israel in translation

The One Facing Us: Ronit Matalon’s family album

Ronit Matalon’s first novel to be translated into English is organized around 17 snapshots from an imaginary family photo album.

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Naim Araidi and the people of the Galilee

“People of the Galilee are strong as the sun / Rough as the terebinth tender as the oak / Fiery as the fires of Sodom / Sodden as the salt of the sea.”

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“Let there be light”: The birth of the world through a child’s eyes

It takes a year to read the entire Torah in synagogue, and on the holiday of Simchat Torah we finish the reading and begin again with Genesis.

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A visit to the ‘etrogger’ with S.Y. Agnon

“A beautiful scent arose from the etrogs and hadasim, which masked the smell of old books, most of which had come from the apartments of poor folk…”

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Eating dark earth on Yom Kippur

“Ever since my pious mother ate earth on Yom Kippur, ate dark earth on Yom Kippur, mixed with fire, I, a living man, must eat dark earth on Yom Kippur”

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Free admission to Rosh Hashanah

Navit Barel writes: “We ate apples dipped in honey. Free admission / to the sweet and happy years…”

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Ode to a golden summer vacation

“Once, when summer vacation stretched over the whole summer and tasted of sand and smelled of grapes and a redhead sun daubed freckles on your face…”

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Yona Wallach’s Hebrew “peeks through the keyhole”

Yona Wallach had an astonishing impact on Hebrew literature during her short life, ushering in a feminist revolution in Israeli poetry.

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