Drisha Book Salon & Beit Midrash
Thursday, April 12, 7:30pm
Dara Horn’s fifth novel, Eternal Life, tells the story of a woman who can neither die nor escape the burdens of the past she carries with her across the centuries. A meditation on Jewish history and memory, the book raises profound questions about meaning in a seemingly late and meaningless age, and provokes new thinking about the classical Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead and its significance for the way we live our lives.
Hosted at a private home on the UWS. Information provided upon registration. Space is limited.
Click here to register.
Sunday, February 18, 4:15pm (at Limmud NY)
Ruby Namdar’s first novel, The Ruined House, won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious prize for Hebrew literature, despite the fact that Namdar left the country years ago. Like the book’s author, protagonist Professor Andrew Cohen lives in New York City. Unlike the book’s author, Cohen is Jewishly unlettered, though he somehow becomes haunted by overwhelming and unfamiliar images from Judaism’s cultic core – the Jerusalem Temple and the High Priest who officiates there.
In this third session of the Drisha Book Salon, we will study classical Jewish texts that follow the High Priest’s cultic service in the High Temple, which explore the surprising possibility of an ignorant, or perhaps even heretical High Priest, and which help us think about how the pulsating drama of Temple and ritual continue to lay claim on the contemporary.
The book discussion and text study will be led by Ruby Namdar and Shai Secunda with Shira Hecht-Koller as facilitator.
Thursday, December 7, 7pm
Nicole Krauss’ fourth novel, Forest Dark, is a powerful, existential meditation on psychic displacement and restless Jewish movement between Here and There. It directly quotes classic Jewish sources, hints at others, and invites further pairings with biblical, talmudic, kabbalistic, and hassidic texts. In this second meeting of the Drisha Book Salon, we will learn about leaving and returning to Israel and Gan Eden, look at Jewish dreams and other doubled-states of being, and consider other sources that thematize and aspire to tranquility. The text study and book discussion will be led by Shai Secunda.
Forest Dark was just named a Best Book of 2017 by Publishers Weekly.
Kick-Off Event: Tuesday, November 14, 7pm
Join us for a special evening with Ilana Kurshan, author of the newly released memoir, If All the Seas Were Ink (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), with an introduction given by Shai Secunda.
Ilana will discuss core themes in her book and how she came to write it. Led by Ilana, we will also study some of the classical Jewish texts that engendered the book and that are central to her themes.
We encourage participants to read the book in advance to enhance the nature of the discussion. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Ilana Kurshan joined the world’s largest book club, learning daf yomi, Hebrew for “daily page” of the Talmud, a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. By the time she completed the Talmud after seven and a half years, Kurshan was remarried with three young children. This memoir is a tale of heartache and humor, of love and loss, of marriage and motherhood, and of learning to put one foot in front of the other by turning page after page. For people of the book—both Jewish and non-Jewish—If All the Seas Were Ink is a celebration of learning, through literature, how to fall in love once again.
The Drisha Book Salon & Beit Midrash will regularly engage with new literature that draws on themes central to Torah texts, and will be moderated by the authors of the books or scholars of the literature. We will learn be-chavruta classical texts that animate these works.