Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation

Wandering Jews: Two Diasporic Journeys Out of the Ottoman Empire


Thursday, March 28, 2024
7 – 8 pm EDT
Scheuer Auditorium

Join us for a conversation about Mizrahi and Sephardic diasporic journeys, both in fiction and real-life, with authors Jordan Salama and Elizabeth Graver. A personal and introspective discussion exploring displacement, endurance, and family as home, while traveling (in our imaginations) through Istanbul, Barcelona, Havana, the Jewish Levant, South America, and the Argentine Andes. Moderated by Stephanie Butnick, host of Tablet’s Unorthodox podcast. 

Copies of Jordan Salama’s Stranger in the Desert: A Family Story and Elizabeth Graver’s novel Kantika will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

About the Speakers:

Elizabeth Graver’s fifth novel Kantika was selected as a New York Times Best Historical Fiction Book of 2023, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and an NPR Best Books of 2023. Kantika has been translated into German and Turkish. Graver's fourth novel, The End of the Point, was long-listed for the 2013 National Book Award. She teaches at Boston College.

Jordan Salama is the author of Every Day the River Changes, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. His work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, Smithsonian, Scientific American, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. He lives in New York. An American writer of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi Jewish descent, Salama graduated from Princeton University in 2019. He has been based, in recent years, between New York and Buenos Aires.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast. She is the author, along with her co-hosts, of The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia: From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between. She has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Co-presented by Jewish Book Council, the Jewish Museum, and Tablet Magazine.

Admission to the event is free and includes an opportunity to visit the Jewish Museum’s galleries on the day of the program. Advance RSVP is required; however, early arrival is suggested as space is limited, and entry is not guaranteed.

Cover of Strangers in the Desert by Jordan Salama and Cover of Kantika by Elizabeth Graver