Israel in Translation

The Short Shorts of Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein’s short stories are sometimes as short as a single sentence, and have been described as examples of the “philosophical, or allegorical short-short story.” Born in 1971 in St. Petersburg, Epstein moved to the Israeli city of Lod when he was eight years old.

Dinner with Joachim

On this episode, Marcela reads three of the six parts of Sharron Hass’s poem “Dinner With Joachim,” which is a critical inquiry into light as the root of rational thought.

Simple, True, and Authentic: The Poetry of Mordechai Geldman

Mordechai Geldman’s work is often informed by his experience as a psychotherapist. “My poetry comes from the inner void that meditation creates,” Geldman writes in his preface to his collected works.

I, Kohelet, Son of David, King in Jerusalem

It’s Sukkot—which lasts seven days in Israel. It is a time to remind ourselves how fleeting life is, and that we should seek a deeper meaning besides the fulfillment of material goods. Marcela reads her translation of “Kohelet.”

A Story for Yom Kippur by S. Y. Agnon

For this Yom Kippur, we read a section of S. Y. Agnon’s “Twofold” translated by Jeffrey Saks.

Poems for These Days of Repentance

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the ten days known as the Days of Awe. Today we feature works by Yehuda Amichai and Ibn Gavirol fitting of these Days of Repentance.

Poems of Isaac for Rosh Hashanah 5779

Next week, from Sunday night until Wednesday at sunset, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This year, Marcela focuses on the figure of Isaac, son of Abraham, because the Torah readings for both days of the holiday focus on Sarah’s conceiving and giving birth to Isaac, Hagar’s banishment into the desert, and the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah.

Learning Through Translation

Today we feature poems translated by Aya Abu Riash, Yavni Bar-Yam, and Hiba Jiryis, who are all translation seminar students at Bar-Ilan University. After studying and discussing various translation theories, poetic traditions, and styles, each student chose a poet and translated their work.

Helawy’s “R.A. Looks for His Eyes”

This short story is by Sheikha Helawy, a Bedouin woman living in Jaffa. The story consists of a letter from the “Letters to the Editor” section of the newspaper. The writer, who goes by “R.A.”, is searching for his eyes. How did he lose them? Will anyone be able to help?

The Poet Who Longed for the Future: David Avidan

David Avidan worked as a self-described “poet, painter, filmmaker, publicist, and playwright.” He was often attacked by poetry critics who criticized him as being egocentric, chauvinistic, and technocratic. In an interview, Avidan proclaimed: “My arena is the entire planet. Israel is but a small piece of land. I don’t work in Tel Aviv. I work from Tel Aviv.”