Israel in Translation

The Song of Songs

This week we continue exploring Robert Alter’s translation of the Bible and sacred poetry by looking at the “Song of Songs,” which is traditionally read on the Shabbat of the intermediate days of Passover before the morning Torah reading, or on the morning of the seventh day.

Robert Alter’s Bible: Like Two Worlds at Once

Robert Alter’s historic one-man translation of the entire Hebrew Bible is like two worlds at once, the heavens and the earth, with the translation above and the commentary below. One can spend a lifetime in either of these worlds.

“I Am the Daughter of Lot”

The poetry of Bracha Serri is intertextual, not only for its Biblical references, but for its dialogue with Yemenite culture, feminism, politics, and religion. She often adopts the first person voice of a Yemeni woman, crushed between an oppressive patriarchal background and the discriminatory nature of her everyday life.

The Poetry of Ayman Agbaria

Several of Agbaria’s poems, written in Arabic, have been translated into Hebrew, and have been well received. Among the themes found in his poetry are the extreme alienation from the self that of living as a religious and linguistic minority in Israel can produce.

“The Orange Exploded in My Hand”

Today we commemorate the life of Ella Bat Tsion, who passed away one month ago. We begin the episode with the poem “I waited with Endless Patience.”

King Ahasuerus and the Persian Court

This Purim, we turn to Robert Alter’s excellent new translation, “Strong as Death Is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel.” Alter writes that the Book of Esther, unlike any other book of the Bible, seems to have been written primarily for entertainment.

Shani Boianjiu’s “The People of Forever Are Not Afraid”

This week we feature a novel told in a series of vignettes, narrated by three young Israeli women following their high school years in a small northern village and through their enlistment in the Israeli Defence Force where they train marksmen, guard a border and man a checkpoint.

Israeli Love Poetry in Translation

In this week’s episode, we will consider Israeli Love poetry through the lens of Barbara Goldberg’s new book, “Transformation: The Poetry of Translation,” which has just come out this year, after winning the Valentin Krustev Award for Translation.

Rana Werbin Introduces Us to the Genre “Auto-Reality”

An introduction to the genre called “Auto-Reality,” a term coined by Israeli writer and editor Rana Werbin to describe her first book, “Life Is Good.”

Aharon Appelfeld: The Ticho House Café Interview

Aharon Appelfeld would say that in order to be a serious writer you need to have a routine. For years his routine had been to write in the café at Ticho House, in Jerusalem. It was there that Alain Elkann interviewed him for The Paris Review.