Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Matthew Aaron Goodman

Exclusive interview with author Matthew Aaron Goodman on Day 3 of our special feature.

Published: April 12th 2011
in Culture » Books

Matthew Aaron Goodman

Over the next 20 days, ShalomLife will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy, and music.


We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!




Matthew Aaron Goodman


Matthew Aaron Goodman’s debut novel, Hold Love Strong (2009), has received critical acclaim -described as called epic, poignant, and tender. The story follows Abraham Singleton, a young boy born to a 13-year old mother in a New York City housing project. We are invited into Abraham’s life, exposed to his family, hardships, and world perspective. Hold Love Strong is a modern day coming-of-age story inspired by Goodman’s real life experiences.


This accomplished author has taught in the NYC Public School system, worked personally with formerly incarcerated men and women to create leadership/community empowerment programs, and a developed a literacy program for youth. He currently holds works as an Assistant Editor on Pen America’s Pen Journal, while simultaneously teaching at The College of New Rochelle and Hunter College.


Check out to learn more about this wonderful artist, his upcoming projects, and special events/readings.




Where do you go when your lacking inspiration?


I visit friends who are artists as well—my brother—David Goodman, Clintel Steed; or if they’re not in New York, I give them a call or write them a letter. People like James Hannaham, Michael Dopp, Arisa White, Jay Nicorvo. Contact with other artists and their work helps me most when I’m lacking inspiration.


What's your favorite place to travel to?


A few summers ago, I went to Cuba and although I don’t know if it qualifies as a “favorite place”, it was certainly an incredibly interesting, challenging, and unique place to visit.


What's your favorite dish? Where do you normally get it?


I love falafel so much I’ve considered opening a falafel shop. I’ll get falafel anywhere, anytime. I consider myself a connoisseur, a sommelier of chickpeas and hummus so to speak.


Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful person on earth?


In my opinion, there is no such thing as the most beautiful person on earth. The collection of us, the heterogeneous, idiosyncratic mass of us is beautiful. Subtract one, and we lose some of that which is beautiful.


Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?


I’m spiritual, I think; and there have been times in my life when I’ve been more religious than others. But right now, for me, it’s hard to be “religious”; hard because it’s become increasingly difficult to see religion as separate from the divisions and ill treatment, and disrespect that exists between religious groups. So, culturally, ethnically, I’m Jewish. But I don’t believe in the separation of peoples; and in the world today, too many people use religion in this way. We should always keep in mind that Abraham was not a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim, but a benevolent and principled citizen of the world.


What's your favorite movie?


It changes all of the time. But this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Last Tango In Paris.


TV Show?


I don’t much care for television, but most recently I’ve been somewhat obsessed by the Jersey Shore. I think I watch it because its stupidity helps me to better accept my own.




Recently, I’ve been listening a lot to a Malian singer named Boubacar Traore.


Who's your best friend?


My wife and my son.


What are you better at than most other people you know?


Related articles: (Matthew Aaron Goodman, Hold Love Strong, New York City, Simon and Schuster, Author, Pen America )
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