Around the time I first read Aharon Appelfeld’s Unto the Soul (1994), I was just barely starting to write about Jews.
In each of Alan Furst’s 14 novels about spies—not spy novels, he insists there is a difference—characters inevitably end up dining at Brasserie Heininger in Paris. The fictional restaurant, based on the real Brasserie Bofinger, with its opulent marble staircase and shucked oysters, represents the glamour and the joie de vivre of 1930s Paris, a city he calls “the heart of civilization.”
Paul Goldberg’s debut novel, The Yid, may remind many of its readers of the movies of director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino, and especially his 2009 World War II film Inglourious Basterds [sic], in which a French-Jewish cinema proprietor and a Jewish-American military squad work together to assassinate Hitler and others.
If you ever want to convince someone not to be Jewish, invite them to an argument over Israel. The rancor, the ignorance, the accusations of racism and anti-Semitism—there’s a reason the topic is often banned from polite conversation: The conversation is rarely polite.
In 1987, the editors of the Israeli weekly newsmagazine Koteret Rashit marked the 20th year of Israeli control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by dispatching the young, up-and-coming novelist and journalist David Grossman to spend seven weeks among Palestinians and Israeli settlers living in the West Bank.
Maya Benton was a high school senior living in Los Angeles when the Russian-American photographer Roman Vishniac’s first posthumous book, To Give Them Light, came out in 1993. Renowned for his iconic images of Eastern European Jews taken between the two World Wars, Vishniac had died three years earlier at age 92.