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Limmud speaker Maria Givner to present over view of life of King Saul in novel format

By MYRON LOVE When I was growing up, I first discovered many of the classics of Western literature through the pages of the Classic comic book series.  On Sunday, March 12, Maria Givner will be using a similar format to tell the story of King Saul  – a tale she is looking forward to introducing to  Winnipeggers attending this year’s Limmud Winnipeg event.
Givner,  a long-established artist, illustrator and editor who arrived in Winnipeg with her family last spring from Israel, published her telling of the King Saul story – in the form of a graphic novel – in London two years ago.
For readers unfamiliar with the life of Saul – or those who may have forgotten – Saul was one of the most controversial and charismatic heroes of the Torah – the first Jewish king.  Anointed by the prophet Samuel, Saul was the founder of the original Jewish state and established the first permanent army.
Givner’s graphic novel describes the dramatic events of Saul’s life – a continuous war with external enemies, confrontations with the prophet Samuel – and the story of love and betrayal with David – the future king of Israel.
“My novel is based on real historical research materials and archaeological findings,” the author notes, “but also deals a lot with psychological aspects of human behavior.  My main aims were to concentrate on the characters and their relationships as well as the complicated political background of this period. I try to show them as real, contemporary people with the same life goals, problems and passions as we have, rather than simply mythical heroes of the Bible. The story deals with such timeless subjects as ambition, forbidden love, betrayal, political machinations and responsibility. The true historical decorations help us to understand the reasons behind the characters’ behavior and their evolution and degradation while answering the big question: ‘Ehy?’”
Over the last few years,  Givner has been occupied with this large historical series from Old Testament days.  She says that she is fascinated by such strong characters as King Saul and Samson as well as Jewish warrior Berber Queen Dachia El Kachina who led the northwest African Berber tribes against the invading Muslims in the 8th century.
“I want to popularize, through comics, Jewish superheroes,” she comments.
Working on the series, she adds, is not only her way of connection with her historical roots, but also an attempt to explain past events from the modern point of view and  to show the ancient heroes as contemporary people with all their passions, desires and ambitions. 

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