New events for English speakers: Encountering genius in Jerusalem
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Times of Israel Presents

New events for English speakers: Encountering genius in Jerusalem

Times of Israel readers are invited to the launch of ‘Kafka’s Last Trial’ and an evening with Nobel Laureate Prof. Yisrael Robert Aumann

Left: author Benjamin Balint; right: Prof. Yisrael Robert Aumann. (Courtesy)
Left: author Benjamin Balint; right: Prof. Yisrael Robert Aumann. (Courtesy)

Times of Israel readers can now meet genius face to face in Jerusalem, in a new season of English-language events.

On Tuesday, November 6, Times of Israel Presents and the Jerusalem Press Club will host Benjamin Balint at Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem for the Israel launch of his acclaimed book “Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy.”

On Wednesday, December 12, Prof. Yisrael Robert Aumann, Jerusalem’s only resident Nobel prize winner, will discuss his life and work at Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem.

David B. Green of Haaretz English Edition will talk to Balint about his insider’s account of the Israeli court battle over the manuscripts of Czech-born writer Franz Kafka, considered one of the greatest authors of the 20th century.

As the Nazis advanced on Prague, the priceless papers were spirited away in a suitcase on the last train out of Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II by Max Brod, Kafka’s closest friend and literary executor. Arriving in Tel Aviv, Brod continued to ignore Kafka’s deathbed request that his manuscripts be burned, and set about publishing Kafka’s works for posterity.

But Brod’s ownership of the papers was always in doubt. When Brod died, leaving them to his Israeli secretary, they languished in a Tel Aviv apartment and Swiss bank vaults for nearly half a century. When she died, the State of Israel began a court battle to save Kafka’s manuscripts for the National Library, closely watched by a German archive, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, private collectors, auction houses and Kafka’s rightful heirs.

Franz Kafka in 1906 (photo credit: public domain)
Franz Kafka in 1906 (public domain)

Balint is a Jerusalem-based writer and translator and a Library Fellow at the Van Leer Institute whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and other leading publications. Drawing on sources in German, Hebrew, English and Czech, and interviews with key players on three continents, Balint traces the legal investigation, illuminating the story with his own expert insight into a unique literary drama that spanned a century of upheaval.

‘Kafka’s Last Trial,’ by Benjamin Balint. (Courtesy)

Reviewing the book, The New York Times hailed Balint as “a gifted cultural historian with a scholarly sensibility,” while the Jewish Quarterly said he had “done impressive research and provided a readable, often astonishing narrative.” The Wall Street Journal praised his “evenhanded approach” to a simmering legal and cultural controversy.

Copies of “Kafka’s Last Trial” will be available for purchase and signing by the author, courtesy of Katamon Books.

Looking ahead to December, Times of Israel Presents and Beit Avi Chai are proud to host Aumann for an intimate discussion about his experience as a scholar and global thinker. Aumann’s groundbreaking research into game theory won him the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics. He’ll be talking about his life and work, and how game theory can help shape our understanding of the world, war and peace.

BOOK LAUNCH: KAFKA’S LAST TRIAL

Author Benjamin Balint talks to David B. Green
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 6
De Botton Auditorium, Mishkenot Sha’ananim
Tickets: NIS 40 advance (including refreshments) HERE
(Door: NIS 50, cash only)

WAR & PEACE: AN EVENING WITH YISRAEL ROBERT AUMANN

Prof. Yisrael Aumann discusses his life, work and game theory
8 p.m., Wednesday December 12
Beit Avi Chai, King George St.
Tickets: NIS 40 HERE

To join our priority booking list for first news of all future events, please send an email with the word “Subscribe” to: events@timesofisrael.com

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