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If All the Seas Were Ink

A Memoir

Ilana Kurshan

Picador

If All the Seas Were Ink Download image

ISBN10: 1250215773
ISBN13: 9781250215772

Trade Paperback

320 Pages

$18.00

CA$24.50

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Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Women's Studies

At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Ilana Kurshan joined the world’s largest book club, learning daf yomi, Hebrew for “daily page" of the Talmud, a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. A runner, a reader and a romantic, Kurshan adapted to its pace, attuned her ear to its poetry, and discovered her passions in its pages. She brought the Talmud with her wherever she went, studying in airplanes, supermarket lines, and over a plate of pasta at home, careful not to drip tomato sauce upon discussions about the sprinkling of blood on the Temple altar. By the time she completed the Talmud after seven and a half years, Kurshan was remarried with three young children. With each pregnancy, her Talmud sat perched atop her growing belly.

This memoir is a tale of heartache and humor, of love and loss, of marriage and motherhood, and of learning to put one foot in front of the other by turning page after page. Kurshan takes us on a deeply accessible and personal guided tour of the Talmud, shedding new light on its stories and offering insights into its arguments—both for those already familiar with the text and for those who have never encountered it. For people of the book—both Jewish and non-Jewish—If All the Seas Were Ink is a celebration of learning—through literature—how to fall in love once again.

Reviews

Praise for If All the Seas Were Ink

"There is humor and heartbreak in these pages . . . Ms. Kurshan immerses herself in the demands of daily Talmud study and allows the words of ancient scholars to transform the patterns of her own life."The Wall Street Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION


One Day Wiser

The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The reader became the book …

—WALLACE STEVENS

It is early in the morning—the house is quiet and the world...

About the author

Ilana Kurshan

Ilana Kurshan is a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge. She has worked in literary publishing both in New York and in Jerusalem, as a translator and foreign rights agent and as the books editor of Lilith magazine. Her writing has appeared in Tablet, Lilith, Hadassah, The Forward, Kveller, The World Jewish Digest, Nashim, and The Jewish Week. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and four children. Ilana is the author of Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights? and If All The Seas Were Ink.

Debbi Cooper © Photographer

Ilana Kurshan

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