So much of Jewish literary culture—the writers, the scenes, the references–are rooted in New York City, it’s a wonder no one ever thought to map it all out before. The Jewish Book Council has taken the project on, producing a Jewish Literary Map, an impressive graphic that “marks the landmarks, descriptions, and allusions found in the works of some of our heritage’s greatest writers.”
Highlights are Isaac Bashevis Singer’s longtime home in the Belnord on West 86th Street (the block now bears the Yiddish writer’s name), the All-of-a-Kind Family’s East River, the Williamsburg synagogues of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, and Portnoy’s City Hall. More recent entries skew delightfully female, and come courtesy of authors Nicole Krauss, Dara Horn, and Molly Antopol. The map also pinpoints Nathaniel P’s hyper-contemporary Brooklyn, as rendered by novelist Adelle Waldman.
The Jewish Book Council has a larger version of the graphic on their site, and features additional information and reviews of the books that made it onto the map.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.