Book Festival: The Newish Jewish EncyclopediaDate: November 8, 2020Time: 7:30 pm
The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia: From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between
Sunday, November 8, 2020 • 7:30PM
For anyone who has politely turned down offers from a well-meaning aunt of all ten plus volumes of the Jewish Encyclopedia, the hosts of Tablet Magazine’s “Unorthodox” podcast have created a compact, compelling, and hilarious solution. The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia, despite only comprising one volume, is expansive and comprehensive in what it covers. Flipping to a random page, one can learn about the 1976 raid on Entebbe, the basics of how eruv’s operate to make Shabbat easier for religious Jews, and the Jewish roots of Esperanto, a constructed language. The authors cleverly bring in images and graphics that transform the traditional encyclopedia experience into something Technicolor. Entries are punctuated with a clever concoction of wit, seriousness and academic curiosity. Open up a page and see what you find out — who knew that the character of Bugs Bunny was allegedly inspired by Groucho Marx? The authors have created the improbable: the encyclopedia that you might actually leaf through and the coffee table book that not only adorns but also educates.
Stephanie Butnick is the deputy editor of Tablet and has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She has a bachelor’s degree in religion from Duke and a master’s in religious studies from NYU. She lives in New York with her husband and their cat, Cat Stevens.
Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet and the author of several books, including, most recently, A Broken Hallelujah, a spiritual biography of Leonard Cohen. He has a Ph.D. in video games from Columbia, a fact that makes his seven year old self very happy. He lives in New York with his wife and their two children.
Mark Oppenheimer is the former Beliefs columnist for The New York Times and the author of The Bar Mitzvah Crasher: Road Tripping Through Jewish America. He has a Ph.D. in American religion from Yale and lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and five children.