Tapestry

All the chutzpah we could fit into one hour: master storyteller Simon Schama

Historian (and showman) Simon Schama on the Judaism he knows and loves.
Simon Schama
Listen53:59

It's hard to find the right word to describe Simon Schama: scholar, raconteur, master of the Jewish joke.  But one thing is certain - it's never hard for Simon Schama to find the right word.  

You need a fair bit of chutzpah to write a book and a television series called The Story of the Jews. How can three-thousand years of history be crammed into a TV script? Simon Schama has that kind of chutzpah. After all, this is the Cambridge-educated historian who's widely known for his YouTube appearances, telling dirty Jewish jokes to a live audience. (Did you hear the one about the bear's circumcision?)

He admits to having the soul of an archaeologist, or perhaps that of a poet, and he's someone who can be moved to tears by letters scribbled on a fragment of ancient papyrus.

But it doesn't take long to realize that even being interrupted by the man is an education. Mary Hynes speaks with Simon Schama about his book, The Story of the Jews.

Must Listen Moment -  Master storyteller Simon Schama tells the tale of a Schama family ritual: The Friday Night Memorial Chicken.

Master storyteller Simon Schama tells the tale of a family ritual: The Friday Night Memorial Chicken. 2:52

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.