Virtual Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation

Borders of Home


Thursday, April 30, 2020
7 – 9 pm

Unpack­ing the Book series is mov­ing vir­tu­al! Join us for a Zoom Meeting con­ver­sa­tion with Esther Safran Foer (I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holo­caust Memoir) and Keith Gessen (A Terrible Country), together with Tablet Magazine's Stephanie Butnick. 

Join us from any­where, no video/​microphone nec­es­sary (video of you will not be vis­i­ble to oth­ers). Register here and a confirmation email with a link and instructions on how to join the webinar on Thursday, April 30 will be emailed to you.  

Dur­ing the talk, share your pho­tos on social media with @jewishbookcouncil, @thejewishmuseum, @tabletmag.

We encourage you to purchase books online from either your local indie bookstore, or another third party retailer. 

The Saul and Gladys Gwirtzman Lecture

In the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, it’s become eas­i­er than ever to explore one’s fam­i­ly his­to­ry—but even with an increased abil­i­ty to trav­el, ana­lyze DNA, and explore archival mate­r­i­al, how close can we real­ly get to under­stand­ing our origins, and why they mat­ter? Authors Esther Safran Foer (I Want You to Know We’re Still Here) and Kei­th Gessen (A Ter­ri­ble Coun­try) recount jour­neys to their ances­tral homes of Ukraine and Rus­sia, respec­tive­ly, as they grap­ple with how the past informs our under­stand­ing of self and home. Join us as we explore a cen­tu­ry of per­son­al Jew­ish his­to­ry in a con­ver­sa­tion mod­er­at­ed by Tablet Mag­a­zine​’s Stephanie Butnick.

Esther Safran Foer was the CEO of Sixth & I, a cen­ter for arts, ideas, and reli­gion. She lives in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with her hus­band, Bert. They are the par­ents of Franklin, Jonathan, and Joshua, and the grand­par­ents of six.

Kei­th Gessen is the author of the nov­els A Ter­ri­ble Coun­try and All the Sad Young Lit­er­ary Men and a found­ing edi­tor of n+1. He is the edi­tor of three non­fic­tion books and the trans­la­tor or co-tran­s­la­­tor, from Russ­ian, of a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, a book of poems, and a work of oral his­to­ry, Nobel Prize-win­n­er Svet­lana Alex­ievich’s Voic­es from Cher­nobyl. A con­trib­u­tor to The New York­er and The Lon­don Review of Books, Gessen teach­es jour­nal­ism at Colum­bia and lives in New York with his wife and son.

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.

The con­ver­sa­tion will be fol­lowed by a recep­tion, book sale, and sign­ing. 

Co-presented with the Jewish Book Council, in partnership with Tablet Magazine.