About


About UNSCROLLED

It’s a reinterpretation, a reimagining, a creative celebration: 54 leading Jewish writers, artists, photographers, and screenwriters, plus actors, an architect, a musician, and more grapple with the first five books of the Bible, giving new meaning to the 54 Torah portions. Edited by Roger Bennett, one of the founders of Reboot, UNSCROLLED is a gathering of engaging, diverse voices that will speak to anyone interested in Jewish culture and identity. In stories, poems, memoirs, plays, infographics—plus a Web search, a graphic novel, and a psychiatric transcript—it offers a fresh take on the Torah, its value, and its place in our lives.

Wanna get reading straight away? Click here for sample chapters.

About Reboot

Reboot affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own. Inspired by Jewish ritual and embracing the arts, humor, food, philosophy, and social justice, we produce creative projects that spark the interest of young Jews and the larger community. Among our productions are events, exhibitions, recordings, books, films, DIY activity toolkits, and apps. Since our inception, 480 network members, 700 community organization partners, and hundreds of thousands of people have looked to Reboot to rekindle connections and re-imagine Jewish lives full of meaning, creativity, and joy.

Questions? Contact Dina Mann ([email protected]), National Marketing and Outreach Manager, Reboot.

For Press Inquires contact Tanya Schevitz ([email protected], 415-322-0981), Communications Manager, Reboot.

About Our Sponsors

Reboot programs are made possible as a result of generous donors. Reboot is a 501c3 non-profit organization. You can donate here. We are deeply appreciative to the following individuals and organizations for their support of this project:

The Jim Joseph Foundation
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco
The Koret Foundation
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation

About Roger Bennett

Roger Bennett is a writer, broadcaster, and cofounder of Reboot. He is the author of several books, including Bar Mitzvah Disco. He lives with his family in New York City.

List of Contributors and Bios

Eli Attie

Is an Emmy-winning television writer and recovering political operative. His credits include The West Wing and House, M.D., and he served as chief White House speechwriter for former vice president Al Gore. He has always preferred Ess-a-Bagel to H&H.

David Auburn

Is a playwright (The Columnist, Proof), filmmaker (The Girl in the Park), and theater director. He lives in New York City.

Rachel Axler

Is a playwright and Emmy-winning TV writer. She’s written for a number of wonderful shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Parks and Recreation, and How I Met Your Mother. Her play Smudge has been published in English and German, one of which she speaks.

Aimee Bender

Is the author of four books, including The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, and her latest short story collection, The Color Master. She has been published in Granta, Harper’s, the Paris Review, Tin House, McSweeney’s, and more, as well as heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California.

Shoshana Berger

Worships at the same altar as Professor Robert Alter, the famed biblical scholar, and stole everything she knows about the Bible from him. Berger is director of special projects at Wired and was the founding editor of ReadyMade magazine. She lives in Berkeley, California, with all the other deli-starved Jews.

Dennis Berman

Is an editor and columnist at the Wall Street Journal. He grew up in Kentucky and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son.

Steve Bodow

Is co-executive producer and former head writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which he has plagued since 2002. He has also directed theater (Elevator Repair Service), written for magazines, and played a lot of Werewolf. He lives with his wife and two daughters in New York.

Rebecca Bortman

Is a visual designer, living in colorful San Francisco and working on Snapguide, an app for making how-to guides. Before venturing into the start-up world, she spent three years at YouTube, leading design on the site’s first visual refresh. Rebecca is also the art director for the Disposable Film Festival, sings in the punk band Happy Fangs, and formerly sang in the indie pop band My First Earthquake. She was bat mitzvahed two days before turning fourteen at Temple Emanuel in Pittsburgh.

Jesse Aaron Cohen

Spent ten years working at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, mostly as a photo and film archivist. His work now is writing, producing, and performing music as one half of the group Tanlines. He lives in New York City.

Rich Cohen

Is the author of several books, including Tough Jews, Sweet and Low, and The Fish That Ate the Whale. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Vanity Fair, where he is a contributing editor. He is working on a book about the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Sloane Crosley

Is the author of the New York Times bestselling books How Did You Get This Number and I Was Told There’d Be Cake. She is a frequent contributor to GQ, Elle, and the New York Times. She lives, writes, and teaches in Manhattan.

Rebecca Dana

Is an author and journalist in New York. Her book, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde, was published by Putnam in January 2013. She was a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, and her writing has appeared in the New Republic, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Find her at rebeccadana.com.

Gabe Delahaye

Is a writer and comedian just like everybody else. His work has appeared on Videogum, This American Life, McSweeney’s, Gawker, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central, ESPN, Details, VH1, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Susan Dominus

Is a staff writer at the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Joshua Foer

Is the author of the international bestseller Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.

Jamie Glassman

Is a writer and performer living in merry old London. He was a writer for HBO’s Da Ali G Show, and his company, Double Gusset Productions, makes shorts for the BBC and Comedy Central. His characters and films have been entertaining tens of people all across the World Wide Interweb.

Ben Greenman

Is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, Please Step Back, and What He’s Poised to Do. His most recent book is The Slippage, a novel.

Eli Horowitz

Is the co-creator of the Silent History, a serialized, exploratory app for the iPhone and iPad. He was the managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s for eight years, working closely with authors including Nick Hornby, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, William Vollmann, and Stephen King. He is the coauthor of The Clock Without a Face, a treasure-hunt mystery, and Everything You Know Is Pong, an illustrated cultural history of Ping-Pong, and his design work has been honored by I.D. , Print, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

A. J. Jacobs

Is the author of The Year of Living Biblically. He once had his wardrobe examined by an Orthodox mixed-fiber inspector, and was disturbed to learn that his wedding suit contained both wool and linen. He pledges that any and all of his future marriages will involve a kosher suit.

Ariel Kaminer

Is a reporter at the New York Times. She and the Bible are fairly distant acquaintances.

David Katznelson

Is a Grammy-nominated producer, independent–record label head, and problematic vinyl collector. He is the cofounder of the San Francisco Appreciation Society and the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation. He is also director of strategy for the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. But mainly, he is father to Kaya and Asher and husband to Barbara.

Saki Knafo

Reports on a wide range of subjects for the Huffington Post. He has written about homeless kids living in a hotel outside of Disney World, the shady politics of Staten Island real-estate development before and after Hurricane Sandy, and Internet pranksters. He grew up in Brooklyn and basically never left.

Josh Kun

Is a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he directs the Popular Music Project of the Norman Lear Center. He is the author or editor of several books, including Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl (with Roger Bennett), and Songs in the Key of Los Angeles: Sheet Music and the Making of Southern California. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.

Marc Kushner

Is partner at HWKN Architects (HollwichKushner) and CEO of Architizer.com, the largest platform for architecture online. HWKN won the prestigious MoMA PS1 Young Architect Program in 2012 and specializes in architecture projects that communicate to the broadest population. Marc is a good yeshiva boy from northern New Jersey who is obsessed with the murky history of “Jewish Architecture.”

Mark Lamster

Is an occasional humorist, sometimes even on purpose, who recently moved to Texas, a land of biblical scale and fundamentalist fervor. He is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and author of several works of nonfiction. He is at work on a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson.

Gillian Laub

Is a photographer. Her practice is deeply rooted in the tradition of portraiture. Testimony, Laub’s first monograph, was published by Aperture in 2007 to critical acclaim. Laub contributes regularly to the New York Times Magazine and Time, among many other publications. She is represented by Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York and is widely exhibited and collected. Laub is working on a project centered on the American South that will consist of a documentary film, her next book, and a traveling exhibition.

Amichai Lau-Lavie

Is an Israeli-born Jewish educator and performance artist who in 1999 founded Storahtelling. He reboots often and is enrolled in the rabbinical studies program at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

Adam Levin

Is the author of the novel The Instructions, winner of both the 2011 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and the inaugural Indie Booksellers Choice Award. For his short stories, Levin has won the Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest, as well as the Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize. His collection of short stories, Hot Pink, was published by McSweeney’s in 2012. He lives in Chicago.

Rachel Levin

Is the Executive Director of Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation and the President of Fundamental, a consulting practice that works with high net worth individuals and families to increase their impact on the issues they care about most. She is a cofounder of Reboot.

Damon Lindelof

Is a writer and producer of silly television shows and films that feature magic islands, space aliens, and lots and lots of time travel. He is also a husband and a father, which is much harder but a thousand times more rewarding. Lindelof is on a continuum of asking questions that can never be definitively resolved, but he has just enough hubris to occasionally try answering them himself. The results have been mixed thus far. He also wrote this bio.

Sam Lipsyte

Is the author of five books of fiction. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

Charles Alexander London

Writes books for children, teens, and adults. He is the author of the Accidental Adventures and Dog Tags series for children, Proxy for young adults, and for less young adults, One Day the Soldiers Came and Far from Zion: In Search of a Global Jewish Community, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and on the Web at calexanderlondon.com.

Adam Mansbach

Is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep, as well as the novels Rage Is Back, The End of the Jews, and Angry Black White Boy. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and the Believer, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Ross Martin

Has won Emmy and Peabody awards as executive vice president at Viacom Media Networks and runs Scratch, a creative SWAT team working across the company. He is the author of a book of poems, The Cop Who Rides Alone, and has taught creative writing at the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Washington University. Ross is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Viacom Marketing Council, and the advisory board of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. In 2012, he was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business and a “Media Maven” by Advertising Age.

Rick Meyerowitz

Began contributing illustrated articles to the National Lampoon in the first issue published in April 1970. He painted the poster for Animal House, and the magazine’s trademark visual, the Mona Gorilla, which has been called “one of the enduring icons of American humor.” Shortly after 9/11, Rick and Maira Kalman created the most talked-about New Yorker cover of this century, NewYorkistan, about which the New York Times wrote: “When their cover came out, a dark cloud seemed to lift.” Rick would like to point out that the lifting of one lousy cloud hardly puts a dent in the pall hovering over us these days, but he doesn’t want to be a bummer. His most recent book is Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great, published by Abrams in 2010.

Christopher Noxon

Is a writer, doodler, and flaming shaygutz who weirdly but strenuously identifies as a cultural Jew, active in Reboot, the Silver Lake Jewish Community, and the East Side Jews. He’s the author of the nonfiction Rejuvenile and a forthcoming novel. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Salon, and the New York Times Magazine.

Rebecca Odes

Has coauthored and illustrated four books. She lives in New York.

Eddy Portnoy

Is a short, bespectacled Jew with curly hair and a big nose. He teaches Yiddish at Rutgers University and has a PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Michelle Quint

Is an editor at TED Books. Her young adult novel, The Defiant, will be published by McSweeney’s in 2014.

Josh Radnor

Is best known for playing Ted Mosby on the Emmy-nominated CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. He has written and directed two feature films, happythankyoumoreplease and Liberal Arts, both of which premiered to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival (the former winning the festival’s 2010 Audience Award). He has many film and TV credits and has appeared on and off Broadway, and his writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Huffington Post, MovieMaker, Indiewire, and Guilt & Pleasure.

Caitlin Roper

Is a senior editor at Wired magazine in San Francisco.

Todd Rosenberg

(Also known as “Odd Todd”) produces short-form animated segments for television, Internet, and corporate clients. His cartoons focus on taking economic, scientific, or logistical concepts and making them quick, simple, and fun. His clients include ABC World News, PBS, National Geographic, HP, and American Express. He is currently fighting a ticket for having his dog off-leash in a public park.

Davy Rothbart

Is the creator of Found Magazine, a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life, and the author of a book of personal essays, My Heart Is An Idiot, and a collection of stories, The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. He writes regularly for GQ and Grantland, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Believer. His documentary film, Medora, about a resilient high-school basketball team in a dwindling town in rural Indiana, premiered in March 2013 at the SXSW Film Festival. Rothbart is also the founder of Washington II Washington, an annual hiking adventure for inner-city kids. He divides his time between Los Angeles and his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tim Samuels

Is a documentary maker and broadcaster based in London. For his films for the BBC, he has won three Royal Television Society awards as well as an award for best documentary at the World Television Festival. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and the Guardian.

David Sax

Is a writer and journalist from Toronto. He is the author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, a James Beard Award–winning book that was dubbed “an epic journey, akin to The Odyssey but with Rolaids” by one observer, and the upcoming book The Tastemakers, which looks into the business of food trends and the bacon-cupcake–food truck industrial complex. Sax’s writing has also appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times Magazine, Saveur, and other august publications.

Dana Adam Shapiro

Was nominated for an Academy Award for his first film, Murderball. His second film, Monogamy, was nominated for a 2010 Independent Spirit Award. He is a former senior editor at Spin magazine, and his debut novel, The Every Boy, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Book Sense notable book. His latest work, a nonfiction book about divorce called You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married) , was published by Scribner in 2012.

Samantha Shapiro

Is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Her writing has also appeared in a number of other publications, including Wired, Slate, Mother Jones, Glamour, and the Stranger.

Mireille Silcoff

Is a columnist with the National Post and a frequent contributor to magazines, including the New York Times Magazine. She is the founding editor of Guilt & Pleasure quarterly and the author of several books on drug and youth culture. She is finishing her first work of fiction. Mireille lives in Montreal.

Justin Rocket Silverman

Has covered nightlife, tasers, meditation, politics, and other salacious topics for the New York Post, Wired, Fast Company, and many more. He lives in Brooklyn, but in a part far more hip than where the really famous writers are.

Larry Smith

Is the founder of SMITH Magazine (smithmag.net), home of the Six-Word Memoir project and book series, including Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life. He’s the editor of an anthology, The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure, and a frequent speaker on storytelling at companies, nonprofits, and schools around the world.

Jill Soloway

Is a writer and director. She won the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award for her first feature, Afternoon Delight, at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Jill is a three-time Emmy nominee for her work writing and producing Six Feet Under. She authored Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants, a humorous post-feminist manifesto/memoir. She is a cofounder of the community organization East Side Jews and lives with her husband and two sons in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

Joel Stein

Grew up in Edison, New Jersey, went to Stanford, and in 1997, became a staff writer for Time. In 1998, he began writing his sophomoric humor column that now appears in the magazine every week. He’s also written fourteen cover stories for Time, and has contributed to the New Yorker, GQ, Esquire Details, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, Real Simple, Sunset, Playboy, Elle, the Los Angeles Times, and many more magazines, most of which have gone out of business. He has appeared as a talking head on any TV show that has asked him, taught a class in humor writing at Princeton, and wrote a weekly column for the back page of Entertainment Weekly and the opinion section of the Los Angeles Times. His first book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, was published in 2012. This is the most he’s ever written in third person.

Michaela Watkins

Is an actress who has appeared in movies such as Wanderlust, Thanks for Sharing, the upcoming In a World, and Afternoon Delight, and TV shows such as New Girl, Enlightened, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Children’s Hospital, Parenthood, Grey’s Anatomy, and Californication. She hails from the Los Angeles main stage company the Groundlings, and appeared on SNL in the 2008–2009 season.

Anonymous

Is a film critic for one of the last big newspapers in the U.S. that still employs film critics.