“We never chose to be involved in a war. The decision-makers never think of us as real people, with minds to think and hearts to feel. We have lives ahead of us. No one seems to notice.” Today, we share the work of one poet in Gaza whose work opens a tiny window to what’s happening on the other side.
Israel in Translation
“Petty Business” is a tale of two families, related by marriage, who are shop owners in 1980s Israel. Rarely are middle-aged, petit bourgeois families the protagonists of Israeli literature, but Yirmi Pinkus, who is also a graphic artist known for his humor, delivers a strangely compelling story.
Today we feature poetry by Sheikha Helawy, a Bedouin woman born in the unmarked Bedouin village of El-Roi, on the outskirts of the city of Haifa, and who today lives in Jaffa. Her poems were originally written in Arabic and in Hebrew.
Moshe Sakal’s novel, The Diamond Setter, is part mystery, part family history, and part myth. The plot centers around a lost blue diamond called Sabakh. The novel’s main storyteller, Tom, becomes romantically involved with a young man from Damascus who may or may not be connected to the cursed diamond.
Originally written in English, the memoir translates the study of the Talmud’s “Daf Yomi” into a life story. The Talmud is the main book of rabbinic teachings and is the basis for all codes of Jewish law. The memoir begins in the wake of a painful divorce, when Ilana decides to begin this 7 ½ year long study, one page at a time.
In this episode we read from David Grossman’s “Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel”, translated by Haim Watzman. The narrative that Grossman records are the words of Aouni Sbeit.
Tonight marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Moving past all the euphoria and towards attempts at wisdom, this episode will feature excerpts from the essay “The Meaning of Homeland” by Amos Oz.
In honor of Yom HaShoah, we read the poetry of Paul Celan, born to a Jewish family in Czernowitcz in 1920. The death of his parents in the Holocaust, and his imprisonment in a Romanian work camp are the defining forces in his poetry and use of language.
This week, excerpts from “To Die a Modern Death,” an important essay for those caring for aging family members, especially during the holidays.