Skip to main content

TV writer to speak at ASU on writing about Judaism, popular culture

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
April 16, 2013

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin will visit Arizona State University at 4:30 p.m., April 22, in Social Sciences (SS) room 109 to deliver the talk, "From Writing about Judaism to Writing for Popular Culture."

One of Newsweek’s “Most Influential Rabbis of America,” Telushkin is the author of “Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History.” The most widely selling book on Judaism of the past two decades, “Jewish Literacy” has been hailed by leading figures in all the major movements of Judaism. 

"To live ethically is not only to live in the current moment but to acknowledge a lot of past moments – things we could do better, things we have done well in the past," said Telushkin, in an interview with Jewish Journal. "The recollection of good we have done can inspire more good."

Telushkin employs his writing talents in many arenas, being one of the most influential and popular commentators on Judaism in contemporary America. In 1997, his novel “An Eye for an Eye” became the basis for four episodes of David Kelley’s Emmy Award-winning ABC TV series “The Practice,” and he has co-written three additional episodes of the program. He also co-wrote an episode of the TV series “Touched by an Angel” for Kirk Douglas, in which Douglas stars as a man who, after a lifetime of struggle with his faith, returns to God and Judaism.

Telushkin was the co-writer with David Brandes and the associate producer of the 1991 film “The Quarrel.” The film, an American Playhouse production and the winner of the Santa Barbara Film Festival, was released theatrically throughout the United States.

He has been named by Talk Magazine as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States, and his work touches on Jewish ethics, teachings, humor and anti-Semitism. "Life is relentless," says Telushkin, "and leading an ethical life is relentless. There are always challenges ... we repent for the same sins year after year. Hopefully, each year we get a little better."

Telushkin's talk at ASU is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English and the Jewish Studies Program, which are academic units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Written by Jake Adler