When Teri Link’s husband Dr. Baruch Link passed away in 2019 at the age of 72, she and their friends knew that they wanted to memorialize him in a way that was emblematic of how he lived: surrounded by modern Hebrew literature and poetry, creative minds and a curious community.
Dr. Link taught modern Hebrew literature at his alma mater, UCLA, as well as American Jewish University, Hebrew Union College, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University.
In his honor, Teri and a group of friends created an annual “Scholar in Residence Weekend” event to celebrate his life and immerse attendees in the literature and poetry he loved so much.
The inaugural event, “Writing from Zion: The Craft and Courage of a Modern Israeli Writer,” will feature guest scholar Dorit Rabinyan, author of the acclaimed novel, “All the Rivers.”
The inaugural event, “Writing from Zion: The Craft and Courage of a Modern Israeli Writer,” will feature guest scholar Dorit Rabinyan, author of the acclaimed novel, “All the Rivers.” Rabinyan’s novel is about a secret romance between an Israeli woman and Palestinian man. A film adaptation is in development, slated to be produced by Gal Gadot.
“This is the way that a wonderful group of Baruch’s friends decided to honor his memory by creating this endowment focused on opportunities to bring scholars and authors in the modern Hebrew literature and poetry realm to Los Angeles.” – Teri Link
“This is the way that a wonderful group of Baruch’s friends decided to honor his memory, by creating this endowment focused on opportunities to bring scholars and authors in the modern Hebrew literature and poetry realm to Los Angeles,” Teri told the Journal. “Baruch was an academic in the field of modern Hebrew literature for his whole professional career. There’s not very much knowledge about how this genre of literature, how these very talented writers and poets really do cross borders, cross cultures with very thought provoking and interesting works and that’s what we’re hoping to do in this weekend, introduce the Los Angeles community to authors that they most likely don’t know about.”
The weekend will begin with a Shabbat dinner and conversation with author Rabinyan, who Tablet magazine declared the “Wonderwoman of New Israeli Lit.” On Saturday, there will be a “lunch and learn” presentation where Rabinyan will share tips and habits of her writing process. The panel will be moderated by journalist Danielle Berrin. There will be discussions on what separates Hebrew novels from other languages and the challenges Rabinyan has faced as her works tackle controversial issues.
Sunday’s session will feature Rabbi Adam Kligfeld and Professor David Myers, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair of Jewish History at UCLA, discussing the question, “Can Israeli literature ever be apolitical?” The panel will then be followed by Professor Bill Cutter sharing poems from Dr. Link’s poetry books.
“I’m very hopeful that with this inaugural weekend being a success, it will take off and that people from the community will indicate an interest in helping to vision it and fashion it going forward. It’s going to be a community program. It’s an opportunity to introduce this very vibrant literature and culture, because it’s also culture, too, to a new audience.”
Dr. Link was born in 1947 in Palestine to liberal Zionist parents who served in Israel’s War of Independence. As a child, he immersed himself in the works of Israeli writers and poets including S.Y. Agnon, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Hayim Nahman Bialik, Leah Goldberg and Zelda.
Just before he intended to join the Israel Defense Forces, Dr. Link contracted a kidney virus that kept him from serving. So he jumped into the deep end of academia with a focus on literature. He received his PhD in comparative literature at UCLA in 1976. He and Teri would meet and raise a family in Los Angeles as members of Temple Beth Am and its lay-led “Library Minyan.”
Dr. Link had been a teacher all his adult life, so it was a top priority to the organizing committee that anyone who wants to attend the conference be able to attend without price as a barrier. There are sponsors who are generously supporting the attendance of students and teachers and young professionals.
“One of the amazing things about being part of a close-knit Jewish community, like Temple Beth Am: everyone knew Baruch,” Teri said. “And so this is both personal and universal for the Temple Beth Am community. People loved him and are thrilled to celebrate in this way. Baruch was this ebullient warm man who was really a good friend to many.”
The “Writing from Zion: The Craft and Courage of a Modern Israeli Writer” conference takes place October 28-30 at Temple Beth Am. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.tbala.org/get-involved/baruch-link-scholar-in-residence-weekend