The Tents Produce Poetry

Haim Watzman My friend from Kehilat Yedidya, Nir Levy, has been commemorating the current protest movement with a poem a day. Levy, who writes under the penname Nahir Libi, is the author of a fine first book of poetry, Mahol HaNefesh, which he’s also turned into an intriguing and moving show integrating readings of his … Read moreThe Tents Produce Poetry

Arab Poetry for Jews: Sasson Somekh

Haim Watzman “If we had soldiers read the poetry their enemies write, we could prevent war,” declared Haim Gouri , an old poet and an old soldier, at Jerusalem’s literary café Tmol Shilshom last night. Sasson Somekh, whose new memoir was the subject of the evening, smiled. While he was polite enough not to contradict … Read moreArab Poetry for Jews: Sasson Somekh

Gazing at Iris — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman Iris opens an eye to the sun above, then turns it to Yehoshua. Around them, a clearing of May’s green grass, not yet browned by the summer, stretches between the exuberant purple blooms of three jacarandas, among which iridescent blue sunbirds hover. Iris lies, and Yehoshua sits, on the top of a knoll … Read moreGazing at Iris — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

On This Side and That — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman Zealot lifted the lid of the pot, taking care not to topple it from the primus and spill gravy all over the front of his new tolstovka. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and lifted his head so that, had they been open, he would have been gazing at the damp … Read moreOn This Side and That — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Next Summer’s War — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman The Jerusalem winter that kept coming back had finally come to an end, or perhaps it was just taking another break. Whatever the case, the clouds had gone from dark and low to scattered and high, the wind had slowed from gale force to tickle, and the temperature had risen from ski gear … Read moreNext Summer’s War — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Desertion — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman The picture I see each morning when I turn on my computer is of my younger son, Niot, in a graveyard. His hands are on his hips, his head is cocked, his eyes look straight at me, and his lips are pressed into a half-smile that says, “What, you again?” He’s wearing a … Read moreDesertion — “Necessary Stories” from The Jerusalem Report

Reborn Jews

Haim Watzman This article was solicited last year by the Jewish Review of Books but got cut in favor of material on the summer protest movement. I forgot about it and just yesterday found it in my computer. I hope it will interest SoJo’s readers I had two adoptive families in Kiryat Shmonah, Israel’s northernmost … Read moreReborn Jews

Winter — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman “Can I get some cooperation here?” asks Yoel in the firm but plaintive voice of a reserve platoon commander. Tourjeman, Brosh, and I are sitting like three monkeys (bald, sandy blond, bearded; wiry, fit, and flabby) on a small mound at the foot of the dusty spur that we’ve been charging up all … Read moreWinter — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Police to Protesters: Move to Migron

Gershom Gorenberg Earlier this month, the Israeli Supreme Court woke up from a deep slumber and issued an order to the government to evacuate the illegal outpost of Migron on the bypass road between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlements north of Ramallah. Migron, according to founder Itay Harel, was originally established on the hilltop in … Read morePolice to Protesters: Move to Migron

My Wife Watches Me — A Poem by Giora Fisher

Haim Watzman The one great emotion most neglected by poets is the profound love of the long-married couple written from the perspective of middle age. Most poets who reach that age (one wonders what Byron might have sounded like at 60), the male ones in particular, seem to be hung up over their lost libido. … Read moreMy Wife Watches Me — A Poem by Giora Fisher

With a Little Help From My Friends (or: Judaism as Justice)

Gershom Gorenberg I know that today is Tu Be’Av, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av, an obscure holiday from the Second Temple period that has been secularized in Israel as the Day of Love – and that, according to Chana Pinchasi, should really be understood as an assertion of women’s freedom and a … Read moreWith a Little Help From My Friends (or: Judaism as Justice)

City of Thieves, Day of Mourning (and the Scent of Hope)

Gershom Gorenberg Anshel Pfeffer’s article last week against fasting on Tisha Be’Av seemed written for me. I hate to fast. An old friend once told me that on Yom Kippur, he looks at my face in shul to get a real sense of suffering. Enough chastising the flesh. It makes you feel bad. ‘There is … Read moreCity of Thieves, Day of Mourning (and the Scent of Hope)