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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 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.
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
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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!