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Meet the Author

Ilana Kurshan

Ilana Kurshan is the author of If All the Seas Were Ink, published in 2017 by St. Martin’s Press. She has translated books of Jewish interest by Ruth Calderon, Benjamin Lau, and Micah Goodman, as well as novels, short stories, and children’s picture books. Her book Why Is This Night Different From Other Nights was published by Schocken in 2005. She is a regular contributor to Lilith Magazine, where she is the Book Reviews Editor, and her writing has appeared in The Forward, The World Jewish Digest, Hadassah, Nashim, Zeek, Kveller, and Tablet. Kurshan is a graduate of Harvard University (BA, summa cum laude, History of Science) and Cambridge University (M.Phil, English literature). She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and five children.

Recent Posts

Daf Yomi in the Time of Corona- Vayakhel-Pekudei

By Ilana Kurshan / March 20, 2020 | כ״ד באדר תש״פ

I began learning Masechet Shabbat against the backdrop of the Corona Crisis, as I gradually realized that people all over the world were being asked…

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At Tara in this Fateful Hour (Berakhot 2a-5b)

By Ilana Kurshan / January 8, 2020 | י״א בטבת תש״פ

The first tractate of the Babylonian Talmud begins, rather surprisingly, with an extended discussion of the architectonics of the night. The Mishnah opens with the…

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Limericks: Masechet Makkot

By Ilana Kurshan / December 5, 2017 | י״ז בכסלו תשע״ח

(2a) This witness could not have been there We know he instead was elsewhere If we cannot do What he tried, unto you – We…

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Limericks: Bava Metzia perek 4 הזהב

By Ilana Kurshan / December 1, 2016 | א׳ בכסלו תשע״ז

Bava Metzia chapter 4 (44a) Is it silver you use to buy gold? Is it rather the silver that’s sold? The Nasi first said one…

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Extempore Effusions — Kidushin Perek Bet — האיש מקדש

By Ilana Kurshan / May 11, 2016 | ג׳ באייר תשע״ו

Kidushin Perek Bet – האיש מקדש (41a) Don’t betroth a girl ‘til you espy Her yourself with your very own eyes. Lest you look and…

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Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Kidushin Chapter 1

By Ilana Kurshan / April 19, 2016 | י״א בניסן תשע״ו

(2a) How is a woman acquired? When one of three things has transpired— Give money, a writ, Or just go and do “it” (“It” is…

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Extempore Effusions on Gittin chapters 8 and 9

By Ilana Kurshan / March 15, 2016 | ה׳ באדר ב׳ תשע״ו

Chapter 8 הזורק גט לאשתו (77a) If you throw your Get into the yard Where your wife stands (she should be on guard) Or into…

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Extempore Effusions on Gittin chapter 7

By Ilana Kurshan / February 28, 2016 | י״ט באדר א׳ תשע״ו

(67b) If a man seized by fury should shout “Write a Get for me” – don’t hear him out But if he says “write a…

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Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masekhet Yoma, chapter 8

By Ilana Kurshan / January 31, 2014 | ל׳ בשבט תשע״ד

(73b) On Yom KIPpur, you can’t eat or drink You can’t wash yourself off in the sink. Or wear shoes on your feet (Pregnant ladies…

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Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masekhet Eruvin

By Ilana Kurshan / June 15, 2013 | ז׳ בתמוז תשע״ג

(2a) An alley roof may reach so high That it nearly approaches the sky But alas you cannot Carry there on Shabbat ‘Til you lower…

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