Jewish literary creativity continues to grow and flourish in fascinating and unprecedented ways both in Israel and around the world.
The time is ripe for Jewish writers with a shared sense of Jewish consciousness, regardless of their diverse countries of origins and diverse backgrounds, to explore together the connection between Jewish identity and text, the interplay of culture and Jewish identity, what defines a Jewish writer, and what characterizes Jewish writing.
Kisufim, the Hebrew word for longing and the acronym for “Jerusalem Conference of Jewish Writers,” was created in 2014 to bring these writers together in Jerusalem for three days and nights of readings, discussions, and cultural events. A host of renowned established writers, promising young writers, writers in many different styles and languages, convene to share their works with colleagues and with the general public, and to consider issues surrounding such multidimensional conference themes as “To Be a Jewish Writer.”
Kisufim marked the first time that an international conference for Jewish writers of this scope and nature was convened. What better place to connect Jewish writers, clarify textual and cultural issues on the identity of the writer and the identity of text than in Jerusalem, the focus of Jewish longing throughout the centuries!
Never has the need for such a conference been greater. Jewish literature has never been an affair of one language. Today, even in Israel, literature is written not only in Hebrew, but in various mother tongues as well. Shouldn’t the works of Israeli writers who write in Hebrew be translated into other languages? Shouldn’t Hebrew-speaking Israelis have access to Jewish literary works from around the globe? A major, driving goal of Kisufim is to establish an international umbrella organization of Jewish writers and poets that will promote this exchange of multilingual Jewish literature, publishing and translation.
Kisufim has opened vast new channels in its goal to serve as an exciting international and interdisciplinary conference offering opportunities to integrate music, works of art and documentary films about Jewish writers and poets from around the world. Each conference includes poetry and prose readings, master classes with poets and writers in various languages, and encounters between writers and poets who write in the same languages— Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Ladino, Russian, Serbian and Spanish — from Israel and the world over.