From Self­ie to Groupie has been made pos­si­ble with the gen­er­ous sup­port of Gen­e­sis Phil­an­thropy Group.

Host­ed at the Jew­ish Muse­um in New York City (1109 5th Avenue), Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Con­ver­sa­tion brings togeth­er some of the finest writ­ers of the day for con­ver­sa­tions around con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish life and iden­ti­ty. This event is FREE with pay-what-you-want admis­sion and includes wine and refresh­ments, a book sale and sign­ing, and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it the Jew­ish Muse­um gal­leries on the day of the pro­gram; how­ev­er, space is lim­it­ed and guests must reg­is­ter in advance.