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The Month of Elul

Dov Elbaum
Ultra-Orthodox Jewry lives in a closed world whose rigid rules exclude not only non-Jews but most of Israel`s secular Jewish majority. In his first novel, Elbaum, born into this world which he left at 17, describes life in one of its boarding school yeshivas in Jerusalem. That is where 14-year-old Nahman, studies without any heretical thoughts. Yeshiva life is portrayed through his eyes with utter authenticity. But the novel does not only show us an exotic world: it also lets the reader into the soul of an adolescent. The first sparks of sexuality and physical change create a sense of sin and guilt in Nahman, and he struggles hard against the Evil Inclination. He wishes to be pure and find favor with God so as to save his sick mother. Around him, however, he sees a ferment of fanaticism and superstition, corruption, intrigue, power struggles and sensuality. 
In the month of Elul, two weeks before Yom Kippur, when according to Jewish tradition God judges man for his sins, Nahman undertakes a regime of penitence. He makes a vow of silence and later gives up eating and sleeping, devoting himself to study and thoughts of repentance. Physical and mental suffering are heightened by social isolation, for his friends avoid him.
However, instead of breaking down, Nahman emerges stronger from the confrontation with his natural urges. But purity is far, far away. The world around him is full of Ashkenazi racism against Sephardim, of misogyny and of homophobia, and of deep ignorance that compounds the contempt for the secular world. In this setting, Nahman is a deviant who arouses our sympathy. 

Title The Month of Elul
Author’s Last Name Elbaum
Author's First Name Dov
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1997
Year of Publication 2 (Hebrew) 2003
No. Pages 229 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Zman-Elul
Representation Represented by ITHL
Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
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Congratulations to Ronit Matalon, the recipient of the 2017 Brenner prize for her book 'And the Bride Closed the Door". And, congratulations to Amir ziv, the recipent of the first ever Brenner prize for debut novels.
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The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award! The books on the longlist are selected by 400 libraries worldwide. Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.
Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
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MHL - New webzine starting soon!