Are You Familiar with Israeli Literature?

by Christin Davis, USC “Reporting on Israel” Journalism Student

L.A. Book Club on Israeli LiteratureOnce a month, in and around Beverly Hills, a word-of-mouth club, comprised of all Israelis, meets at alternating members’ homes to discuss Hebrew literature by Israeli authors.

“It’s interesting because we all know each other so well,” says Orna Yaron, who along with her husband Meir, helped start the club and are the only remaining members of the 40 attendees of the first book club meeting in 1989. “We know each other’s political inclinations, personal and family situations. We analyze the literature, but everybody comes from his own experience. It’s like group therapy sometimes.”

The group is moderated by a professional, Deborah Steinhart, also an Israeli, who has a doctorate in comparative literature from UC Berkeley. Steinhart went through a few of the authors the club has studied, including Aharon Appelfeld, a prolific writer on the Holocaust; S. Y. Agnon, a Nobel laureate writer; Amos Oz, a journalist and professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University; A. B. Yehoshua, a novelist and playwright; and Amichai Shalev, editor for literature and art on Ynet.

Anyone out there read in Hebrew? Are you familiar with these authors or a fan of their work? What is the major premise of modern Israeli literature? What other Israeli authors should people looking for Hebrew literature be aware of?

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