In the latest installment of American Jewish University’s (AJU) B’Yachad Together online learning series, New York Times best-selling author and contributor Taffy Brodesser-Akner joined AJU Vice President for Advancement Catherine Schneider in a captivating conversation. More than 530 people tuned into the webinar on May 6.
During the discussion, Brodesser-Akner discussed the insights she gained from her career as a novelist and reporter as well as the lessons she draws on from her own Jewish journey.
Her 2019 best-selling novel Fleishman is in Trouble sparked a stimulating conversation on gender roles, marriage, divorce, online dating, midlife crises and class anxiety in modern society. During the webinar, Brodesser-Akner identified Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Philip Roth as one of her primary literary influencers. Many view her as continuing in his and Woody Allen’s zeitgeist.
Regarded as one of the decade’s most prolific celebrity profile journalists, Brodesser-Akner recalled her efforts to help resurrect a subgenre of feature reporting once thought to be dead. Her profile piece on actor Val Kilmer — published in the Times on the same day as the AJU B’Yachad Together webinar — sparked a broader discussion about the current COVID-19 world and what it looks like to “survive a dark moment in history,” as Brodesser-Akner penned in the profile.
“What is most remarkable about this moment in history is the way that community and culture have become such integral parts of our resolve to fight this pandemic,” said AJU Vice President for Advancement Catherine Schneider. “It was an honor to facilitate a conversation with Taffy, a remarkable writer known for saving the celebrity profile — and a friend.”
As part of B’Yachad Together: Spirited by American Jewish University, the webinar was offered a no-cost. The webinars capture and deliver insights from AJU scholars and thought leaders across a variety of fields. Since its inaugural webinar in March, AJU has offered more than 40 B’Yachad Together online events, including conversations with journalists, academics, Rabbis, authors, national security experts, attorneys, and arts and culture experts.
President of AJU, Dr. Jeffrey Herbst noted, “the current crisis has challenged us to be nimble and entrepreneurial to meet the needs of our community. We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response to our B’Yachad Together: Spirited by AJU online conversations, showcasing Jewish thought leaders from across the country. We will continue to provide nourishing content based on eternal Jewish wisdom using the latest technologies.”
A calendar of upcoming webinars can be found at aju.edu/byachad-together.