Contemporary Jewish Literature: Course Readings

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months re-organizing my “21st-Century Jewish Literature” course for its new “hybrid” format. This is the semester’s first week. so I’m ready to share with you the texts from which the primary assigned readings (mainly short stories and novel/memoir excerpts) are taken.

Collage of book covers.
  • Ilan Stavans, Jewish Literature: A Very Short Introduction
  • Michal Lemberger, After Abel and Other Stories
  • Miriam Karpilove, Diary of a Lonely Girl (trans. Jessica Kirzane)
  • David Bezmozgis, Natasha and Other Stories
  • Lucette Lagnado, The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit
  • Dara Horn, All Other Nights
  • Philip Roth, Nemesis
  • Eduardo Halfon, The Polish Boxer (trans. Daniel Hahn et al.)
  • Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness (trans. Nicholas de Lange)
  • Ayelet Tsabari, The Best Place on Earth: Stories

We’re also going to be reading poems by Ronny Somekh (trans. Barbara Goldberg), Erika Meitner, Jehanne Dubrow, and others.

There’s obviously a lot that we’re not going to be able to cover. I’m planning to spend some course time talking about that, too, because as diverse as these readings may be, there’s so much more to contemporary Jewish literature that isn’t represented in the texts above.

a collage of book covers

13 thoughts on “Contemporary Jewish Literature: Course Readings

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      You’re welcome!

  1. Atar Hadari says:

    Hi Erika,

    I for one would love to know what poems you are teaching among those ‘others’. I don’t promise to read all those short story writers, but I’d look up any poets you have picked to teach!

    All best with your course,


    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Well, at the first class, for example, I was able to squeeze in Myra Sklarew’s “what is a jewish poem.”

  2. Zeeva Bukai says:

    Thanks for sharing your syllabus. I’ve compiled a list of the ones I haven’t read and plan on reading them:)

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Let me know what you think!

  3. Nina Lehman says:

    where are you teaching?

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Baruch College/CUNY.

  4. Christine Venzon says:


    I’ve been delving into the stories of David Besmozgis, one of the authors on you list. They are a sheer delight, deeply human. The humor is gentle but cutting, the characters instantly relatable. They have me up way past my bedtime. Thanks!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Christine, thank you so much. I happen to have just taught Bezmozgis yesterday, so your comment is particularly timely! And I agree with your take 100%!

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