Jews and Words
Why are words so important to Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism's most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts and quips. These words, they argue, comprise the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation. Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unnamed, possibly-female author of the Song of Songs through obscure Talmudists to contemporary writers. They suggest that Jewish continuity, even Jewish uniqueness, depends not on central places, monuments, heroic personalities, or rituals, but rather on written words and an ongoing conversation between the generations. Full of learning, lyricism and humour, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture, and extends an invitation to the reader to join the dialogue.
Amos Oz is an internationally acclaimed author of more than fifteen works of fiction and numerous essays on politics, literature and peace. He is also professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. Fania Oz-Salzberger is a writer, historian, and professor at the University of Haifa. She also holds the Leon Liberman Chair in Modern Israel Studies, Monash University, Australia.