Yosef Hayim Yerushalami

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Yosef Hayim Yerushalami

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Aug 17, 2011, 7:25 pm

In the New Yorker dated August 15/22 they have published the only known fiction by Yerushalami who is also the author of Zakhor.

this is a fascinating little tale and I recommend it be read.

Oct 11, 2011, 6:15 pm

just finished reading Zakhor, a good read in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. A meditation on the role memory plays for the jewish people and how the oral tradition of torah was the main source of history up until the 1800's.

a really fascinating read, just 120 pages, packed with thoughtful information and ideas.

Edited: Oct 14, 2011, 1:39 pm

Bert, we meet again. I had the great good fortune to sit in on a class taught by Prof. Yerushalmi during my college years, back around 1970. He was probably the most spellbinding lecturer I've ever experienced; I am very sad he is gone.
In addition to Zakhor, which has had enormous impact on the scholarly world, he also has a remarkable book on Freud's Moses and a brilliant historical/biographical early scholarly work on the Jews of Spain, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto, both of which I highly recommend for sophisticated readers.

Oct 17, 2011, 1:09 pm

did you have a chance to read the NYer short story? i really enjoyed it, so much so that i sent a copy to my 92 yr old Aunt (god bless her, she is still an avid reader) who proceeded to tell me that my cousin, her daughter, as a student at Barnard, took piano lessons with Yerushalmi's wife.

i have a strong interest in the Sephardic experience and will look for the book you sited. It must have been special to be in his classroom.

After reading Zakhor I went and read the Borges short Story, "Funes, the Memorious" that Yerushalmi discusses. I also recommend that.

Oct 18, 2011, 5:09 pm

my review:

Zakhor by Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

A unique meditation on the role memory, forgetting and history plays in the life of the Jewish people. From the Torah to the Spanish Inquisition and the assimilation of German Jews, Yerushalmi illustrates how the Jewish people celebrate their own story and the tragedies that befell them.

His broad interest even entails a brief summary of a strange short story (Funes, the Memorist) written by the great Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges.

A brief book with a lasting memory of its own.

5 stars

Nov 15, 2011, 12:17 pm

more on Borges and his connection to Jews:

"Borges and the Jews" by Ilan Stavans. This is a fasciinating study written by an expert on the latin american jewish experience. now available on a PDF file i happened across on line. If you are a Borges fan you will enjoy:


Jan 2, 2012, 11:35 pm

#s 1-5

Thank you guys and gals. I am ordering a copy. Sounds like something that is right in line with my interests, but had never heard of this volume before.

Jan 5, 2012, 6:05 pm

if you do read some of his work please note your reaction here.

Sep 8, 2013, 5:51 pm

a special essay on the role of memory in Jewish tradition and fiction.

A wonderful essay by Dora Horn appeared in the NY Times Book Review dated September 1, 2013. In it she highlights the unique role memory plays in Jewish traditions and some examples of this in recent "Jewish" fiction.

Among the authors she sites are : Steve Stern, Yoram Kaniuk, Joshua Cohen, and Naomi Alderman.

In addition she speaks of the special book Zakhor by the late historian, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi.

Here is the link: