Leeds Literary Festival

Words, Culture and Heritage for All



We are delight to bring you some of our planned talks online to help you through these difficult times.

If you have missed any of our online talks or want to watch them again go to our CATCH UP page.



MiliM is non-profit making and run entirely by volunteers, we are proud to be able to offer an exciting programme of webinars during the Covid-19 crisis.

To be able to do this, we do need help to replace event revenue we have lost this year.

Every penny helps, goes directly towards events and we are very grateful for your contribution.


Milim Spring 2019

Rosa Freedman 

Responses to 7 October: Understanding and addressing antisemitism in Universities

The second in a series of talks arranged in conjunction with the London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism
On and immediately after 7 October there was a global rise in antisemitism at a time when it would have been expected that the world would have sympathy and solidarity with Israel and with Jews. Universities are often seen as the heartland of contemporary antisemitic thinking, including in scholarship, in the classroom, and in student discourse on campus. Since 7 October many campuses and parts of academia more generally have become hostile environments for Jews.

Drawing on contributions to the Responses to 7 October anthology (Routledge, 2024) that she co-edited and her work as a member of the Intra-Communal Professorial Group founded to improve the atmosphere for Jewish staff and students in academia, Rosa Freedman will talk about antisemitism in universities, where it comes from, and what is being done to address it.

Martin Goodman

Herod the Great: Jewish king in a Roman world: a conversation with Jonathan Straight

Herod the Great (73-4 BCE) was a phenomenally energetic ruler who took advantage of the chaos of the Roman Revolution to establish himself as a major figure in a changing Roman world and transform the landscape of Judaea. Both Jews and Christians developed myths about his cruelty and rashness: in Christian tradition he was cast as the tyrant who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents; in the Talmud, despite fond memories of his glorious Temple in Jerusalem, he was recalled as a persecutor of rabbis.

The life of Herod is better documented than that of any other Jew from antiquity. Extensive literary and archaeological evidence provides material for a vivid portrait of Herod in his socio-political context: his Idumaean origins; his installation by Rome as king of Judaea and cultivation of leading Romans; his massive architectural projects; his presentation of himself as a Jew, most strikingly through the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple and his numerous polygamous marriages; and an investigation of the possibility that the later traditions about Herod as a monster derived from public interest in his execution of three of his sons after dramatic public trials foisted on him by a dynastic policy  imposed  by the Roman emperor.

Martin Goodman is Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies in the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He has written extensively on Jewish and Roman history. His books include Rome and Jerusalem (2007), A History of Judaism (2017), Josephus’s The Jewish War: a Biography (2019), and, most recently, Herod the Great: Jewish King in a Roman World (2024).

Alan Meerkin

The Nuances and Challenges of Life in Israel

Israeli photographer Alan Meerkin returns to Milim  and will discuss the nuances of everyday life in Israel through street photography. This will include material from his book ‘Distilling Jerusalem: Portraits of the City at Many Given Moments’.

In addition, Alan will present images examining the feeling in the street, in Israel and abroad, in the face of current challenges.

Alan Meerkin is a Jerusalem-based photographer and journalist. He grew up in Melbourne before moving to Israel in 1990, where he worked as a lawyer at Israel’s Ministry of Justice. In 2020 he began photographing the beautiful community gardens at Jerusalem’s Museum of Natural History and daily life throughout the country.

Lihi Lapid

On Her Own - a novel

A moving, page-turning story of two families in crisis and the unexpected places from which love can grow.

Nina, a teenage runaway, wakes up in the unfamiliar stairwell of a Tel Aviv apartment in a torn minidress. As her memory starts to resurface—the abusive older man she’s running away from, the crime she witnessed—she knows one thing: she needs to find a place to hide.

When one of the building’s tenants, Carmela, a lonely old widow suffering from memory loss, mistakes Nina for her granddaughter she hasn’t seen in years, Nina jumps at the opportunity for a safe haven. Soon, the two strangers become each other’s lifeline as Nina settles into the apartment with sweet, reassuring Carmela.

Meanwhile, Irina, a Russian immigrant, is living a parent’s worst nightmare: her only daughter has gone missing. She knows Nina got involved with the wrong men and will do anything to find her. Across the ocean, Itamar feels that something is happening to his mom, Carmela. The guilt over having left Israel for his pursuit of the American dream stirs childhood memories in him and a longing for the family that once was complete.

Set between the eve of Passover and Israel’s Independence Day, On Her Own is a tense and immersive psychological read about two families looking for redemption and the transformative bonds between strangers.

Translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.

Lihi Lapid  an Israeli author, photojournalist, and newspaper columnist. She is an activist for people with disabilities. Her husband is Yair Lapid, the former Prime Minister of Israel.

Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa

The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles during the Holocaust

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, a petite and elegant aristocratic woman entered the Nazi-run Majdanek concentration camp almost daily to bring food to thousands of Polish prisoners. As a member of the Polish resistance, she also smuggled supplies and messages to underground fighters imprisoned there. However, she could not help the 63,000 Jews who were murdered in the camp’s gas chambers and shooting pits. Representing a Polish relief organization, she negotiated with top Nazi and SS officials in Lublin, headquarters of the largest murder operation of the Holocaust. None of them suspected that Countess Janina Suchodolska was, in fact, Dr. Pepi Mehlberg, a Jew and a mathematician. Two professional Holocaust historians, Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa, conducted research in nine countries to reveal this astonishing story of a Jewish rescuer of Poles during World War II. The authors discovered that Mehlberg’s postwar life was quite unusual, too. Join this program to find out how this story came to light, what feats the fake Countess accomplished, and what her activities tell us about Jewish survival during the Holocaust and the larger history of Poland under Nazi rule.

Roger Moorhouse

The Lados Group: Saving Jews with faked Latin American Passports

This is the story of a remarkable and until now little-known rescue operation, in which Polish diplomats and Jewish activists in Switzerland attempted to save Jews from the Holocaust using forged Latin American passports.  It will explain their motives, their hindrances, their successes, and why they have been forgotten.

Roger Moorhouse is  the author of seven books on modern Polish and German history, especially WW2, and am a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Warsaw.



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