Adapted from The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America, by Joyce Antler (Schocken Books, 1997).
Bel Kaufman, the daughter of East European immigrants and granddaughter of Yiddish novelist Sholom Aleichem, emigrated from Odessa with her family in 1923 when she was twelve, quickly learned English, and used the public libraries voraciously.
You might expect a writer, at age 80-plus, to retire from the public eye. Not Faye S. Moskowitz. As chair of the English Department at The George Washington University, the acclaimed short story author still shapes the dialogue about Jewish American fiction and where it’s headed. She continues to give book talks and forge conversations between accomplished writers and aspirants. Her own work has sometimes been compared to that of famed Jewish American short story writer Tillie Olsen.
Ask any one of my friends or family members: in the weeks leading up to JWA’s Institute for Educators, I was a mess. As the dishes piled up on my desk at the office and my eyeballs crossed from looking at spreadsheet after spreadsheet of catering orders and flight information, a battle between stress and excitement raged in my mind.