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The Art of Leaving: A Conversation with Ayelet Tsabari


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On April 29, acclaimed Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari discussed her memoir, "The Art of Leaving" and its themes of longing and belonging, growing up Mizrahi in Israel, and reclaiming her Yemeni identity.

About the Talk

Acclaimed Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari reflected on growing up Mizrahi in Israel, about re-finding and reclaiming that identity through writing and extensive research into Yemeni culture and traditions. She was joined by event discussant Rabbi Miriyam Glazer, Emerita Professor of Literature at American Jewish University. In the discussion, they explored how a writer's cultural background, mother tongue, and origins influence and inform her writing, in terms of both content and style. Originally recorded April 29, 2021.

Moderated by Maura K. Resnick, Executive Director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

Presented by the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies in collaboration with the American Jewish University and Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of English and UCLA Department of Comparative Literature.


About the Speakers

Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. She is the author of The Art of Leaving (Penguin Random House, 2019), winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for memoir, finalist for the Writer’s Trust Hilary Weston Prize, and an Apple Books and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2019. Her first book, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and has been published internationally. Her translations appeared in the New Quarterly, Berlin Quarterly, Paper Brigade, and Mantis. She teaches creative writing at the University of King’s College (Canada) MFA program, the University of Guelph Writing MFA program, and at Tel Aviv University.   

Rabbi Miriyam Glazer (Discussant) is Emerita Professor of Literature at American Jewish University, where she created and chaired the Literature, Communication & Media Department for over 25 years. Prior to that she was chair of the Foreign Literatures Department at Ben-Gurion University. She has published many essays and book chapters on Jewish literature, as well as on nature, gender, and spirituality in Judaism and Jewish culture. Her books include Dreaming the Actual: Contemporary Fiction and Poetry by Israeli Women Writers (State University of New York Press, 2000) and Psalms of the Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to their Beauty, Power, and Meaning (Aviv Press, 2009). 


DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.