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Mozart Was Not a Jew

Gabriela Avigur-Rotem
This first novel is a fantastic-lyrical family saga set in Argentina at the turn of the century, beginning when two Jewish families from Eastern Europe emigrate to Buenos Aires and the rural Mar de Oro. Of the story’s two branches, the first is the family of Leon and Ida Gidekel. Worn down by time and the demands of living, Leon abandons his dream to be a great singer and passes his ambition to his nine children, buying a piano for each. Ida tries to draw the line when Leon brings a piano for two-year-old Salomon. "Even Mozart began at three," she says. But Leon replies: "Mozart was not a Jew."
The other branch is Isaac and Fanny Gurman`s family, which eventually links with the first when their offspring marry. The story depicts the alienation of the East European Jews in South America, and the connection of these Jews to the emerging national center in Israel. Each of the sixty characters has a distinct shape and color, from the wild, raucous children of the Pampas to Bengo`s half-caste son and the half-Indian Regalo, who moves to Palestine.
The story is told through family letters, written against the historical background of the early days of political Zionism, Baron Hirsch`s support for a Jewish colony in Argentina, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

Is this really a first novel? Everything is here: stunning verbal wealth, and experience rich in color, sound and taste.
Critic Yehudit Orian

I am amazed at the rare epic sweep of Avigur-Rotem’s writing.
Author Batya Gur

English translation available (for publishers only)

Avigur-Rotem Mozart Was Not a Jew
Title Mozart Was Not a Jew
Author’s Last Name Avigur-Rotem
Author's First Name Gabriela
Language(s) Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1992
Publisher 2 (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2008
No. Pages 306 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Motzart Lo Haya Yehudi
Representation Represented by ITHL


Italian: Milan, Tartaruga, 1997; pback: Milan, Baldini & Castoldi, 1999
Portuguese: Rio de Janeiro, Imago, 1997
Chinese: Guangzhou, Flower City, 1998
Arabic: Cairo, Al Dar al-Arabia, 2001
The second edition of the Letters of Israel festival will take place in Paris from September 8 to 18, 2017
After the success of its first edition, the Lettres d'Israël festival is gaining momentum, with an enriched program: meetings, conversations, readings , Theater, major authors and discoveries. Zeruya Shalev, Orly Castel-bloom, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Iris Argaman, and many more will participate. Click here for the full program:
Call for application: Artists in Residence Programme in Austria. Please note the deadline: September 18th, 2017.
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
Yizhak Mayer: "Meet the Author" Event
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ITHL director on Grossman's win
"Grossman winning is not only his own achievement, but the achievement of the Hebrew literature as a whole", - Nilli Cohen on the first Hebrew author to receive Man Booker International Prize. Click here for the full article in Hebrew.
Chana Bloch dies at 77
Chana Bloch, a revered poet and translator from Hebrew and Yiddish, has sadly passed away earlier this month. Among her many remarkable achievements is the wonderful translation of a collection of poems by Dahlia Ravikovitch​ (W. W. Norton & Company). Chana will be greatly missed.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
Dayan on feminism and writing
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Gundar-Goshen's Op-Ed for Time
To mark the US publication of "Waking Lions" Ayelet Gundar-Goshen talks about the refugee crisis, internal walls and people behind them in the op-ed for Time. Click here to read the article.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!