Sara Aharoni was born in Israel in 1953. She worked as a teacher, educator and school principal for 20 years. She also spent four years in Lima, Peru, as an educational envoy of the Jewish Agency. Together with her husband, Meir Aharoni, Sara wrote, edited and published a series of books about Israel, including four in English. She has also published six children’s books. In 2008, Aharoni published her debut novel, Saltanat's Love, based on her mother's life story, and it became a bestseller. Her third novel, Mrs. Rothschild's Love, went instantly to the top of the Israeli bestseller list. Aharoni received the Book Publishers Association's Platinum Prize for her first novel (2010) and the Steimatzky Prize for best-selling book of the year for Mrs. Rothschild's Love (2016).
Elan Barnehama’s “Raining in the Holy Land” is an excerpt from Escape Route, his novel-in-progress. Set in 1969 New York City, Escape Route is narrated by 14-year-old Zach who is obsessed with the Vietnam War, locating an escape route for when the US decides to round up its Jews, and a girl named Samm. Elan’s first novel, Finding Bluefield (2012), explores what happens when society’s invisible become visible. Elan’s writing has been published online and in print and his essays have aired on public radio. He was a fiction editor at ForthMagazine, and is a New Yorker by geography and a tortured Mets fan by default. Elan lives in Los Angeles.
Caroline Bock’s debut short story collection, Carry Her Home, is the winner of the 2018 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize and will be published this October. She is the author of the young adult novels Lie and Before My Eyes from St. Martin’s Press. Currently a lecturer in the English Department at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, she is at work on a new novel set in 2099 about a fractured Jewish family. She lives in Maryland. More at www.carolinebock.com.
Zeeva Bukai was born in Israel and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her stories are forthcoming in Image Journal and Mcsweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, december Magazine, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Heeb, Lilith, Calyx, The Jewish Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her story “The Abandoning,” featured in december Magazine, won the 2017 Curt Johnson Prose Award (judged by Lily King) and was nominated for a Pushcart prize. She was a Fellow at the Center for Fiction in NYC. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College and teaches writing. At present, she is at work on a novel.
Sheryl Halpern, author of the 2013 story collection Surviving Love, is a Montrealer who likes to see the madness and dark humor in everyday domesticity and ordinary love. A Montreal journalist who switched into academia, she wrote her PhD dissertation on Canadian literature at the Université de Montréal, and has been teaching English literature at Dawson College since 1995. She has kept one foot in journalism by writing book reviews for Books in Canada, Canadian Literature, and The Montreal Gazette. She has read her stories and poetry at the Yellow Door, the Lawn Chair Soirée, Argo Bookshop, and Librairie sur le Parc, and has published poems in various Canadian poetry magazines. Most of the stories in Surviving Love have been read to Montreal audiences; one story (“Missing Pieces”) also appeared in the 2008 anthology Writing in the Cegeps.
Eva Izsak was born in Satmar, Transylvania. She grew up in Israel and graduated from the Hebrew University School of Law. For over twenty years she practiced with some of the largest law firms in New York and served as in-house Counsel in the U.S. and in France. A mother of two daughters, Eva lived in Tokyo and New York and currently resides in Paris, where she embarked on a second vocation as a writer. She has published in The Forward, has written blogs and newletters, completed two novels (yet unpublished), and is working on a third.
Maria Lazebnik is a writer, educator and research scientist based in Boston, MA. In 1996, when Maria was fifteen, she and her family emigrated from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia to the US as Jewish refugees. While in Russia, Maria studied piano and musicology. “The Flute Maker” is inspired by her love of classical music. Dr. Lazebnik received her B.S./M.S. in Biology and Neuroscience from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Tufts University. At Tufts, Maria was an Editor of SacklerInsight, a graduate student newsletter. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She has a number of publications in professional journals. In 2012, she received an award from Grub Street, a creative writing center in Boston. Presently, she is an Adjunct Professor at Bentley University. She lives with her husband and three children.
Darlene Leiser is a mother of six, triplets among them, savta of six, previously a restaurant owner, finally opening myself up to writing after thirty years of childrearing. Child of Holocaust survivors, became modern Orthodox as a child. Lived in Israel, hopes to one day again perhaps. Would love to continue portraying the cornucopia of Jewish culture, especially in the religious community, with tales of light and darkness.
Mendele Mokher Seforim (the author) (Mendele the Bookseller in Yiddish ) is the pen name of Shalom Yakov Abramowitz (1835-1917). Although known as the “grandfather of Yiddish Literature”, he is generally acknowledged as the founder of modern fiction in Hebrew as well as Yiddish. In fact, he began his career as a Hebrew writer, later writing in Yiddish as a way to reach a wider audience. In addition to stories that portrayed Jewish shtetl life with honesty and without judgment, Mendele wrote essays and drama in both Hebrew and Yiddish throughout a life spent mostly in Russia.
David G. Roskies, a native of Montreal, Canada, is a cultural historian who has published extensively on modern Yiddish storytelling, Jewish responses to catastrophe, Holocaust literature, and memory. His Yiddishlands: A Memoir (2008) was translated into Hebrew and Russian. Roskies teaches Yiddish and modern Jewish literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1981 (with the late Alan Mintz), he cofounded Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, and served for eighteen years as editor in chief of the New Yiddish Library. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.
Marjorie Sandor is the author of four books, including the linked story collection Portrait of My Mother, Who Posed Nude in Wartime, winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award in Fiction. Her essays and stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories, America and I: Stories by American-Jewish Women Writers, and elsewhere. “The Secret Music” is an excerpt from a novel following a gifted young musician of Jewish descent living through the early years of the Spanish Inquisition. Marjorie lives in Corvallis, Oregon, and teaches creative writing and literature at Oregon State University.
Ken Schept spent the early part of his career as a business journalist writing about developments in retailing, both in North America and abroad. Since embarking on a freelance career, his clients have included the American Jewish Committee, for which he developed a Thanksgiving “haggadah” for Americans to celebrate their diverse roots and shared values. He also collaborated on a book commemorating AJC’s centennial. He received his MFA from Columbia University. The Crimson Cap” appears as a chapter in a recently completed but not yet published debut novel.
Youval Shimoni was born in Jerusalem in 1955. He studied cinema at Tel Aviv University and first began publishing in 1990. Shimoni is a senior editor at Am Oved publishers; he also teaches creative writing at Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities. He has been awarded the Bernstein Prize (2001), the Prime Minister's Prize (2005) and the Brenner Prize for The Salt Line (2015).
Peter Sichrovsky is an Austrian journalist, author of eighteen books, and former member of the European Parliament (1996–2004). In 1989 he co-founded Austria’s liberal newspaper Der Standard, where he served on the editorial board for several years. One of his many acclaimed books is Born Guilty: Children of Nazi Families, based on interviews with children of high-ranking Nazis who themselves suggested the book’s title and which was adapted into fifteen foreign-language theatrical works. Sichrovsky has been a correspondent for Stern Magazine, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and Profil. Currently he writes for the online magazine Schlaglichter, where he is a widely read columnist.
Peter Wortsman’s writings include two books of short fiction, A Modern Way To Die (1991) and Footprints in Wet Cement (2017); a travel memoir, Ghost Dance in Berlin, A Rhapsody in Gray(2013)—recipient of an Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY); a novel, Cold Earth Wanderers (2014); and two stage plays, Burning Words (premiered in 2006 by the Hampshire Shakespeare Company at the Northampton Center for the Arts, in Northampton, Mass., and in German translation in 2014 at the Kulturhaus Osterfeld, in Pforzheim, Germany), and The Tattooed Man Tells All, based on interviews he conducted with aging survivors of the concentration camps (premiered in 2018 by the Silverthorne Theater Company at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, Mass.). He is also a translator from the German, including Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, by Robert Musil (in its third edition, 1988, 1995 and 2009), Tales of the German Imagination (2013), an anthology he also edited and annotated, and Kondundrum, Selected Prose of Franz Kafka (2016). He was the Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin (2010).
Amir Ziv, a journalist and writer, was born in 1968. He holds a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After working briefly as a lawyer, he changed direction and started a completely new life in journalism. Since 2007 he is deputy editor in chief of Calcalist, Israel's leading business and financial daily; he is also editor in chief of its weekend supplement. Over the years Ziv has published numerous articles and essays. His first novel, Four Fathers, a national bestseller, received enthusiastic reviews and was awarded the Brenner Prize for debut book (2017). Four Fathers was also shortlisted for the 2017 Sapir Prize. Ziv lives with his family in Givatayim.