Michal Govrin

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Michal Govrin
Michal Govrin
Michal Govrin
Born(1950-11-24)24 November 1950
OccupationWriter, poet, theater Director
LanguageHebrew, French, English

Michal Govrin (Hebrew: מיכל גוברין; November 24, 1950) is an Israeli author, poet and theater director.[1]


Michal Govrin was born and raised in Tel Aviv, her father was part of the third aliyah and from the founders of the Kibbutz Tel Yosef, her mother was a holocaust survivor. Graduated in a municipal high school in Tel Aviv. Govrin has served in the IDF as a military reporter. At the Tel Aviv University she completed her undergraduate studies at the Comparative literature and Theater departments. In 1976 she completed her Ph.D from Paris University VIII in theater and religious studies. Her research 'Contemporary Sacred Theater, Theory and Practice', examines the theatrical aspects of Jewish mystical practices in Hasidic practices along with a study of the theater of Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook.

Govrin has published multiple fiction and poetry books. The books that have been awarded a number of prizes were translated into several languages. In 2010 Govrin was chosen by The French Salon du Livere for one of the thirty authors that have left a mark on world literature. In 2013 she was awarded by the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres the title 'chavelier'.[2][3]

Govrin has directed plays in all the big theaters in Israel and was one of the founders of the Experimental Jewish Theater.

Govrin teaches at the Tel Aviv University, was the head of the Theater Department at Emmuna College, and taught, at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the School of Visual Theater. She was a Writer in Residence at University of Rutgers and gave an annual guest lecture at the Architecture School of Cooper Union in New York. Govrin lectures to open audiences around the world, in conferences, and in Media. In the year 2012, she was anointed Professorship.

As part of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute,[4] Govrin founded in 2013 and was a director of a multidisciplinary research group 'Transmitted Memory and Fiction'.[5] The group was committed to working out the essence of the Holocaust memory in an age when living survivors are no longer the memory carriers. In 2015 a concluding n exhibition: 'What is the memory? Seventy years later'[6] was displayed at the Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, along with a symposium and the production of a movie. Parallel to this project Govrin has founded and was the head of a team of historians, thinkers, and community leaders that composed a ground-breaking ceremony - the "Gathering":[7] an "Haggadah" for the Holocaust memorial day. The gathering put forward the double attitude of "The responsibility to remember / Remember responsibly". In 2015 there were 10 experimental gatherings. Since 2016 the Gathering has been paublished and dissiminated by the Hartman Institute and is been practiced in a large number of schools, communities, working places or at homes across Israel.[8][9]


Govrin is married to the Jewish French Mathematician Professor Haim Brezis, whom she met in the year 1978 in Jerusalem as Brezis visited the city, and actually was looking for Govrin, following an article she wrote about her journey to Poland. The couple has two daughters. Govrin lives in the Rehaviah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Her uncle Akiva Govrin served as one of Israel ministers, and member of the Knesset.


Body of Prayer[edit]

The book is composed of three parts, written by David Shapiro, Jacques Derrida and Michal Govrin. The three are writing as Secular-Religious or Religious-Secular people about the nature and Praxis of 'praying'. The book is concerned primarily with mapping the central issues surrounding the act of praying and offers, instead of 'relieving' those issues, to embrace these issues as a vital part of the praying experience itself. The book also offers a more existential notion of prayer, as something that is embedded in the act of living, deeply rooted in our 'bodies' and in the female act of 'childbirth'.

The Name[edit]

The Name is a novel written by Michal Govrin. The plot of the book traces a young woman named Amalia, a daughter to holocaust survivor and named after his first wife who was murdered in the holocaust.

The book was awarded the Koret Jewish Book award and the Kugel award and was translated from Hebrew to English and Russian. The book received positive reviews at its publication.[10][11]

List of Publications[edit]

Fiction and Poetry[edit]

In English Translation[edit]

  • "Hold on to the Sun: Stories and Legends (1984)" (Siman Kriaa / Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1984)
  • "The Name" (HaShem), Novel (Hasifria Hachadasha/ Hakibbutz Hameuchad 1995, and a new edition in 2013 with an afterword by Yehuda Liebes)
  • "Body of Prayer", with Jacques Derrida and David Shapiro (Dark Red Line / Hakibbutz Hameuchad and Mofet, 2013, a new and expanded version of the English original, The Cooper Union, New York, 2001)
  • "Snapshots", Novel (Am Oved / Hasifria la'am 2002)

In Hebrew[edit]

  • "That Very Hour" Poems, (1981)
  • "That Night's Seder ", Poemx (Habama, 1989)
  • "Word's Bodies", Poems (Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1991)
  • "The Making of the Sea, a Chronicle of Exegesis", with etchings by Liliane Klapisch (Harel 1998, Carmel 2000)
  • "So Said Jerusalem: Hymns and Poems", with original drawings by Orna Millo (Devari-m / Carmel 2008)
  • "Love on the Shore", Novel (Hakibbutz Hameuchad 2013)

Literary Editing[edit]

  • "We Were As Dreamers" (Haeinu Kecholmim), Family Saga. Introduction: Asaf, D. (Carmel Publishing House, Jerusalem, 2005)

Editor of Devari-m Series (with Laurberbaum, M.)[edit]

  • Schimmel, H., Cassida (with drawings by Tulkovski, Z.), (Devari-m/Carmel, Jerusalem, 2009)
  • Liebes, Y., Mnemosyne, Translations of classical Poetry, (with works on paper by Altholz, S.) (Devari-m/Carmel, Jerusalem, 2011)
  • Salhoov, S., Torat Ha'Khitukhim, poems (with works on paper by Gordon, M. and Petel, E.) (Devari-m/Carmel, Jerusalem, 2011)
  • Laurnberbaum, M, Ma'atakim, translations of English Poetry (with works on paper by Sharon Etgar) (Devari-m/Carmel, 2013)

Theatre Directing[edit]

Directing, adaptation and translation at the Repertoire Theater[edit]

  • "The condemned Man's Bicycle", Fernando Arrabal, translation and direction. Set: Moshe Sternfeld, Theater of the Hatzarim, Tel Aviv University (1972).
  • “The Emigrants”, Slawomir Mrojek, translation and direction. Music: Joseph Tal, Costume and set: Moshe Sternfeld, Lighting: Ben-Zion Monitz, Movement: Rut Ziv-Eyal, Cast: Shabtai Konorty and Avinoam Mor-Haim, The Khan Theater (1976). The production won the "Margalit Prize" 1977.
  • “In the Bloom of Her Day”, S.I. Agnon, adaptation, and direction. Set: Frida Goldberg, Music: Max Stern, Costume: Judith Westmor, Performed by Rachel Levi, The Khan Theater (1977).
  • "Mercier and Camier", Samuel Beckett, adaptation and direction. Hebrew Translation: Mulli Meltzer Adaptation and Directing by: Michal Govrin, Set and props: Doron Livne, Costumes and props: Anat Palenker, Lighting: Ben-Zion Munitz, Movement: Raffi Goldwasser, Poster & Programme Design: Raphi Etgar, Cast: Aaron Almog, Sasson Gabbai, Avinoam Mor-Haim, Neta Plotzky, Uri Avrahami, Shalom Keinan, Uri Avrahami, Neta Plotzky, Danni Mudja, The Khan Theater (1979).
  • “The Work-Room, L'Atelier”, Jean Claude Grumberg, translation and direction. Set: Moshe Sternfeld, Costumes: Genia Malkin, Music: Josef Tal, Lighting: Michael Lieberman, Song: Rene Mokadi. Cast: Shmuel Segal, Rachel Shor, Dalia Friedland, Ada Tal, Yael Druianov, Miki Kam, Adi Lev, Rolf Brin, Itzik Saidoff, Misha Natan, Shlomi Almagor, Roni Chen, Dekel Granit, Boaz Perlman, The Habima National Theatre (1981)
  • “Happy Days”, Samuel Beckett, direction. Hebrew Translation: Mulli Meltzer, Set and Costumes: Frieda Klapholtz, Doron Livne, Lighting: Avi Tzabari, Cast: Hana Meron, Uri Levi, The Kameri Theatre, Tel Aviv, (1985).

Directing and adaptation of Experimental Jewish Theater[edit]

  • “The Harvest of Folie”, Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, adaptation and directing. Production: Judith Graves Miller, Music: Daniel Shalit, Set and costumes: Abraham Pincas, Joelle Pincas, Masks: Anne-Marie Paul, Cast: Françoise Bette, Arlette Chouraqui, Daniel Clark, Boris Endako, David Mergui, Shoshana Segev, Renaud Sylvestrie, The 7 Beggars company, Paris (1974).
  • "Variations on Morning", The Jewish Morning Prayer; Samuel Beckett, translation, adaptation and directing. Set and costume: Ada Hameirit, Lighting: Yoram Ben-Yair, Cast: the students of the production workshop of the Department of Theatre, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, The David Citadel (1980).
  • "The Journey of the Year", editing and directing. Research, dramatization and performance: the students of the Theater Department, The Hebrew University, Design: Frieda Klapholtz, Musical arrangements: Andre Hajdu, Musical direction and flute: Akiva Ben-Horin, violin: Tania Susskind, guitar: Roger Yochai. Visitor Actors: Victor Attar, Yossi Kenan, The Jerusalem Khan Theatre. at The First International Festival of Jewish Theater, Outdoor performances: TAU Campus, Jerusalem Theater Grove (1982).


  1. ^ "Govrin, Michal". worldcat.org. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Deborah Harris Agency".
  3. ^ Sela, Mia. "5 Israeli authors will receive an award from the French Government". Haaretz.
  4. ^ "Van Leer Jerusalem Institute".
  5. ^ "Transmitted Memory and Fiction Research Group".
  6. ^ "What Is Memory? Seventy Years Later - Meetings, Discussions, Exhibition".
  7. ^ "Gathering for the Holocaust Remembrance Day".
  8. ^ Govrin, Michal. "C.V." (PDF). Michal Goverin's Official Website.
  9. ^ Biography is translated from the existing Hebrew Wikipedia article at he:מיכל גוברין; see its history for attribution.
  10. ^ "The Name". KIRKUS Reviews.
  11. ^ Barbara, Hoffert (1998). "The Name - Book Review". Library Journal.

External links[edit]