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Rethinking Jabotinsky
Jun 2 2014

MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014 | 7pm
Click HERE to watch the video.

Hillel Halkin, Author and Translator; Rebecca Kobrin, Columbia University; Edward Rothstein, New York Times; Abraham Socher, Moderator, Jewish Review of Books

How do we understand Vladimir Jabotinsky’s legacy? Born in Odessa, a celebrated Russian journalist, first-rate novelist, and progenitor of today’s Likud Party, Jabotinsky’s life and work have been rife with contradictions and misunderstandings. In his new, insightful biography, Jabotinsky: A Life (Yale University Press) – the first in English in nearly twenty years – celebrated author Hillel Halkin provides a fresh look at Jabotinsky as a writer, political thinker and leader.

This event featured Hillel Halkin in conversation with celebrated New York Times cultural critic, Edward Rothstein, Columbia University historian Rebecca Kobrin, and moderator Abe Socher, editor of The Jewish Review of Books.

This event was presented by YIVO, the Jewish Review of Books and Jewish Lives Biography Series.

Jabotinsky – A Life became available Spring 2014 in the Jewish Lives Biography Series of Yale University Press.


Hillel Halkin was born in New York City in 1939 and has lived since 1970 in Israel, where he has worked as a translator, journalist, and writer. His translations of over 60 books from Hebrew and Yiddish include works of fiction by leading contemporary Israeli authors, modern classics by such figures as Agnon, Brenner, Sholem Aleichem, Peretz, and Mendele Mocher Seforim, and a selection of the medieval poetry of Shmuel Hanagid. As a journalist, he has been the Israeli correspondent for the Jewish Daily Forward and has been a columnist for the Jerusalem Report, the Jerusalem Post, and the New York Sun. Dozens of his essays have appeared in Commentary, The New Republic, The Jewish Review of Books, and other publications. He is the author of six books, the most recent of which is his novel Melisande! What Are Dreams? (Granta Books, 2012).

Rebecca Kobrin, Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History, Department of History, Columbia University, works in the field of American Jewish History and modern Jewish migration. She received her B.A. (1994) from Yale University and her Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Kobrin served as the Hilda Blaustein Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University (2002-2004) and the American Academy of Jewish Research Post-Doctoral Fellow at New York University (2004-2006). Her book Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Indiana University Press, 2010) was awarded the Schnitzer prize for best book in American Jewish history (2012), a National Jewish Book Award (2010), and a Cahnman Family Foundation Award from the Association Jewish Studies.

Edward Rothstein is Cultural Critic at Large for The New York Times, where he reviews museums and exhibitions and writes about books, the arts and intellectual life. In 2013 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is co-author of Visions of Utopia (Oxford University Press) and the author of Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics (Times Books; University of Chicago Press), which was named one of the 25 best books of 1995 by both Publisher's Weekly and the New York Public Library. He has been Chief Music Critic of The New York Times (1991-1995), a technology columnist for The New York Times, and Music Critic for The New Republic (1984-1991). His essays on science, politics, music, and the arts have appeared in The New York Review of Books, Commentary, The American Scholar, The New Republic, The London Independent, and other magazines and journals. He has won two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for his music criticism, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award for his work on math and music, and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1991.

Abraham Socher (Moderator) is a scholar of Jewish thought, particularly in the late medieval and early modern periods. His first book, The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon: Judaism, Heresy and Philosophy (Stanford University Press, 2006), was an intellectual biography of the 18th Century philosopher. In addition to his contributions to scholarly volumes and journals, he has published essays on topics from baseball to Vladimir Nabokov in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Commentary Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) and elsewhere. Socher is also the editor of The Jewish Review of Books, which was launched in 2010.