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International Initiative in the Literature
PUBLIC PROGRAMS
May 18, 2009 at 7:00pm
The Lifecycles of New York Jews: Refuge and Roots: Searching for Home in a New Land
The third and final staged literary evening in the season's widely praised series will explore the hopes and confusions of immigrant Jews as they struggle to transplant their lives from Europe's Yiddish-speaking cultures to a homeland called New York..

Featuring Carol Kane, Academy Award nominee for Joan Micklin Silver's film Hester Street, reading scenes from Abraham Cahan's novel Yekl, on which the film was based. The presentations also feature an extraordinary supporting cast. Special appearances by National Book Award-winning poet Gerald Stern, New York Times writer and memoirist, Joseph Berger, and award winning novelist Thane Rosenbaum reading from his novel, Golems of Gotham, accompanied by exciting fiddler Sarah Alden. The program will also present scenes from the brilliantly evocative works of Henry Roth, Michael Gold and Anzia Yezierska. Musical interludes will be performed by the widely acclaimed musicians of Metropolitan Klezmer.

This program is made possible by the generous support of Amy P. Goldman and the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust and the Lowe II Foundation.


March 16, 2009 at 7:00pm
The Lifecycles of New York Jews: Love and Loss

The second in an already widely praised series of staged readings will explore the experiences of love, well-being and loss through the eyes of New York Jewish authors. With the assistance of stage and screen star Kathleen Chalfant and a wonderful supporting cast, acclaimed author Nicole Krauss will join in a theatrical reading of her poignant and powerful New Yorker magazine story, "The Last Words on Earth," from the novel The History of Love. Non-fiction story writer and memoirist Dorothy Gallagher, whose work has been described as "intimate, fierce and hilarious," will read from her collections How I Came Into My Inheritance and Strangers in the House. Jonathan Rosen, editorial director of Nextbook, will read from his national bestseller, The Life of the Skies. Alix Kates Shulman will be reading from her memoir, To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed.


January 12, 2009 at 7:00pm
The Lifecycles of New York Jews: Little Disturbances and Enormous Changes

The first in a series of staged literary evenings will depict the complex and ever-surprising lives of New York Jewish families. Stage and screen star Kathleen Chalfant will be joined by Matt Rauch, Jerry Matz and Robert Zukerman to pay tribute to authors Grace Paley and J. D. Salinger. Gabriel Brownstein will read from his Hemingway/PEN Award-winning fiction. A sample of a work-in-progress documentary film portrait of Grace Paley by Lilly Rivlin will be shown.

June 16, 2003 at 7:00pm
BLOOM
CELEBRATING THE IRISH-JEWISH CULTURAL CONNECTION WITH READING OF JAMES JOYCE 'ULYSSESS'
A contemporary, unconventional, upbeat presentation!

In association with the Center for Jewish History and American Sephardi Federation. Made possible in part by the support of Tourism Ireland.

"Bloom" is a gala theatrical reading focusing on the peculiarly endearing character of Leopold Bloom, James Joyce’s Jewish protagonist in his epic novel Ulysses. The theatrical readings featured a distinguished cast of Broadway actors, including actress Kathleen Chalfant, star of the Off-Broadway hit "Wit" and "Angels in America". Ms. Chalfant was currently appearing in "Talking Heads" at the Minetta Lane Theater and shuttled between simultaneous productions at the Center and the Minetta Lane. At least eight actors assumed the role of Leopold Bloom, some describing his speech and actions, others giving voice to Bloom's thoughts, including his unconscious: Chris Ceraso, Rufus Collins, Jerry Matz, Paul McIsaac, and Robert Zukerman.

The one-night performance celebrated the Irish/Jewish cultural connections explored in Joyce’s novel. The literary evening, part of the CJH’s “Writers at the Center” program, presented Joyce’s novel from a Jewish perspective, while taking its place among the many readings of Ulysses being held around the world on Bloomsday, the anniversary of the day the novel takes place, ninety nine years ago on June 16, 1904.

The "Bloom" gala is being organized by Natalia Indrimi, Curator of the Center for Jewish History, and Alan Adelson, Executive Director of the Jewish Heritage, the gala’s co-sponsor and producer/director of the performance.

"Literate America seems to break down into two groups," says Adelson: "Those who’ve read and loved Ulysses, and those who haven’t dared. We’re emphasizing the most human side of the story told in this surprisingly poignant novel. Our performance will follow a Jewish man through a day of good works and failed business efforts--even as he lives with the knowledge that his wife Molly, a music hall singer, is with her lover. Not a conventional literary reading, Bloom incorporated set, sound, and lighting design in an attempt to innovate staging devices evoking Joyce’s revolutionary "stream of consciousness" - the inner monologues of his characters."

Kathleen Chalfant performed the most famous of these–Molly Bloom’s reverie reliving her sex life, the closing passages of the novel.

Throughout Joyce’s life as a writer, and particularly with his novel Ulysses, he was attracted to exploring the cross-overs between Irish and Jewish cultures. "By focusing on Leopold Bloom, the most celebrated Jew in Irish literature, and many would agree the greatest Jewish character in modern literature, we hope to present a program which will stimulate far more awareness of those commonalities," says Adelson. Surprising similarities exist between Irish and Jewish cultures. The stages of exodus, exile and diaspora are major themes addressed by Joyce as he observed the common nature of both Jewish and Irish heritage, Adelson observes. And like a Talmudic scholar, Joyce continued to analyze, revise and comment upon his own holy text: Ulysses.

June 5, 2008 at 6:30pm
Black Grass, by Bernard Otterman

In celebration of the publication of "Black Grass," short fictions in response to the Holocaust, you are cordially invited to attend a dramatic reading from the book, with readings by noted actors Norma Fire and Robert Zukerman, and to hear a conversation with the author, Bernard Otterman, on the origins of the stories.

A reception and book signing will follow with refreshments in the Great Hall.
celebration of the publication of "Black Grass," short fictions in response to the Holocaust, you are cordially invited to attend a dramatic reading from the book, with readings by noted actors Norma Fire and Robert Zukerman, and to hear a conversation with the author, Bernard Otterman, on the origins of the stories.

A reception and book signing will follow with refreshments in the Great Hall.

Admission: Free Admission, RSVP: 212-868-4444

 

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If you would like to consider bringing one of Jewish Heritage's programs to your city, please contact us.
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