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Articles tagged "Jewishness"

The Polish Boxer

69752. That it was his phone number. That it was tattooed there, on his left forearm, so he wouldn't forget it. That's what my grandfather told me. And that's what I grew up believing. In the seventies, the country's phone numbers were all five digits. I called him Oitze because he called me Oitze, which meant something corny in Yiddish. I liked his Polish accent. I liked to dip my pinky finger (the only physical characteristic I inherited from him was his gnarled pair...

An Exchange on Nation and Exile

"Perhaps I am one of the last who must live out to the end the destiny of the Jewish spirit in Europe." Why "must"? Writing from Paris in August 1948 to relatives in the new state of Israel, Paul Celan, having barely survived the "Final Solution" expedited by Nazism, explains that a poet cannot stop writing, "even when he is a Jew and the language of his poems is German." This fateful pledge, from a brutally orphaned son whose stirring 1945 ballad, "Deathfugue," intones "Death is a...

An Odd Story

I glanced at the wreath against the tombstone and was amazed to read my own name on it: TO MY SECOND MOTHER—FROM KAREL HRABĚ. In our family there had never been anybody by that name. My father, Abraham Grafi, was the owner of a fairly respectable fabric store located on the oblong main square of a district town near Moravská Ostrava. There my mother, Sarah, spent her days in the cashier's booth. Every crown of the daily gross sales passed through her short...

Parting, a scene

"Parting," first published in Hebrew in 1914, revolves around the biblical injunction (and the Jewish custom) that a man must marry and support his brother's widow. However, in later times, as bigamy was outlawed, wives were made to divorce their dying husbands. . . . then the sun began to set. And it sent its last rays to the window of the terminally ill man. The rays shone through the latticed curtain, and flecks of light collected on the wall near the bed. . . . The room was...

from Canary

Characters: Siggi Grünebaum, an old diamond cutter Benny Schorsch, his partner Violetta Grünebaum-Moser, Siggi's daughter Roland Moser, her husband Elfie Schneider, a young woman The play takes place in the Diamond District of New York City, in the last year of the last century. Act 1 Lunchtime with Wagner New York City, 47th Street. It's a winter afternoon in the Diamond District. Siggi Grünebaum's small diamond store sits to the right of a passageway...

Here

I've been here too. In the blank white patch (hic sunt leones) on the map. Here. In the heart of the phosphorous flame in the core of the star of insomnia of the absence of meaning here where huge dogs prowl Yes. In the heart of the wish to die What incandescence. What incandescence What huge ravenous dogs race in circles around me race in circles around you You are...

A Friend of the Archangel

When Gabriel left his country for the first time he was 55 years old. At first he thought he was lucky to have escaped the communist hell. In his own city of Sighet it had become impossible for him to practice his watch-repair trade. His shop, like many other private enterprises, was confiscated by the state and he was forced to work for many years as a night watchman. His wife Lea-who had been deported to Transnistria in her youth-insisted they emigrate to Israel, but when they finally...

from Outcast

Dreams don't come to us without being provoked externally, which is what happened to me yesterday when I woke up at five in the morning, precisely the hour I had intended to get up. I found myself on someone's trail and soon I saw Kassem and said something as I approached him, even though I was astonished that I would be able to talk to him while he was no longer among the living; then I realized that it wasn't Kassem but my faithful servant Sha'aban and that I wanted him to...
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