Judaic Studies hosts Philip Roth discussion for Jewish Book Month
Author: Jenn Director Knudsen, Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies
Posted: November 7, 2013

The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University invites you to join professors Michael Weingrad of PSU and Marat Grinberg of Reed College for a freewheeling discussion of film adaptations of the novels of Philip Roth and includes the question, “Is ‘Nemesis’ filmable?” The Jewish Book Month event takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, in the foyer of the College of Urban and Public Affairs, 506 S.W. Mill Street. 

Free and open to the public, the event also will include movie clips from “Goodbye, Columbus” (1969), “Portnoy’s Complaint” (1972), “Deconstructing Harry” (1997), “The Human Stain” (2003), and “Elegy” (2008).  

PSU’s Weingrad is past program chair and the author of “American Hebrew Literature: Writing Jewish National Identity in the United States,” (Syracuse University Press, 2011). Grinberg is associate professor of Humanities and Russian and author of, "I Am to be Read Not From Left to Right, But in Jewish: From Right to Left: The Poetics of Boris Slutsky” (Academic Studies Press, 2011, 2013) and a co-editor of the forthcoming “Woody on Rye: Jewishness in the Films and Plays of Woody Allen” (Brandeis University Press, 2013).

The Portland Jewish Book Month committee has selected Philip Roth’s book “Nemesis” for the November 2013 One Book, One Community program. This will be the third year the community – consisting of local representatives of synagogues, organizations, and educational institutions – has created a series of events centered around one book to celebrate Jewish Book Month. “Nemesis,” published in 2010, explores the 1944 polio epidemic in New Jersey and how it affected the families in the close-knit area. 

“Nemesis” focuses on a young man who works at a city playground and is a hero to his young charges before he flees the epidemic to take a job at a rural summer camp. This short novel explores questions common in Roth’s other recent novels, such as, What kind of choices fatally shape a life? and, How does the individual withstand the onslaught of circumstance? 

About the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University

Judaic Studies employs the critical methodologies of university scholarship to examine all aspects of the history, religion, culture, and social and political formations of the Jewish people. Judaic Studies therefore enhances our understanding of world history, and allows critical insight into a vital strand in the tapestry of world culture. It offers the opportunity for students of all backgrounds to explore a rich civilization that is both nourished by ancient traditions, and shaped through creative encounters and ongoing interactions with other cultures. At the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University, this enterprise is conducted through a variety of academic courses and summer programming, lectures and research symposia, scholarly conferences and cultural events.