SAVE THE DATE!
Baruch Link Scholar in Residence Weekend
October 27 - 29, 2023
More info coming soon!
Book Review & Discussion
Literary Conference in Honor of Baruch Link to Feature Israeli Author Dorit Rabinyan
by Brian Fishbach
ABOUT THE WEEKEND
Dr. Baruch Link Scholar in Residence Weekend
Friday, October 28
6:00 PM Shabbat Sovev in the Ganzberg Sanctuary
7:00 PM Shabbat Dinner with Dorit Rabinyan on Ziering Family Field
Welcoming remarks: Ed Levine, Co-Chair, Dr. Baruch Link Scholar in Residence Weekend organizing committee.
Get to know Dorit Rabinyan, whom Tablet magazine declared the “Wonder Woman of New Israeli Lit,” during a welcoming Shabbat dinner where she will discuss her life and work as an author, poet and screenwriter. This will be the weekend’s most intimate conversation, where attendees will have the opportunity to ask Dorit questions about her fiction, her literary influences, her multicultural identity as a Persian, Jewish and Israeli woman and how her “insanely great” debut novel, Persian Brides, positioned her among the most promising within a new generation of Israeli fiction writers.
Saturday October 29 at 12:00 PM Lunch & Learn on Ziering Family Field
A Room of One’s Own: Writing My Way into the Canon
Buffet Lunch, Presentation and Moderated Q&A
Moderator: Danielle Berrin, award winning journalist and writer
What does it mean to inhabit an authorial voice within the canon of modern Israeli and Hebrew literature? During the weekend’s centerpiece lecture, Dorit will address the intricacies of her creative process, revealing her influences and inspirations.
What considerations factor into the beginning of a new work? What does she wish to ‘say’ through her fiction? In this comprehensive lecture, Dorit will talk about the nuances of writing in Hebrew, the themes she feels called to explore, and the expectations foisted upon her as a leading voice in Israeli fiction.
After her presentation, Dorit will participate in a lively Q&A with a special guest interlocutor where deeper questions about her ‘place’ in the history of Hebrew writing will be explored: Is there a particular Israeli style of fiction? What sets Hebrew novels apart from those of other language traditions? What are some of the challenges or obstacles she faces outside of Israel, when her work deals with specifically Israeli subjects and social issues?
Participants are invited to join us for Shabbat morning Services prior to the luncheon. See tbala.org for the full schedule.
Sunday, October 30 at 10:30 AM on Ziering Family Field
Can Israeli literature ever be apolitical? (The burden of writing)* And, a few Hebrew poems.
Brunch, Presentation, Moderated Q&A
Moderators: Rabbi Adam Kligfeld and Professor David Myers, Distinguished Professor and Kahn Chair of Jewish History, UCLA
*Followed by Professor Bill Cutter sharing poems from Baruch Link’s final Poetry books.
During this capstone presentation and Q&A with Dorit, the author will address the controversial reception of her 2015 novel, All the Rivers, a semi-autobiographical story about a love affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. Though the book is set in New York, it sparked a firestorm within Israel when the Education Ministry banned its use in high school matriculation exams. In this provocative final session, we will explore the politicization and polarization that accompanies narratives which challenge cultural paradigms by centering subject matter considered “taboo.” Dorit will elucidate what was deemed threatening about her work and the fallout that ensued. And finally, we will connect this particular event to broader free speech and censorship issues that many liberal democracies face when trying to preserve cultural myths.
*We will conclude our weekend with a few provocative and inspiring Hebrew poems. Professor Bill Cutter, Steinberg Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, where he held the Paul and Trudy Steinberg Chair in Human Relations, and was Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and Education, will share poems in Hebrew and English from Dr. Baruch Link’s final (not yet published) two poetry books, Transplant and By the Rivers of Los Angeles.
Teri Cohan Link
Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff
Rabbi Rachel Marder
Professor David Myers
Dr Ethan Pack
Rabbi Rebecca Schatz
Read about Dorit Rabinyan
Israeli Bestselling Novelist
Dorit Rabinyan is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Persian Brides and Strand of a Thousand Pearls. She is the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize, the Itzhak Vinner Prize, the ACUM award and the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Award. All the Rivers was named as a book of the year by Ha’aretz and awarded the prestigious Bernstein Prize.
In 2016, after 15 years of silence, Rabinyan published All the Rivers (also known as Borderlife), which became the center of a political scandal in Israel. The momentous novel, sensitive in its details and enthralling at its peaks, was banned from use in high schools curriculum by Israel's Ministry of Education. The book tells a story crisscrossed by physical and emotional borderlines and courageously marks the deceit in the separation between “you” and “I,” between “us” and “them.” All the Rivers spent more than a year as #1 bestseller in Israel, and has been translated into 17 languages.
Read The New York Times article about All the Rivers
Read about Dr. Baruch Link z'l
Dr. Baruch Link (1947-2019) was a beloved and distinguished scholar, teacher, poet and father who approached the study and transmission of Modern Hebrew literature with lifelong romantic devotion.
Born in Palestine in 1947 to liberal Zionist parents who both served during Israel’s War for Independence, Baruch was shaped by a childhood that developed in tandem with the nascent Jewish State. His worldview was formed by enduring years of regional conflict and warfare, as well as ensuing economic austerity, even as his home was filled with a dynamic and passionate exchange of ideas about the cultural revival of an ancient language and the politics of Jewish statehood and power. Baruch voraciously consumed the burgeoning new genre of Hebrew literature, then defined by an array of writers and poets including, S.Y. Agnon, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Hayim Nahman Bialik, Leah Goldberg and Zelda.
At 17, Baruch was on the verge of joining the Israel Defense Forces when he contracted a virus that irreversibly compromised his kidneys. Despite his pursuit of an official appeal, he was denied the opportunity to serve in the Israeli army which catalyzed his matriculation to academia. Baruch enrolled at Tel Aviv University, where he completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. During this time, he volunteered to teach active duty soldiers during several war periods and began to correspond with prominent Israeli writers which inspired his early poetry.
After completing his M.A., Baruch was accepted to a PhD program at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he would study under the tutelage of Professor Arnold Band, a world-renowned S.Y. Agnon scholar. Baruch received his PhD in comparative literature in 1976, turning his dissertation on Ezra Zussman, an early 20th century Hebrew poet, into the award-winning 1982 volume Studies in the Poetry of Ezra Zussman, published by Aleph. He followed that work with the poetry collection, Visions from the Hospital and Other Poems, also published by Aleph.
Baruch returned to Israel after completing his PhD with his new wife, Teri Cohan, a Los Angeles native and went on to teach in various seminars and at Israel’s elite colleges, including Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University. In 1985, Baruch and Teri had a son, Shmuel, born in Tel Aviv and later, a daughter, Tal, born in Los Angeles. The family returned to the United States in order for Baruch to attend a sabbatical at Harvard University before ultimately returning to L.A., where the family made their permanent home. There, Baruch taught at his alma mater, UCLA, the University of California San Diego and the University of Utah at Salt Lake City. He also held posts at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) and Hebrew Union College (HUC).
In Los Angeles, Baruch and his family joined Temple Beth Am and its lay-led “Library Minyan,” establishing themselves as committed and engaged members of the community. The Link children, Shmuel and Tal, attended the Pressman Academy Day School. It was this community along with family and lifelong friends from Israel and throughout the world who resolved to honor Baruch’s memory by forming and funding a Scholar in Residence weekend.
Baruch is remembered by those who knew him as a loving, tender and compassionate man; a brilliant teacher, scholar and poet; and a deeply committed yet questioning Jew. He was also an avid sports fan; devoted to the UCLA Bruins, the English Premier League team Manchester United and his “home” teams in Israel, Hapoel Ramat Gan (soccer) and Maccabi Tel Aviv (basketball). Despite a lifelong battle with illness, Baruch exuded joy and optimism. He was always reaching out to those who were ailing, lonely or grieving, his own struggle against suffering forever awakening him to the pain of others.
A successful kidney transplant in 2007 gifted Baruch with almost 13 additional years of teaching, writing and scholarly research, and most especially, being a family man. He was truly beloved by those fortunate enough to enter his orbit and blessed to see his son marry just before he passed away. Baruch’s first grandson was born in 2021 and named in Hebrew Ezra Baruch.