Jews have been writing about life in America—or the goldene medinah—even before disembarking at Ellis Island. But what makes a story Jewish? American? Jewish American? What are the markers of these works of fiction that reflect the realities of Jewish American life, and why do they matter? This course will trace the historical trajectory of the Jewish experience in the United States through their storytelling. We will examine the literature produced by each generation of American Jews, ranging from immigrants on the Lower East Side to prominent post-1945 authors. This course will engage with the core issues facing thoughtful American Jews today through the lens of literature, allowing us to reckon with questions regarding identity and tradition as we look towards the future.
Chaya Sara Oppenheim
Chaya Sara Oppenheim is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a BA summa cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she studied English and history. At Barnard, she was the chief article editor of the literary journal Meliora and was the recipient of the William Haller Prize for the study of English literature, the Howard M. Teichmann Writing Prize, and the German Achievement Award. Chaya Sara has experience teaching English and Language Arts to 7th and 8th graders, creative writing at Writopia Lab, and multiple courses for Tikvah Online Academy. She currently serves as an editor for The Lehrhaus and The Shekel, and her writing has appeared in Tablet, HaMizrachi, Mishpacha, and Tradition, among other outlets.
Meet the Instructor
Courses in our special learning campaign are open to anyone in the community who registers at no cost. The Q&A will be reserved for current high-school students.