For almost a decade, the Yiddish Book Center published The Jewish Reader, a guide to newly published works of Jewish literature. Issues featured excerpts, questions for book clubs, critical analyses about the texts, and interviews with writers and translators. The first issue, published in January 2002, featured Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. In a short interview with The Jewish Reader, Chabon spoke candidly about what it means to be a Jewish writer.
“I went to Hebrew school,” he said, “became a bar mitzvah—and then ‘fell out’ of Judaism almost completely. For years I thought it was enough to be like my father and simply ‘feel Jewish,’ whatever that meant. I married a non-Jew. It was in the wake of that marriage’s failure that I began to look at my Jewishness in a new light and to try to reclaim my religious as well as my cultural heritage as a Jew.”
This issue of The Jewish Reader appears now as part of “Handpicked,” our monthly feature highlighting the treasures of the Yiddish Book Center's online—and offline—collections.