good morning, welcome to mosaic. i am rabbi eric weiss, and thank you for joining us this morning. we are speaking with the director of the jewish community library, and also an author, and welcome howard and michael. tell us what is new at the jewish community library. >> there is no shortage of new books, and also because we have different programs every season, one program we are excited about is the new year, one day, one brooke in which we
encourage those in the bay area jewish community and others to read and discuss the theme of the book, and the novel, "moonglow" and a great book, well written. it could be friends talking about it, or someone really discussing the book to get a lot about of it.>> is someone is interested how do they connect to you? >> go to the jewish community library and we are happy to talk about it or visit our website jewishcommunitylibrary.org. michael, tell us what your book is about. >> it is about a little girl
that becomes an advisor to the sultan of the empire changing the course of history.>> is it complete fiction?>> it is based in a historical context, real but the idea of a little girl becoming an advisor to the sultan is completely made up. >> i know that people that read the books want to know how the author comes up with the idea, and what did it take to get that idea into a book form so that people can enjoy it.>> it all started when i lived in tunisia, and i had an image of a little girl playing backgammon with two older man. i did not know where she lived, or when she lived or any of that. i thought about it for a long time, and after while i put it aside, and i ended up going to visit my girlfriend at the time in pakistan. i was deported from the country, another story we will not go into right now. i ended up with a week i myself
in instant bowl. -- instable. -- instable, and at the back of the antique shop in a crystal bowl was a stack of pictures, and there was this little girl leaning on a pedestal, photo. i knew this was the beginning of the novel, set in instant bowl -- instant bowl -- instanbul. and i began to feverishly right the outline.>> that is the only time i have ever spent the night feverishly riding in my life. usually i am a donkey with a huge load on my back, do every morning for a couple of hours, and i chip away at it toward
that end goal.>> so many people that write want to know the difference between or the interrelationship between the discipline of writing in the inspiration of writing. i know that is a big question, but for you and how to that interact?>> you have to have inspiration, a reason that you come to the page. it is a very hard job, and it does not pay particularly well. in addition to the inspiration, you have to have the discipline, as you say. the desire to come to the workday, day after day, and you will not be inspired every morning at 8 am, but you have to have some way to access the reason that you are writing, your inspiration, and sit down and do it. not every day will be good. howard, one thing the library likes to do is to find a feature authors, and to support
authors in getting their work out there, before we take the next break, how did you come across michael?>> the book from michael, we featured it in our book club program. i know was featured, i mentioned one day his book, and it was the selection in marin county, the virgin of the similar program where they had groups to discuss the book. it is a very rich book in part because it does with the literature can often do for us, to take a someplace in our imagination or the past, someplace that we don't have an united states or in my life, direct contact with to make it real for us. we will take a quick break and come right back in a moment here on mosaic.
a wonderful we are having a wonderful conversation with howard friedman -- howard freedman, the director of the jewish community library, and a wonderful author , michael. why in this day and age, why do people write, and why are people reading, and why do they read so differently these days with the audiobook, of literal book, a new e-book, what is your response? >> i am aware as a writer that we have competition.
you can click over on the ipad and look at your email, or play a game of angry bird, or something like that. i think that writing has a unique and special attribute, you're actually connected into the mind of the reader. it is your voice, your words going into their mind, and that is an amazing technology to me. when i think about why people write, i think about the british author, the important of literature, which is only to connect. when i sit down and i'm struggling to remember what it is all about, i think about just about connecting with other people, and about building connections with other people. do you find that people can connect, you can be inside the readers mind whether the book is literally in front of them, on the e-book, or whether they are listening to a book on tape during their
commute? >> i love books on tape. i had a used -- a young daughter, and i have not had as much time to read, but i listened to tapes during my commute. i met a woman that read my book during an audio version when i was at an event in la, the end of a long book tour. i was losing my voice and i said to my crowd, that i was losing my voice and his there anyone that can read the book instead of me. this one woman raised her hand, and she said that she read the audiobook, and she said she was an actor. and i thought who better to do this reading instead of me. >> what a fantastic experience.>> she did a wonderful job.>> it is beautiful because it brings to
mind how we all need a connection and for the rider -- writer to be inside the mind of the reader. and certainly at the end of the day you are tired and you want to decompress, but i would hope that there is a time for books. howard, is there a way to see over time the art of this use of technology in the way that people in gates books, and do you see a pattern in all of this?>> it is hard to see a pattern, but certainly we have changes. a decade ago it was common to see the physical books being read, five years ago it was common to see the kindle, and today most people checked on the phone, either playing a game, checking on facebook, and i think this is a source of concern for me. that as michael mentioned,
being a new parent, and i know that a lot of people between all of the demands from work in parenting, and the lure of the technology, many of us spending less time reading. i think it is not a value that is promoted enough in our society, and i have to think we can be more conscious in our lives. i don't care whether it is a e- book, audiobook or physical book, but for me it is what michael was talking about, the connection, the engagement that is possible in a number of ways. but everybody has to make that decision for themselves, to allow that experience to happen in their lives. michael, this notion of reading and the connection, and flipping it back to you as an author, can you talk a little bit on writing the book itself, and your experience in being out in the public, promoting the book, and how that makes it more of a connection with you
with your topics, process, and reading to the public. >> definitely, and being a writer, you are in a cave by yourself, hacking away at this thing that you never know whether it will get out into the world. when it does get out into the world and you visit the jewish community library or go to the book club, it is an amazing experience. what was most transformative to me was realizing that there are people that are out there reading my book. and to get to meet them, and to hear their concerns, and a lot of people are upset about the ending of the book, and i engage with them about that, and it has been an amazing experience. michael and howard, we will take eight quick break and say -- take a quick break and say goodbye to michael and meet another author in a moment right here on mosaic. enforcement
good morning and welcome back to mosaic. we are in a great conversation about books in anticipation of jewish book month, and i want to introduce you to howard freedman, the director of the jewish library, and this book, "chasing portraits, just relieved -- released. what is this book about? >> my great grandfather was a painter in warsaw in the moore., and he was a prolific art and actor, and after the war, he died in the work, and my father and his parents were survivors. and they brought these surviving paintings with them to the u. s. i grew up surrounded by the painting but not knowing much about what
happened, "chasing portraits," was my quest to find out what happened to my great grandfather and the lost pieces of his original collection of art.>> finding things at once lost is a complex layer of exploration. do you know where the paintings were in the interim before he found them again?>> annex the question. in the early days of the second world war, my grandfather became concerned about his body of work. he decided to take the collection, 800 pieces, and divide them into bundles, and he hid them in and around the city of warsaw. he hid them, and after the war, my great-grandmother that survived only found one of those original bundles. today we actually know that far more survived, and that is what the book is about, and also
there is a documentary film editing that follows the story line. i have found pieces in coins, and in israel, the united states, canada and france. some are museums and others are in private collections. did your great-grandfather sell his art during his lifetime? and where these 800 not yet sold?>> that is a tricky question, and it goes to the heart of my story. there are a lot of stories about the looting in the holocaust era and the paintings. my project has been more about rescuing his legacy, and acting more as a historian than as a claimant. that goes to your question which is did he sell artwork. the truth is that we don't know precisely what he sold and what he did not sell.
he had interim years where there are documents and newspaper clippings evidenced from exhibits as well as price tags on the back of the paintings that still exist. the question is what did he have his own personal possession, what did he sell, give away or trade with other artists. it became incredibly difficult to answer those questions, and so my energies of been focused on building the bridges with the people that have his artwork, and to say let this not be about me claiming the painting but about reclaiming what we know about my great- grandfather, and to share the artwork. the more pieces to come forward, the better we understand the legacy of my great-grandfather, and the jewish community, and the community that is painted. as we discover more pieces, it gives us a total understanding
of his body of work as he comes into focus. in a moment i want to ask howard a question about the notion of legacy and in the jewish community library, so many books on the topic, and i'm so happy to have you in front of us. that notion in the world of art in creating art, there is an undercurrent of creating art to give it away. that brings up the issue on who owns a work of art, whether it is a book, portrait, photograph, painting or sculpture. i am wondering in the big world, especially in the context of war, trauma and where something ends up, in the process with your own family and your work as an artist while writing this, what are your reflections on these topics? does it come down to the ownership of the legacy as opposed to the literal ownership of the piece of art, or have you reflect on that
concept? this is a very complicated question, both legally and personally. it is something that is hard to navigate. for my own personal circumstances, i decided that what was really important was to rescue the legacy. my great-grandfather was not an incredibly famous painter. he was known, but not known after the war, and certainly not a broad. in the front of my brooke has a dedication saying that it belongs to all of us, and i feel that is the central.>> a wonderful answer, and elizabeth howard, we will come back and continue the conversation in anticipation of jewish book month.
welcome back to mosaic. we are in the middle of a wonderful conversation in anticipation of jewish book month, howard freedman, director of the jewish libra, and author of "taking portraits", and your finishing a documentary, and welcome back elizabeth rynecki and howard freedman we are talking about the notions of writing, and who owns a piece of art and what the purpose of art really is ultimately. can you reflect on the library's perspective, and we know they have so many books on direct collision, memoirs, and around the art itself, and what are your thoughts around this?>> i have started reading the book from elizabeth, and it is fantastic, in part because it has two elements, the questions about the art and about the artist, and her quest to relate to somebody who otherwise is not somebody that
she could have a conversation with. this is someone murdered in the holocaust, and what do we do when we want to have a relationship with someone who's voice is not there in the case of the great grandfather, the art exists as one part of the conversation. she has chosen to be the person on the other side. i think we have a lot of books that are part of a not necessarily trend, but the idea for the grandchildren, great- grandchildren, to understand the past of what could be quite a quest to establish a relationship and understanding. there's also a generation that has never spoke about the terrible things that happened, and there is a break in the understanding. i mentioned, "moonglow" the upcoming book selection, and the setting is a grandson at the deathbed of his
grandfather, and the grandfather is on heavy pain medication, and he is normally taciturn and not pick girly -- not particularly talkative and start spilling the story of his lives.>> it occurs to me, without naming products, but the technology has really formed a way in which the communication takes place a lot in writing, and at the commuter -- computer in some form or another which means people are engaged in reading in one form or another. from your perspective, how the use of technology has changed, influenced the way we take in information, offer information, and the way that we form our way of seeing the world, of being in the world.>> right, and it is huge.
from little things, and one reason i am excited about the technology, it enables noncommercial communication to become accessible to us. one example, i'm involved in the translation of a book from a town that my families from, in eastern europe, where the survivors, those that did not perish in the holocaust, have books of recollection. these are not commercial enterprises, but for the sake of preserving the memory of the towns. and in hebrew, "memory" essentially. >> right, and these were dormant and were not translated in english, and lately there is an effort to translate them. no commercial advantage, but the information is priceless in these communities. technology has enabled that back sharing to happen. -- back sharing -- fact-sharing
to happen. use the pen and paper? >> i like to type, but i am a hand written editor. i will insert changes by hand. i want to bounce off of that question about technology, and for my own project, it would've been impossible without it. in early 1999, we had websites about my great-grandfather's artwork, and that opened the doors in connection other people that had his art that i did not know, and they contacted me after searching the name and discovered us. i have access and have found people that have helped me to translate things from polish and the yiddish, all through the internet which has been a
fantastic resource. this is so wonderful, and i want to ask you with one moment left, who your publisher is, in a word of encouragement for those writing and looking for the publisher. >> might publisher is random house, and the encouragement is persistence, perseverance and believe in yourself.>> go out there, write, read and visit the jewish community library. thank you for being with us.
filling in for kenny choi. we begin with our pitch....if you have a show idea.. good morning and welcome to bay sunday. we begin this morning with our pitch. if you have an idea for a show we want to hear from you, and go to facebook.com/bay sunday and comment. welcome the founder of the fresh white, and thank you for being here, and i love that color on you, fabulous. tell me about the affirmative acts to live coaching, and is this a