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Howard Schwartz on Jewish Folktales

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The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM)

736 Mission St

San Francisco, CA 94103

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Master storyteller, folklorist, and author Howard Schwartz shares some of his favorite Jewish folktales. Schwartz edited the anthology Leaves of the Garden of Eden, which contains the stories that inspired the works of art in the exhibition Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid.

Howard Schwartz is a prolific writer who has published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In searching for themes and images for his work in various genres, he has often found his inspiration in biblical, midrashic, and kabbalistic lore. Many of his works retell ancient folktales, reflecting his belief in the importance of passing cultural lore from one generation to the next. His poetry frequently reflects the dreamlike and mysterious elements of Jewish mythology. Schwartz’s fictional works, as typified in the collection of parables titled The Captive Soul of the Messiah, “are in part original, in part recreations of ancient legends, a conjunction of personal search and dreaming with mythical or timeless patterns or cycles,” reported Francis Landy in the Jewish Quarterly. As a result, Landy explained, Schwartz’s stories “are at once familiar, filled with the aura of the sages, giving the impression of a blind and insatiable predilection for the alleyways of tradition, and at the same time being wholly pertinent, incisive metaphors for our own predicament.”

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The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM)

736 Mission St

San Francisco, CA 94103

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