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2014 Israel Writing Award

Phoebe Bradford

Photo of Laura Katz Cutler (managing director of the Center for Israel Studies), Phoebe Bradford (Israel Writing Award winner), and Myra Sklarew (literature professor emerita)

Congratulations to Phoebe Bradford, SOC '14, winner of the 2014 Center for Israel Studies Israel Writing Award. Bradford’s paper, “Meduzot’s Magical Multiplicity,” examined the contemporary female experience in Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret’s 2007 Camera D’Or winning film, Meduzot ("Jellyfish”). A cum laude graduate in film and media arts, she said she was attracted to the agency given the film’s three female protagonists, who “didn’t need to have a romantic conclusion to feel success in the end.” Utilizing Tel Aviv as a foundation and the image of jellyfish in the sea floating and randomly bumping into each other, “Geffen and Keret put faces to the collective experience of globalization’s effects on contemporary female Israeli identity,” wrote Bradford in her award-winning essay.

Bradford was a student in the spring 2014 Israeli Identities in Film class, taught by visiting Schusterman Professor Dan Chyutin. In a conversation with the award’s creator, literature Professor Emerita Myra Sklarew, Bradford said she had never learned about a culture through film before, and that the use of film made it a little easier to unravel complex identity issues. She realized that her previous assumptions about Israeli identity had been simplistic, and is now interested in visiting Israel after learning more about its varied landscapes and multi-ethnic society.

The annual writing award was created in 2008 by literature Professor Emerita Myra Sklarew, in honor of Benjamin and Eva Wolpe Reinkel and in memory of Harry Rinkel. Submissions run the full gamut from poetry and personal essays to lengthy research papers, and are judged through a blind review process. Said Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies and director of the AU Center for Israel Studies, “we are always impressed by the variety of submissions which reveal the complexity of Israel: its people, its place in the larger world, its history, and its future.”

An aspiring cinematographer, Bradford is currently a photographer and videographer for Maker’s Row in Brooklyn, NY, and also holds the position of creative director for a DC-based production company called Boundary Stone Films. She won a 2014 School of Communications Vision Award for her screenplay Parallel, which is a final selection for the DC Shorts Film Festival. Submissions for the 2015 Israel Writing Award will be accepted in spring 2015.