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What Was the Jewish Literary Mafia – And Did It Exist?

Hosted By: The Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University

In the 1960s and 1970s, many American authors, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, complained about a “Jewish literary mafia” that was controlling American publishing. This talk will examine where these complaints arose, with attention to celebrated publishing houses (Knopf, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux), prizes (the National Book Award), magazines (Commentary and the New York Review of Books), and authors (Saul Bellow and Cynthia Ozick). What can conspiracies, conflicts-of-interest, and nepotism teach us about the history of American literature?

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Miriam the Prophetess

The sister of Moses and Aaron was an important part of the sibling team that led Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness.


Moses's sister led the Israelite women in dance out of Egypt.

God Hears, But What We Do Matters Most

Miriam and Aaron's criticism of Moses, and Miriam's punishment of leprosy teach lessons of sibling and communal responsibility.