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February 07, 2013 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-02-07

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arts & entertainment

Know Us


Anthology reflects
clfanges in Jewish
culture turing
the past quarter


Suzanne Chessler
Contributing Writer

and images accompanied by brief biogra-
phies of the people behind the cited works.
Turn to page 122, for example, and fmd
eborah Dash Moore and Nurith
an excerpt from U-M creative writing pro-
Gertz reached the finish line first
fessor Eileen Pollack's short story The Rabbi
in a literary race of sorts.
in the Attic; or page 196 for an excerpt from
They completed and have seen pub-
Israeli writer A.B. Yehosuha's novel Journey
lished The Posen Library
to the End of the Millennium.
T111,1 POSEN I. IBB \11 OF
of Jewish Culture and
Turn to page 933, and fmd
Civilization: Volume Ten
Jewish Culture "Hot Tea and Sponge Cake at
1973 2005 (Yale University
10:00 P.M." an essay by the
Press; $150), the first to
Sen. Paul Wellstone advo-
be released in what will
cating for affordable health
become a 10-volume
care based on his relationship
anthology series.
with his parents; or page 464
The project, in the works
for an excerpt from play-
for more than a decade,
wright Alfred Uhry's Driving
ultimately will cover 3,000
Miss Daisy.
years of Jewish culture,
Turn to page 544 and see
highlighting literature, art-
Assembly Hall, Butyrka Prison
work and artifacts from bib-
(1976-1986), a painting
lical times to the present day — secular and by Leonid Lamm, who served time after
religious, high and low, elite and popular.
Soviets denied him immigration; or page
Each volume, covering a different histori-
513 for American sculptor George Segal's
cal span, is being handled by a different
Sacrifice of Isaac.
editor or editorial team under the eye of
Moore and Gertz, head of the
Editor in Chief James E. Young, a professor
Department of Culture Creation and
at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Production at Israel's Sapir College near
Leadership for the series comes from Felix
Sderot, divided responsibilities according to
Posen, a British-based philanthropist com-
countries. Moore essentially focused on the
mitted to promoting the understanding of
English and Spanish-speaking countries,
Jewish culture.
and Gertz followed through with the rest.
"We believe our volume (with more than
They had three times as many proposed
800 entries) provides a very rich and com-
entries as finally appeared in their volume,
plex picture of Jewish culture and civiliza-
and they used translators to include pieces
tion in the last decades of the 20th century
originally completed in languages other
than English.
and into the 21st century," says Moore,
director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel
"We began with a widespread collecting
Center for Judaic Studies at the University
process" Moore explains. "We looked at
of Michigan.
other anthologies to see what had been cho-
"When Nurith and I looked at the volume sen as worthwhile, and we consulted our
as a whole, we saw how similar themes run
advisory board for recommendations.
through different sections — questions
"We read widely in various areas and
of identity, home, war, the Holocaust. We
divided them by genre, looking at fiction,
found it rewarding that there were common poetry, drama, political writing and spiri-
Jewish concerns [no matter where the work
tual writing (among other categories). We
was based]:'
pared everything down by excellence, rep-
There are more than 1,000 pages in the
resentation, influence and popularity"
10th volume, which has writing excerpts
Three writers with Michigan back-



\oI time Ten . 973-241105


,r116 C.11/

Deborah Dash Moore; "We saw how
similar themes run through different

grounds stand out among those selected:
poet Philip Levine and fiction writers
Marge Piercy and Max Apple.
"Memoir was a whole new genre that
we decided to include because it had just
exploded in the decades we were covering"
Moore says. "Jews had not written memoirs
100 years ago, and they had become par-
ticularly popular.
"We would pick a memoir, decide on a
key chapter and then extract 1,000 words
max to capture and convey what is particu-
larly powerful about it"
Among the memoir writers cited are
Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize winner in litera-
ture; Saul Friedlander, Holocaust survivor;
and Paul Cowan, religious pathfinder.
Moore, an academic historian center-
ing on American Jews of the 20th century,
has written a trilogy: At Home in America:
Second Generation New York Jews 1920-
1940; GI Jews: How World War II Changed
a Generation and To the Golden Cities:
Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in
Miami and LA.
In 2011, she won a National Jewish Book
Award in the category of Anthologies and
Collections for co-editing, with Marion
Kaplan, Gender and Jewish History; next
month she will receive the 2012 Jewish
Book of the Year Award as the editor of the
three volume Promises: A History of the
Jews of New York.
"The editors in the [Posen] series pretty
much had a free rein in making decisions,"
explains Moore, who joined other editors at
London meetings about the series, whose
upcoming titles include: Volume One: The
Second Millennium B.C.E.-333 B.C.E., edited
by Jeffrey Tigay; Volume Two: 333 B.C.E.-
800 C.E., edited by Carol Bakhos; Volume
Three: 800 1096, edited by Menahem Ben-
Sussman; Volume Four: 1096 1500, edited
by Ora Limor and Israel Yuval; Volume
Five: 1500 1750, edited by Yosef Kaplan;

Volume Six: 1750-1880, edited by Elisheva
Carlebach; Volume Seven: 1880-1918,
edited by Israel Bartal and Kenneth Moss;
Volume Eight: 1918 1939, edited by Todd
M. Endelman and Zvi Gitelman, both of the
University of Michigan; and Volume Nine:
1939 1973, edited by Samuel D. Kassow and
David G. Roskies.
"I've communicated with the editors of
the volume just before ours" says Moore.
There were things that we had wanted to
include but decided really are more repre-
sentative of work done in an earlier period.
"For example, the photographer Robert
Frank has some photographs taken in the
1950s that were more relevant than the
work done in the 1970s and 1980s"
Moore and Gertz had direct contact with
the people whose work is included as they
sought permission to print. Occasionally,
the editors were prompted to use different
samples from what was intended.
Moore calls attention to a companion
book for the 10 volumes being completed
Jews and Words (Yale University Press;
$25), written by novelist Amos Oz and his
daughter, historian Fania Oz-Salzberger.
The father-daughter book explores the
transmission of words across generations as
the binding force bringing Jews together as
a people.
"There are a number of ways I hope
people will use our volume," says Moore.
"I actually would love it if people use
it for teaching because this is a way of
understanding Jewish culture more broadly.
Nurith and I are trying to create a course
because of the way the riches of the mate-
rial illuminate several decades.
"For individuals in their homes, one easy
way to use it would be as any anthology
is read — just see what draws the eye and
maybe look at what's next to it on the page.
Conversely, if people are interested in a spe-
cific individual, such as Philip Roth, they
can look for his entry.
"Ultimately, I hope readers find things
that really speak to them while giving a
sense of the power of individual vision and
the way that vision relates to the text on
either side of it:' ❑







Leonid Lamm: Assembly Hall, Butyrka

Prison, 1976-1986.

In the spring, the 10th volume in
the Posen series will be available
digitally through http://yalepress.

February 7 • 2013


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