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Festival Archive

Jewish Book Week 2008

Saturday, 23 February 2008 to Sunday, 2 March 2008
more videos

Events

02-23 Saturday

Israel at 60: Heroes and Anti-Heroes
Saturday, 23 February 2008 - 11:15am

In a unique 15 minute film shot in Israel exclusively for our Jewish Book Week audience, the multitalented writer and film-maker Etgar Keret and internationally acclaimed writer Amos Oz opened Jewish Book Week 2008 with a discussion on Israel at 60.

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02-24 Sunday

Tales of the Great Jewish Mystics
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:00am

A substantial body of Jewish mystical tales constitute the legendary dimension of the Jewish mystical tradition.

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From Closing the Sea to Here I Begin: A Journey Through Writing
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:00am

‘Closing the Sea’, Yehudit Katzir’s first book (published in Israel in 1990), has captivated readers’ imagination in an unprecedented way.  Subsequent publications: two novels, a collection of short stories and children’s books, reaffirmed her rare gift of story telling.

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The Unique Case of Jewish Secularism
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:15am

The peculiar fusion of religion and nationalism in pre-modern Judaism has had a unique impact on contemporary Jewish secularism. For many centuries one could not distinguish between the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.

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Criminal Lies
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:15am

In his book, The Crime of My Very Existence, Michael Berkowitz investigates the myths and realities of “Jewish criminality”. Philip Kerr has given vivid depictions of German society in his dazzling Berlin Noir Trilogy.

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Roman Mysteries
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:15am

Through The Roman Mysteries Caroline Lawrence draws readers into the world of Ancient Rome following the stories of Flavia, a young Roman girl and her closest friends.

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Joseph and His Coat of Many Dreams
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:30am

Pomegranate Puppet Theatre presents ‘Joseph and his Coat of Many Dreams’

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National Space / Private Home: Cultural Shifts in Israeli Literature
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:30am

What themes preoccupy Israeli literature today and how do they reflect and shape the national psyche? What space do ‘private homes’ occupy within the national one and how do they voice their own concerns? How far did Israeli literature go from the initial call for ‘one nation - one voice’? 

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Theodor Herzl
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:45am

Conventional accounts maintain that the Dreyfus Affair was the turning point in Herzl's life towards Zionism. However, a careful analysis of his writings and voluminous diary suggest a much more complex picture.

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Spinoza and Secular Jewish Culture
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 10:45am

The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated in 1656, branded a heretic by the Amsterdam Jewish community.

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Family Affairs
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 11:00am

Here, three highly distinctive writers explored dysfunctional families; mining relationships, love and betrayals, secrets and lies.

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Jewish Heritage in England: The Challenges of Historic Building Conservation in the Jewish Community
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 11:00am

Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London is the oldest synagogue in Britain.

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The Rise of the Hebrew Republic
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 11:00am

Israel’s odyssey over the last sixty years has been a remarkable cocktail of resilience, innovation and agony. Many Israelis agreed with David Grossman when he bemoaned Israel’s current path.

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Jewish Mysticism
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 11:15am

Jewish Mysticism is concerned with the infinity of meaning embedded in the sacred text and with grasping the divine being which transcends the boundaries of time and space. The Jewish mystical tradition is expressed in a huge diverse library written in the course of the last three millennia.

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Round Table Discussion: Israel at 60, coming of age
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 4:45pm

A lively debate which went beyond the current issues and will looked at some of the really major questions that can only be approached with a sense of perspective: antisemitism and islamophobia, paralleled by hatred of Israel and fear of the Arab world; the multiplication of diasporas as a result

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Once Upon A Country
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 4:45pm

“I have faith that, sooner or later, somehow or another - I'm not sure how - Jews and Arabs will find a way to live together that is totally acceptable and beneficial to us both. In doing this, we can also impact the region around us and, further afield, the world around us.”

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Respect, Reconnect, Reconstruct
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 4:45pm

Willow Winston interweaves emotional energy and mathematical form, bridging visual arts, science and music. In some of her book art, metallic threads between reflective pages create the illusion of 3D geometric figures.

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The Clothes on Their Backs
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 5:00pm

In her then new novel, Linda Grant wrote about a sensitive girl growing up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. The dramatic arrival of a glamorous uncle, violently unwelcome by her parents, changes everything.

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The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million
Sunday, 24 February 2008 - 5:00pm

In his remarkable and original epic, part memoir, part reportage, part mystery, and part detective work, Daniel Mendelsohn tried to reconstruct the reality of the lives the six members of his family - his great-uncle Shmiel, his wife and their four daughters- who perished in the Holocaust and who

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02-25 Monday

Israel Through My Lens: Sixty Years as a Photojournalist
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 3:45pm

David Rubinger has captured some of the most powerful images of his time.  No one has done a better job of showing the history of Israel in all its glory and pain.  The stories behind those photographs and the people he has met are utterly captivating, but one of the most fascinating and poignant

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Great Writers of the 20th Century: Isaiah Berlin
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:00pm

A careful analysis of Sir Isaiah Berlin's writings and lectures suggests a multi-layered Jewish identity. On the one hand, a deep commitment to Zionism and Israel, growing out of a merciless analysis of the failures of emancipation and assimilation.

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Frank's Way: Frank Cass and Fifty Years of Publishing
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:15pm

Michael Freedland chaired a discussion with Gerry Black, author of Frank's Way: Frank Cass and Fifty Years of Publishing, and other friends and colleagues from Frank Cass's long and successful business and communal career.

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We Are Strangers Here: Discover the Author: Ruth Borchard
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:15pm

When Ruth Borchard, died some years ago an unpublished manuscript written in 1941 was found amongst her papers.

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Films: Preliminaries and Khirbet Hizeh
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:15pm

Preliminaries (Anat Even, 2005)

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S.Yizhar
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:30pm

S. Yizhar (1916–2006) was widely considered the finest of native-born Israeli writers. His books and stories are marked by a deep love of the landscape of the Land of Israel and by a profound concern for moral questions, as well as by an original and distinctive Hebrew style.

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Reading group: See Under: Love
Monday, 25 February 2008 - 4:30pm

Momik, an only child whose parents survived the Holocaust, grows up in the shadow of their history, determined to understand the nature of the Nazi "beast".

George Steiner described its child's-eye grappling with the taboo of the Holocaust as "one of the great feats in modern fiction".

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02-26 Tuesday

The 1948 War
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:00pm

Zionist historiography, written in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, was essentially mobilized, official historiography, which typically portrayed the war as a straight conflict between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, in which the Jews were always blameless and wise and the Arabs, evil and

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The $3 Trillion War
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:00pm

The $3 Trillion War is a devastating reckoning of the true cost of the Iraq war - quite apart from its tragic human toll - which the Bush administration has estimated at $50 billion, but which Stiglitz and his co-author Bilmes show underestimates the real figure by approximately six time

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The Shining City on the Hill
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:15pm

Jerusalem is surely the most extraordinary city on earth. Fought over for centuries and now the iconic symbol of the terrible dispute between Arabs and Jews, it is the place where civilisations are layered on top of each other in ancient stones.

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Eyewitness: David Rubinger
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:15pm

(Micha Shagrir, 2007)

Israel as seen through the eyes of David Rubinger, the laureate of the Israeli Prize for Photography, eyewitness to the dramatic events that took place in Israel throughout its existence.

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Growing Tales
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:30pm

Three acclaimed authors tackle the the pain, awkwardness and strange joy of growing up.  Esther Freud has frequently returned to this theme in her novels.

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School Day
Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - 3:30pm

JBW 2008's School Day looked at ‘Storytelling Histories.' We invited year 6 classes to sample some of the most exciting parts of the festival in a series of three specially designed sessions with some multi-talented and award-winning writers. 

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02-27 Wednesday

Murder They Write
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:00pm

Jonathan Freedland, alias Sam Bourne, tackles the Middle East conflict in his second gripping thriller, The Last Testament.

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Rethinking the Media
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:15pm

There is no such thing as unbiased information but how does the system work? What is omitted and why? During the Lebanon war of 2006, Lisa Goldman managed to keep communication going with Lebanese bloggers, a fact which attracted the attention of the international media.

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Meet the Author: Random Acts of Heroic Love
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:30pm

Random Acts of Heroic Love is a novel with two intertwining threads. The first, set in 1992, is the story of a man coming to terms with the loss of his girlfriend in a road accident in Latin America.

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Cafe Philo: Crossing the Divide
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:30pm

Jonathan Garfinkel journeys from a Zionist education in Canada to a quest for a true perspective on the Israel-Palestine imbroglio. He witnesses the reality of life on both sides of the divide and also explores Jewish identity.

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Passion: Miriam Karlin on her many passions
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:30pm

A pillar of the British acting establishment, lifelong socialist, humanist and thoroughgoing maverick, Miriam Karlin tried to tell us in 30 minutes some of the many things she is passionate about.

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Rehabilitating Rezso Kasztner
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:45pm

Dealing with Satan, Rezso’s Kasztner’s Daring Rescue Mission is the story of Reszo Kasztner, the man responsible for saving Ladislaus Lob and 1670 Jewish men, women and children from Bergen-Belsen.

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Amos Oz: The Conscience of Israel
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 - 2:45pm

(James Nutt, 2005)

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02-28 Thursday

Bookniks Cabaret
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 12:30pm

An eclectic fusion of music and spoken word with a dose of Yiddish swing, the popular Bookniks Cabaret returned: hosted by Laoise, with writer and stand-up comic Lana Citron, poets Adam Taylor and Eva Salzman, novelist Rudolph Delson and storytellers Rachel Rose Reid and Ellaya Ayal Mor. 

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God Wrestling
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 1:30pm

Shalom Auslander is angry and scared. Angry at God, at his family, his orthodox upbringing, at the world we live in. Scared, because as hard as he may try, he is still a believer and convinced that a vengeful and cruel God will punish him for his irreverence.

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Anger, Romance and Comedy
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 1:30pm

The characters in Jon Canter, Lana Citron and Rudolph Delson's novels seem to be mostly bewildered at life, often angry. They meet romance by accident as they certainly can't believe in it being either misanthropic or disillusioned. The results are hilarious.

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Meet the Author: Marie Phillips
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 1:45pm

Marie Phillips told us what led her to imagine Greek Gods living a pretty miserable life in Hampstead today in Gods Behaving Badly. Artemis is a dog-walker on the Heath, Apollo a cheesy TV host and Aphrodite a telephone sex operator. A hilarious novel about myths, faith and love.

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Fiftysomethings: The Story So Far
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 1:45pm

Both Linda Kelsey and Judith Summers have written about lives turned upside down. Here they spoke about the process of putting it all on paper, about how much of yourself you put into a novel and how you protect your loved ones when you write an autobiography.

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Agnon: Father and Daughter
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 2:00pm
Agnon (Ram Loevy and Micha Shagrir, 1978)
Two very rare short films from 1966, one showing Agnon going about his everyday life, and the other the Nobel Prize reception and international tour.
 
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Reading Group: Everyman
Thursday, 28 February 2008 - 2:00pm

Roth’s short novel, Everyman, explores sex, relationships, remorse and dying. The protagonist, an "everyman" figure (reminiscent of the medieval drama), is profoundly aware of the fate that awaits us all.

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02-29 Friday

Fault Lines
Friday, 29 February 2008 - 12:15pm

In her award winning novel, Nancy Huston explores the past through four consecutive generations, taking the reader backwards in time from California to New York, Haifa to Munich, from 9/11 to Nazi Germany, through the terrible fault lines that scarred our recent history.

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Storytelling Masterclass
Friday, 29 February 2008 - 12:15pm

This session was developed from Howard Schwartz’s book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Few have recognized the essential role of mythology in Jewish folklore.

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The Art of Blogging
Friday, 29 February 2008 - 12:30pm

Lisa Goldman spoke about her blog ‘On the Face’ which continued throughout the 2006 war in Lebanon, a conflict she says is the most blogged war in history.

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03-1 Saturday

Hebrew language session
Saturday, 1 March 2008 - 12:00pm

א. ב. יהושע ישוחח עם הקהל על ספרו אש ידידותית הנוגע בלב ההוויה הישראלית: שכול, אובדן משמעות והחיפוש אחריה במחוזות רחוקים ובלתי צפויים. כמו בספריו הקודמים מעלה יהושע לדיון שאלות נוקבות ביחס לחברה הישראלית, גולה, מולדת, ספרות וסופר.

 
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Klez Café
Saturday, 1 March 2008 - 12:00pm

We went back to our roots and celebrated the folktales and folk tunes of Yiddish yore with the Jewish Community Centre’s tribute troupe.

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The East End Now and Then
Saturday, 1 March 2008 - 12:00pm

Bernard Kops remembers the East End of his childhood, desperately poor and teeming with Jewish immigrants, full of hopes and ambition. His Hamlet of Stepney Green brought the vernacular East End voice to the stage and made him famous overnight.

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All Things Tire of Themselves
Saturday, 1 March 2008 - 12:15pm

 

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03-2 Sunday

The JC Evening: The Last Word: Reporting the Middle East
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:15am

The evening opened with the award ceremony for the Chaim Bermant Prize.

"I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon." - Tom Stoppard

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Writing About War
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:15am

Written as the diary of the head of a commando team stationed at Beaufort during the last winter of Israeli occupation, Beaufort is a revolutionary and potent look at the triviality of war and death, and the courage it takes to put an end to it.  This is not a story of war, but of retrea

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Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:30am

In Mad, Bad and Sad, cultural historian and novelist Lisa Appignanesi took us on a journey through extreme states of mind and explored how a rising profession of mind doctors has diagnosed them over the last two hundred years.

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A Glimpse of Malamud
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:30am

This is the classic story of a Brooklyn Jewish boy, the child of immigrants, who turned himself into one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Philip Davis has written the first-ever biography of Bernard Malamud who died in 1986 and has suffered a certain neglect since then.

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Poles and Jews: Troubled Neighbours?
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:45am

Is reconciliation between Poles and Jews possible?

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In Praise of Diasporas
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:45am

The history of Jewish novelists has been a history of emigration: of exile and translation. From Kafka to Italo Svevo, from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Saul Bellow, Jewish novelists have often been marked by a cultural and linguistic cosmopolitanism. But what is the value of displacement?

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The Last Resistance
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 10:45am

‘Language as much as deeds laid down the lines of a political tragedy’

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A Brief History of Children's Diaries
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:00am

Jacqueline Wilson peoples her stories with teens and pre-teens who struggle with hopelessly imperfect lives; beloved and believable characters.

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The Shel Silverstein Session of Silliness
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:00am

The all-singing, dancing and storytelling JCC Tribute Troupe brought to life the work of Shel Silverstein.

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In Search of Happiness
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:15am

Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent and an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land.

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Homefront
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:15am

Dancing Arabs, Sayed Kashua’s first novel, has been praised around the world for its uniquely human portrayal of a bright young Arab educated in an Israeli school who, trying to fit in two societies, ends up becoming a stranger in both.

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The Interpretation of History
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:15am

In 1909, Freud visited America for the first and only time. In spite of a very successful reception, he seemed to have developed a severe antipathy for the USA.

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Transformations
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:30am

What does it mean to travel from a rural Ethiopian village to the heart of urban Israel?; To leap between two worlds so far apart that one would expect it would take several generations to bridge?

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The Joe Craig Show
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:30am

 

Packed houses at festivals, bookshops and schools across the world have experienced ‘The Joe Craig Show’. His tall tales, improvised stories, and surprising theories about writing have enthralled and entertained audiences every bit as much as his Jimmy Coates books.

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On Turning Risk Into Opportunity
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:45am

In his fascinating book, The Second Bounce of the Ball, Ronald Cohen argues that the entrepreneur’s challenge is to take advantage of situations of uncertainty and that this is where substantial gain can be made.  He discussed with John Kampfner his book, what makes a successful entrepre

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Josh and Judy's Speed Read
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:45am

Looking for adventure, romance, political satire? Worried about what’s left on the shelf? We helped participants find a book they will treasure for years to come.

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Writing Workshop
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:45am

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug--Mark Twain

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Coexistence and Cooperation Between Israelis and Palestinians: The Untold Story
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:45am

Holy Land Mosaic tells of Daniel Gavron's personal journey through the relatively unknown territory of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, cooperation, partnership, and friendship that exists despite the reality of enmity and daily violence.

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Cecil B DeMille and the Golden Calf
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 12:00pm

In an illustrated talk, Simon Louvish re-examined Hollywood's most enduring legend who directed lavish recreations of The King of KingsThe Sign of the CrossSamson and Delilah and two versions of The Ten Commandments. In his day he provoked at least as much

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Jewish Book Week 2008
Sunday, 2 March 2008 - 11:45pm

Sunday 2 March was the final day of Jewish Book Week 2008. The main festival ran from 23 February to 2 March at London's Royal National Hotel. More than 100 challenging and entertaining speakers took part in 71 sessions, presenting arguments and many different points of view.

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Contributors

The JBW Newsfeed

Shana Tova to all those who are celebrating this week. A very happy new year from the team at Jewish Book Week!
Take advantage of our huge library of free audio talks by subscribing to our podcast feed. Download our podcasts
Jewish Book Week speaker David Grossman was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for his novel, A Horse
Jewish Book Week speaker Naomi Alderman has won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 for her fourth novel, 
Hear Susan Suleiman discuss her book The Némirovsky Question (Yale University Press, 2017) with Ann Jefferson and

Video

 
Jonathan Safran Foer discussing his novel Here I Am with Hephzibah Anderson at an out-of-festival event.