For thousands of years, Jewish storytellers created alternate homes inside of texts, a virtual community that followed and sustained them from country to country. In this virus-fueled moment of global virtual connection, while we are exiled at home, Jewish writers continue to explore how language and story offer creative opportunities to re-think the nature of community. Join us for this series of conversations with Bay Area storytellers, presented by the Jewish Community Library and Story Forward.

In the summer of 2019, Dan Schifrin took his family to Spain to complete a year-long quest to obtain Spanish citizenship. In this presentation + conversation, Schifrin will share his experience traveling around Jewish Spain, expanding on his recent cover story in J. The Jewish News of Northern California. He will also use the framework of secondary citizenship to explore the complicated feelings about homelands—including America and Israel—embedded in the modern Jewish experience. At a time of escalating anxiety about anti-semitism and global conflict, Jewish communities seem to be finding comfort in exploring their history of diverse, creative strategies of home-making and home-comings.

A former columnist for New York Jewish Week and J., Dan Schifrin has taught creative writing at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, and served as writer-in-residence at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. He is the author, among other things, of the play Sweet and Sour and a forthcoming memoir about fatherhood and science fiction. His stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. As part of a LABA Fellowship at the JCC of the East Bay, Schifrin is writing a play about medieval Jewish Spain and its influence on twenty-first-century America. He is also the founder of Story Forward, a new approach to conversation and literature.

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