Wednesday 6 May
In this Lunchtime Lecture, to coincide with the Museum’s feature exhibition, Jews from Islamic Lands, Orly Castel-Bloom, one of Israel’s foremost female authors, will discuss her book An Egyptian Novel.
Orly Castel-Bloom was born in Northern Tel Aviv in 1960, to a family of French-speaking Egyptian Jews. Until the age of three, she had French nannies and spoke only French. In this unconventional family saga, Orly blends fact with fiction, history with legend, reimagining the lives of her forebearers in unforgettable prose.
The protagonist has Egyptian roots going back many generations: on her father’s side, to the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, when seven brothers of the Kastil family (from Castilla) landed on the Gaza coast after many trials and tribulations. Her mother’s side goes back even further, to the only family that Jewish history has ignored: the ones who said No to Moses and stayed in Egypt. After migrating to Israel in the 1950’s and settling on a kibbutz from which they were soon expelled for Stalinism, this storied clan moved to Tel Aviv.
After studying film at the Beit Zvi Institute and Tel Aviv University, Orly Castel-Bloom published her first collection of stories in 1987 and has been a leading voice in Hebrew literature ever since, constantly expanding the boundaries of the Hebrew language as well as of narrative style. Castel-Bloom has lectured at Harvard University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, New York University as well as at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. She has published novels, collections of short stories, and a book for children.
Unfortunately, due to measures put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, we have had to cancel this event.