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October 27, 2005 - Image 60

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-10-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts & Entertainment

JEWISH BOOK FAIR

Only in Ann Arbor from page 58

Season: How the Jets, Mets and Knicks
Made Sports History and Uplifted a City
and a Country (8:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov.
10). Shamsky, a player on the "Miracle
Mets" team that won the 1969 World
Series, was last in Ann Arbor two years
ago, speaking about his book on baseball
great Sandy Koufax.
Bash said she was looking forward to
hearing some of the authors she'd met at
Book Expo of America and the Jewish
Book Council Network.
"When I heard Daniel Libeskind at the
Expo, he was amazing;' Bash said. She also
remembers Gigi Anders as being an
unusually warm personality "But they're

A Moment With

LEN BERMAN

all wonderful people Bash added. (Both
Libeskind and Anders are speaking at both
the Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit events.)
Co-chair Fishman agreed. "It's hard to
pinpoint any one person:' she said, "because
you feel you're shortchanging the other
wonderful people who are coming." ❑

For a complete schedule of both the
Jewish Community Center of Washte-
naw County's 18th Annual Book Fes-
tival and the Jewish Community
Center of Metropolitan Detroit's
54th Annual Jewish Book Fair, as of
press time, see page 61.

son doesn't want to be interviewed, then
that's their prerogative. If it's important to
get a quote, we simply said the person
had "no comment:'

regular on the Today show, Len
Berman was named the 2004 New
Q: You've been a sports interviewer,
York Sportscaster of the Year by the
television personality and author.
National Sportscasters and Sportswriters
Which is harder?
Association — an honor he'd already won
A: I'd much rather ask the questions
than be asked them. It's a matter of "con-
five other times. He writes about his expe-
trol." When I was being interviewed about
riences in the hectic and sometimes con-
flicting worlds of sports and television in
my book by Matt Lauer on the Today show
and Jay Leno on the Tonight
Spanning the World: The Crazy Universe
Show, I have to admit I was
of Big-Time Sports, All-
quite nervous.
Star Egos and Hall of
Fame Bloopers
Revs EMWY AWARD-WINNING SPORTSCASTER
Q: Have you ever
(William Morrow:
interviewed any
$25.95).
Jewish athletes on
Berman will
their ethnic or reli-
describe some of his
gious
backgrounds?
experiences 7 p.m.
the
Have you ever had a
Sunday, Nov. 13, at
sports figure or
the JCC in West
media personality
Bloomfield. $5 JCC
comment on your
members; $8 non-
being
Jewish? What
members; $3 stu-
did
they
say and how
dents.

A

LEN BERMAN

SPANNING
WORLD

Q: There's a chill-
ing quote in

Spanning the World

did you respond?
A: The issue of being

THE CRAZY UNIVERSE OF BIG-TIME SPORTS.

ALL-STAR EGOS AND HAU OF FAME &DOPERS

in which Barry Bonds
says, "If you put that camera in my face,
I'll slit your throat!' Is it difficult to inter-
view famous people? What do you do
when people don't want to be inter-
viewed?
A: The quick answer to is it hard to
interview famous people?" is "yes and no."
Since the most famous people are proba-
bly bored with answering the same ques-
tions repeatedly, their answers tend to be
stale and less spontaneous — although
there are the exceptions who relish the
challenge and try to come up with off-beat
and interesting answers. If a famous per-

60

Jewish really hasn't
come up with the inter-
views I've done over the

years.

Q: What project(s) are you working
on now?
A: Currently, my kids book And Nobody

Got Hurt: The World's Weirdest Wackiest
True Sports Story has just been released.
I'm preparing to host the New York City
Marathon television coverage in New York
in November and to cover the Winter
Olympics in Torino, Italy, for NBC Sports
in February.

— Diana Lieberman

A Moment With ...

ABIGAIL POGREBIN

ew York-based journalist Abigail
Pogrebin uncovers many interpre-
tations of what it means to be a
Jew in her book of celebrity interviews,
Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About
Being Jewish (Broadway Books;
$24.95). The
daughter of
Letty Cottin
Pogrebin, author,
activist and
founder of Ms.
magazine,
Pogrebin will
***.""'
discuss her book
7 p.m., Tuesday,
Nov. 8, at the
JCC in West
Bloomfield.

N

writer"; Tony Kushner balked when I asked
if his closest friends were Jewish; and
many of the people in the book got their
backs up when I asked what makes
someone Jewish without Judaism. In other
words, if someone has abandoned all
Jewish ritual, what makes them a Jew?
I didn't mean it judgmentally — I was
actually genuinely trying to get at how
some of these famous Jews
would define what it
means to be
Jewish today. But I
think many people
reject the idea that
ritual is essential.

INENT JEWS

11$91.7T

.,..inirfat'S.

Iwo

Q: Were there
specific Jewish
religious or eth-
nic experiences
that influenced
your writing Stars

scrtoo.us air■SI

fint•Mat ,

'ata/0.1. Oa,

oa■

of David?

A: I think I have always felt somewhat
in-between religiously, and this book was
part of my subconscious — or conscious
— effort to work out how Jewish I am or
want to be.
I grew up celebrating the major Jewish
holidays but was never sent to Hebrew
school. I had a strong Jewish identity but
also a large gap in terms of understand-
ing Judaism. Because my mother rejected
her Conservative upbringing when she
was raising my sister, brother and me
(she later returned to more observance
when I was in college,) I had to make up
for my lack of Jewish education later in
life.
I think having children made me start
to focus on what it would mean to keep a
Jewish home and to pass on the Jewish
story. I felt curious about how some of our
country's most accomplished public fig-
ures had wrestled with these same ques-
tions.

Q: Did you find antagonism to your
questions in writing this book?
A: I didn't encounter "antagonism"

exactly, but there were some people who
bristled at some of my questions.
Nora Ephron resisted being considered
"a Jewish director" or "a Jewish screen-

us/ NG jEwisli

Q: Do you have
any tips for ques-
tioning people
about Judaism?
A: I think the

best way to ask
questions is to be
guided by one's
authentic curiosity.
ABIGAIL
Not just what you
0 G B N
think is the "appro-
priate" question but
one whose answer
really interests you.
I also do think it helped that
I'm Jewish myself, because there was
some kind of common vocabulary or
familiarity.

avi

Q: Do you think people are honest
with you, or are they trying to con-
form to a popular belief of what
makes a "good Jew"?
A: It's a great question because I was

truly surprised at how candid people were
with me — how un-PC (politically correct)
their answers were about how they choose
to be Jewish or not.
I thought I'd get much more by-the-
book responses to questions about what
people feel about being Jewish — their
ambivalence, their prejudices, their frus-
trations at times. I was surprised not just
by many people's honesty about disaffec-
tion with synagogue and prayer, but also
surprised by some people's intense
devoutness.

Q: What project(s) are you working
on now?
A: I am still doing freelance writing for

magazines, and I'm mulling over some
ideas for a second book.

— Diana Lieberman

October 27 2005

JN

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