Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series
Want to explore Jewish women's lives through new and thought-provoking literary fiction, memoir and more? Want to connect first hand with those who create it? The Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series, dedicated in honor of our beloved Conversations friend, Sandy Silberman, brings us together in a warm, online setting to share stories that explore the diversity of Jewish women's experiences across the world from yesterday and today.
We encourage you to purchase the books, read in advance, and bring your thoughts and questions to discuss with our authors.
When I first read your book, I was inspired by your story and your writing. Listening to you describe some of your experiences personally yesterday was a treat, and added even more depth to your story for me. -Rabbi Beth Naditch, sharing her thoughts with a HBI Conversations author
HBI has been a network site of the Jewish Book Council since 2010 which provides extraordinary access to authors with recently published books.
We select both literary fiction and nonfiction, including memoirs, biographies, and scholarly essays. These include research supported by HBI, whether written by HBI Scholars-in-Residence or recipients of HBI research awards, and books published in the HBI Series on Jewish Women. All of our books will focus on themes related to Jews and gender.
Which authors are joining the Sandra Seltzer Silberman Conversations Series this year? When are the events?
Rachel Barenbaum, "Atomic Anna"
Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Featuring Rachel Barenbaum
Rachel Barenbaum’s “masterfully plotted” new novel, "Atomic Anna," is a genre-bending, soul-searching book that you won’t want to put down!
Three generations of remarkable Jewish women travel through time and work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century. As they grapple with the power their discoveries hold, they wonder: If you have the power to change the past, should you?
Barenbaum is a prolific writer - she joined HBI Conversations in 2019 with her thrilling debut "A Bend in the Stars" - and reviewer whose work has appeared in publications such as the "LA Review of Books," the "Tel Aviv Review of Books," "LitHub," "CrimeReads," "Hey Alma!" and more. She will be a HBI Scholar in Residence this fall and has been a HBI Research Associate for the past two years. HBI is honored to have supported Rachel Barenbaum’s writing during this project.
The "New York Times" raved about "Atomic Anna," read the review.
HBI is a Network Member of the Jewish Book Council.
Tamar Biala, Editor, “Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash”
Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Featuring Tamar Biala
A Publication of the HBI Series on Jewish Women.
Tamar Biala's “Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash” is the first ever English edition of an historic collection of midrashim composed by Israeli women.
“How thrilling to have this rich collection of women’s midrashim in our hands. The melding of scholarship, deep insight, and creativity in this brilliantly edited volume yields fresh new feminist perspectives on classical Jewish tradition. We are truly blessed to have this resource for understanding biblical texts and rabbinic commentaries.” -- Marcia Falk, author of “Night of Beginnings: A Passover Haggadah”
Max Strassfeld, “Trans Talmud: Androgynes and Eunuchs in Rabbinic Literature”
Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Featuring Max Strassfeld
HBI Scholar in Residence and University of Arizona professor Max Strassfeld argues that rabbinic literature’s eunuchs and androgynes profoundly shaped ideas about law, as the rabbis constructed intricate classifications of gender across dozens of texts to understand an array of cultural tensions. In doing so, “Trans Talmud” deftly expands and challenges how we understand gender in Judaism.
"In a world that seeks to erase our history and our bodies, these texts provide images of a past where we may have existed, albeit with complexities. To study Talmud is to dream our past into the future, and to engage in the act of traveling through time accompanied by our ancestors’ voices. . . .As queer, trans and nonbinary Jews do the work of consciously creating a usable past, “Trans Talmud” invites us to do so with more integrity and precision."—Laynie Soloman, "How The Talmud Can (and Can’t) Teach Gender," "Lilith Magazine," August 4, 2022, read the full review.
Podcast / Listen to Shalom Hartman Institiute’s Yehuda Kurtzer in discussion with Max Strassfeld
Susan Weidman Schneider and Yona Zeldis McDonough, editors, “Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine”
Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Featuring “Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine”
A publication of the HBI Series on Jewish Women
The range of stories, written by 44 different authors, some bestsellers; others emerging talents with ages ranging from their 20s to their 80s, comes right out of Jewish women’s lives today: transgressive loves, deepening connections, political turmoil, abortion, fear of loss, struggles with fertility, with body and soul, with finding community, with decoding family life. No one voice here represents the whole, but the stories interact with one another, like the tiles in a mosaic or the instruments in orchestral music.
HBI is a network member of the Jewish Book Council (JBC).
Joy Ladin, "Shekhinah Speaks"
Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series Featuring Joy Ladin
HBI is honored to have supported Joy Ladin’s writing during this project.
Joy Ladin, widely published essayist, poet, and literary scholar shares her research and reads from "Shekhinah Speaks." In this new collection of compelling poetry, Ladin elucidates and channels the voice of the Shekhinah, Judaism’s feminine aspect of G-d, who speaks in the fundamental language of true universal love about our current conditions and challenges.
“In resplendent voice, Ladin reminds us we may yet be ‘comforted,’ if we can hear the Shekhinah speaking in us, if we who have ‘forgotten’ can remember that wherever we are, she is.”—Shara McCullum
Pnina Lahav, "The Only Woman in the Room: Golda Meir and Her Path to Power"
February 15, 2023, 7-8 p.m. ET/online
This event is free and open to the public.
Join HBI as we speak with Pnina Lahav, Professor of Law Emerita and winner of Israel’s Seltner Award and the Gratz College Centennial Book Award, about her remarkable "The Only Woman in the Room: Golda Meir and Her Path to Power" in which Lahav asks how a lone woman surrounded by men makes it to the top.
In this authoritative and empathetic biography, Lahav reexamines the life of Golda Meir through a feminist lens, focusing on her recurring role as a woman standing alone among men. "The Only Woman in the Room" is the first book to contend with Meir’s full identity as a woman, Jew, Zionist leader, and one of the founders of Israel, providing a richer portrait of her persona and legacy.
Paula Birnbaum, “Sculpting a Life: Chana Orloff between Paris and Tel Aviv”
A publication of the HBI Series on Jewish Women.
March 15, 2023, 7-8 p.m. ET/online
This event is free and open to the public.
In “Sculpting a Life,” the first book-length biography of sculptor Chana Orloff (1888-1968), author Paula Birnbaum tells the story of a fiercely determined and ambitious woman who fled antisemitism in Ukraine, emigrated to Palestine with her family, then traveled to Paris to work in haute couture before becoming an internationally recognized artist.
“...Paula J. Birnbaum offers readers a deeply researched, beautifully illustrated, and engagingly written biography of a cosmopolitan and once-renowned sculptor who deliberately resisted categorization. Orloff’s strong emphasis on motherhood as central to her artistic expression is particularly noteworthy, as is her fascination with the female body.”—Karen Offen
Elizabeth Graver, “Kantika”
May 3, 2023, 7-8 p.m. ET/online
This event is free and open to the public.
HBI is honored to have supported Elizabeth Graver’s writing during this project.
"Kantika" is a dazzling Sephardic multigenerational saga that moves from Istanbul to Barcelona, Havana, and New York, exploring displacement, endurance, and family as home. A haunting, inspiring meditation on the tenacity of women, this lush, lyrical novel from Elizabeth Graver celebrates the insistence on seizing beauty and grabbing hold of one’s one and only life.
“In gorgeous detail, this epic family story restores a lost time and place. 'Kantika' is both an immigrant tale and a hero’s journey as Graver’s extraordinary characters―first among them the indomitable Rebecca―travel between worlds and find ways to refashion their lives.”―Allegra Goodman
The Sandra Seltzer Silberman Conversations Series is free to join and made possible by generous gifts from participants and supporters. Consider becoming a Friend of HBI with a gift of $180. Give here.
The Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series records most events. View all HBI recorded events here, including those in this series, or view previous HBI Conversations events below.
HBI is honored to have funded a portion of Leibman's research.
A publication of the HBI Series on Jewish Women and winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Biography.
HBI is honored to have funded a portion of Batalion’s research.
HBI is honored to have funded a portion of Bolton-Fasman's research.
Please note the connectivity issues in the recording from minutes 0:00 to 3:59 resolve completely at minute 4:00.
Real-Time Challah Bake and Discussion
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Contact us: Terri Brown Preuss, Director, Sandra Seltzer Silberman HBI Conversations Series
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