Michal Govrin (November 24, 1950) is an Israeli author, poet and theater director.
Govrin was born and raised in Tel Aviv by her mother, a Holocaust survivor, and her father, a pioneer in the Third Aliya, and one of the founders of kibbutz Tel Yosef. Govrin graduated from a municipal high school in Tel Aviv, served in the IDF as a military reporter, and completed her undergraduate studies at the Comparative literature and Theater departments of Tel Aviv University. In 1976, she completed her PhD from Paris University VIII in theater and religious studies. Her research ‘Contemporary Sacred Theater, Theory and Practice’, examines the theatrical aspects of Jewish mystical practices in Hasidic practices along with a study of the theater of Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook.
Govrin has published multiple fiction and poetry books, which have been awarded a number of prizes and been translated into several languages. In 2010 Govrin was chosen by the French Salon du Livre as one of the thirty authors that have left a mark on world literature. In 2013 she was awarded the title of chevalier by the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Govrin has directed plays in all of Israel’s major theaters and was one of the founders of the Experimental Jewish Theater.
Govrin was the head of the Theater Department at Emmuna College, and has taught at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the School of Visual Theater. She was a Writer in Residence at Rutgers University and gave an annual guest lecture at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York. Govrin lectures to open audiences around the world, in conferences, and in media. She is currently a professor at Tel Aviv University.
As part of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Govrin founded and directed the multi-disciplinary research group ‘Transmitted Memory and Fiction’. The group worked towards an understanding of Holocaust remembrance for an age when living survivors are no longer the memory carriers. In 2015 a concluding exhibition ‘What is the memory? Seventy years later’ was displayed at the Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, along with a symposium and the production of a film. Parallel to this project Govrin founded and lead a team of historians, thinkers, and community leaders that conceived a ground-breaking ceremony – the “Hitkansut” (Gathering): a “Haggadah” for the Holocaust memorial day.” The gathering put forward the double attitude of “The responsibility to remember / Remember with responsibility”. In 2015 there were 10 experimental gatherings. Since 2016 the Hitkansut has been published and distributed by the Hartman Institute and is practiced in a large number of schools, communities, workplace, and homes across Israel.
Govrin is married to Haim Brezis, the French-Jewish Mathematician and Professor. They met in Jerusalem in 1978 when Brezis visited the city in search of Govrin, after having read an article she wrote about her journey to Poland. The couple has two daughters. Govrin lives in the Rehaviah neighborhood of Jerusalem. Her uncle Akiva Govrin served as a minister and member of the Knesset.