Paper Brigade Volume Five
Featuring interviews with Melissa Broder, Joshua Cohen, and Colum McCann, a Jewish literary map of Australia, an exploration of the folk healers of the Pale, and more.
Giving Form to the Invisible
Not Meant for Children
Qian Julie Wang
The First Female Rabbi Was Not Who You’d Expect
‘What Memory Wants from Me’
People of the Body
A Jewish Traitor
How Does a Family Lose Its Past?
Laura Arnold Leibman
Healers of the Pale
Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel
‘Simple, Daily Material’
The World of Australian Jewish Literature
Jewish Book Council’s Literary Map of Australia
Colum McCann and Joshua Cohen
Ilya Kaminsky and Yaara Shehori
Ruth Behar and Marjorie Agosín
The First Ending, Then the Second
Oren Gazit, translated by Jessica Rutman Setbon
Two Vignettes from The Biblical Zoo
Linor Goralik, translated by Dalia Wolfson
Into the Mud
Yael van der Wouden
Rutu Modan, translated by Ishai Mishory
E. Lockhart, illustrated by Manuel Preitano
To Our Readers
Programs & Publications
Index of Book Reviews
2021 – 2022 Network Authors
JBC Network Communities
2020 National Jewish Book Awards
Natan Notable Books
Note from the Editor
In times of upheaval, we often look to the past. As we seek comfort in memory and tradition, we also come to understand them in new ways. While this is sometimes unnerving, even unbalancing, it’s necessary to the creative process. In addition to reassurance, we find inspiration.
In these pages, author Leigh Stein describes documenting the pandemic through poetry after rereading Anne Frank’s diary and contemplating “how much thought and effort Anne put into writing something that would have meaning to readers in the future — us.” Other contributors look further back. The golem, depicted for centuries as a warlike defender, has been reimagined by contemporary writers and artists to address everything from sexuality to politics, body dysmorphia, and disability.
Questioning the accepted historical narrative shows us how much richer the full picture is. In exploring the story behind two portraits from the early nineteenth century, Laura Arnold Leibman demonstrates how our impression of “Jews in early America was distorted and impoverished” by ignoring topics like the sitters’ multiracial lineage. Sigal Samuel describes her wonder at discovering that the first female rabbi was Mizrahi and Orthodox, and her subsequent determination to write a picture book “to introduce young readers in particular to this brilliant woman who became a leader against all odds.”
It can be tempting to look away from unpleasant aspects of the past. Maurice Samuels discusses a nineteenth-century Jewish traitor whom most historians have ignored, concerned that highlighting his story would only reinforce antisemtic stereotypes. Nevertheless, as Samuels writes, “It is only by confronting the past in all its complexity that we are able to face the challenges of the present.” Just as the golem evades the control of its creator in many of the original tales, circumstances today are often out of our control. The courage and creative brilliance with which these authors approach our complex time can help to guide us forward.