Fall 2023

The series Contemporary Israeli Voices was initiated, is curated and has been organized by Dalit Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. The series showcases the most contemporary voices in Israeli society especially in the arts: literature, films and TV shows. The series was conceived in 2002 and is offered annually in the fall.  All events in the series are an essential part of the Hebrew program’s groundbreaking curriculum at Wesleyan University.  Contemporary Israeli Voices celebrates women’s and minorities’ voices as well as the growing success of Israeli films and TV in Hollywood and around the world.

Contemporary Israeli Voices is free and open to the Wesleyan community as well as the general community.

Thursday, October 5, 2023, 8:00 PM
7:30-8:00 PM  Hors d’oeuvre Reception

Happy New Years? Reading Between the Lines
Speaker: Maya Arad

In the summer of 1967 Leah, a young Israeli woman, comes to the US to teach Hebrew in a Jewish Day School in Massachusetts. Every year before Rosh Hashanna, she sends a letter to her friends in Israel, telling them about her new life and exploits. Happy New Years is an epistolary novel with a twist: it is comprised of fifty annual letters, spread over five decades, each a year apart. Through the letters, we follow Leah’s journey as she strives to achieve the American dream. Reading against the grain of Leah’s cheerful tone, careful reading exposes the cracks in the perfect façade that Leah tries so hard to present. And yet: despite the many challenges she faces, Leah remains resilient, courageous, and optimistic. Her American years were, in some deep sense, happy. 

NOW Offered as Zoom Webinar
Thursday, October 19, 2023, 4:30 PM
Click here for webinar link.

Trauma and Recovery: The Role of Literature in Emotional Healing
Speaker: Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Award-winning Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen speaks about her most recent novel, following an Israeli family on their transatlantic move to the San Francisco Bay area. The book explores the fault lines in a community, a school, and a family, as an Israeli mother begins to suspect her teenage son of committing a terrible hate crime.

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 8:00 PM
7:30-8:00 PM  Hors d’oeuvre Reception

Memoir, Fiction, and What’s In Between
Speaker: Ayelet Tsabari

Don DeLillo once said that authors of novels begin with meaning and then construct the events to express this meaning, while memoir writers start with the events and then derive meaning from them. Acclaimed Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari, who has written in both genres extensively, will speak of her approach to writing fiction and memoir, about finding the truth in fiction and the artifice in memoir, and about making herself into a literary character in her memoir, The Art of Leaving.

Thursday, November 9, 2023, 4:30 PM
Webinar https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/99779751869

Heroic Stories About My Dead Mother
Speaker: Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret’s books available for purchase here.

Internationally renowned writer Etgar Keret speaks about his attempt to come up with the stories that capture his late mother. His mom was like Maria in West Side Story and she is also like Thanos from the Avengers. In his very Keret way he ends up with a series of very short stories, snapshots that are mostly a few paragraphs long, that give glimpses of her heroic life from childhood at the Warsaw Ghetto to raising a Sabra family in Israel.