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Jews You Should Know

Oct 25, 2021

Author Dara Horn urges us to examine the reasons behind our fascination with Jewish deaths as representative of the worst of humanity's ills, and our lack of regard for Jewish lives as they unfold in the present.

In her book, “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present,” Dara draws on her own family's experiences — trying to explain Shakespeare's Shylock to a curious 10-year-old, her outrage when swastikas are drawn on desks at her children's New Jersey school, the profound and essential perspective offered by traditional religious practice, prayer, and study — to assert the vitality, complexity, and depth of this life in the face of anti-Semitism, which, far from being deterred by the mantra "Never forget," is on the rise.

Dara studied Yiddish and Hebrew for her doctorate in comparative literature at Harvard University. She has taught these subjects at Sarah Lawrence College and Yeshiva University, as well as at Harvard, where she held the Gerald Weinstock Visiting Professorship in Jewish Studies. She has given hundreds of talks to audiences across North America, Israel, and Australia.



00:00 Introduction

3:30 Dara's origins and early upbringing

5:38 Talking about Judaism from early childhood to college

11:39 Discussing some modern Hebrew writers and literature

24:55 Dara's story of becoming a writer and her first published works

39:53 How Dara turned to fiction after college and wrote her first novel

42:54 Brief synopsis of Dara's novels

49:03 Talking about “People Love Dead Jews,” and how it came to be

56:16 Problems with representations of Judaism and museum exhibitions about the Holocaust

1:10:00 How the book has been received and how it changed Dara

1:19:50 Introducing Dara's podcast, "Adventures with Dead Jews"


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Podcast: Adventures with Dead Jews – search on any podcast platform

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