Month: October 2015

Which is the Merchant Here?

thumbnailLook out for Which is the Merchant Here? On the Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender by Julie Mell.


Living Near Chimen Abramsky

So, tonight, I a doing an event at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA.  It’s about the book The House with twenty Thousand Books.  The address of the house is 5 Hillway, London, N6.  I thoguht, I knew roughly where it was, but when I looked it up, I realised that it was here: Capture

The home I came back to after being born in a amternity home near Hampstead Heath, maybe my mum or dad know what it was a flat in Hylda Court on St. Albans Road, just around the corner from the house with all those books.

Hylda Court

Links to Articles about Chimen Abramsky and The House of 20,000 Books

Halban – UK Publisher
Reviews of this Book
Sasha Abramsky speaking about the book  The House of Twenty Thousand Books:
Sasha’s Articles about his Grandfather:

Rutu Modan and Vanessa Davis

urlI have jurutu-modanst published some short reviews of feamle Jewish graphic literature writers.  Check them out on my book blog, Writing About Reading.

The posts are about Rutu Modan’s The Property, her latest novel, Exit Wounds, her first full-length work and a collection of short pieces, Jamiliti and Other Stories, and one post about Vanessa Davis’ wonderfully titled Make Me a Woman. They all have a lot to say about Jewish identity and growing up Jewish, although that is far from their sole purpose. Modan is an Israeli, and Davis was born in Florida. Both writers I will be watching out for in the future.

Sasha Abramsky, The House of Twenty Thousand Books, in conversation with Jeremy Solomons

The House of Twenty Thousand Books is journalist Sasha Abramsky’s elegy to the vanished intellectual world of his grandparents, Chimen and Miriam, and their vast library of socialist literature and Jewish history. A rare book dealer and self-educated polymath who would go on to teach at Oxford and consult for Sotheby’s, Chimen Abramsky drew great writers and thinkers like Isaiah Berlin and Eric Hobsbawm to his north London home; his library grew from his abiding passion for books and his search for an enduring ideology. The books, documents, and manuscripts that covered every shelf at 5 Hillway were testaments to Chimen’s quest — from the Jewish orthodoxy of his boyhood, to the Communism of his youth, to the liberalism of his mature years. The House of Twenty Thousand Books is at once the story of a fascinating family and chronicle of the embattled twentieth century.

Sasha Abramsky is the author of Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House, and has reported on U.S. prisons for Human Rights Watch. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Jeremy Solomons is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Reading, U.K., and Scholar in Residence at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University, U.S.A. His topic is Post World War 2 Anglo-Jewish drama. He has studied theatre with Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed) and Keith Johnstone (Impro). After 15 years working full-time in professional theatre on the production side, he founded youth theatres in England writing and directing over 20 productions. Since then he has been a bookstore manager, taught writing, literature, and drama at colleges, in the U.K. and New England, where he lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and they have two college age sons.

These days, alongside doing research, he teaches, writes and helps people with web, written, and spoken communication using his drama and improvisation experience and does project management for various organizations and businesses.

Event date:

Thursday, October 15, 2015 – 7:00pm

Event address:

Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Arts in the “Real World” (quotation marks) ! (Exclamation)

Arts & Humanities Matters

My mission (and I thought about whether I mean that word or not, and I do) in the coming months is to really dig into what the arts and humanities contribute to the everyday and the exceptional actions we all take as we live our lives.  In other words, what roles do the arts and humanities have outside the spaces that are designed to teach and present them? Outside the galleries, theatres, classrooms beyond the pages of a book or the screens of television and film.

This week my friend Miranda Colmans presented the argument for the economic importance of the arts as they are presented for themselves, but what does someone with arts experience, someone with a humanities degree contribute to the wider world? To me it is that beyond the PHYSICAL and the FISCAL in our daily lives there is  imagination and empathy, which I believe leads to…

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Wot? No Fish!! Guadian Review

This is a show about love that has been made with love. A few years back,Danny Braverman‘s mother gave him some shoeboxes that had belonged to his great uncle Ab Solomons. Inside the boxes were hundreds of wage packets with doodles that shoemaker Ab had drawn on them.

Every Thursday – from 1926, when they married, to 1982, when she died – Ab would give his wife, Celie, one of these wage packets with the housekeeping. They are an eloquent portrait of love and of a marriage through its ups and downs. There is even one in which Ab seems to be trying to persuade his wife away from the divorce court. Read more…