Jewish Lives is a prize-winning biography series dedicated to illuminating the range and depth of the Jewish experience from antiquity to the present. The Jewish Lives Series is published by Yale University Press and the Leon D. Black Foundation.
Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman
Thu / May 20 / 7:00 pm
Zoom. Register for the event.
Ace reporter, celebrated playwright, taboo-busting novelist, and “the greatest of American screenwriters” (according to the New Yorker), Ben Hecht wrote the Hollywood we know today. In this exploration of Hecht’s life and work, we’ll explore his most notable screenplays, as well as his role as an outspoken crusader for Jewish communities around the world. Whatever the outrage he stirred, this renaissance man and self-declared “child of the century” came to embody much that defined America — especially Jewish America — in his time.
Save 30% + free shipping on Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman. Use code HECHT at checkout at https://www.jewishlives.org/books/benhecht.
Stan Lee: A Life In Comics
by Liel Leibovitz
The creative mind of Stan Lee provided American pop culture with comic book heroes and imaginative worlds that will forever be his legacy. Stan Lee: A Life in Comics focuses on both Lee’s ideas and his unlikely rise to stardom. Was Spider-Man just a reincarnation of Cain? Is the Incredible Hulk simply Adam by another name? Dive in to the life of this creative giant, his cultural and religious upbringing, and the impact it had on his work.
Watch the program here.
Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life
by Vivian Gornick
Emma Goldman is the story of a modern radical who took seriously the idea that inner liberation is the first business of social revolution. Her politics, from beginning to end, was based on resistance to that which thwarted the free development of the inner self. The right to stay alive in one’s senses, to enjoy freedom of thought and speech, to reject the arbitrary use of power—these were key demands in the many public protest movements she helped mount.
Watch the program here.
Houdini: The Elusive American
by Adem Begley
Break away from your everyday with the world’s greatest escape artist. Author Adam Begley unlocks the Master Mystifier’s rise to fame and his legendary death-defying feats to uncover why he risked his life again and again.
Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One
by Mark Kurlansky
During a summer without baseball, get club seats to hear the inspiring story of a Bronx ballplayer turned role model. Discover Greenberg’s spectacular discipline as an aspiring rookie, the complexity of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur, and the cultural context of virulent antisemitism in which his career played out. Mark Kurlansky is a prizewinning author and has written, edited, or contributed to 20 books, which have been translated into 25 languages.
Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death
by Lillian Faderman
As the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, Harvey Milk became one of the most recognizable faces of the nascent LGBTQ civil rights movement. A man of many talents, he drew deeply from the values of his Jewish heritage to create a political platform focused on helping the margins of society. Learn about his legacy more than 40 years after his assassination.
Moses: A Human Life
by Avivah Zornberg
An unprecedented portrait of Moses's inner world and perplexing character, by a distinguished biblical scholar.
View the Reading Guide for Moses: A Human Life.
Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent
by Paul Mendes-Flohr
An authority on the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber (1878–1965), Paul Mendes-Flohr offers the first major biography in English in thirty years of this seminal modern Jewish thinker.
View the Reading Guide for Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent.
Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam
by Steven Nadler
An illuminating biography of the great Amsterdam rabbi and celebrated popularizer of Judaism in the seventeenth century.
View the Reading Guide for Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam.
Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power
by Neal Gabler
An enthralling appreciation of the monumentally gifted popular artist and cultural icon who challenged Hollywood’s standards of beauty and glamour.
View the Reading Guide for Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power
Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films
by Molly Haskell
A film-centric portrait of the extraordinarily gifted movie director whose decades-long influence on American popular culture is unprecedented.
View the Reading Guide for Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films. Listen to the audio of this author event.
Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman
by Itamar Rabinovich
An insider's perspective on the life and influence of Israel's first native-born prime minister, his bold peace initiatives and his tragic assassination.
View the Reading Guide for Yitzak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman. Listen to the audio of this author event.
Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the Talmud
by Barry W. Holtz
A compelling and lucid account of the life and teachings of a founder of rabbinic Judaism and one of the most beloved heroes of Jewish history.
View the Reading Guide for Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the Talmud. Listen to the audio of this author event.
Einstein: His Space and Times
by Steven Gimbel
A revealing portrait of Albert Einstein, the world's first scientific "superstar."
View the Reading Guide for Einstein: His Space and Times. Listen to the audio of this author event.