Palestinian-Israeli Sayed Kashua to speak at Shaare Emeth

A Palestinian Woody Allen?  Sayed Kashua tells the San Fransisco Globe his bigger inspiration is actually Jerry Seinfeld. His popular columns in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper have also earned him comparisons to iconic opinion writers like David Brooks and Thomas Friedman. Congregation Shaare Emeth will welcome Kashua Feb. 5-7 for a weekend full of learning, unique insights and humor.  

Kashua is an acclaimed author and Palestinian citizen of Israel who uses humor to depict the disparities between the Palestinian-Israeli and Israeli-Jewish narratives. “Kashua’s stories, humorous anecdotes, biting social commentary, skilled writing, powerful novels and compelling movie all confront our preconceived notions of society, justice and fairness and cause us to reconsider what we believe and think about right and wrong,” says Shaare Emeth Senior Rabbi James Bennett.

Michael Sherberg, a member of Shaare Emeth’s Adult Learning committee, echoes Bennett’s sentiments.  “In an age in which many of us are looking to Israel to sort out its own identity issues, Kashua introduces an important voice, asking each of us, as Jewish Americans or American Jews, how we can reconcile our own notions of social justice with our love for a country,” Sherberg said.  

Events for the weekend include:

• Friday, Feb. 5, 6-7:15 p.m.: Sayed Kashua will speak during Shabbat services. His topic, Cultural Criticism through Humor, will address the problems faced by Arabs in Israel caught between two worlds, in a humorous, tongue-in-cheek style.  

• Saturday, Feb. 6, 9-10:30 a.m.: The Arabs in Israel: Coexistence, Tolerance, and Citizenship?  Continental breakfast included. 

• Saturday, Feb. 6, 4-6 p.m.: “A Borrowed Identity” Get inside the mind of the screenplay writer of “A Borrowed Identity,” Sayed Kashua, as he shares and discusses scenes from this bold, semi-autobiographical film.  Refreshments included.  

• Sunday, Feb. 7, 9-11 a.m.: Living with Multiple Identities: Muslim, Arab, Jew, American, Continental breakfast at 9 a.m., program begins at 9:30 a.m..  

All events take place at Shaare Emeth, 11645 Ladue Road in Creve Coeur. RSVPs are requested but not required for the events on Feb. 6 and 7. RSVP to Emily Cohen, 314-692-5365 or [email protected].

Kashua’s visit to Congregation Shaare Emeth is made possible through the Fred and Elsie Deutsch Endowment Fund.

For more information about the events, visit or contact Debbie Bram, 314-692-5345 or [email protected].