Cynthia Ozick (April 28, 1928)
Cynthia Ozick was born in New York City, the second of two children. She subsequently moved to the Bronx with her parents, who owned a pharmacy in the Pelham Bay section.
At the age of five and a half, Ozick entered heder, the Yiddish-Hebrew "room" where, in the America of those years, Jewish pupils were sent for religious instruction. There she was confronted by a rabbi who told Cynthia's bobe [grandmother], who had accompanied her granddaughter to school, in Yiddish, "Take her home; a girl doesn't have to study." Ozick dates her feminism to that time and is especially grateful to her grandmother for bringing her back to school the very next day and insisting that she be accepted.
While Ozick describes the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx as a lovely place, she found it "brutally difficult to be a Jew" there. She remembers having stones thrown at her and being called Christ's killer as she ran past the two churches in her neighborhood.
Three of her stories have won first prize in the O. Henry Prize Story competition, and five of her stories were chosen for republication in the yearly anthologies of Best American Short Stories. The editor of the 1984 volume called her one of the three greatest American writers of stories living today.
-The author of novels, essays and plays, her short story collections include The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories  and Levitation .
-In 1980, Ozick published "The Shawl,"in the New Yorker, considered by many to be her most powerful short story.