SOURCE: Miriam Books

November 10, 2008 08:00 ET

Leaped From Front Pages of NY SUN, New Publishing House Promotes Zionist Arts Rebellion

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 10, 2008) - Born out of a controversy that hit the front page of the NY SUN and sparked articles in Jewish Week, The Forward, J Weekly and dozens of blogs including Oy Bay -- Miriam Books, the world's first avant-garde Zionist publishing house, has just released its inaugural publication, 'VISIONARY EXPRESSIONISM: A Zionist Art.'

Edited by Miriam Books' co-founder, Polly Zavadivker, the volume -- part manifesto, part art monograph -- focuses upon the paintings, life and radical Zionist musings of Alan Kaufman, an Israeli-American author, visual artist and well-known Jewish cultural bad boy who landed in hot water last year when a prominent San Francisco art gallery cancelled a catalogue of his paintings because he cited Zionism as his inspirational source.

In response, Kaufman, whose books include the memoir 'Jew Boy,' the novel 'Matches' and the bestselling anthology 'The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry,' joined forces with Zavadivker, a doctoral student in Jewish Studies, to combat what both perceive as widespread anti-Zionist prejudice in the cultural sphere, from the art world to Hollywood.

With Miriam Books named for their respective mothers, the two plan to foster the growth of what they term 'The Zionist Arts Movement.' Their mission, they say, sounding like Zionism's version of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Bouvoir, is to reclaim and promote Zionism as a philosophical raison d'etre as well as a cutting edge platform for Jewish artists and public alike. If successful, Miriam Books will be the voice of a new avant-garde Zionist intelligentsia.

The two may be onto something. Their cause has been adopted by such prominent Jewish organizations as The Jewish Community Relations Council, Blue Star PR, the East Bay Jewish Federation, The United Tribes of Israel Foundation and they have recently been the subject of a spate of articles in such publications as PresenTense and J Magazine. Kaufman was invited to give keynote Bay Area lectures about his Zionist art for Israel's 60th anniversary.

Future Miriam Books projects include an anthology of avant-garde Zionist culture, the first-ever Israeli Manga novel and a Zionist Arts Congress that will host avant-garde Jewish creatives from around the globe. For more information, visit www.miriambooks.org.

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