Leah Goldberg at the Hebrew University
This is a photograph of the Israeli writer and academic Leah Goldberg in one of her classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the photo, Leah can be seen wearing a white jacket at the front of a classroom or lecture hall. Next to her on the desk is a satchel, probably containing academic papers and work. Some words have been written on the blackboard behind her. She appears relaxed, smiling at her audience, who were probably her students.
Leah Goldberg taught at the Hebrew University from 1952 and was one of the founders of the department of comparative literature. She advocated the study of literature from different cultures and an openness to artistic forms from various cultural contexts.
Goldberg was a poet, author, playwright, and translator, writing for both adults and children. Her works are considered classics of Israeli literature. Among her famous children’s books is A Flat for Rent (דירה להשכיר), a story “....which tells of the various neighbours in an apartment block and the need for tolerance.” Other works reflect the life of children living in Israel such as The Children of Arnon Street (הילדים מרחוב ארנון), The Scatterbrain from Kfar Azar (המפוזר מכפר אז"ר) and Miracles and Wonders (ניסים ונפלאות). Goldberg also translated classics such as Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
Leah Goldberg was from a Jewish-Lithuanian family and learned Hebrew at a very young age. From the age of ten she kept a diary in Hebrew, and despite being fluent in various European languages, she only wrote in Hebrew. She immigrated to Israel in 1935 and settled in Tel Aviv, moving to Jerusalem in the 1950s when she became a lecturer at the Hebrew University.
Leah Goldberg died in 1970 at the age of 59. She was posthumously awarded the prestigious Israel Prize.
Hebrew teachers can use this photograph as a starting point for discussions on the life and works of Leah Goldberg, one of Israel’s most famous and prolific writers.
Literature teachers can use this photograph when learning about Leah Goldberg and her translated works.
Jewish History teachers can use this source when teaching about the history of the Hebrew University and academic life in Israel in general.
Sociology teachers can use this photograph as a trigger to discussions on the role of women in Israeli society and, particularly, in academia.
Who is portrayed in this photo?
Where is she standing?
What is written on the blackboard behind her?
What is the woman doing in this photograph?
Reading Between the Lines
The photograph is of Leah Goldberg.
What is she famous for?
What subject did she teach and where?
Why did Leah Goldberg win the Israel Prize?
How is Leah Goldberg remembered in Israel today?
Why do some poets pass the test of time with their work remaining relevant years later? What makes a poem timeless, i.e. relevant to later generations?
Read the words of the Leah Goldberg poem “Pine” and listen to Achinoam Nini’s interpretation of the song.
How does this song reflect the lives of the two artists and their connections to different countries and cultures?
Use Leah Goldberg’s poem to inspire your own poem, painting, or graphic work reflecting your own thoughts and ideas.