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Ba’al Teshuvah Poetics
Part of being a ba’al teshuvah is the yearning to stop being one—to finally blend with those who never had to return because they never left.
For a young daydreamer, nothing is more beautiful than the unspoken, which becomes the focus of desire. And the Jewish unspoken of my childhood was so vast that, within it, the imagination could reach near-spiritual proportions.
Babel’s Transcendent Mistakes
When I was 12, my parents bought me a gigantic Yiddish-Russian dictionary. Maybe this was their way of compensating for the fact that they had not told me I was Jewish until second grade, when I came home singing a Ukrainian ditty with the word “zhid.”
Intense Listening: The Poetry of Harvey Shapiro
Harvey Shapiro, who grew up in an observant Jewish family, was a connoisseur of distances and silences.