2024 Jewish Poetry Conference: Yetzirah Board of Directors & Staff Reading

July 3, 2024: 8-9:30 pm ET

Maya Bernstein’s writing has appeared in the Cider Press Review, the Eunoia Review, the Harvard Business Review, On the Seawall, Poetica Magazine, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Tablet Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a founder of UpStart Lab, and the founding co-director of Georgetown University’s Certificate in Facilitation, where she is currently on faculty. Maya is also on the faculty of the Masa Leadership Center in Jerusalem and Yeshivat Maharat. Maya holds a B.A in Russian Language and Literature from Columbia College, a Master’s Degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and is a recipient of the Jane Cooper Fellowship at Sarah Lawrence College, where she is pursuing an MFA in Poetry. Maya serves on the board of Yetzirah, A Hearth for Jewish Poetry. She is a 2012 recipient of the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize for emerging leaders in the Jewish community.

Richard Chess is the author of four books of poetry, Love Nailed to the Doorpost (University of Tampa Press 2017), Tekiah (University of Georgia Press 1996; republished by University of Tampa Press 2000); Chair in the Desert (University of Tampa Press 2000); and Third Temple (University of Tampa Press 2006). His poems have been anthologized in Telling and Remembering: A Century of American Jewish Poetry, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American PoetryBearing Witness: Twenty Years of Image Journal, and elsewhere. His work has also been included in Best American Spiritual Writing 2005. His essays have been included in Stars Shall Bend Their Voices: Poets’ Favorite Hymns and Spiritual Songs27 Views of AshevilleFar from the Center of Ambition, and elsewhere. He is a regular contributor to Close Reading, the blog hosted by Slant Books. He was a member of the core arts faculty at the Brandeis Bardin Institute for three years, after which he was on the faculty of the Jewish Arts Institute at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. He is Professor Emeritus at UNC Asheville. He directed UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies for 30 years. He also played a leading role in UNC Asheville’s contemplative inquiry initiative. He is the Treasurer of Yetzirah.

Jehanne Dubrow is the author of nine poetry collections and three books of nonfiction, including most recently Exhibitions: Essays on Art & Atrocity (University of New Mexico Press, 2023). Her next book of poems, Civilians, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2025. Her writing has appeared in POETRY, New England Review, Southern Review, and Ploughshares. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas.

Danny Kraft is a writer, poet, translator, and essayist. He holds a master’s degree in Jewish studies from Harvard Divinity School, where he was a resident at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions. His poems and essays appear in a number of publications including Image, Jewish Currents, EcoTheo Review, and Peripheries; his translations of Yiddish, along with brief personal and critical essays, can be found in his newsletter, Di Freyd Fun Yidishn Vort/The Joy of the Yiddish Word, at danielkraft.substack.com. In addition to writing and translating, Daniel has worked as a full-time Director of Education at synagogues across the American South, and as an educator at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland.

Jessica Jacobs is the author of unalone, poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis (Four Way Books, March 2024); Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books, 2019), one of Library Journal’s Best Poetry Books of the Year, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, and a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell, American Fiction, and Julie Suk Book Awards; Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award; and co-author of Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/Penguin RandomHouse). She is the founder and executive director of Yetzirah: A Hearth for Jewish Poetry.

Yerra Sugarman is an American poet, essayist, translator, and teacher. Born in Canada, she lives in New York City. She is the author of three poetry collections: Forms of Gone, which was a National Book Critics Circle “Favorite First Book” and was awarded PEN American Center’s PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award; The Bag of Broken Glass, which was a National Book Critics Circle “Recommended Book”; and, most recently, Aunt Bird, a hybrid collection comprised of lyric poems, prose poems, and lyric essays published by Four Way Books. Aunt Bird was the winner of the American Book Fest’s 2022 Best Books Awards in the category of General Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards in Poetry, as well as for the New England Poetry Club’s Motton Book Prize. She earned a B.F.A. in Visual Art from Concordia University in Montreal, an M.F.A. in Painting from Columbia University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from The City College of New York, and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, PEN American Center’s PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, a “Discovery”/The Nation Poetry Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial Award and its Cecil Hemley Memorial Award, a Canada Council Grant for Creative Writers, a Chicago Literary Award, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and an American Book Fest prize. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and grew up in a community of survivors in Toronto.