Monday, July 13, 2009

What Makes A Jewish Book???

This has been questioned so many times by Jews. Readers, rabbi's, scholars etc. No one seems to have the answer.

The reason I bring this up. This past year, a book called, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, written by a non-jewish author. He worked at National Yiddish Book Center.

I can't make a opinion about the book since I have not read it. But I have read several books that have Jewish content, or author's are Jewish but not any Jewish content. I personally have not read anything from a author that is not Jewish.

Can a non-Jewish person write his or her experiences in a Jewish story. I am not sure. They do not have the experiences or feel what we as Jews feel. That is just my opinion. I have not heard the other way around that a Jewish author writes a story about the experiences of being Christian.

When the author writes a book that is Jewish I can identify with the story because I am Jewish. The characters, the situation etc. When the story is written by a Jewish author there isn't anything between the lines that you can relate to if you are Jewish to make it Jewish. To me to make a book Jewish is the content. That is only my opinion.

I am very interested to see what others think of Song of the Butcher's Daughter.

One of my fellow bloggers just mentioned the book on her blog that is why I brought it up. I want to see what she has to say about it.

I appreciate other commenter to post their thoughts on this opinions. Readers and scholars alike. What do you think??


Anonymous said...

It's a really interesting question. I've seen articles say that if a book is BY a Jewish author then it is a "Jewish book" even if the content isn't specifically Jewish. I remember this topic being addressed on Library Thing too. If I had to vote, I guess I'd go for content over provenance of author.

Marie Cloutier said...

I agree with Rhapsody. THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zuzak, is another example of a book written by a non-Jew that has nonetheless been lauded and accepted as a "Jewish book" because of the content. THE LAZARUS PROJECT also qualifies, and SARAH'S KEY. Books that promote Jewish values or cover explicitly Jewish subjects can be "Jewish books" even if the author isn't Jewish.

Marie Cloutier said...

oh and Jews writing about Christians? Josh Henkin's MATRIMONY qualifies. Binnie Kirshenbaum tried & (in my opinion) failed with AN ALMOST PERFECT MOMENT.

Unknown said...

Thank you for all your comments. I do agree it comes from Jewish values and content of the book rather than if the author is Jewish or not or Catholic or not. I did also read a Perfect Moment. The book was a very strange about Catholic mysticm with a Jewish family very strange indeed.

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