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This article was prepared for the October 17, 2001 edition

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Jewish-American All-Stars

Malcah Zeldis’s colorful painting "Lady

Liberty,"

a heartfelt homage to America and its hyphenated patriots, shows a

proud and nurturing Statue of Liberty standing in New York harbor

amidst a riot of flowery fireworks bursts and a boatload of folk

heroes.

The picture also heralds Princeton’s unprecedented celebration of

one immigrant group’s success. "Celebrating Jewish-American

Writers,"

marks the opening of the Leonard L. Milberg Collection of

Jewish-American

Writers, a Firestone Library exhibition, and a three-day conference

to be attended by more than two dozen well-known writers and

cartoonists

— from E.L. Doctorow to Wendy Wasserstein, from Jules Feiffer

to Tony Kushner.

"Celebrating Jewish-American Writers" opens Sunday, October

21, at 2 p.m., with an afternoon of free readings in Richardson

Auditorium

by Tony Kushner, Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Susan

Sontag,

and C.K. Williams. Wendy Wasserstein speaks on "My Life in the

Theater" at 8:30 p.m. in McCormick 101. Author E.L. Doctorow gives

the keynote address, on Monday, October 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Frist

Campus Center.

Froma Zeitlin, director of Princeton’s Program in Jewish Studies,

says she had the idea for her conference poster early this year.

"Coming

into Newark, I saw the Statue of Liberty and I thought, `Of course,

this was a population of immigrants." Searching for images, she

could scarcely believe her good fortune when she found Zeldis’s work

in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The

70-year-old

Zeldis, a New Yorker and children’s book illustrator said she made

her painting on cardboard both to celebrate her culture and her

recovery

from cancer.

Much has changed for America and its immigrants since September 11,

but Zeitlin says that Lady Liberty resonates more strongly than ever.

"I see it now as a timely reminder of the wonderful American

accomplishment

and its embrace of various immigrant groups that gives them a chance

to flourish and thrive," she says. "In this vein, the

accomplishment

of Jewish-American writers has been phenomenal. In terms of coming

at this particular time, after more than two years’ planning, it’s

a good time to come together and take pride in our American

culture."

Firestone Library opens its exhibition of the Leonard L. Milberg

Collection

of Jewish-American Writers on Sunday, a collection that ranges from

the early 19th century to the present, and includes Yiddish-language

writers as well as writers in English. A special edition of the

Library

Chronicle accompanies the show, with previously unpublished stories,

essays, and poems by Milberg collection writers.

A member of the Class of 1953, Leonard Milberg is the chairman of

Milberg Factors Inc., a finance company in New York City who is

described

as "a passionate collector." Milberg previously donated

special

collections of Irish poetry and "Pride of Place," a collection

of American prints.

All conference events are open to the public. Website:

www.princeton.edu/~jwst.

Firestone Library gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5

p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Phone: 609-258-3184.

Sunday, October 21

2 p.m. Authors’ Reading, Richardson Auditorium: Tony Kushner,

Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Susan Sontag, C.K. Williams.

4 p.m. Exhibition Opening, Firestone Library: Leonard L. Milberg

’53 Collection of Jewish-American Writers.

8:30 p.m. Opening Lecture, McCormick 101: Wendy Wasserstein,

"My Life in the Theater."

Monday, October 22

All events in the Film and Dance Theater, Frist Student Center.

9 a.m. "Fictions of Identity" Chair: Michael Wood.

Robert

Alter, "Philip Roth’s American Trilogy"; Sidra Dekoven Ezrahi,

"American Diaspora"; Alvin Rosenfeld, "Jewish Writers

and Readers."

11 a.m. "Yiddish America" Chair: Barbara Mann. Kathryn

Hellerstein, "Translating and Selecting: A Norton Anthology of

Jewish American Literature"; Hana Wirth-Nesher, "Passing in

The Promised Land"; Irena Klepfisz, "Women and Yiddish";

Jeffrey Shandler, "Materializing the Mother Tongue."

2 p.m. Authors’ Reading: Max Apple, Rebecca Goldstein, Alan

Isler, Alicia Ostriker, Jonathan Wilson.

4:30 p.m. E.L. Doctorow, "Literature as Assimilation."

8:30 p.m. Illustrated Lecture by artist Ben Katchor,

"Halftone

Printing in the Jewish Press and Other Objects of Idol Worship."

Tuesday, October 23

All events in the Film and Dance Theater, Frist Student Center.

9 a.m. "American Ironies" Chair: Deborah Nord. James

Atlas, "Bellow’s Legacy"; Morris Dickstein, "Weapons of

the Spirit: Contemporary Jewish Writing"; Daniel Mendelsohn,

"Ghetto,

Shmetto: Jews, Gays, and the Paradoxes of Cultural Identity."

11 a.m. "The Holocaust From Here" Chair: Froma I.

Zeitlin

Leslie Epstein, "The Uniqueness of the Holocaust"; Melvin

Jules Bukiet, "Nothing Makes You Free"; Thane Rosenbaum,

"The

Golems of Gotham"; James Young, "After-Images of the

Holocaust."

2 p.m. "Comix!" Roundtable with Will Eisner, Jules

Feiffer,

and Art Spiegelman, James Young.

3:30 p.m. Conclusion: Daniel Mendelsohn, Michael Wood.


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