Righteous, Remorseful Jews

As my 61st birthday approaches, I’ve noticed that I have recently been going back to authors and works I read many years ago.  For example, I’ve been reading Thomas Merton’s Asian Journal, William D. Miller’s…

From 7 P.M. to 7 A.M.

Gershom Scholem,  From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memories of My Youth Schocken paperback, 1988 I first read this book eighteen years ago.  So much time has passed since those Maryknoll days when I thought I wanted to…

History from a New Perspective

Dorothee Soelle, Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian A series of short 3-6 page chapters proceeding chronologically from growing up in Germany, through the war years, to her education, her intellectual influences, especially, existentialism;…

Always an Opportunity

Tariq Ali, Conversations with Edward Said 22 May 2006 There’s not much to this 128-page book, a long interview between Ali and Said, “the true chronicler of his people and their occupied homeland,” most all…

Yiddish Writers

H. Leivick I have often felt that instead of writing my autobiography I would like to write the biography of my poems. I mean, tell the life story of some of my poems… Sholem Aleichem…

Mentshes/1

Dear Shannon, I enjoyed our long conversation on Saturday afternoon at 6 North Coffee. I appreciate you taking the time to visit on such a busy weekend. After our chats, the strong impression I am…

Inspirations

[A Beggar in Jerusalem] is neither novel nor anti-novel, neither fiction nor autobiography, neither poem nor prose—it is all this together. — Elie Wiesel My idea of the ideal text is still the Talmud. I…

A Hierarchy of Human Life?

Nawal El Saadawi, The Essential Reader In his poem “Cosmopolitan Greetings,” Allen Ginsberg urged: Stand up against governments, against God.  This expresses the life and work of Nawal El-Saadawi. I am African from Egypt, not…

The Power of Footnotes

1. My idea of the ideal text is still the Talmud. I love the idea of parallel texts, with long, discursive footnotes and marginal commentary, texts commenting on texts. –Noam Chomsky, Mother Jones interview, 1987…