About The Authors - Issue 36


Alana Goldman is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is completing her B.A. in Global Studies, focusing on international politics and the Middle East, and English & Comparative Literature with a concentration in creative writing. She is active in Jewish life on campus, holding leadership positions in both her school's Hillel and her Jewish sorority, Sigma Rho Lambda. Alana writes fictional short stories centering on Jewish culture and people. Although she has published several poems online, this is her first publication for a major work.  

Benjamin Guggenheim is a student at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa. Growing up near Washington, DC, he found himself the heretic among Orthodox Jews and the zealot among the Modernist Jews, a dichotomy he explores in much of his writing. He has been published in The Lehrhaus, and is currently working on a collection of fiction to be called Lament for Crowns and Crowds.

Ariel Horowitz was born in Jerusalem in 1990. His debut novel, Our Finest, was published with Keter Publishing House in 2021, and won critical acclaim. His second novel, The Ghost Editor, will be published in 2024 with Keter Publishing House. After working for many years as a journalist, editor, and cultural critic in Israel, Horowitz is currently a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He lives with his family in Palo Alto, and divides his time between California and Jerusalem. 

Adam Katz was born and raised on Long Island, and has been writing for many years, as well as teaching and tutoring in writing, math, SAT, and other subjects. He has his PhD in English from Stony Brook University. You can find his work in Spoonie Journal, Door is a Jar Magazine, Academy Forum, and Capital Psychiatry. He publishes essays, fiction, poetry, and a weekly webcomic on his own site, 2RulesOfWriting.com, while also offering classes, writing groups, editing services, and the support of a community. 

Sarah Lerner combines fiction writing with her work as a legal aid lawyer. Her work has been published in the Jewish Literary Journal and in Local Voices, a collection of writing by Hackney based authors. She has written one novel  and is working on another. She lives in Hackney, East London with her partner, two adult daughters and two cats. “This Night of Nights” is a work of fiction. It is partly inspired  by a letter from Sarah’s great-uncle Izzy Epstein which was written in the trenches at Pesach. Izzy  was gassed at Ypres and died soon after the war.

Susan S. Levine is a psychoanalyst and clinical social worker with forty years of experience. She is the author of Useful Servants (Jason Aronson, 1996) and Loving Psychoanalysis (Jason Aronson, 2009)—a finalist for the Gradiva Award for best clinical book—as well as the editor of Dignity Matters (Routledge, 2018), to which she contributed an essay on Hitchcock’s Vertigo. She has taught clinical writing at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia for many years. "Dignity" is one of seventeen (and counting) stories about Sandra Krasnapol's world. For more information, please visit SusanSLevine.com

Peretz Markish (1895 – 1952) was a prodigious Soviet Jewish writer of poems, plays, essays, and novels. Many of his works were propagandistic, but others dealt with Jewish themes. In the late 1940s when Stalin was targeting the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, Markish wrote Der trot fun doyres [The March of Generations], a WWII saga with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at its center. Stalin refused to allow it to be published. When Stalin ordered the murder of Shloyme Mikhoels, the director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater, and said it was an accident, Markish read the poem, “S. Mikhoels—An Eternal Flame by His Coffin,” at Mikhoels’ memorial service, in which he revealed the truth. Markish was imprisoned in January 1949, tortured, and executed with twelve others in Lubyanka Prison in 1952. He never saw his book in print. 

Stephen Rosen lives in northern Minnesota near Lake Superior. He has published short stories in The Iowa ReviewStiller’s Pond: New Fiction from the Upper MidwestSnake Nation ReviewThe William and Mary Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a past recipient of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers. 

Zyta Rudzka (the author) (born 1964) is a masterful writer whose terse and forceful style is rapidly gaining her a place among Poland’s best contemporary novelists. Her first novel, Dr. Josef’s Little Beauty, was revised and reissued in 2021 as one of a trilogy of novels that explore old age and the final stage of life. Despite shared themes, each book stands on its own and has other central themes as well. Rudzka’s other two novels are  A Brief Exchange of Fire (2018, winner of the Gdynia Literary Award, shortlisted for the Nike Literary Award) and Soft Tissues (2020, winner of the City of Warsaw Literary Award). Her latest novel, Only Those with Teeth Can Smile, moves away from the old-age theme, but is just as hard-hitting as its predecessors, and is nominated for the 2023 Nike Literary Award, Poland's top literary prize. Her novels are now appearing in foreign translations. Dr. Josef’s Little Beauty is her first to appear in English translation. Rudzka is also an award-winning playwright and poet. In 2022 she won the Poznań Literary Award for her entire oeuvre to date.

Romit Samson was born in 1962 in Israel and grew up in Nazareth Illit. She has a bachelor's degree in law and a master's degree in public administration. Samson has been working as a legal advisor in the legal service of the municipality of Netanya since 1994, and in recent years has served as deputy legal advisor to the municipality. She lives in Karkur, is married, and is the mother of four and grandmother of two. Samson published her first novel The Back Kitchen at the age of 60, in 2021. The book was a bestseller and won the Sapir Prize for a debut book.

Beth Sherman has an MFA in creative writing from Queens College, where she teaches in the English department. Her fiction has been published in Portland Review , Black Fox Literary Magazine, Blue Lyra ReviewSandy River Review100 Word Story, Fictive DreamsFlash BoulevardSou’wester, and elsewhere. She is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has written five mystery novels. She can be found on Twitter at @bsherm36.

David Shrayer-Petrov (the author) was born in 1936 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and debuted as a poet in the 1950s. Exploration of Jewish themes put Shrayer-Petrov in conflict with the Soviet authorities, limiting publication of his work and prompting him to emigrate. A Jewish refusenik in 1979–1987, Shrayer-Petrov lived as an outcast in his native country but continued to write prolifically despite expulsion from the Soviet Writer’s Union and persecution by the KGB. He was finally allowed to emigrate in 1987, settling in New England. Since emigrating, Shrayer-Petrov has published twelve books of poetry, eleven novels, six collections of short stories, four volumes of memoirs, and a play-in-verse. Four volumes of Shrayer-Petrov’s fiction have appeared in English translation: the collections Jonah and SarahAutumn in Yalta, and Dinner with Stalin, and the novel Doctor Levitin, all of them edited by his son Maxim D. Shrayer. Dr. Shrayer-Petrov lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Hersh Smolar, born in Zambrów, Poland, Smolar became a Communist activist early in life, studied at the Communist University of the Peoples of the West in Moscow, and wrote for Yiddish youth publications. In 1928 he was sent to Poland as a Comintern agent; arrested, he spent four years in prison. Escaping from prison in 1939, he went to Soviet-occupied Bialystok. When the Germans occupied Bialystok in 1941, he travelled to Minsk. Following German attack on the USSR, Smolar became a leader of the ghetto underground. He ultimately escaped and fought with the local partisans, helping to organize Jewish partisan units and editing the party press. In Warsaw as of 1946, he was the one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Poland and the editor of the Yiddish newspaper Folks-Shtime. His 1956 editorial “Undzer veytik un undzer treyst” (“Our Pain and Our Comfort”), reprinted and cited world-wide, became the first semi-official confirmation of the liquidation of Yiddish institutions and personalities in the USSR. Following the official 1968 anti-Semitic campaign, Smolar left Poland for Israel in 1971, where he died in 1993. 

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