Arab-Israeli writer speaks at JCC

After his talk at the Cincinnati Jewish Community Center, Sayed Kashua, signed books in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Kashua is a famous and controversial Arab-Israeli writer. He has written books, articles, and even his own television show, “Arab Labor.” Photo Courtesy of Lila Englander.

   Sayed Kashua is both an acclaimed writer and a novelty. As a prominent Arab-Israeli writing in Hebrew, his work is criticized by Jewish and Muslim Israelis alike.

Kashua visited Cincinnati on April 6 to speak at the Jewish Community Center. He is one of six speakers in the “Israelity” series. The program, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, brings speakers who can provide unique, realistic perspectives on modern Israel.

In the past few years Kashua’s fame has escalated with the popularity of his comedy television show “Arab Labor.” The show’s main character, Amjad, echoes Kashua’s own  identity crisis as a Palestinian journalist and Israeli citizen.

The series became the first program on Israeli with Palestinian characters speaking Arabic on primetime. Kashua also writes satirical columns in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Kashua’s first book, Dancing Arabs, was published when he was only 27.  Based on Kashua’s childhood, “Dancing Arabs” depicts the story of boy who grew up in a poor Arab village trying to find his place in Israeli society. Kashua has published three more books since then.

To find out more about past and future Israeli speakers coming to Cincinnati click here.