It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds.
It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.
Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea.
And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.
Which makes the story of the Jews everyone’s story, too.
Simon Schama will be signing and selling copies of his book, The Story of the Jews, following the event.
Can't make it to the event? Leave your questions for our guests below, and they might be used on stage during the Q&A. Keep an eye on 92Y On Demand after the event for any video clips we might share! You might see your question used on stage.
This event is underwritten by Betsy Miller and Stuart Sucherman in memory of Bertha and David Sucherman.
Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York City. His award-winning books include Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813; Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel; The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations); Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt’s Eyes; the History of Britain trilogy and Hang-Ups: Essays on Painting (Mostly), and Rough Crossings. Since 1990, Schama has been a writer and host of many television programs on art and history for BBC2. His most recent book is The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD.
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the award-winning and best-selling novels: Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (both Houghton Mifflin) as well as two works of nonfiction: Eating Animals and The New American Haggadah (both Little Brown). He was included in Granta’s “Best of Young American Novelists” issue; in The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list of the best young writers in the US; and his books are published in over 30 languages. He is now working on a novel (forthcoming 2015).
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