Meet Fellow Gon Ben Ari

Gon Ben Ari is a critically acclaimed writer in Israel, known for two novels (Sequoia Children is being translated into English) and for his magazine writing at major Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. He is currently located in Brooklyn, NY, where he writes fiction (Ben Ari was titled a MacDowell Fellow for 2014), film, and journalism (Forward, New York and Yedioth Ahronot, Israel).


Swim is a my third novel, now over five years in the making. It tells of my relationship with my fictional grandfather, a celebrity-holocaust-survivor. The novel is built out of a number of interwoven novellas, happening in Israel, New York, Europe and the other world. The Brooklyn installment — currently titled “The Porn Reader” — is what I will work on during LABA.

The plot of this part of the book revolves around a rabbi who analyzes porn behavior in secular men, and interprets it psychologically for them, which connects perfectly with LABA’s theme of the year: why do we find the beautiful beautiful? And what does it mean about us?


Two pieces for The Forward: “How Gaza War Puts Hebrew Language on Front Lines” and “Sex, War, Social Media and the Israeli Imagination

An episode of the Israeli comedy duo Nitza ve’Lehem, which Gon co-wrote

What drew you to apply to LABA?

I have been studying different angles of Jewish thought throughout the last decade, and LABA seemed like an interesting and fresh perspective. I always find Ruby’s approach to the ancient texts to be smart, insightful and revealing.