On September 1, 1939, both the Jewish world the Western world as knew it turned asunder. European Jewry vanished, and the centrum of Jewish life became divided between Israel and the United States. Over the past four generations, an extensive writing culture has developed all over the world, including Israeli authors stunned and shattered by their losses. Jewish writers worldwide serve as witnesses of their time, employing various tools in their attempt to cope with the Shoah and manage the burden of memory that have become steppingstones on the path to awareness and a future shared-Jewish legacy.
The 5th Jerusalem Kisufim Conference is the sole international conference to brings together writers, poets, playwrights and intellectuals who write in different languages and represent various styles and avenues of thought in the Jewish world.
The Kisufim Conference is a unique and significant event, known by writers and creators in Israel and worldwide as an expression of the strong existence of Jewish literature. The opportunity to meet and make direct contact with fellow writers as well as the public constitutes the framework for a meaningful conversation on fundamental questions regarding the significance of Jewish culture in this day and age.
The Kisufim Conference forges a meeting between Jewish creators in a multitude of languages exploring the similarities and differences of being part of the Jewish world and creating in a post-modern global world. Visitors will be exposed to points of view, values and fundamental questions reflecting the complexity of Jewish existence the world over. The most prominent writers of today's Jewish world will embark on explorations regarding the relationship between Jewish global communities, Hebrew literature vs. non-Hebrew Jewish literature, and the ongoing question of commitment to the knowledge and legacies of the Jewish past.
Jerusalem, where Jewish culture originated, is the natural home for the Kisufim Conference. The relationship between the spoken word and the tangible Jerusalem stone spawns a fascinating dynamic of conversation touching holy and secular, past and present and multi-layered memories and sceneries. All converge in a dazzling, rich mosaic of local and international philosophy and craft.
The Kisufim Conference allows those taking the lead in influencing consumers of literature and culture to become an integral part of the modern Jewish cultural scene, while positioning Israel and Jerusalem as the natural cradle of worldwide Jewish cultural renewal. We hope to bolster and expand the domains dealt with in the conference to create a broad awareness of the essential cultural acts of Jewish writers across the globe.
The Kisufim Conference will take place November 18-22, 2019 at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, thanks to cooperation between three leading entities of Israeli culture: the Zalman Shazar Center which promotes the connection between Jewish past and the Jewish and Israeli society; the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute which deals with innovative interdisciplinary research, and The Hebrew Writers Association. The prestigious Matanel Prize will be awarded to two promising writers, one who writes in Hebrew and the other in a foreign language (this year, French).
Past participants of Kisufim conferences include such writers as Aharon Appelfeld, Jonathan Rosen (US), Haim Be'er, Haim Gouri, David Grossman, Dov Elboim, Claude Lanzmann (France), Bernard-Henri Lévy (France), Mario Levi (Ladino and Turkish, Turkey), Etgar Keret, Ami Bouganim, Robert Pinsky (US), Almog Behar, Mira Magen, Zeruya Shalev, Meir Shalev, Haviva Pedaya, Svetlana Schönbrunn (Russia-Israel), Tuvya Ruebner, Baruch Brenner, Avirama Golan, Colette Fellous (France), Philip David (Serbia), Angelina Muñiz-Huberman (Mexico), Esther Discereit (Germany), Karen Alkalay-Gut, Elaine Feinstein (England), Milan Richter (Slovakia), Israel Pincas, Israel Eliraz, David Shapiro (US), Sasson Somekh, Naïm Kattan (Baghdad-France-Canada), A. B. Yehoshua, Alain Finkielkraut (France), Gabriel David Josipovici (England), David Albahari (Serbia), Dina Kattan-Ben Zion, Rivka Miriam, Marcel Bénabou (France-Morocco), Myriam Anissimov (France), Ana Somlo (Serbia-Israel), Eva Hoffman (Poland-England), Ágnes Heller (Hungary-US), Julia Viner (Russia-Israel), Valérie Zenatti (Israel-France), Gali-Dana Singer (Russia-Israel), Linda Zisquit (US-Israel), Raquel Chalfi, Menachem Lorberbaum, Aharon Megged, Haim Sabato, יאנוש קובנאי (הונגריה – ישראל), Marc Weitzmann (France), Miklós Vámos (Hungary), Lyudmila Evgenyevna Ulitskaya (Russia), Norman Manea (Romania-US), Tomislav Osmanli (Macedonia), Michel Eckhart (France), Jennifer Barber (US), Dov-Ber Kerler (Israel-US), Tarık Günersel (Turkey), Gabi Gleichmann (Norway), Yvonne Green (UK), Gila Loran (Galina Zelenina, Russia), Myriam Moscona (Mexico), Mehmet Yashin (Greece), Marcia Falk (US), Kari Klemelä (Finland), Ilya Kaminsky (US), Gilles Rozier (France), Miriam Gambut (Russia-Israel), Sabina Messeg, Miri Gilad, Erez Bitton, Shimon Adaf, Michal Govrin, Michael P. Kramer (US-Israel), Amichai Chasson, Diti Ronen, Hamutal Bar-Yosef, Noa Shakargy, Miron Miron H. Isaacson, Velvl Chernin (Yiddish, Russia-Israel) and many others.
Noam Semel Hava Pinhas-Cohen Michal Nakar
Conference Chair Artistic Director` Festival Director