How learning to ‘leyn’ Torah helped me connect with long-lost ancestors
ADINA HOFFMAN is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood and My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century, which was named one of the best twenty books of 2009 by the Barnes & Noble Review and one of the top ten biographies of the year by Booklist. My Happiness also received the UK’s 2010 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize. Hoffman’s essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, the TLS, Raritan, the Boston Globe, New York Newsday, Tin House, and on the World Service of the BBC. The recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, she is formerly a film critic for the American Prospect and the Jerusalem Post, and-with Peter Cole-is one of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions.
PETER COLE’s most recent book of poetry is Things on Which I’ve Stumbled—whose title poem revolves around the Cairo Geniza. Cole’s translations from Hebrew and Arabic include War & Love, Love & War: New and Selected Poems by Aharon Shabtai; So What: New & Selected Poems by Taha Muhammad Ali; and The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492, which received the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry and the American Association of Publishers’ 2008 Hawkins Award for the university press book of the year. Cole has received numerous other honors for his work, including an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the PEN Translation Prize for Poetry, and fellowships from the NEA, the NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2007 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Hoffman and Cole live together in Jerusalem and New Haven.