Unpack­ing the Book: Writ­ers Make the Best Detectives

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Jew­ish Museum
1109 5th Ave
New York, NY 10128

The one in which our award-win­ning writ­ers time trav­el across three hun­dred years of his­to­ry — from Lon­don and Paris to New York — in order to uncov­er the lost sto­ries (and peo­ple) of a scat­tered post-Inqui­si­tion and post-Holo­caust world, unrav­el the mean­ing behind text, piece togeth­er mys­ter­ies, and reveal the pow­er of dis­tance in the pur­suit of truth. Rachel Kadish won a 2017 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award and Lisa Moses Leff won the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jew­ish Lit­er­a­ture. This con­ver­sa­tion will be mod­er­at­ed by Stephanie But­nick, deputy edi­tor of Tablet Mag­a­zine and a host of Unortho­dox,” its week­ly podcast.

Rachel Kadish is the award-win­ning author of the nov­els The Weight of Ink (2017 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award Win­ner), From a Sealed Room and Tol­stoy Lied: a Love Sto­ry, as well as the novel­la I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthol­o­gized in the Push­cart Prize Anthol­o­gy and else­where. She has been a fic­tion fel­low of the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts and the Mass­a­chu­setts Cul­tur­al Coun­cil, has received the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Fic­tion Award, and the John Gard­ner Fic­tion Award, and was the Koret Writer-in-Res­i­dence at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. She lives out­side Boston and teach­es in Les­ley Uni­ver­si­ty’s MFA Pro­gram in Cre­ative Writing.

Lisa Moses Leff is a his­to­ri­an of 19th and 20th cen­tu­ry Europe whose research focus­es on Jews in France. Her first book, Sacred Bonds of Sol­i­dar­i­ty (Stan­ford UP, 2006), exam­ines the rise of Jew­ish inter­na­tion­al aid in 19th cen­tu­ry France. Her sec­ond book, The Archive Thief (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2015), tells the sto­ry of Zosa Sza­jkows­ki, an influ­en­tial Jew­ish his­to­ri­an who stole tens of thou­sands of doc­u­ments from French archives and sold them to libraries in the Unit­ed States and Israel. It was award­ed the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jew­ish Lit­er­a­ture, and was a final­ist for a 2015 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award. At Amer­i­can, her teach­ing is broad, encom­pass­ing French, Jew­ish, and gen­er­al Euro­pean his­to­ry of the 18th and 20th cen­turies. She was named Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty’s 2017 Schol­ar-Teacher of the Year.

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.