David Ehrlich is best known as the founder of Tmol Shilshom, a bookstore café in the heart of Jerusalem that has long been a popular gathering place for writers and artists. It’s named after the novel by S. Y. Agnon and has hosted readings by the leading lights of Israeli literature, from Yehuda Amichai to David Grossman, as well as renowned writers from abroad.
Ehrlich is himself a writer, primarily of essays and short stories. Now Syracuse University Press has published Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel, the first collection of his stories to be translated into English. In today’s podcast, we invited Brooklyn novelist and performer John Haskell to read Ehrlich’s “The Store,” an eerily calm accounting of a horrific chapter in the life of an insular Israeli village. “The Store” was first published in English by Whereabouts Press, in a collection titled Israel: A Traveler’s Literary Companion. [Running time: 15:13.]