The Orchard: Two Novels Based on the Same Talmudic Legend (In-Person)

Sylvia Abrams
Professor Emeritus and former Dean, Siegal College
Landmark Centre Building
Mondays, October 24 - November 7
10 - 11:30 a.m. ET

Pardes (Hebrew for “orchard”) is a Jewish legend about four rabbis of the Mishnaic period who visited the pardes (the “orchard” of esoteric Torah knowledge). Only one survived the experience unharmed. The novelists David Hopen and Yochi Brandes have both written novels titled The Orchard, inspired by this legend. Hopen’s debut novel is narrated by an Orthodox Jewish high school student who finds his world transformed when his family moves to South Florida. Brandes’ historical novel, originally written in Hebrew, is narrated by Rachel, Rabbi Akiva’s wife. In this class, we will compare and contrast these two books, exploring how both authors craft narratives that grapple with testing the boundaries of religious belief.

Read: Yochi Brandes, The Orchard, translated from the Hebrew by Daniel Libenson. Available in Hebrew as Hapardes shel Akiva. David Hopen, The Orchard.

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