SERI, DAN BENAYA (1935– ), Hebrew writer. Seri was born in Jerusalem. He worked for many years as a civil servant for the Ministry of Agriculture. His first novel, Ugiyot ha-Melaḥ shel Savta Sultana ("Grandma Sultana's Salty Biscuits") appeared in 1980 (Italian translation 2004) and tells the story of a second marriage which is overshadowed by prejudices and omens, passions and heated dreams. Seri's prose depicts the world of Sephardi Jews in Jerusalem, drawing on folkloric sources. His second novel, Mishael (1993), set in a Bucharan-Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, recounts the mysterious pregnancy of middle-aged Mishael following the death of his barren wife. Old traditions and superstitions are interwoven in a prose-fabric full of fantasy and insight. Seri also published two collections of novellas. The first, Ẓipporei Ẓel ("Birds of Shade," 1987) includes the story "Elef Neshotav shel Naftali Siman Tov," which has been adapted to the screen. The second, Dagim Metim Be-Yafo ("Dead Fish in Jaffa," 2003) tells, amongst others, of Aharon Polombo, a widowed tailor, who travels from Izmir in Turkey to Jaffa and on to Jerusalem in order to deliver some letters to a mysterious woman. The bizarre and the groteseque characterize this novella as well as the second story in the volume, "Se'udah Tunisait." Individual stories have been translated into various languages, and further information is available at the ITHL website at www.ithl.org.il.
A. Feinberg, "Small Sins and Their Wages," in: Modern Hebrew Literature, 8:1–2 (1982–83), 78–81; H. Halperin, "Ta'alumat Elef Neshotav shel Naftali Siman Tov," in: Iton 77, 101 (1988), 20–21; H. Hever, Sendvichim shel Mahapekhan: Tenu'ah bein Perspektivot eẓel D.B. Seri," in: Siman Keriah, 20 (1990), 394–97; G. Shaked, Ḥelkaim ve-Nidkaim, in: Efes Shetayim, 2 (1993), 23–32; M. Bat-Moshe Hurvitz, "Leshonot Shonot shel Amirah be-Siaḥ Sippuri," in: Am ve-Sefer, 9 (1995), 30–52; Y. Ben-David, "Ẓel ha-Mavet ve-ha-Geroteskah," in: Haaretz Sefarim (October 29, 2003).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.