By Noah Goldman, JFGC Israel & Global Jewry Associate
“People Love Dead Jews.” This provocatively titled book by Dara Horn has won the National Jewish Book Award and was one of New York Times’ Notable Books of 2021. As part of Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte’s Outshine Hate Initiative, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is working with Center for Jewish Education (CJE) to bring author Dara Horn to speak to the Charlotte community on March 19 as part of this year’s Charlotte Jewish Book Festival.
The author of five highly regarded novels, ranging from the award-winning “In the Image” (2002) to the memorably time-shifting “Eternal Life” (2018), Dara Horn is recognized as an accomplished fiction writer and as a storyteller who draws inspiration from centuries of Jewish history. But Horn is also a scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature and a knowledgeable, prolific, and gifted writer of nonfiction.
The attention-grabbing title originated in a piece Horn published in “Smithsonian Magazine” in 2018. “People love dead Jews,” that article began, followed by, “living Jews, not so much.” In her book, Horn gathers 12 essays written over the past decade. Each essay explores the different ways we remember and narrate Jewish history as well as how media presents antisemitic events today. In the introductory essay, Horn declares that she’s not here to entertain us. “This book explores the many strange and sickening ways in which the world’s affection for dead Jews shapes the present moment. I hope you will find it as disturbing as I do.” From the start, Horn reminds us that outside certain bubbles, much of the world has come to know dead Jews, most often, murdered Jews, better than living ones.
I walked away from reading Dara Horn’s book with the challenge to create a world where not only Jews are loved by others, but where Jews love themselves and their rich heritage. Here at JFGC, we are committed not only to fighting antisemitism and the demonization of Israel but also to creating multiple opportunities for our community to express and celebrate Jewish pride.
This past April, JFGC launched Outshine Hate, an initiative to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred. Underlying this initiative is the core mission of JFGC to build and sustain flourishing Jewish communities in Charlotte, in Israel, and around the world. Outshine Hate offers opportunities for our Jewish community to learn, engage, and deepen their Jewish knowledge and pride. Speakers’ programs, educators’ workshops, and trips for 8th graders to Israel are among the many ways Federation is working to outshine hate.
We hope you will join us for Dara Horn’s talk on Sunday, March 19 at 7 p.m. and participate in future programs around this important initiative. For more information about Federation’s Outshine Hate initiative or the Jewish Book Festival, visit www.jewishcharlotte.org.