The Golem of Brooklyn: Author Adam Mansbach in Conversation with Zack Bodner
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    The Golem of Brooklyn: Author Adam Mansbach in Conversation with Zack Bodner

    When: Tuesday, 12/19/2023 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

    Where: Freidenrich Conference Center (Bldg F) 4th Floor


    OFJCC Palo Alto JCCWith the prolific author of Go the F**k to Sleep, let's ramble through Jewish history, folklore and exuberant, satirical modern storytelling.

    The Golem of Brooklyn is the dazzlingly imaginative, ferociously, funny story of an art teacher, a bodega clerk and a five-thousand-year-old clay crisis monster, from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep.

    "A devastating romp through history, a bonkers road trip through America, this novel could not be any funnier—or any more important." ~ W. Kamau Bell

    In Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanoid being, created out of mud or clay and animated through secret prayers. Its sole purpose is to defend the Jewish people against the immediate threat of violence. It is always a rabbi who makes a golem, and always in a time of crisis.

    But Len Bronstein is no rabbi—he is a Brooklyn art teacher who steals a large quantity of clay from his school, gets extremely stoned and manages to bring his creation to life, despite knowing little about Judaism and even less about golems. Unable to communicate with his nine-foot-six, four-hundred-pound, Yiddish-speaking guest, Len enlists a bodega clerk and ex-Hasid named Miri Apfelbaum to translate.

    Eventually, the golem learns English by binge-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm after ingesting a massive amount of LSD and reveals that he is a creature with an ancestral memory; he recalls every previous iteration of himself, making The Golem a repository of Jewish history and trauma. He demands to know what crisis has prompted his re-creation and whom must he destroy. When Miri shows him a video of white nationalists marching and chanting "Jews will not replace us," the answer becomes clear.

    The Golem of Brooklyn is an epic romp through Jewish history and the American present that wrestles with the deepest questions of our humanity—the conflicts between faith and skepticism, tribalism and interdependence, and vengeance and healing.

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

    Adam Mansbach is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep, as well as the novels Rage is Back, The End of the Jews (winner of the California Book Award), and Angry Black White Boy, and the memoir-in-verse I Had a Brother Once. With Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, he co-authored For This We Left Egypt? and the bestselling A Field Guide to the Jewish People. His books for young readers include the New York Times bestseller Just Try One Bite and the award-winning Jake the Fake series, co-written with Craig Robinson.

    The screenwriter of the acclaimed Netflix Original film Barry, Mansbach is the recipient of a Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellowship and a two-time winner of both the Reed Award and the American Association of Political Consultants' Gold Pollie Award, for his 2012 Obama/Biden campaign video "Wake the F**k Up," and his 2020 Biden/Harris campaign ad "Same Old," both starring Samuel L. Jackson. Mansbach is also the founder of the 1990s hip hop journal Elementary, the former New Voices Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University, and a former drum tech for the legendary drummer Elvin Jones.

    His work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Believer, The Guardian and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, The Moth Storytelling Hour and This American Life. His new novel is The Golem of Brooklyn.

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

    Zack Bodner is the author of the book Why Do Jewish? A manifesto for 21st century Jewish Peoplehood. An Amazon #1 new release in Jewish Life, and Religion and Philosophy, Why Do Jewish? takes one of our oldest wisdom traditions and provides an accessible road map for anyone looking for answers to life's most important questions. Zack serves as the President and CEO of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. Under Zack's leadership, the JCC began hosting an annual conference, 'Zionism 3.0', which became 'The Z3 Project', a global effort to reimagine Diaspora-Israel relations.

    Before joining the JCC, Zack served for 14 years as the Pacific Northwest Regional Director of AIPAC. Zack holds a master's degree in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Stanford Business School's program for Executives in Non-Profit Leadership. Zack is an accomplished speaker, including as a MOTH storyteller and TEDx presenter, and writes regularly for Jewish publications in the US and Israel. He is a member of YPO, participated in the Executive Leadership Seminar at the Aspen Institute, is a board member of the JCC Association of North America and is on the Advisory Board of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University. Zack lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and three children.

    Books will be available for purchase at the venue.

    Thursday, December 19
    7:00–8:30 PM
    Freidenrich Terrace (Bldg. F), 4th Floor | Free parking through the entrance on Fabian Way
    Contact: Michelle Shabtai | [email protected]



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