Howard Jacobson and thriving British Jewish culture

23 Mar

This week, my longest feature to date will be published in The New York Jewish Week, a widely read Jewish weekly. It’s coming out in print in the 25 March edition of paper, and has already been published on the Jewish Week’s website online.

In the piece, I interview Howard Jacobson, perhaps Britain’s best-known Jewish novelist, and look at how British Jewish arts are flourishing.

Here’s the first part of the article (click here for a link straight to the full article):

British Jewish Culture Surging Into The Mainstream

“The Finkler Question” author Howard Jacobson.  “The Finkler Question” author Howard Jacobson

From a Booker Prize-winning novel to a hit film to hip JCC programming, a new Jewish confidence alongside increased anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rebecca S

Special To The Jewish Week

‘Things are beginning to be vibrant — there is a new, unapologetic and unashamed generation, less worried about what will happen if the British notice there are Jews living here,” said British Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson, the 2010 winner of Britain’s most important literary prize, the Man Booker Prize, for his novel “The Finkler Question.”

Indeed, with new Jewish-themed television programs, critically acclaimed Jewish fiction, experimental electro-klezmer bands and Jewish-Muslim theater groups, British Jews are producing obviously Jewish-inflected artworks in increasingly vibrant and creative ways, which often become part of the mainstream culture.

Yet this account of contemporary British — and European — Jewry, this new “unapologetic” generation, is rarely the narrative American Jews hear about. Europe, for many Jews on this side of the pond, is still associated with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

Time to redress the balance then? Indeed, Jumpstart, a Los Angeles-based think-tank recently came out with a remarkably buoyant piece of news about European Jewish life (reported on in these pages): “Europe is witnessing an unprecedented revival of contemporary Jewish life. There are more Jewish start-ups [nonprofits] per capita in Europe than in North America.” Most interesting was the authors’ refusal to associate European Jewish identity with anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism: “These are only part of the story. The European Jewry we know is confident, vibrant, and growing.”

(read more here)

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One Response to “Howard Jacobson and thriving British Jewish culture”

  1. rebeccainspace March 24, 2011 at 21:42 #

    Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with the Americanis-zed spellings in the article – I always submit work to editors with the English (i.e. better!) spelling(and vocabulary, if appropriate), but what do you know, they always end up Americanising everything!

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