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Amos Oz Literature Initiative Launched in Arad

Amos Oz Literature Initiative Launched in Arad

June 24, 2014

Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought, Press Releases

D1_Arad Literature Program_feedJune 24, 2014 — American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) announces the Amos Oz Initiative for Literature and Culture to take place in Arad, Israel. The program is made possible by a generous gift from Toni Young and Stuart B. Young (z”l) of Wilmington, Delaware.

Named in honor of BGU emeritus professor, renowned author and longtime Arad resident Amos Oz, the multi-year initiative will enrich the community’s engagement in literature and culture, while providing a forum for discussion and learning with students and faculty to strengthen and educate communities and development towns in southern Israel.

“I am a writer and I believe literature is a great way to communicate and to better understand what makes a society function,” says Toni Young. “We’ve always wanted to do more for the people of Arad and we believe the Amos Oz Initiative will help the city, while also promoting BGU’s Hebrew literature program.”

The initiative will include an annual conference on literature and culture in Arad, research prizes and additional programming to foster a greater connection between BGU and the Arad community. BGU’s Department of Hebrew Literature and Heksherim: The Research Institute for the Study of Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture will implement the programs.

At the Amos Oz Initiative Conference, researchers from the Department of Hebrew Literature will have an open platform to share projects with peers and faculty from Israeli universities and those from around the world, as well as students, teachers and individuals from the local community. The conference will include lectures, cultural events and a special creative writing seminar.

BGU will also award a new Amos Oz Prize for outstanding writing to both students of Hebrew literature at the University and to promising young writers from Arad’s local schools. In the weeks following the conference, the program, “Connecting Communities: BGU and Arad” will conduct seminars at the visitor’s center of Heksherim to encourage Arad residents’ interest in literature and foster literary engagement with each other and the University.

Toni and Stuart B. Young

Toni and Stuart B. Young

“Toni and Stuart have been pioneers in developing ties between their home community and the city of Arad,” says AABGU Executive Vice President Doron Krakow. “We are both pleased and proud that they have combined their passions for the Negev and for Hebrew literature through the Amos Oz Initiative, which adds the University’s great scholarship to our shared dedication to providing access to education in Negev communities.”

Toni and Stuart Young are members of the BGU’s Negev Society. Stuart is a retired senior partner of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP. Currently, he is a member of the board of governors of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. Among his many community activities, he served as chairman of the Delaware State Arts Council and the Delaware College of Art and Design.

Toni was elected to AABGU’s board of directors in 2011. She is an author, historian and community leader. She also serves on the boards of the American Jewish Historical Society, the Delaware Historical Society, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA) Sheatufim, American Friends of NATAL, and as trustee emerita of Goucher College. Toni served as a vice chair of United Jewish Communities, now JFNA, and as chair of its Israel and Overseas Coordinating Council from 2005 to 2008.

Toni was the first woman to serve as president of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, where she spearheaded the establishment of Delaware’s Partnership 2000 relationship with the city of Arad and its surrounding Tamar region. She has served as president of the Milton and Hattie Kutz Foundation, the Jewish Historical Society of Delaware and the Grand Opera House.

Toni is the author of Becoming American, Remaining Jewish: The Story of Wilmington Delaware’s First Jewish Community and The Grand Experience: A History of the Grand Opera House. She is also the editor of Reflections on World War II: Chaplain Jacob Kraft’s Letters to Leah, editor and contributing author for Delaware and the Jews, and contributing author to Seventy-five Years at the JCC.

Amos Oz has written more than 30 works to date: novels, novellas, short stories, and essays, as well as children’s books. Oz is professor emeritus in BGU’s Department of Hebrew Literature and the incumbent of the S.Y. Agnon Chair in Hebrew Literature. The Amos Oz archive at BGU contains nearly 20,000 items, including all editions of the entire collection of his books, as well as his personal correspondence.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel’s southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
alc@alavin.com

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
alc@alavin.com