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The Write Stuff: Jewish American Literature

On Sunday, Menorah presents its second symposium in conjunction with “Movers: Do You Speak Jewish?”. This year-long, cross-community series focuses on language and literature as it relates to Jewish identity, history and culture. Menorah’s symposiums offer an opportunity to hear from experts in the field, to learn about the impact of Jewish literature, to engage in discussion and to look closely at specific themes, styles, genres, writers and periods.

Jewish American literature has chronicled and paralleled the Jewish American experience. It depicts the struggles of immigrant life, the stable yet alienated middle-class existence that followed, and finally the unique challenges of cultural acceptance: assimilation and the reawakening of tradition.

Jewish writers whose work holds a prominent and influential place in 20th century American literature include Abraham Cahan, Henry Roth, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Norman Mailer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Chaim Potok, Herman Wouk, and J.D. Salinger.

DU Professor Adam Rovner will deliver a keynote overview that focuses on the idea that Jewish American literature is an immigrant literature and is now inevitably in decline (the Howe position) or constantly renewing itself (current cheerleading position).

Retired CU Professor Joel Salzberg will provide a counterpoint position on Professor Rovner’s thesis. There will be two break-out sessions following that will look more closely at Philip Roth and more contemporary writers.

The symposium is Sunday, February 13, 2:00 – 6:00 pm at the Boulder JCC.  Admission is $18 in advance; $22 at the door. Refreshments will be served.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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