We invite the community to join with us in reading and discussing The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land by Omer Friedlander. Events will be listed here on an ongoing basis, so be sure to visit this page soon for new information!


Exploring Omer Friedlander’s Story “Scheherazade and Radio Station 97.2 FM” 

Presented by Vered Weiss
Sunday, April 30, 2 PM PDT (VIRTUAL)

Click here to register for this virtual Jewish Community Library event.

Vered Weiss will lead a discussion of Omer Friedlander’s short story “Scheherazade and Radio Station 97.2 FM,” which can be read online here or in Friedlander’s story collection, The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land, which is this year’s One Bay One Book selection.

In “Scheherazade and Radio Station 97.2 FM,” a trio of Israeli soldiers take refuge in the Beirut radio station they are charged with disabling during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In addition to leading a discussion, Weiss will contextualize the story through the lens of One Thousand and One Nights and folktales more broadly; the impact of the First Lebanon War on the Israeli psyche and artistic expression; and speculative literature and cinema in Israel.

Vered Weiss is the Serling Israeli Visiting Scholar and The Israel Institute Teaching Fellow at the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at Michigan State University. She is a faculty member of the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, and teaches courses on Israeli culture and on world literature. Weiss is co-editor of Tracing Topographies: Revisiting the Concentration Camps Seventy Years after the Liberation of Auschwitz, and is currently co-editing a volume about Israeli culture and post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also working on a co-edited volume about Israeli speculative fiction.

The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land

Presented by Omer Friedlander
Sunday, May 7, 2 PM PDT (VIRTUAL)

Click here to register for this virtual Jewish Community Library event.

In his award-winning collection of short stories, Omer Friedlander takes the reader to the narrow limestone alleyways of Jerusalem, the desolate beauty of the Negev Desert, and the sprawling orange groves of Jaffa, with characters that spring vividly to life. A divorced con artist and his daughter sell empty bottles of “holy air” to credulous tourists; a Lebanese Sheherazade enchants three young soldiers in a bombed-out Beirut radio station; a boy daringly “rooftops” at night, climbing steel cranes in scuffed sneakers even as he reimagines the bravery of a Polish-Jewish dancer during the Holocaust; an Israeli woman monitoring a Green Line checkpoint mourns the death of her son, a soldier killed in Gaza.

Friedlander will discuss the background of the stories and his process, and he will take questions from readers.

Omer Friedlander was born in Jerusalem in 1994 and grew up in Tel Aviv. He earned a BA in English literature from the University of Cambridge, England, and an MFA from Boston University, where he was supported by the Saul Bellow Fellowship. His short stories have won numerous awards and have been published in the United States, Canada, France, and Israel. A Starworks Fellow in Fiction at New York University, he has earned a Bread Loaf Work-Study Scholarship as well as a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. He currently lives in New York City.

Past Events

Short Story Discussion: “The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land” by Omer Friedlander (VIRTUAL)

Facilitated by Jim Van Buskirk
Wednesday, November 30 7 PM Pacific Time

Click here to register for this event.

Jim Van Buskirk will lead a discussion of Omer Friedlander’s short story “The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land,” winner of the 2020 Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction contest. The story can be read in this year’s One Bay One Book selection, Friedlander’s debut collection The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land, or it can be read online on Moment’s website.

Program made possible, in part, by Marc and Marci Dollinger.

Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land Discussions in the Community

March 16:
Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo

March 16:
Berkeley Hadassah, Berkeley

March 19:
Congregation Am Tikvah, San Francisco

April 1:
Lively Ladies Book Group, Benicia

April 24:
Congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco
Contact Leah for information.

April 25:
B’nai Tikvah Sisterhood, Walnut Creek

May 13:
Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, San Jose

Past Discussions

November 7:
Congregation Rodef Sholom, San Rafael

November 17:
Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco

November 18:
Or Shalom Jewish Community, San Francisco

December 2:
San Jose State University Jewish Faculty and Staff Association, San Jose

December 7:
Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto

December 10:
Beth Sholom Parents Book Group, San Francisco

December 13:
Temple Beth El, Santa Cruz

December 18:
Congregation Beth Ami, Santa Rosa

January 8:
Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto

January 9:
Congregation Beth Jacob, Oakland

January 11:
Jewish American Fiction Club, Fairfax
Contact David for information.

January 31:
B’nai Israel Jewish Center, Petaluma, and Congregation Shir Shalom, Sonoma

February 13:
Kehilla Community Synagogue, Piedmont
Contact Tree for information.

February 15:
Coastside Jewish Community, Half Moon Bay

February 25:
Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley
Contact Barbara for information.