La presencia judía en Uruguay/ The Jewish Presence in Uruguay

Montevideo

Sinagoga del la Comunidad Israelita del Uruguay
Sinagoga de la Comunidad Sefardí de Uruguay
Instituto Yavne y Sinagoga

Punta del Este

Sinagoga de Punta del Este
Sinagoga Adjut Israel de Punta del Este

Artistas del Uruguay/Artists of Uruguay

José Gurvich

José Gurvich https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jewishlatinamerica.wordpress.com/7914

Jaime Kleist

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jewishlatinamerica.wordpress.com/2913

Eva Olivetti

Raúl Pavlotsky

Aída Socolovsky

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Escritores del Uruguay/Artists of Uruguay

Julia Galimare https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jewishlatinamerica.wordpress.com/1731

Raúl Hecht https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jewishlatinamerica.wordpress.com/2151

Exelyn Wertheimer https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/jewishlatinamerica.wordpress.com/2413

Mauricio Rosencof

David Viñas (1927-2011) — Crítico social y novelista judío-argentino/Argentine Social Critic and Novelist — “Los dueños de la tierra”/”The Owners of the Earth” — fragmento/excerpt

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David Viñas

 

Viñas, David

David Viñas nació en Buenos Aires en 1929. Estudió en el Liceo militar a causa de los problemas económicos familiares. Estudió Filosofía y Letras, allí conoció a algunos intelectuales. Fue uno de los fundadores, en 1953, de la revista Contorno. Al poco tiempo publicó su primera novela Cayó sobre su rostro. Recibió en 1962 el Premio Nacional de Literatura. En 1967 fue galardonado con el Premio Casa de las Américas, de La Habana (. También ha sido capital su aportación al ensayo con libros como Literatura argentina y realidad política: de Sarmiento a Cortázar o Rebeliones populares argentinas: De los montoneros a los anarquistas. La dictadura le robó a sus dos hijos, ambos acaban de ser padres cuando los detuvieron, y fueron desaparecidos por los militares, y lo obligó a exiliarse en México y España. En México fundó la editorial Tierra del Fuego junto a Pedro Orgambide, Jorge Boccanera, Alberto Ádelach y Humberto Costantini, en 1981. En 1984 pudo regresar a Argentina tras el fin de la dictadura. Fue nombrado titular de la Cátedra de Literatura Argentina de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. En los años siguientes se sucedieron los estrenos teatrales. En 1991 recibió la la Beca Guggenheim pero la rechazó como homenaje a sus hijos.

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David Viñas was born in Buenos Aires in 1929. He studied at the Military Lyceum because of family financial problems. He studied Philosophy and Letters, there he met some intellectuals. He was one of the founders, in 1953, of the magazine Contorno. Soon after, he published his first novel. It fell on his face. He received in 1962 the National Prize for Literature. In 1967 he was awarded the Casa de las Américas Prize. His contribution to the essay has also been capital with books such as Argentine literature and political reality: from Sarmiento to Cortázar or Argentine popular rebellions: From the montoneros to the anarchists. The dictatorship stole his two sons, both of whom had just become parents when they were detained, and who were disappeared by the military, and forced him into exile in Mexico and Spain. In Mexico he founded the Tierra del Fuego publishing house together with Pedro Orgambide, Jorge Boccanera , Alberto Ádelach and Humberto Costantini, in 1981. In 1984 he was able to return to Argentina after the end of the dictatorship.He was appointed holder of the Chair of Argentine Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Buenos Aires. Theatrical premieres followed, in 1991 he received the Guggenheim Scholarship but rejected it as a tribute to his children.

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De la novela “Los Dueños de la tierra”, 1958

 

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“Esos de la Guardia Blanca”

Claro que estaban ésos de la guardia blanca. Vicente ya los conocía; en Buenos Aires, desde su departamento de la calle Ayacucho los había visto golpear a la gente del barrio en la semana de enero en 19.[i] Y rompían vidrieras y ensuciaban las sinagogas. Había sido un lunes y por las calles de la ciudad deambulaban algunos hombres solitarios y sudorosos, con las corbatas flojas y el saco en la mano. Los que acababa de ver en el puerto y los que tiraban bombas de alquitrán contra las sinagogas de Buenos Aires se parecían, desde la manera de golpear y reírse al mismo tiempo, hasta la insolencia se confeccionaban para insultar y pararse en medio de la calle con las piernas abiertas. Eran tipos que gritaban”—Judío sucio” con la misma calma que se instalaban a la salida de un jardín israelita para obligarles a cantar el Himno, “Oíd mortales el grito sagrado!” Sí, pensaba. Y desde su balcón de la calle Ayacucho había visto a esos chiquilines que cantaban destempladamente, espiando a sus maestras y esperando que les ordenasen que se callaran de una vez porque el Himno no se canta así, o que se largaran a correr hacia sus casas. Pero en 1910, cuando el Centenario.él, él mismo, Vicente había hecho algo parecido. Era más joven claro. Pero las balas de su revólver corrían por debajo del paño verde de los billares en esos cafés oscuros y bajos de la calle Libertad. Dos, tres, seis tiros sobre esas mesas mientras los parroquianos se apoyaban en sus tacos con inquietud hieráticos, extranjeros, pero con esa silenciosa y acusadora dignidad de las víctimas. Había olor a pólvora en aquella sala de billar. Un judío de rancho, insignificante, había seguido frotando la tiza sobre su taco. Vicente vació su revólver sobre una de las mesas de billar. Las balas se deslizaban por debajo del paño como unos extraños gusanos veloces y aturdidos. Eso había sido para divertirse, por cierto. Como él iba a pasar sus horas muertas en uno de los prostíbulos enfrente a los tribunales, le quedaba cerca. Era una diversión cercana. “Un trabajo a un paso de la farra”, comentaban en el Gimnasia y Esgrima. Los tribunales de un lado, y a la vuelta, el prostíbulo y los billares judíos de la calle Libertad. Todo ahí no más. ”Un verdadero centro de diversiones” proclamaba entonces. Pero es que todos los prostíbulos estaban atestados de judíos y muchos judíos andaban en ese negocio.[iii] “Las polacas”, les decían los amigos en el club. “Y una polaca le da vuelta y media a cinco francesas”.  Y todos se divertían con las judías que al fin de cuentas, eran lo mismo. Él, sus compañeros de la facultad en el año del Centenario y la guardia blanca en la semana de enero del 19. Pero con la diferencia que él lo había hecho para pasar el rato, total, no eran más que los paños de los billares. Además, unos días después había ido a pagarlos. Pasar el rato, de eso se trataba, porque él no tenía nada contra los judíos, que eran gente trabajadora y no se metían con nadie. Aunque un poco… un poco… ¿Cómo diría?, calculaba Vicente. Poco elegantes. Ahí estaba. No eran lindos los judíos y qué se la iba a hacer. Se nacío fiero o se nacía con pinta de macho. Una vez le habían comentado en la mesa de Ingenieros: “Usted es el precursor de las guardias blancas. Verá—“ Y Vicente no había sabido si se lo decían en serio o en divertirse. Él no tenía prejuicios. Y no pensaba eso para darse una explicación que lo tranquilizarse.

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[i] La Semana Trágica es el nombre con el que se conoce la represión y masacre sufrida por el movimiento obrero argentino, en la que fueron asesinadas cientos de personas en Buenos Aires, en la segunda semana de enero de 1919, La misma incluyó el único pogromo (matanza de judíos) del que se tiene registro en América. Dentro de la Semana Trágica se produjo el único pogromo (matanza de judíos) del que hay registro en el continente americano. El pogromo tuvo su epicentro en el barrio judío de Once. El pogromo se desató cuando promediaba la Semana Trágica y se sumaron a la represión los civiles de clase alta, Fue llevado a cabo por la Liga Patriótica Argentina, “la guardia blanca”; incendiaron sinagogas. Hubo centenares de muertos

[ii] La prostitución en Argentina fue dominada por judíos por muchos años. Fue terminado por protesta vehementes de la comunidad judía y legislación del gobiernos.

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From the novel: “The Rulers of the Earth, 1958”

 

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“Those of the White Guard”

 

Of course, those of the White Guard were there. Vicente knew them already; in Buenos Aires, from his apartment on Ayacucho Street, he had seen them strike the people of the neighborhood in the January week of 1919. And they broke store windows and the befouled the synagogues. It had been a Monday and solitary and sweaty men wandered the streets, with their ties loose and their jackets in their hands. Those that he had just seen in the port and those who threw tar bombs at the synagogues of Buenos Aires seemed, from their manner to punch and laugh at the same time, to the insolence they had for insulting and stopping in the middle of the street with their legs apart. They were guys who shouted “Dirty Jew” with the same calmness who stood in the exit of a Jewish kindergarten to force them to sing the National Anthem, “Hear, O Mortals, the sacred shout!” Ye, he thought. And from his balcony on Ayacucho Street he had seen those little ones who were singing off-key, spying at their teachers and hoping that they would order them to be quiet at once because the Anthem was not song in that way, or that they leave to run home. But in 1910, which was the Centenary, he, he himself, Vicente had done something similar. Surely, he was younger. But the bullets from his revolver shot below the green cloth of the billiard tables in those dark and humble cafes on Libertad Street. Two, three, six shots over those tables while the neighbors were leaning on their cues. A Jew from the farms, insignificant, had continued rubbing the chalk on his cue. Vicente opened his revolver on a billiard table. The bullets slid under the billiard cloth like some strange and confused worms. This was for fun, of course. Just like he was going to spend his free time in one of the brothels near the courts. It was a nearby diversion. Work just a step from the party, they commented at Gym and Fencing . The gym on one side and, around the corner the Jewish brothel and billiard parlors on Liberty Street. Everything there. That’s it. A true center of entertainment, they proclaimed in those days. But it was that all the brothels were filled with Jews and many Jews were in that business.The Polish girls”, his friends in the club called them.  “And a Polish girl gives you more than five French girls and they all had a good time with the Jewish girls who, in the end were the same ones. He, his buddies from the college, in the year of the Centenary and the White Guards in the January week of 1919. But the difference was that he had done it to pass the time, they weren’t more that cloths on billiard tables, that’s all. Moreover, a few days later, he went over to pay for them. To pass the time, that’s what it was about. Because he didn’t have anything against the Jews, who were hard working people and don’t bother anyone. Although a little… a little. How would you say it?, Vicente  reckoned. Not elegant. That was it. The Jews weren’t attractive and what are you going to do. You are born fierce or you were born with a macho look. He had once heard commented at the Engineer’s table. “You are precursor of the White Guards. You’ll see.” And Vicente didn’t know whether if it was said to him seriously or in jest. He didn’t have prejudices. And he wasn’t thinking that to give himself an explanation that would calm him down.

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“Those of the White Guard”

 

Of course, those of the White Guard were there. Vicente knew them already; in Buenos Aires, from his apartment on Ayacucho Street, he had seen them strike the people of the neighborhood in the January week of 1919. [i]And they broke store windows and the befouled the synagogues. It had been a Monday and solitary and sweaty men wandered the streets, with their ties loose and their jackets in their hands. Those that he had just seen in the port and those who threw tar bombs at the synagogues of Buenos Aires seemed, from their manner to punch and laugh at the same time, to the insolence they had for insulting and stopping in the middle of the street with their legs apart. They were guys who shouted “Dirty Jew” with the same calmness who stood in the exit of a Jewish kindergarten to force them to sing the National Anthem, “Hear, O Mortals, the sacred shout!” Ye, he thought. And from his balcony on Ayacucho Street he had seen those little ones who were singing off-key, spying at their teachers and hoping that they would order them to be quiet at once because the Anthem was not song in that way, or that they leave to run home. But in 1910, which was the Centenary, he, he himself, Vicente had done something similar. Surely, he was younger. But the bullets from his revolver shot below the green cloth of the billiard tables in those dark and humble cafes on Libertad Street. Two, three, six shots over those tables while the neighbors were leaning on their cues. A Jew from the farms, insignificant, had continued rubbing the chalk on his cue. Vicente opened his revolver on a billiard table. The bullets slid under the billiard cloth like some strange and confused worms. This was for fun, of course. Just like he was going to spend his free time in one of the brothels near the courts. It was a nearby diversion. Work just a step from the party, they commented at Gym and Fencing . The gym on one side and, around the corner the Jewish brothel and billiard parlors on Liberty Street. Everything there. That’s it. A true center of entertainment, they proclaimed in those days. But it was that all the brothels were filled with Jews and many Jews were in that business. [ii]The Polish girls”, his friends in the club called them.  “And a Polish girl gives you more than five French girls and they all had a good time with the Jewish girls who, in the end were the same ones. He, his buddies from the college, in the year of the Centenary and the White Guards in the January week of 1919. But the difference was that he had done it to pass the time, they weren’t more that cloths on billiard tables, that’s all. Moreover, a few days later, he went over to pay for them. To pass the time, that’s what it was about. Because he didn’t have anything against the Jews, who were hard working people and don’t bother anyone. Although a little… a little. How would you say it?, Vicente  reckoned. Not elegant. That was it. The Jews weren’t attractive and what are you going to do. You are born fierce or you were born with a macho look. He had once heard commented at the Engineer’s table. “You are precursor of the White Guards. You’ll see.” And Vicente didn’t know whether if it was said to him seriously or in jest. He didn’t have prejudices. And he wasn’t thinking that to give himself an explanation that would calm him down.

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[i] Tragic Week is the name by which the repression and massacre suffered by the Argentine labor movement is known, in which hundreds of people were murdered in Buenos Aires, in the second week of January 1919, it included the only pogrom (massacre of Jews) that is recorded in America. Within the Tragic Week there was the only pogrom (massacre of Jews) of which there is record in the American continent. The pogrom had its epicenter in the Jewish quarter of Once. The pogrom was unleashed when Tragic Week was averaging and the upper-class civilians joined the repression. It was carried out by the Argentine Patriotic League, “the white guard”; synagogues burned. There were hundreds of deaths.

[ii] While prostitution in Argentina was dominated by Jews for many years., it was terminated by vehement protest from the Jewish community and government legislation.

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Bibliografía de David Viñas/David Viñas’ Bibliography

NOVELA/NOVEL

Cayó sobre su rostro (1955)

Los años despiadados (1956)

Un Dios cotidiano (1957)

Los dueños de la tierra (1958)

Dar la cara (1962)

En la semana trágica (1966)

Hombres de a caballo (1967)

Cosas concretas (1969)

Jauría (1971)

Cuerpo a cuerpo (1979)

Prontuario (1993)

Tartabul (2006)

La hermosa yegua

TEATRO/THEATER

Sarah Goldmann

Maniobras

Dorrego

Lisandro (1971)

Tupac-Amaru

Walsh y Gardel

ENSAYO/ESSAYS:

Literatura argentina y realidad política: de Sarmiento a Cortázar (1970)

De los montoneros a los anarquistas (1971)

Momentos de la novela en América Latina (1973)

Indios, ejército y fronteras (1982)

Los anarquistas en América Latina (1983)

Literatura argentina y política – De los jacobinos porteños a la bohemia anarquista (1995)

PREMIOS

Premio Guillermo Kraft (1957)

Premio Gerchunoff (1957)

Premio Nacional de Literatura (1962) y (1971)

Premio Casa de las Américas (1967)

Premio Nacional de Teatro (1972)

Premio Nacional de la Crítica

 

 

 

Bernardo Verbitsky (1907-1979) — Novelista judío- argentino/Argentine Jewish Novelist — “Es difícil empezar a vivir”/”It is Difficult to Learn to Live” — fragmento de la novela/excerpt from the novel

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Bernardo Verbitsky

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Con sus novelas Es difícil empezar a vivir y Etiquetas a los hombres, se considera a Bernardo Verbitsky como uno de los fundadores de la literatura judío-argentina moderna.

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With his novels It is Difficult to Learn to Live and Labels on Men, Bernardo Verbitsky is considered one of the founders of modern Argentine Jewish literature.

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Bernardo Verbitsky abandonó los estudios universitarios para dedicarse al periodismo en diversos medios, en particular noticias gráficas, donde escribió durante muchos años una columna titulada “Los libros por dentro”. Se convirtió en un retratista de las glorias y miserias de la ciudad de Buenos Aires, muy ligado al tango y al alma de la ciudad. Con su primera novela, Es difícil aprender a vivir (1941), obtuvo el premio Ricardo Güiraldes. Tanto ésta como las siguientes fueron componiendo un amplio fresco de la baja clase media urbana.Fue también guionista y miembro de la Academia Porteña del Lunfardo. Como escritor, dirigió la serie “Letras Argentinas” de Editorial Paidós9. Su novela Calles de Tango fue llevada al cine con el título Una Cita con la Vida.

Bernardo Verbitsky abandoned his university studies to devote himself to journalism in various media, in particular, graphic news, where he wrote for many years a column entitled “The Books Inside”. He became a portraitist of the glories and miseries of the city of Buenos Aires, closely linked to tango and the soul of the city. His first novel, It is Difficult to Learn to Live (1941), received the Ricardo Güiraldes prize. Both this and the following ones composed a large fresco of the lower urban middle class. He was also a scriptwriter and member of the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo. As a writer, he directed the series “Letras Argentinas” of Editorial Paidós9.  His novel Calles de Tango made into a movie with the title An Appointment with Life.

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Es difícil empezar a vivir

Por Leo se enteraba de las fiestas judías. Le sorprendió la llegada del año nuevo y fue entonces que conoció como una deseable aventura ayunar en Iom-Kipur. La perspectiva de pasar un día entero sin comer ni beber, figurábasele como internarse a través de un tenebroso lugar en que las amenazas acechaban en retorcidas callejuelas que debía recorrer extrayendo ánimo de su propio temor. Imaginábase que sólo podría arriesgarse en ese viaje de exploración apenas unas horas y luego debería regresar, como desiste. Al planear este ayuno de Iom-Kipur concedía sus mecánicas comidas un valor que en realidad no alcanzaba a tener para él el transcurrir de todos los días. Lo que siempre era un cumplido sin conciencia adquiría ahora un nuevo relieve. Imponiéndose una exagerada y deformada apreciación, el temor infantil de tener hambre, un temor de un solo bloque, irracional. Un día de hambre. Entonces dejaba de ser un vericueto de tortuosas calles. Una jornada de ayuno se extendía como desierto blanquecino sobre el que reverberaba una liviana neblina. Se entretenía en su visión, que de pronto entroncó con el recuerdo de muchos días del perdón que había pasado en el campo. Pensó entonces que de ese recuerdo nacía lo imaginado y que en ese momento estaba haciendo consciente un rastro de su memoria. Esa neblina blanca recordaba la sinagoga llena de hombres en una tarde calurosa de un día de perdón, faltaba pocas horas para el término del ayuno y allí seguían todos desde el comienzo de la mañana, con sus “tales” colgados desde los hombros. Ya era una escena marchita. Débiles, cansados, proseguían animosamente. Rostros amarillos transparentes de debilidad. Olor a aglomeración, olor humano en la tarde calurosa. Zumbaban monótonos los rezos y adquirían un periódico crescendo que, al disminuir, dejaba una sensación de aburrimiento. Creía ver un rayo amarillento de sol atravesando oblicuo la sinagoga, iluminando la sumida palidez de los rostros y el crema claro de los mantos. Por sobre los reunidos flotaba un vaho pesado y agrio. De nuevo el ayuno era un espacio de turbio peligro que no se animaba a atravesar. Parecíale que al final del día de ayuno se hallaría convertido a un exhausto espectro al que agregaba blancas vestiduras que hacían juego con tanto desmayo y flojedad. Estar tantas horas a pie en la sinagoga murmurando rezos era convertirse en un cirio que iba ardiendo alimentando lentamente por su propia sustancia. Arder en un místico fuego frío, descamarse paulatino y casi insensible, hasta quedar en huesos amarillos, en pellejo marfilino.

No le animó tampoco la idea de que millones de judíos realizaban todos los años el sacrificio que le acobardaba. En casa no se ayunaba, pensó, y a esto se debía su manera temerosa de enfrentar su plan. Los millones de judíos que ayunan anualmente, ¿eran unos héroes? Reconsideró entonces con un nuevo espíritu la posibilidad de hacer lo mismo. Si era penoso, mayor el aliciente; ahora descubría y saboreaba el verdadero móvil del sacrificio proyectado en honor de lo que le importaba: someterse a un penoso ejercicio, una mortificación. Se exaltaba pensando que se castigaría, por todo. Así vagamente, por todo. Lo imaginaba con fervor, gozando la perspectiva de pedir un mudo perdón por todo lo que hacía, por todo lo que dejaba de hacer, complaciéndose en la oculta penitencia a cumplir. Porque no diría nada a nadie, seguro que de llegarse a saber, todo perdería valor y intento volveríase estúpido. Además, más fácil era callarlo que comunicárselo a alguien. Y sentía, ya casi la alegría de ser perdonado.

Alguien lo había dicho alguna vez delante suyo y lo recordaba muy bien. Había sido escrito. Si un judío entra en una sinagoga y no sabe rezar como lo demás, lo ha de lamentar, le ha de defender su ignorancia. Ahora podía comprobarlo en sí mismo. Podía causarle gracia el asunto, que la tenía, pero era así. El hubiera querido leer como todos en su libro. Ese leer era orar, hablarle a Dios. No era necesario arrodillarse, no había más sacerdote que el cantor, y todo se limitaba a decir con palabras con la cabeza alta. Y ya entraba a fantasear sobre un tema, que por interesarle, no dominaba en realidad. Con la cabeza alta y el sombrero puesto permanecían los judíos en la sinagoga. Conversaba con Dios de igual con igual. Ese sombrero que se conservaban puesto los judíos fue una pequeña preocupación de los años infantiles, y ahora interpretaba que los judíos, ni al hablar con Dios se descubrían. Era un poco en broma. Pero tal vez tenía una raíz más seria. Para los judíos Dios estaba en el hombre, en cada hombre hay algo de Dios, algo divino. Ignoraba si había tal contenido en el judaísmo, pero al suponerlo creía intuir la verdad o una parte de ella. A través de las edades se había intentado de la realidad. La religión podría ser eso, un teoría de vida, una guía para desenvolverse en el mundo. Con los datos aportados por la vieja ciencia, se formó la base de muchas religiones. Ninguna tan humana como el judaísmo que es más que una religión ya que es un sistema de vida, una posición ante la existencia, un concepción que tendía a elevar al hombre, singular entre todas que las  que ofrece la antigüedad. El socialismo no sería sino una interpretación, adaptada a una ciencia moderna. Eso era casi coincidir casi con los hitleristas, se dijo. Luego se sumergió en un estado de ánimo especial en el que se mezclaban reproches a su padre por no haberle instruido acerca de esas cosas, y un especie de vocación furiosa por enterarse de todo cuanto concernía al judaísmo que ignoraba. Un poco más y hubiese querido ser un viejo rabino sabio, hebraísta ducha y capaz en desempeñarse hábilmente en medio de los libros y las consultas. En fin. Algún día lo tomaría más en serio. Mientras se formulaba esa promesa de estudio a cumplir en plazo incierto, volvió a escuchar el “jazán” que seguía su canto plañidero. Le observó con atención. Lo conocía muy bien. Era el propio padre de Leo, el honrado y siempre laborioso peletero Porter. Era el mismo, pero era otro. Con su amplio “tales” blanco de pura seda, con su mitra de terciopelo negro, parecía un obispo de la iglesia ortodoxa. Quedaba bien la palabra archidiácono. Pero era más que un archidiácono y más que un obispo. Era un rey bíblico, como Saúl como David o Salomón. Mientras cantaba infatigable no pensaba seguramente en esas cosas, pero para Pablo era eso: Moisés Porter era un rey. Y tal vez todos los judíos allí reunidos eran tantos otros reyes. Todos no, en realidad. Tan sólo creyentes. Y Moisés Porter cuando cantaba era un creyente sincero de alma clara. Y él, él también cuando escuchaba su voz suave y modelada a la manera de todos los cantores, se hacía la ilusión consoladora de que creía en algo. ¿Creía en Dios? Tal vez nada más en la música, y eso es creer algo. eso de lo de creer no le importaba en este momento tanto. Sólo quería entender las palabras del libro hebreo que distinguía perdidas en el canto. Adoinoi, Malkeini, Acoileinu, de una sonoridad magnífica, con muchas vocales, palabras abiertas y hondas, de resonancia musical. Pablo miró a Leo. Este contemplaba satisfecho a su padre, orgullosamente rodeado de sus hijos que formaban el coro. En esa oportunidad los hermanos se vinculaban en el canto más estrechamente que en cualquier otro día del año, apoyando la voz del padre, que plañía con un profundo sabor judío en las inflexiones. Pero el coro de los muchachos se escuchaba inseguro, completando un poco tristemente la parte del solista. Pablo y Leo se miraron, poniéndose de acuerdo sobre el efecto nada brillante.

–Canta—dijo Pablo.

Leo este año había interrumpido una antigua costumbre de cantar acompañando a su padre; separándose de Pablo se alejó en busca de un manto y se colocó entre sus hermanos. De pronto se oyó su voz fortaleciendo el languideciente grupo. El canto se enderezó, se hizo más denso. Pablo distinguía muy bien la bella voz de su amigo en la que hallaba ahora un nuevo tono cálido, Al resonar en el alto local se expandía libremente, matizándose de un timbre familiar pero que no le conocía tan acentuado como surgía en esa plena voz. Se la individualizaba en el conjunto, pero al mismo tiempo se diluía en él y le comunicaba con rara firmeza, le infundía una clásica sonoridad. Se percibía en el ambiente, la impresión que producía en el transfigurado coro. Este calló y Leo dijo, solo, su parte. La voz, limpia, se moduló un minuto por sobre los reunidos y luego al cesar, el zumbido de las oraciones murmuradas se extendió como un blando colchón para recibir las notas, que al dejar de cobrar altura iban a caer desde lo alto. Le emocionó su amigo con su “schemensre”. Al terminar el kolnidre comenzó a dispersar la gente. Muchos felicitaron a Leo por su canto.

–¿Qué vas a hacer esta noche? –preguntó Pablo.

Este se sorprendió la pregunta.

–Y, nada, lo que quieras. Caminamos si querés, iremos a dar al café.

–Bueno, vamos –dijo el otro después de una vacilación.

Caminaron juntos. Pablo espontáneamente comunicativo trató de explicarle cómo pudo, lo mucho que le había gustado su canto, la impresión recibida y el efecto de la voz sobre el coro. Estaba como conmovido de amistad y sin deseo de reprimir el sentimiento. Y en contra de lo que había propuesto, decidió informarle su plan de ayuno, para cumplirlo juntos.

Pidió café, pero Leo se negó a tomar nada. Después de un rato de silencio, le dijo con una sonrisa un poco forzada.

–No quiero nada. Te voy a decir por qué. Decidí ayunar este año. Se me ocurrió y lo estoy haciendo.

— ¿Estás ayunando?—Y luego casi sin querer, agregó Pablo–. Yo también pensaba. Te lo iba a proponer ahora. Pensaba que comenzaríamos esta noche, después de cenar.

–¿Desde esta noche? –Leo se rió —Pero eso no ayunar. Nosotros cenamos en mi casa a las seis. Es antes de ir al kolnidre y no se come hasta el día siguiente.

Pablo lo sabía. Pero lo había olvidado.

–¿No ves – siguió Leo—que algunos se quedan ya en la sinagoga para rezar toda la noche? Se ayuna en el día, pero son veinticuatro horas seguidas las que debe suplicarse el perdón.

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It’s Difficult to Learn to Live

From Leo, he learned about the Jewish holidays. The arrival of the New Year surprised him and it was then that he decided that fasting on Yom Kippur would be an interesting adventure. The idea of spending an entire day without eating or drinking seemed to him like getting himself into a dark place in which the threats were lying in wait in the twisted little streets that he had to pass through, finding energy in his own fear. He imagined that he could only risk a few hours on this voyage of exploration and then return, giving up. On planning this Yom Kippur fast he conceded to his routine meals a value that in reality they didn’t have for him in his daily life. Something that was an unconscious act would acquire a new importance, imposing an exaggerated and deformed appreciation, the infantile fear of being hungry, a fear of a single block, irrational. A day of hunger. Then it ceased being a rough track of tortuous streets. A day without eating extended like a whitish desert above which reverberated a light mist. His vision entertained him, that suddenly connected to the memory of many days of pardon he had experienced in the countryside. He then thought that from that memory was born the what he had imagined and that in that moment a trail of memories was becoming conscious. That white mist reminded him of the synagogue full of men in a hot afternoon of a day of pardon, few hours were left before the end of the fast and there all had continued since early morning, with their tallit hanging from their shoulders. It was already a withered scene. Weak, tired, they went spiritedly. Yellow faces transparent from weakness. Odor of agglomeration, human odor in the hot afternoon. The prayers buzzed on monotonously and they came to a periodical crescendo the, when it diminished, left behind a sensation of boredom. He believed he saw a yellowing ray of sun obliquely crossing the synagogue, illuminating the sunken paleness of the faces and the light cream color of the prayer shawls. On the group was floating a heavy and bitter vapor. Once again the fasting was a turbid danger that he didn’t want to take on. It seemed to him that the end of the fast day, you would be converted into an exhausted specter to which were added white clothing that matched so much dismay and weakness. To spend so many hours standing in the synagogue, murmuring prayers was to convert oneself in a candle that kept on burning, slowly feeding itself on its own substance, To burn in a cold mystical fire, flaking off little by little and almost numb, until leaving yellow bones in ivory-white skin.

Neither did the idea inspire him that millions of Jews carried out every year the sacrifice that frightened. At home, we didn’t fast, he thought; this caused his fearful manner of carrying out/facing his plan. The millions of Jews who fast annually, were they heroes? He then reconsidered with a new spirit the possibility of doing the same thing.  If it were awful, greater the inspiration;; now he discovered and savored the true meaning of the sacrifice, done in honor of what was important: to submit himself to a painful exercise, a mortification. He became exalted thinking that he would punish himself, for all. And so, vaguely for all. He imagined it with fervor, enjoying the perspective of asking a mute pardon for everything he was doing, for everything he no longer did, pleasing himself in the hidden penance to be completed. Because he wouldn’t say anything to anybody, sure that if it became known, everything would lose value and intention and become stupid. Moreover, it was easier to keep it quiet than communicate it to anyone. And he felt, already, almost the joy of being pardoned.

Someone had once said in front of him and he remembered it very well. It had been written. If a Jew entered a synagogue and didn’t know how to pray like the others, it was a shame. He had to defend his ignorance. Now he could test this in himself. This could cause him embarrassment, that he didn’t know, but so it was. He would have liked to read in his book like everyone. That reading was praying, speaking to God. It wasn’t necessary to kneel down, there was no other priest than the cantor, and everything was limited to saying words with head held high. An already he began to fantasize about a theme, that though interesting to him, wasn’t based on reality. With head held hid and hat on head, the Jews stayed in the synagogue. They conversed with God as equals. This hat that the Jews kept wearing was based on a minor preoccupation from their childhood years, and now he interpreted that the Jews, speaking with God, discovered themselves. This was in part in jest. But perhaps it had a more serious basis. For the Jews, God was in man, in each man, there is something of God, something divine. He didn’t know if such ideas were part of Judaism, but on thinking so, he believed he intuited the truth or part of it. So. Some day he would take this more seriously. While he was formulating that promise to study at an unspecified time in the future, he listened again to the “Hazan,” the cantor, who continued on with his mournful song. He observed him attentively. He knew him well. He was Leo’s own father, the honored and always hard-working furrier Porter. He was the same, but he was at the same time different. With his ample white tallit of pure silk, with his miter of black velvet, he seemed like a bishop of the Orthodox Church. The title archdeacon suited him well. But he was more than an archdeacon and more than a bishop. He was a biblical king like Saul or David or Solomon. While he tirelessly sang, he surely didn’t think of those things, but for Pablo, that’s what he was: Moisés Porter was a king. And perhaps all the Jews there together were more kings. Not all, in reality. Only the believers. And Moisés Porter, when he sang, was a sincere believer with a clear soul. And he, he also, when he heard the smooth a voice, formed in the way of all the cantors, Pablo had the consoling illusion that he believed in something. Did he believe in God? Perhaps it was nothing more than the music, but that was to believe in something. At that moment, what to believe in wasn’t so important. He only wanted to understand the words of the Hebrew book that he noticed lost in the singing: Adonei, Malkenui, Acolenu, of a magnificent sonority, with many vowels, open and deep words, with musical resonance. Pablo looked at Leo. With satisfaction, he was contemplating his father, who was proudly surrounded by his sons who formed the choir. In that moment, the brothers were tied to the song more tightly than on any other day of the year, supporting their father’s voice, who grieved with profound Jewish flavor in the inflexions. But the chorus of boys sounded unsure, completing a bit sadly the voice of the soloist. Pablo and Leo looked at each other, agreeing that the effect was nothing brilliant.

“Sing,” Pablo said.

This year, Leo had interrupted an old custom of singing in accompaniment of his father; separating himself from Pablo, he went in search of his prayer shawl, and placed himself among his brothers. Immediately, his voice was heard, strengthening the languishing group. The singing strengthened; it became denser. Pablo distinguished very well the beautiful voice of his friend in in which was now a new warm tone. Resonating in the higher tones, it expanded freely, blending a familiar timbre, that Leo didn’t recognize, so extenuated as it surged in that full voice. He showed his individuality in the group, but at the same time it became part of him and he communicated with rare firmness as surged in that full voice. He infused a classical sonority. The impression that he produced in the transfigured choir was noticed throughout the synagogue. The choir became quiet. And, solo, Leo sang his part. His clean voice modulated for a moment over the congregants, and then, on stopping, the buzz of the murmured prayers extended like a white cushion to receive the notes, that after reaching the heights fell from there. His friend was moved by the “scjemensre.” At the end of Kol Nidre, the people began to disperse. Many congratulated Leo for his singing.

“What are you going to do tonight?” Pablo asked.

The question surprised Leo.

‘Well. Nothing. Whatever you like. We can walk if you want; we can go get a coffee.

“Okay, let’s go” said the other, without vacillation.

They walked together. .Spontaneously communicative, Pablo tried to explain to the extent that he could how much he had enjoyed singing, the reception it received and the effect of his voice on the choir. It was as if he was moved by friendship and without desire to repress his feeling. And in spite of what he had proposed, he decided to tell him about his plan to fast, so that they could do so together.

He ordered coffee, but Leo refused to have anything. After a period of silence, he said to him with a smile that was a bit forced:

“I don’t want anything. I will tell you why. This year I decided to fast. It occurred to me and I’m doing it.”

“You are fasting?” And then without wanting to, Pablo added. “I also thought about it. I’m going to propose it to you now. I thought that we would begin tonight, after supper.”

“Starting tonight?” Leo laughed. “But that’s not fasting. We had supper at home a six o’clock. It’s before Kol Nidre, and you don’t eat until the next day.”

Pablo knew, but he had forgotten.

“Didn’t you see?” Leo continued, “ that some of them stayed in the synagogue to pray all night? You fast during the day, but there are twenty-four hours straight in which you ought to be for asking pardon.

Translation by Stephen A. Sadow

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Algunas de las novelas de Bernardo Verbitsky/                                                    Some of the novels by Bernardo Verbitsky

Jacques Fux — Romancista brasileiro-judaico/Brazilian Jewish Novelist” — “Antiterapias”/ “Anti-Therapies” –fragmentos do romance/excerpts from the novel

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Jacques Fux

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Jacques Fux é graduado em matemática e mestre em ciência da computação pela UFMG, doutor e pós-doutor em literatura pela UFMG, pela Universidade de Lille 3 (França) e pela Unicamp, além de pesquisador visitante na Universidade de Harvard. Sua tese de doutorado, versão do livro Literatura e Matemática: Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Perec e o OULIPO (Perspectiva, 2016), recebeu em 2011 o Prêmio CAPES de melhor tese de Letras e Linguística do Brasil e foi finalista do Prêmio APCA de 2016. Antiterapias (Scriptum, 2012), seu romance de estreia, venceu o Prêmio São Paulo de Literatura 2013 e o manuscrito de Brochadas: confissões sexuais de um jovem escritor (Rocco, 2015), recebeu Menção Honrosa no Prêmio Cidade de Belo Horizonte. Foi finalista do Prêmio Barco a Vapor 2016. Publicou ainda Meshugá: um romance sobre a loucura, que saiu pela prestigiosa Editora José Olympio, e recebeu o Prêmio Manaus de Literatura 2016, e Nobel (José Olympio, 2018) em que realiza o sonho de todo escritor: ser laureado com um Nobel de Literatura.

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Jacques Fux has a degree in mathematics and a master’s in computer science from UFMG, a doctor and a post-doctor in literature from UFMG, the University of Lille 3 (France) and Unicamp, as well as a visiting researcher at Harvard University. His doctoral thesis, version of the book Literature and Mathematics: Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Perec and OULIPO (Perspectiva, 2016), received in 2011 the CAPES Award for the best thesis in Letters and Linguistics in Brazil and was a finalist in the 2016 APCA Award. Antiterapias (Scriptum, 2012), his debut novel, won the São Paulo Literature Award 2013 and the manuscript of Brochadas: sexual confessions of a young writer (Rocco, 2015), received an Honorable Mention in the Belo Horizonte City Award. He was a finalist in the Barco a Vapor Award 2016. He also published Meshugá: a novel about madness, published by the prestigious Editora José Olympio, and received the Manaus Literature Award 2016, and the Nobel Prize (José Olympio, 2018) in which he fulfills the dream of every writer: be awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Jacques Fux. Antiterapias. 2 ed. Belo Horizonte: Scriptum, 2014, 27-29, 113-114.

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Antiterapias

os fragmentos

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Então, se era para estudar, era para estudar. E se estava numa escola judaica atinha que rezar também. Não havia muito que questionar. Era para chegar cedo, rezar em hebraico—para não entender bem aquelas letras e músicas—e depois ir a sala de aula. Eu gostava das minhas aulas sobre a Torá, sobre o judaísmo e das aulas de hebraico. Ainda não era muito bom em hebraico. Ainda não sabia que poderia criar um Golem pela mera manipulação das letras hebraicas. Se soubesse, teria criado o mesmo Golem de Praga.O Golem de Bashevis Singer. Este Frankenstein judaico muito teria me ajudava a conquistar o amor de Silvinha e a repelir o profeta às avessas que sempre me perseguia. Mas eu desconhecia as relações entre letras e números. Não poderia imaginar (e v meus professores poderiam ensinar) as relações entre o Aleph, a matemática e um mundo literário completamente novo. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space. Também não tinha batido minha cabeça na escada para poder vislumbar a pequena esfera furta-cor, de quase intolerável fulgor, que me revelaria os segredos do universo. Mas estava suficientemente feliz com as explicações simplórias da vida. Da origem, da criação e da justiça divina. Era tudo muito simples. Deus me criou à sua imagem e semelhança. Eu era ainda mais parecido com Ele, segundo mamãe e papai. Criou o mundo e os animais. A luz da escuridão. E tudo isso em seis dias. E descansou no shabat. Estava tudo lá escrito. Pelo menos me diziam, já que não sabia muito bem ler hebraico, sobretudo sem as vogais. Ah, claro, havia dez mandamentos. O meu manual de conduta moral e ética já estava pronto. Nem precisava questionar nada. Sim, Ele era o senhor meu Deus e eu deveria acreditar nisso. Não deveria matar. Não poderia roubar. Não praticaria o adultério. Não desejaria a mulher do próximo. Não daria falso testemunho. Não criaria imagens. Honraria meu pai e mãe (claro e sempre!). Lembraria o shabat (o que tinha o Dror e era bom). Não pediria ajuda a Deus em vão. Ufa, eram tantos nãos. Mais como era bom, fácil e simples! Não tinha muito que questionar. Era seguir e ser feliz. Acredito que hoje alguns mandamentos, mudaram. Todos nós desejamos a mulher do próximo, desde que esse próximo não esteja ou seja tão próximo assim.

Ou que a mulher do próximo esteja numa revista, num site pornô o mesmo atravessando a rua. Já roubar, bem, roubar pequenas coisinhas na Machiné não era tão grave assim. Éramos todos judeus, numa, numa excursão de judeus, e estávamos tentando perpetuar nossa espécie. Já os outros mandamentos, esses tento cumprir.

Tudo corria muito bem, sum nenhuma questão mais polêmica, até que a nossa professora resolveu nos explicar sobre Darwin. A evolução das espécies. Que coisa complicada! As explicações não se fechavam muito bem. O sistema não era completo, consistente e coerente. Os teoremas da incompletude de Gödel já poderiam ser vislumbrados logo na Bíblia. Em 1925, outro jovem brilhante judeu chamado Gödel demonstrou que qualquer sistema formal capaz de fazer aritmética não é capaz de provar sus própria consistência. E além disso, esses sistemas são incompletos. Ora, se existe um Código da Bíblia e se acreditarmos na Cabala, o sistema bíblico torna-se incompleto, como já era de esperar. Assim poderíamos provar algo inconsistente: que Deus existe o que Deus não existe. Ficção? Com Darwin, a teoria do mundo seria diferente daquela contada em seis dias. Outras histórias bíblicas também perderiam o sentido. A seleção natural seria fruto da Arca de Noé? Noé os selecionou para perpetuar as espécies? Tudo muito confuso. E agora, José, em que acreditar? A festa acabou? A casa caiu? A Torá ruiu? E todas as histórias, parábolas, contos, civilizações que as versões de mamãe tinham me ensinado na escola, era tudo inventado? Toda essa história deveria contada como o Ilíada? Moisés seria como Ulisses? Não haveria compromisso com a verdade num livro escrito com inspiração divina? A divindade então era literária? Poesia? Besteira? Malditos Nazistas. O tempo se bifurca perpetuamente para inumeráveis futuros. Nesse encontro fomos inimigos. Todas essas histórias bíblicas poderiam estar num livro de seres imaginários? Fui ludibriando, novamente, pelo Dibouk? Se eu descobrisse quem era o mentiroso, arrenegado, anhangão, Pé-de-Pato. O -que-nunca-se-ri que falseou essa história, eu o colocaria em algum dos círculos do inferno dantesco. Fosse ele Darwin, fosse ele Deus! E eu tinha que descobrir. Tinha que revelar para o mundo o segredo. O meu fantasioso e literário segredo. Mas é lógico que o único caminho que conhecia era o de estudo.

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As religiões voltadas todas para Deus e para o arrependimento. Para o arrependimento pelas faltas com Deus. Eu, que fui educado desde muito pequeno com os valores judaicos, não os associava à religião. A religião não ensinava a forma como deveríamos tratar as pessoas, o meio ambiente, nós mesmos. Ensinava esse temor divino. Esse medo e as

eternas oferendas que deveríamos fazer. O Deus católico era extremamente bondoso, mas era necessário extremamente receptivo a tudo o que ele pregava. Ou que pregavam por ele. O Deus judeu era um Deus justo. Justiça podia simbolizar rigor. Punição, Adoração. E eu, que gostava o gosto dos valores humanos, do respeito, admirava os valores judaicos. Não a religião, mas sua cultura milenar. Se dependêssemos dos ortodoxos judeus, haveria um colapso econômico. Famílias imensas existiriam. Existem. Todos esperando o tal do Mashiach, chegar. Nada de trabalhar. Só rezar. Nem todos poderiam ser rabinos. E sem trabalho, com alta taxa de natalidade, a economia ruiria. Lógico que há exceções. Em Nova Iorque, muitos ortodoxos trabalham demais. Em todos os lugares também.

Mas há um grupo de ultraortodoxos em Israel e nos EUA que não trabalha. Só rezar. Só espera o Mashiach. Não vai o exército. Não está de acordo com a existência do Estado Judeu. Aguarda. Alguns de elos até já encontraram o Amadinejah em um congresso revisionista de Shoah. E não fazem nada para contribuir, além de terem mais filhos. Israel assegura sua existência. Eles não. Foi um de esses que matou Isaac Rabin. O que tentou verdadeiramente fazer a paz. O que sonhou. Aquele que apertou a mão a Arafat num gesto inédito. Impensável na época. Surreal. Mas que foi morto por um extremista judeu. É interessante pensar que consta nos dez mandamentos um preceito explícito o não matarás. Na verdade, é um mandamento que diz não assassinarás. Assassinar é matar alguém inocente. Matar se direciona a alguém culpado, segundo a interpretação dessa Lei. Assim alguns ortodoxos condenaram á morte pelo acordo com Arafat. Por não desejar expandir o território judeu em busca de Israel Gdolá. A Israel bíblica. Segundo eles, Rabin foi morto, não assassinado. No era um inocente. Histórias de vida real. Mas, também, se a perpetuação do judaísmo dependesse somete dos liberais, alguns valores seriam perdidos. Muitos. Purim vivaria um Carnaval? A Rainha Ester seria uma Rainha de Bateria? Poderíamos fazer uma pequenina refeição no Yom Kipur? E alguns valores, crenças, marcos e fatos seriam mudados. Evolução natural? Não sé, mas acho que, existindo somete os liberais, teríamos outra religião. Com outra visão. Muitas vezes, boa. Muitas vezes, falha e incompleta. E eu não sabia muito bem em quem acreditar, em que acreditar nem por acreditar. Creio, assim, necessário esse duelo entre os religiosos, os liberais e os marginais, como eu, que não concordam com nenhum dos lados. Ou que concordam com os dos lados.

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Rabin, Clinton, Arafat

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Antitherapies

excerpts

So, if it was to be studying, it was to be studying. And if it was in a Jewish school, it was yet to pray also. There was never much to question. It was to arrive early, to pray in Hebrew—to not understand well those letters and tunes—and then go to the classroom. I enjoyed my classes about Torah, Judaism and the Hebrew classes. Though I not was very good in Hebrew. Though I didn’t know that you could create a Golem by the mere manipulation of Hebrew letters. If I knew, I would have created the same Golem of Prague. The Golem de Bashevis Singer. This Jewish Frankenstein would have helped me a lot in conquering Silvinha’s love and to have the prophet chase away that craziness that always pursues me. But didn’t know the relationships between letters and numbers. I couldn’t imagine (and not even my teacher could teach) the relation between the Aleph, to mathematics and a completely new literary world. O God I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space. Moreover, I have never beaten my head against wall so I could have glimpse at a small iridescent sphere, of an almost intolerable brilliance, that would reveal to me the secrets of the universe. But I was sufficiently happy with simple explanations about life. Of the Beginning, the Creation and Divine Justice. It was all very simple. God created me in his image and resemblance. I was therefore very similar to Him, according to mother and father. He created the world and the animals He created the world and the animals. Light from darkness. And all this in six days. And He rested on Shabbat. It was all written down. At least they told me so, as I didn’t know how to read Hebrew very well, especially without the vowels. Oh, of course, there were ten commandments. My manual of moral conduct and ethics already was ready.

It wasn’t necessary to question anything. Yes, He, the Lord, my God and I should believe this. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not desire your neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not give false testimony. Thou shalt not create graven images. Honor your father and your mother (Most certainly and forever!) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy (or do what Dror did and that was good enough. Don’t take God’s name in vain. Yikes! There were so many Shalt Nots. But they were good, easy and simple. There was never much to question. Follow and be happy. I believe that today some commandments have changed. We all want our neighbor’s wife, since that wife is or is not necessarily a neighbor. Or that your neighbor’s wife is in some magazine, some porno site or even crossing the street. As for stealing, stealing little things from the Macjané, the vending machine, wasn’t so serious either. We were all Jews, in a group of Jews, and we were tempted to perpetuate our species. As for the other commandments, those I try to follow.

Everything was just fine, without any other polemical questions, until our teacher decided to Darwin to us. The Evolution of the Species. What a complicated business! The explanations don’t fit very well. The system wasn’t complete, consistent or coherent. The theory of incompletion of Gödel could then be seen in the Bible. In 1925, another brilliant young Jew named Gödel demonstrated that any system that was capable of being proven mathematically, was not capable of proving its own reality. And because of this, those systems were incomplete. Now, if there exists a Biblical Code, and if we believe in the Kabbalah, the Biblical system becomes incomplete: that God exists or that God doesn’t exist. Fiction? With Darwin, a theory of the world would be different from that told in six days. Other Biblical stories would also not make sense. Natural selection would be the result of Noah’s Ark? Noah selected them to perpetuate the species? Everything is very confusing. And now, Joseph, who to believe? The party is over? The house falls? The Torah collapses? And were all the tales, parables, stories, civilizations, songs that had been taught in school all invented? All of that history should be told like the Iliad? Moses would be like Ulises? There couldn’t be compromise with the truth of a book written with divine inspiration? The Divinity, then, was literature? Poetry? Nonsense?  Damn Nazis. Time perpetually divides into innumerable futures. At that meeting we were enemies.  All those Biblical stories could be found in a book of imaginary beings. I was fooled once again by the Dibbuk? If I were to discover who was the liar, the cursed, the devil, the faker. Or, that scoffer who falsified that story, I would put him into the circles of Dante’s Inferno. Was it Darwin? Was it God? And I had to discover which.

I had to reveal the secret to the world. My fantastic and literary secret. But, logically, the only path that I knew was studying. I was looking for everything that I could find. And Astrophysics wasn’t sufficient to prove Darwin’s or God’s fallacy, at least so I believed. And I had to understand all that Jewish or scientific nonsense at six years old.

I had to reveal the secret to the world. My fantastic and literary secret. But, logically, the only path that I knew was studying. I was looking for everything that I could find. And Astrophysics wasn’t sufficient to prove Darwin’s or God’s fallacy, at least so I believed. And I had to understand all that Jewish or scientific nonsense at six years old.

***

The religions all returned to God and for repentance. For repentance for the failings with God. I, who was educated since I was very small with Jewish values, not those associated with religion. Religion didn’t teach the way in which we ought to treat people, the environment, ourselves. I taught fear of the divine. That fear and  the eternal sacrifices that we ought to make. The Catholic God was extremely generous, but it was necessary to be very accepting of everything that He preached or that they preached for him. The Jewish God was a just God. Justice could symbolize rigor. Punishment. Adoration. And I, who liked or like human values, admired Jewish values, out of respect, I admired Jewish values. Not the religion, but its millennial culture. If we were to depend on the orthodox Jews, there would be and economic collapse. Immense families existed, exist. All waiting for such a Mashiach to arrive. Nothing about working. No working. Just prayer Not all of them could be rabbis. And without work, with a high birth, the economy collapsed. Of course, there were exceptions. In New York, many orthodox worked too much. In every other place, too.

But there was a group of ultra-orthodox in Israel and in the United States who didn’t work. Only prayer. Only waiting for the Meshiach to arrive. Didn’t go into the army. Didn’t agree with the existence of the State of Israel.  Wait. Some of them had even met with Ahmadinejab in a revisionist congress dealing with the Shoah. And they didn’t do anything to contribute, other than having more children. Israel assures their existence. They don’t. It was one of those who killed Isaac Rabin. He who truly tried to make peace. Or so he dreamt.

The one who offered his had to Arafat in an unheard-of gesture. Unthinkable in that period. Surreal. But who was killed by a Jewish extremist. It is interesting to think that the Ten Commandments contains an explicit precept that thou shalt not kill. In fact, there is a commandment that says assassinate.  Assassinate or kill someone innocent. To kill is used with someone guilty, according to the interpretation of that Law. So, some orthodox condemned to death for the agreement with Arafat. For not wanting to expand the Jewish territory in search of Israel Gadolà, Greater Israel. The Biblical Israel. According to them, Rabin was killed, not assassinated. He wasn’t an innocent. Stories of real life. But, moreover, if the perpetuation of Judaism were to depend on the liberals, some values would be lost. Many. Purim become a Carnival. Queen Esther would be a Queen of Drums. Would we be able to make a slight reference to Yom Kippur? And some values, beliefs, references and facts would be changed. Natural evolution? I don’t know, but I think that, with only the liberals existing, we would have a different religion. With another vision. Often good. Often faulting and incomplete. And I don’t know really know in which to believe or why to believe. I believe it to be necessary, therefore, this duel between the religious, the liberals and the marginalized. Like me, who doesn’t agree with either of the two sides. Or who agrees with both sides.

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Rabin, Clinton, Arafat

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Translation from the Portuguese by Stephen A. Sadow

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Livros por Jacques Fux/Books by Jacques Fux

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Mario Szichman (1945-1918) Novelista y periodista judío-argentino-venezolano-norteamericano/Argentine Venezuelan American Novelist and Journalist — “Los judíos de la mar dulce”/ “The Jews of the Fresh-Water Sea”– Fragmento/Excerpt

 

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Mario Szichman

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Mario Szichman nació en Buenos Aires en 1945, llegó a Caracas en 1967. Regresó a su ciudad natal en  1971 y, en  1975, volvió a Venezuela para quedarse por cinco años más. Se enamoró de Venezuela y su  compromiso con el país estuvo vivo su muerte. En 1980, tras ganar el Premio de Literatura Ediciones del Norte de New Hampshire, Estados Unidos, por su novela  A las 20:25 la señora entró en la inmortalidad, viajó a Estados Unidos, junto con su esposa  Laura Corbalán. Se residenciaron en Nueva York, allí trabajó para la Associated Press y como corresponsal del periódico Tal Cual.  Su obra: sus novelas históricas, seis de ellas reunidas en dos series: “La trilogía del mar dulce” formada por  La verdadera crónica falsaLos judíos del Mar Dulce A las 20:25 la señora entró en la inmortalidad, novelas que relatan las peripecias de una familia judía que trata de reinventarse a fin de ser aceptada en la sociedad argentina y  “La trilogía de la patria boba”, conformada por Los Papeles de Miranda, Las dos muertes del general Simón Bolívar Los años de la guerra a muerte, novelas que narran las peripecias de los próceres de la independencia venezolana.  Luego escribió La región vacía, sobre los atentados a las torres gemelas, cuya trama tiene como soporte una serie de crónicas que estuvo escribiendo a partir de los  acontecimientos ocurridos el 9 de septiembre de 2001.

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Mario Szichman was born in Buenos Aires in 1945, arrived in Caracas in 1967. He returned to his hometown in 1971 and, in 1975, returned to Venezuela to stay for five more years. He fell in love with Venezuela and his commitment to the country was alive his death. In 1980, after winning the Northern New Hampshire Editions Literature Prize, United States, for her novel At 20:25 the lady entered immortality, traveled to the United States, along with his wife Laura Corbalán. They resided in New York, where he worked for the Associated Press and as a correspondent for the newspaper Tal Cual. Her work: her historical novels, six of them brought together in two series: “The Sweet Sea Trilogy” formed by The True False Chronicle, The Jews of the Sweet Sea and At 20:25 the lady entered into immortality, novels that relate the vicissitudes of a Jewish family that tries to reinvent itself in order to be accepted in Argentine society and “The trilogy of the silly homeland”, made up of Los Papeles de Miranda, The two deaths of General Simón Bolívar and The years of the war a death, novels that narrate the adventures of the heroes of Venezuelan independence. Then he wrote The Empty Region, about the attacks on the Twin Towers, whose plot is supported by a series of chronicles that he was writing based on the events of September 9, 2001.

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               “Los judíos de la mar dulce”                  un fragmento

        El primer día de navegación de los Pechof vieron la película titulada “Argentina. Tierra de Promisión”. La pantalla había sido dividida en cuatro partes, como un escudo de armas, y se veían trigales, vacas de perfil, barcos filmados desde abajo para que sus proas fueran vertiginosas, y una familia compuesta  por madre, hijo, hija y perrito juguetón, mirando un sol radiante.

Los cuatro eran gente lindo, y alegre, y tenían la misma cara. La diferencia entre el hijo y el padre se debía al pelo pintado de gris al pelo pintado de  blanco y las arrugas sonrientes en el entrecejo y en las comisuras de los labios.

En el país que habían preparado a gilada inmigrante, no había indios ni flechas envenenadas, ni selvas llenas de tigres y caimanes, ni mugre, ni casas viejas, ni Guardias Blancas, ni miserables, petisos, gordos, pájaros , of antisemitismo. Ese mundo tenía la tersura satinada de las páginas de “El Hogar”, la guita crecía en los árboles, y los inmigrantes se hacían domadores extraordinarios,  ante los ojos primero burlones y luego asombrados de criollos que los invitaban a tomar un matecito con “Venga, paisano, se lo ha ganado en buena ley”. Todos subían en el escalafón y con el pasado borrado por la falta de antecedentes, un soldado se convertía en mariscal, lo albañiles en inyenieri y las punguitas en ladrones de guante blanco. En esa Argentina imaginaría la gente que hablaba de tú, los burros se llaman jumentos. Los limosas eran óbolos, los pobres usaban ropas remendadas pero pulcras, los grandes hombres nacían en humilde cuna, los padres se la pasan llevando a sus hijos a los desfiles para emocionarse al paso de los granaderos, nuestro amigo el policía se dedicaba a cruzar viejecitas, los niños hablaban en difícil, los sociedades de los fifís eran beneméritas instituciones, las distinguidas damas guardaban cama, los torneos de canasta tenían siempre lúcidos contornos y la gente se moría de mentira.

***

Los Pechof viajaron primero hacia el puro desierto amarillo y reconstruyeron el rompecabezas de un pasado del que querían adueñarse para liquidar el desarraigo. Se pusieron en la línea de partida del año mil ochocientos diez y salieron por devorarse los años que los separaron de los goim, de sus pitos intactos, de su genealogía perpetuada en retratos de óleo de Pueyrredón, Pellegrini o Morel; de sus generaciones de parientes generales, jueces o diputados, de sus abuelas duras, de facciones angulosas que se enfrentan a las hordas unitarios o federales, de ese idioma que ya había sido manoseado por antepasados en cuarta o quinta generación, y les había sido donado junto con los gestos tranquilos y despectivos del que se siente dueño del poder, tratando de añadir a esa casta de tipos grandotes, corajudos, vergalargas, que extendían las fronteras, o se la pasaban bien en París de pura joda, ya victoriosos, ya desplazados, pero siempre dueños de su tierra; el tímido recuerdo de un bisabuelo que se perdía en la memoria apenas subía a un barco para irse a Palestina llevando como único tesoro, unos tfilin escritos por un discípulo de Rashi, y unos antepasados de barba larga, trencitas en los sienes, shlapques redondo y nariz ganchuda, que buscaban con desesperación cualquier tipo de barba rubia y ojos azules para convertirlo en el meyiaj (meísas).

Tuvieron que apoderarse de una historia ajena, llena de mainzes raros. Los héroes se achicaban cuando terminaba la guerra de independencia y se convertían en caudillos sedientos de sangre. Los ejércitos libertadores que habían mezclado su banderas en la lucha contra el godo, recogían sus trofeos y sus muertos, y se iban a sus países a formar montoneras anárquicas. La gloria era reemplazada por la ambición y el renunciamiento por apetitos inconfesables. Los guerreros redujeron sus estatura y arruinaron sus perfiles, bajándose del caballo donde inmortalizaban sus proclamas y cubriéndose de barbas amenazantes. Hasta el tiempo se modificaba, y el cruce de los Andes ocupaba en los libros de historia el mismo espacio que el gobierno de Rosas.

Los Pechof tomaron partido por el bando de los vencedores y siguieron la línea Mayo-Caseros, terminando hechos unos antiperonistas que invitaban al almirante Rojas a las fiestas de la Daia.

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[1} Rîo de la Plata

[2] Dictador of Argentina, por 17 años..

[3]  In Argentine political history: the Revolution of May, 1810 and the Battle of Caseros in 1853, when Rosas was defeated inaugurated the modern Argentine nation, according to the conservative and neo-liberal point of view. That is not accepted by the popular sectors.

[4] Almirante Rojas, vice-presidente de la golpe militar que derrocô a Perón en 1955 a el más sangriante de los que intervinieron of the military coup, autor de muchos fusilamientos de peronistas.

[5] Daia, el liderazgo de la comunidad judîa que se juntó con los anti-peronistas that en aquel entoincs. Dicho con ironîa para señalar el “ambiente” de la novela–esos judîos imigrantes como los Petchof que quería sre–medio cristiano y asimilado, igual a otros argentinos y aceptados por los que mandan.

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“The Jews of the Fresh-Water Sea” (1)

fragmento

The first day on board, the Pechoff family saw the movie, “Argentina. Promised Land.” The screen had been divided in four parts, like a coat of arms, and showed wheat fields, cows in profile, ships filled from below so that their prow were dizzying and a family composed to mother, son, daughter and playful little dog, looking a radiant sun.

The four were good happy people, and they the same face. The difference between the son and the father  depended on the hair dyed grey or hair dyed white and the smiling wrinkles on the forehead and the corners of the lips.

In the country that had provided the easily-fooled immigrant, there were no Indians or poisoned arrows, or jungles full of tigers and crocodiles or filth or miserable people o small guys, fat guys or anti-Semitism. That world had the satiny smoothness of the pages of the middle-class “Home Journal,” the dough grew on trees, and the immigrants became excellent buckaroos, before the eyes of the at first  scoffing and then amazed eyes of the locals who invited them later on to try to take a bit of mate with a “Come on over, “paisano,” my friend, you’ve truly earned it.” Everyone rose in social standing and with the past erased along with its lack of precedents , a soldier became a marshal, the bricklayers in “inyenieri,” engineers and, the pickpockets in white gloved criminals. In the imaginary Argentina, people spoke to “you, friend,” the burros are called donkeys. The alms were donations, the poor wore mended but beautiful clothing, the great men were born in humble cradles, the fathers spent their time bringing their children to parades to excite them with the passing of grenadiers, our friend the policeman dedicated themselves to helping little old ladies cross the street, the children spoke with tricky words, the societies of filthy rich were meritorious institutions, the distinguished ladies kept to bed, the canasta tournaments were always fairly played, and the peopled died of lying.

***

The Pechofs traveled first toward the pure yellow desert and reconstructed the jigsaw puzzle of a past of which they wanted to take hold of to sort out their position in it. The aligned themselves with the party of 1810 and set out to devour the years that separated them from the goyim, from their intact pricks, of their genealogy of oil portraits of Pueyrredón, Pellegrini or Morel, of generations of relatives who were generals, judges or deputies, of their tough grandmothers, of angular features that confront the Unitarian or Federalist hordes,[1]of that language that had been embellished by ancestors of the fourth or fifth generation, which they had been given together with serene and derogatory gestures  of those who feel to be the owners of power, trying to add to this caste of huge, valiant, big-dicked, who extended the frontiers or who enjoyed themselves in Paris, partying all the time, already victorious, already supplanted, but always owners of their land; the timid recollection of a great-grandfather that was being lost in memory as soon as they went on to a ship to go to Palestine, carrying as his only treasure, son “tefillim” phylacteries written by a disciple of Rashi, and some ancestors with long beards, little curls on their temples, rounded black hats and very hooked noses, who desperately looked for any sort of blond beard and blue eyes to convert him into “meyiah,” the Messiah.

They had to take on a foreign history, full of “metzias,” strange stories. The heroes shrank when the War of Independence ended and they became blood-thirsty caudillos. The armies of liberation that had mixed their flags during the fight against the Spanish, collected their trophies and their dead and went on to form anarchical gangs. Glory was replaced by ambition and sacrifice for uncontrollable appetites. The warriors reduced their stature and ruined their profiles, dismounting their horses where they immortalized their proclamations and covering themselves with threatening beards. Even time was modified, the crossing of the Andes occupied in the history books the same space as the government of Rosas.[2]

The Pechofs took the side of the winners and followed the line Mayo-Caseres,[3] ending up as anti-Peronists who invited Admiral Rojas[4] to the parties hosted by the DAIA.[5]

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 [1} Rîo de la Plata

[2] Dictator of Argentina, for 17 years.

[3] In Argentine political history: the Revolution of May, 1810 and the Battle of Caseros in 1853, when Rosas was defeated inaugurated the modern Argentine nation, according to the conservative and neo-liberal point of view. It is not accepted by the popular sectors.

[4] Admiral Rojas, vice-president of the military coup that overthrew Perôn in 1955 and the most bloody of the military who intervened also author of the execution of many Peronists

[5] DAIA, the official Jewish Community leadership that joined the anti-Peronsit forces at that time. Said with irony to signal the “atmosphere” of the novel—those immigrant Jews like the Pechofs wanted to be—half Christian and assimilated, equal to other Argentines,accepted by those who lead.

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Mario Szichman

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Unos libros de Mario Szichman/Some of Mario Szichman’s Books

Mina Weil — Novelista y cuentista judío-italiana-argentina-israelí/Italian Argentine Israeli Novelist and Short-story Writer — “El último día”/”The Last Day” — fragmentos de la novela sobre la salida desde la Italia fascista/excerpts from the novel about an escape from Fascist Italy

MinaWeil
Mina Weil

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Mina Weil nació en Montefalcone, Italia en 1926. En 1936 a causa de la persecución fascista contra los judíos, su familia emigró a la Argentina. Con el esposo Alfredo, vivió un tiempo en Nueva York y en Londres. En Buenos Aires, nacieron sus cuatro hijos, plantó varios árboles y, ya en Israel donde se radicó a fines de 1989, escribió cuentos y esta novela. Fue la presidente de la Asociación Israelí de Escritores en Lengua Castellana, órgano representativo ante la Federación de Escritores de Israel.

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Mina Weil was born in Montefalcone, Italy in 1926. In 1936, due to Fascist persecution against the Jews, her family emigrated to Argentina. With husband Alfredo, she lived for a time in New York and London. In Buenos Aires, where her four children were born, she planted several trees and, then in Israel where she settled in late 1989, she wrote stories and this novel. She was the president of the Israeli Association of Writers in the Spanish Language, part of the Federation of Writers of Israel. _______________________________________________________________

De:/From:  Mina Weil. El último día. Buenos Aires: Acervo Cultural Editores. 1999.

Kindle

La nueva edición directamente del editorial

 

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         El último día       

Fatídico fue para los judíos de Italia el año 1938. La demencia hitleriana atravesó los Alpes. Sin encontrar obstáculo, anidó en el delirante del fascismo, dando publicamente a luz una Italia racista.

La judería italiana fue, a través de la palabra escrita, vapuleada, burlada, arrastrado, en el barro de la ignominia. La agresiones impresas se tornaron diarias.

Estábamos atrapados, zarandeados dentro de una burbuja que rodaba hacia destino ignota, se agrandaban y podía estallar en cualquier momento.

***

Esperábamos ansiosamente noticias de papá. Por razones obvias iba a escribir a casa de Norma. La carta llegó. Con su letra menuda y redonda papá había llenado varias hojas. Por unos días cambió el color de nuestra vida y se suavizó un poco el entrecejo de mamá,

“Buenos Aires es bellísima”, escribía. “Se respiraba libertad hasta por los poros. La gente es amable y aparentemente hay abundancia. En cualquier restaurante un pobre recibe, sin siquiera pedirlo, un plato grande de sopa y pan fresco. El pan es exquisito. Hay abundancia de trigo. Argentina es el granjero del mundo”. .

***

Ya no faltaba mucho tiempo. Teníamos fecha de partida. 12 de diciembre con vapor “Oceania”.

Mamá astutamente, hizo correr el rumor de que salíamos desde el puerto de Génova. El puerto era otro. Lo sabíamos solamente ella y yo.

Los días huyeron y robaron mi último octubre italiano.

***

Había estado guardado, durante años, en un estante del lavadero. Mamá sacó con mucho cuidado la funda empolvada de la pequeña y resquebrajada valija de cartón, reprimió un estornudo, y muy lentamente levantó la tapa.

Un talit con penetrante olor a lana vieja, gastado y amarillento.

Un Sidur de hojas tan delgadas que se hacían polvo al tocarlas.

Un Majzor un tanto en mejor estado.

El libro Der Judenstaat de Theodor Herzl y un enorme cantidad de folletos sionistas.

Un resto de vela de Havdalá envuelto en un pañuelo que alguna vez fue blanco.

Una gorra de gabardina gris con el forro deshecho.

–Es aquí donde guardó tu padre su sueño jaluziano.

Fue colocando cada cosa tal cual la había encontrado. Lo hizo con delicadeza con que se toca un flor que se va perdiendo sus pétalos.

–Espera aquí. Enseguida vuelvo—me dijo.

A los pocos minutos volvió con dos candelabros de plata que usábamos en Shabat y papel de diario.

Se arrodilló, arrugó un poco el papel. Envolvió cada candelabro con una hoja.

Eran las primeras páginas de las ediciones de la mañana de los diarios del 2 y del 3 de septiembre.

–No se darán cuenta que son los diarios que salieron con el decreta de las leyes raciales. ¡Hay que guardarlos! Será tu misión, Anna, mostrarles algún día a tus hijos Les contará—Sus ojos cálidos y acuosos se clavaron en los míos para grabar el mensaje.

–No se si tendremos la capacidad de perdonar. ¡Olvidar jamás!—pronunció este jamás con los dientes apretados y los puños cerrados.

Ersillia tenía razón cuando dijo: “Chiquita pero con la fuerza de un gigante”.

La bisagra chirrió. Cerró la valija. El clic de la cerradura oxidada guardó con el sueño de mi papá, también nuestra historia.

La envolvió en una toalla de lino blanca, como se viste un Séfer Torá. La colocó sobre la pila de sábanas y mantas—Aquí hay lugar para tu violín–dijo.

La tarea de empacar seguía. No había tiempo ni para lágrimas, ni para lamentos

***

Temido pero también ansiado, llegó el día. Bajamos las seis persianas del departamento. Seis ojos cerrados que no nos verían partir.

Recorrimos los amplios cuartos desiertos y fríos. Acariciamos sus paredes. Aspiramos por última vez su aire, para no olvidar el aroma. “Olerá a encierro si no lo habitan pronto”, pensé.

Ya íbamos a bajar cuando mamá de pronto, se golpeó la frente con una mano y exclamó: — ¡La Mezuza! ¡Casi la olvidamos!—Sacó de su cartera una pequeña lima de uñas. Forcejeando un poco logró sacar los dos clavitos. Fue un desgarro que sentimos en los más profundo. La mezuzá dejó su marca en la puerta de entrada. Será la señal que grite: “ Sépanse que aquí vivió un judío”.

Bajamos la escalera. Despacio, muy despacio, palpando la tersura de la vieja madera del pasamanos.

Las piernas parecen no responder a la orden de marcha.

La cuerda que nos ata se estira. . .no se rompe todavía.

Una tijera invisible logra finalmente cortarla.

Los pies parecen ahora más livianos. . .libres.

Una última mirada hacia atrás. La casa no se mueve, soy yo la que se aleja.

La ciudad se esfuma. Ya es recuerdo de mañana.

Estamos en el camino de montaña. Abajo está el mar. Trieste a la vista

***

Antes de subir a bordo, tuvimos que pasar por Aduana. Verificaron cuanto dinero llevábamos.

A mamá le hicieron pasar a una habitación que parecía un consultorio médico, y cerraron la puerta.

Me encontré sola, desamparada, frente a una mujerona de guardapolvo blanco, que sin decir una palabra, desabrochó mi abrigo. Me lo sacó con brusquedad.

Yo estaba asustadísima. Metió las manos en todos los bolsillos. Me hizo sacar los zapatos. Los revisó muy de cerca con sus ojos miopes. Me palpó por todos lados. No sé qué buscaba. Nada encontró. Me hizo abrir la boca y sacar la lengua. Se la saqué con fuerza y de buena gana.

–No me duele la garganta—le dije secamente.

–¿Tienes novio?

–No tengo—le contesté. No quise, pero me puse colorada.

–Está bien. . .cuando salga tu mamá, puedes irte.

Apretó mi brazo. Me detuvo—Un momento, señorita—dijo con su tono militar—no revisé tu carterita. ¿Qué hay aquí?  A ver. . . iba diciendo en voz alta lo que sacaba:  Pañuelo…lápiz, un libro de tapa roja. . . _–Lo abrió y preguntó con cierta ironía–: ¿Es chino?–¡No! Contesté enojada—es hebreo. Es mi Libro de Oraciones. ¡No lo toque!  ¡Démelo!—Me lo devolvió.

–Supongo que está bien –dijo, torció la boca. Dio media vuelta. Fue a controlar a otra jovencita, seguramente tan asustada como yo.

Mamá salió abotonando su vestido. Estaba lívida. Apretaba fuertemente los labios. Señal de que nunca contará.

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      MinaWeil2

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The Last Day

For the Jews of Italy, 1938 was a fateful year. The Hitlerian madness crossed the Alps. Without encountering any obstacle, it nested the deliria of Fascism, publicly giving birth to a racist Italy.

Through the written word, The Jews of Italy were, beaten up, made fun of, dragged through the mud of disgrace. The printed aggressions became daily events.

We were trapped, shaken within a bubble that rolled toward an unknown destiny, increased in size and could explode at any moment.

***

We anxiously awaited news about Papa. For obvious reasons, he was going to write to Norma’s house. The letter arrived. With his small and round handwriting, Papa had filled several pages. For a few days, the color of our lives changed and Mama’s brow softened.

“Buenos Aires is extremely beautiful”, he wrote. “You can smell freedom even through your pores. The people are friendly and apparently there is abundance. In every restaurant, a poor man, even without asking, is given a large bowl of soup and fresh bread. The bread is exquisite. There is an abundance of wheat. Argentina is the world’s farm. . .”

***

       There wasn’t much time. We had a departure date. December 12 with the steamship Oceania.

Astutely, Mama started the rumor that we were leaving from the port of Genova. The real port was different. Only she and I knew.

For years, it had been kept on a shelf of the sink. With great care, Mama took out the dust covered case of the small and cracked cardboard case, held back a sneeze, and slowly raised the cover.

A talit with a penetrating smell of old wool, worn out and yellowed

A Sidur with pages so thin that they turn to dust when touched.

A Machzor in a bit better condition.

A book Der Judenstaat by Theodor Herzl and an enormous quantity of Zionist pamphlets.

The remainder if a Havdalah candle wrapped in a handkerchief that once was white.

A gray gaberdine cap with its lining torn.

“Here he kept his Zionist pioneer dreams alive.”

She was placing each thing just as she had found it. She did it with the delicacy with which you touch a flower that is losing its petals.

“Wait her. I’ll be right back,” she told me.

A few minutes later, she returned with two candelabras that we used on Shabat and pieces of newspaper.

She kneeled down, crumpled a bit of paper. She wrapped each candelabra with a sheet.

They were the first pages of the morning editions of the newspapers for the second and third of September.

“They won’t notice that they are the newspapers that came out with the decree of the racial laws. We have to keep them! It will be your mission, Anna, to show them to your children. You will tell them your story—He warm and watery eyes fixed on mine to imprint the message.”

“I don’t know if we will have the capacity to forgive. To forget, never!—she pronounced this never with her teeth clenched and her fists held tightly.

Ersilla was right when she said: “ A little on but with the strength of a giant.”

The hinge squeaked. She closed the case. The click from the rusted lock kept not only my father’s dream, but also our history.

She wrapped it in a white linen towel, as you dress a Sefer Torah. She placed it on a pile of sheets and blankets—There is room here for your violin—she said. The chore of packing continued. There was no time for tears of laments.

Feared but also longed-for, the day arrived. We lowered the six blinds of the apartment. Six eyes close that would not see us leave.

We went through the ample rooms, now deserted and cold. We caressed the walls. We breathed in for the last time its air, so not to forget its aroma. “It will smell closed up, if they don’t soon live here.” I thought.

We were already going down, when, suddenly, Mama, hit her head with a hand and exclaimed: –The Mezuzah! We almost forgot it!—She took from her handbag a small nail file. By struggling a bit, she was able to remove the two little nails. It was a pain that we felt most profoundly. The mezuzah left its mark on the entry door. It will be the sign that yells out: “Know that a Jew lived her.”

We descended the stairs. Slowly, very slowly, touching the smoothness of the old wood of the handrails.

The legs seem not to respond to the order to march.

The cord that ties us, stretches. . . it doesn’t break yet.

An invisible scissors finally cut it,

The feet seemed lighter now. . .free.

A last look back. The house doesn’t move. I’m the one who leaves.

The city fades away,

We are on the mountain road. The sea is below. Trieste can be seen.

***

Before embarking, we had to go through Customs. The checked on how much money we were carrying.

They made Mama go to a room that looked like a doctor’s office, and they closed the door.

I found myself alone, defenseless, in front of a large woman wearing a white smock, who without saying a word, unfastened my coat. She quickly took it away from me.

I was very scared. She put her hands in every pocket. She made me take off my shoes. She checked them over very carefully with her nearsighted eyes. She touched me everywhere. I don’t know what she was looking for. She didn’t find anything. She made me open my mouth and stick out my tongue. I stuck it out forcefully and willingly.

“I don’t have a sore throat. I said to her dryly.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No, I don’t.” I didn’t want to, but I blushed.

“Okay, when your mother comes out, you can leave.” She squeezed my arm. She stopped me. “One moment, Miss,” she said with her military tone of voice, “I didn’t check your little handbag. What do we have here? Let’s see.” She repeated out loud each thing she took out: handkerchief, pencil, a book with a red cover. . .” She opened it and asked with a certain irony: “Is it Chinese? “No!” I answered angrily, “It’s Hebrew. It’s my Prayer Book. Don’t touch it! Give it to me!” She returned it to me.

“I suppose it’s alright,” she said. She twisted her mouth. She turned around. She went over to check another little girl, surely as frightened as I.

Mama came out, buttoning her dress. She was livid. She squeezed her lips together. Signal that she would never tell what had happened.

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Translated by Stephen A. Sadow

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MinaWeil2

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Enrique Amster — Novelista judío-argentino/Argentine Jewish Novelist” — “Marcela y Judith” — una novela de amor e identidad en Israel y Argentina/A Novel of Love and Identity in Israel and Argentina — fragmento/excerpt

 

Ralesky
Enrique Amster

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Enrique Amster nació en la provincia de Entre Ríos y reside en la Capital desde los nueve años de edad. Estudió construcciones en una escuela industrial y luego arquitectura en la Universidad de Buenos Aires. En tanto desarrollaba su actividad profesional diseñando inmuebles para vivienda, realizó estudios de postgrado en planificación física y regional. Participó en equipos interdisciplinarios públicos y privados, formulando diversas propuestas de ordenamiento urbano especialmente en sectores de tránsito y transporte. Su vocación literaria se fue manifestando de a poco entre otros intentos expresivos: el dibujo y la pintura. Es a partir de la práctica en seminarios de periodismo y en talleres literarios, que la escritura fue elegida finalmente como el medio idóneo que le permitiera decodificar los mensajes ocultos en su mundo interior. Ha publicado narrativa en antologías y una novela, Marcela y Judith, 1999 Retumbar de trenes, 1999.

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Enrique Amster was born in the province of Entre Ríos and has lived in the Buenos Aires since he was nine years old. He studied construction at an industrial school and then architecture at the University of Buenos Aires. While developing his professional skills, designing real estate for housing, he completed postgraduate studies in physical and regional planning. He participated in public and private interdisciplinary teams, formulating various proposals for urban planning, especially in the transit and transport sectors. His literary vocation was gradually developed, while attempting other expressive areas: drawing and painting. From practice in journalism, seminars and literary workshops, he finally chose writing as the ideal medium that would allow him to decode the hidden messages in his inner world. He has published a narrative in anthologies and a novel, two novels Marcela and Judith, in 1999 and Retumbar de trenes. 1999.

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“Marcela y Judith”

fragmento de la novela

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¿José Luis?

No negaré que muchas veces tuve la tentación de llamarlo, buscarlo, saber algo de él, escribirle, pero nunca lo hice: no pude. En el diario le destinaba, cada tanto, páginas enteras. Reconocía todo lo que había influido en mí, provocando los cambios que vendrían después; le adjudicaba haber desencadenado un severo auto-cuestionamiento de la identidad, lo cual me permitió descubrir en mí un sentido de pertenencia a la cultura argentina que ignoraba poseer.

Y por encima de todo eso, ha sido José Luis quien me ayudó a correr los velos de una sensualidad oculta detrás de mandatos y preceptos programados, organizados desde mi nacimiento o, quizá, antes. Pensaba en José Luis e imaginaba que ya se había desvinculado afectivamente de mí.  Que todo había pasado. Que este “episodio” que vivimos fue definitiva y como yo lo sentí por aquel entonces, eso mismo, un episodio, u a pasión fugaz, producto de la excitación de mi partida. Se habrá mudado—pensaba—y vivirá con una pareja ya no en el desvencijado estudio de la calle Montevideo sino en alguno otro sitio de la ciudad: San Telmo o el Abasto o Balvanera.

Ya hacia tiempo que, en la Argentina, Carvallo había asumido como ministro de Economía y, en el puesto de canciller, Menem había nombrado a Di Tella. A estos cambios correspondía una serie de medidas enmarcadas, todas dentro de un ordenamiento que se conoció bajo la denominación de convertibilidad. Fui enterándome de los cambios que se producían a través de los diarios especializados que volví a consultar en forma periódica: estabilización y creciente inversión en las actividades económicas aunque con aumento de desocupación, consecuencia del ajuste fiscal, la privatizaciones y, en general, el achicamiento del estado.

Más allá de mi desconfianza y escepticismo hacia el peronismo y en especial hacia Menem, las medidas me parecían auspiciosas; no dejaba de asombrarme que se pudieran implementar en la democracia. Hubiera corrido, de ser posible, a comentar, debatir todos estos cambios con José Luis; le exigiría cómo justificaba que un gobierno justicialista llevara adelante una transformación tan profunda, y además mediante instrumentos de inequívoco liberal.

El distanciamiento físico de Marcos fue dándose en forma natural. Sin embargo, no tenía (Marcos tampoco) el coraje suficiente de dormir en camas separadas. Por otra parte, los viajes de Marcos eran bastante continuados. De una u otra forma, todo contribuía a que el deseo fuera apagándose por completo. En algún momento supuse que Marcos podía llegar a tener relaciones con otra mujer y esto—que en otros tiempos no era capaz de imaginar siquiera—me parecía razonable, comprensible. Y otra vez, como ya me había sucedido dos años atrás, me fui deponiendo de a una nueva despedida. Era como si debiera inexorablemente y, por mi condición de judía, experimentar el padecimiento de exilio y la errancia. Y para colmo, en mi caso, llevando a cuestas la culpa y además la duda provocada por el interrogante que había crecido en forma obsesiva dentro de mí: ¿cuál será en realidad, y por fin,  mi tierra prometida?

Me despedí de Massada y de Safed. Saludé a Tiberíades, y recorrí, una vez más la ruta perimetral al Mar de Galilea. Lloré largamente junto al Muro Sagrado en Jerusalén, y me dejó llevar por mis pasos a la ciudadela de David y Mea Sharim y los museos. Vagué días enteros por los serpenteantes callejuelas de Yaffo, de Haifa, de Akko. . .

Fuimos ajustando los detalles del viaje en función del reingreso de Laura a sus clases en su colegio secundario. Mi padre, Elías y Rosa—la hermana de Marcos—habrían de ocuparse de todo lo necesario para nuestra reinserción en Buenos Aires.

A todo esto, y en tanto yo me sumergía en mi nuevo proyecto de retorno, Marcos se afirmaba cada vez más en sus actividades. Fue nombrado delegado político del kibutz ante la central con su sede en Tel Aviv. Claudia, asimismo, militaba en grupos juveniles y le asignaban tareas de responsabilidad cada vez mayores. Proyectaba, también, ingresar a la universidad para estudiar alguna de las carreras de ciencias sociales.                                 El 21 de diciembre de 1991 sería la fecha en que Laura y yo partiríamos desde el aeropuerto Ben Gurion hacia Buenos Aires. Habíamos dispuesto una fecha antes del fin de año, de común acuerdo con Marcos, para evitar la celebración forzada e inevitablemente dolorosa. Por motivos parecidos rechacé toda propuesta de despidida por parte de los amigos del kibutz.

No todos, por cierto, aprobaban mi determinación: algunos pocos ensayaban actividades comprensivas. Las charlas que tuve en esos días me retrotraían a las que solíamos tener en los grupos de estudio de la Hebraica.

Allí se enfatizaba la idea de que el sionismo merece una entrega total y nos coloca por encima de intereses individuales. Y yo estaba actuando a la inversa: claudicaba, desertaba, “descendía”. . . Lo único que tenía que oponer era el duro conflicto por el que atravesaba y que enfermada a Laura y me pose a las puertas de que me sucediera lo mismo. ¿Sería eso, acaso, a la causa sionista? ¿Había que pagar un precio tan alto?

Por supuesto que no iba a encontrar respuestas a esos interrogantes. Además, sabía—por aquella voltereta jasídica—que “las respuestas certeras clausuran la posibilidad de seguir formulando nuevas preguntas”. Era consciente que estaba desechando la idea nuclear del sionismo pero, de ninguna manera, desertaba mi condición de judía.

–Aquí, y por más que hay conflictos con nuestros vecinos, nunca te van a gritar: ¡judía de mierda! – argumentaban algunas.

Y también eso era cierto. Pero tampoco esa sola razón, a moda de respuesta o justificación, clausuraba nuevas preguntas:  ¿Deben los judíos, en un mundo que marcha velozmente hacia la globalización, persistir en el modelo tradicional del ghetto?  ¿Deben encerrarse en sus recintos por temor a perder la identidad?

Yo había participado en mil debates sobre estos temas. La ecuación sionismo y/o judaísmo fue desde mi niñez, un problema siempre a resolver en el futuro. Mi formación estuvo orientada hacia el rechazo de las ideas aperturistas quizá como lógica prolongación de las ideas cimentadas en los duros tiempos previos al establecimiento del estado judío.

Mi diario, en cierto aspecto, no es otra cosa que un itinerario de transgresiones y rebeldías. Al releerlo suelo preguntarme:  ¿cuál de las Marcelas escribió ese diario? Pero, sin embargo, en medio de dudas e interrogantes, algo estaba gestando e iba teniendo carácter de permanente. Y se trababa de ciertos aspectos de mi identidad cuyo perfil ya no podría prescindir—estaba comprobado—de las nutrientes argentinas.

Todos mis antepasados familiares se vieron obligados—no pudieron elegir—a cortar abruptamente sus raíces. Ya habían cruzado y recruzado el Atlántico, abandonando culturas, lenguajes, llenándose de nostalgias con cada partida. Fueron dejando paisajes, idiomas y canciones de Europa o el Oriente, para interrumpir en el campo entrerriano o en el conventillo urbano de Once o de Barracas, y después hacer, otra vez, sus valijas y volver a cruzar el mar, resignando nuevas culturas, nuevos afectos, en procura de esa, tan supuesta, tan deseada, tierra prometida. Porque desde el nacimiento mismo de ese pueblo se viene asignando la consigna, “El año que viene en Jerusalén. . .”

Y cada mudanza implicaba una penosa amputación como un cuerpo que va dejando jirones a su paso.

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“Marcela y Judith”

an excerpt from the novel

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José Luis?

I won’t deny that I have often had the temptation to call him, search for him, know something about him, write him, but I never did it: I couldn’t. Every so often, I devoted entire pages of my diary to him. I recognized how much he had influenced me, provoking the changes that would come later on; I conceded to him that he had unleashed a severe self-questioning of my identity, which, permitted me a sense of belonging to Argentinean culture that I didn’t know that I possessed.

And on top of all that, it has been José Luis who helped me take off those veils of a sensuality hidden under mandates and precepts, programmed since my birth, or perhaps, before. I thought about José Luis, and I imagined that he had already left behind his feelings for me. That everything had ended. That this “episode” that we lived was definitive, and just as I felt at that time, that’s it, an episode or a fleeting passion, product of the excitement of my leaving. He would have moved—I thought—and would be living with a partner, no longer in that beat-up studio on Montevideo Street, but in another place in the city: San Telmo or El Abasto or Balvane

It had been some time since, in Argentina, Carvallo had become Economics Minister and, as Secretary of State, Menem had named Di Tella. To these changes, corresponded a series of specific changes, all within a system that was known by the name convertibility. I was keeping up to date through specialized newspapers that I once again consulted periodically: stabilization and growing investment in economic activities, although with an increase in unemployment, the consequence of the fiscal adjustments, privatization and, in general, the shrinking of the state.

Despite my lack of confidence and skepticism toward Peronism and especially toward Menem, the measures seemed auspicious to me: it didn’t cease amazing me that they could be implemented by a democracy. I would have run, if it were possible, to comment, debate all these changes with José Luis: I would insist that he justify how a Justicialist government could carry out a such a profound transformation, and more so, by using unequivocally liberal instruments.

The physical distancing from Marcos was happening in a natural way. Nevertheless, I didn’t have enough courage (neither did Marcos) to sleep in separate beds. Besides, Marcos’ trips were quite constant. In one or another manner, everything contributed to desire disappearing completely. At one point, I supposed that Marcos could have gone as far as having relations with another woman and this—that in other times I wasn’t even capable of imagining—seemed to me to be reasonable, understandable. And another time, as had happened to me two years earlier, I was getting ready for a new goodbye. It was if I inexorably must and, for my condition as a Jew, experience the suffering of exile and wandering. And on top of that, in my case, carrying with me the guilt and also the doubt provoked by the questioning provoked by the questioning that had grown in me in an obsessive way: which will be in reality, and finally, my promised land?

We were arranging the details of the trip with regard to Laura return to her classes in her high school. My father, Elías and Rosa—Marcos’ sister—would have to take care of everything necessary for our reinsertion into Buenos Aires.

With all this, and as I submerged myself in my new project of return, Marcos involved himself more and more in his activities. He was named political delegate of the kibbutz to the central committee with its headquarters in Tel Aviv. Claudia, likewise, was active in youth groups and they assigned her tasks with more and more responsibility. She planned, also, to enroll in the university to study one of the majors in social sciences.

December 21, 1991 would be the date in which Laura and I would leave from Ben Gurion Airport for Buenos Aires. We had chosen a date before the first of the year, in agreement with Marcos, to avoid the forces and inevitably painful celebration. For similar reasons, I refused any proposal of a goodbye from the kibbutz friends.

Not everyone, of course, approved my choice: a few tried extensive activity. The chats that I had in those days brought me back to those that we used to have in the study groups of la Hebraica. There, they emphasized that  idea that Zionism required a complete commitment and we put ourselves above our individual interests. And I was acting in the reverse direction: I was throwing in the towel, deserting, “descending”. . . The only thing that I had to oppose was the harsh conflict that passed through and sickened Laura and put me at the point that the same thing could happen to me. Would it be that, perhaps, the Zionist cause? Did the price have to be so high?

Of course, I wasn’t going to find answers to those unanswered questions. Moreover, I knew that—by that Hassidic mindbender—that the sure answer to close off the possibility to continue formulating new questions.” I was conscient that I was throwing out the nuclear idea of Zionism, but, in no way, deserting my identification as a Jew.

“Here, and except that there are conflicts with out neighbors, they will never yell at you: “Shitty Jew!”

And that was true too. But not that reason alone, as an answer or a justification, closed off new questions. Should the Jews, in a world that was moving very fast toward globalization, persist in the traditional model of the ghetto? Should they lock themselves up in their enclosures for fear of losing their identity?

I had participated in a thousand debates about these topics. The equation: Zionism and/or Judaism was there since my childhood, a problem to always be answered in the future. My formation was oriented toward the rejection of progressive ideas, perhaps as a logical prolongation of ideas based in the tough times before the establishment of the Jewish State.

My diary, in a certain way, is nothing but an itinerary of transgressions and rebellions. On re-reading it, I continue to ask myself: which of the Marcelas write that diary? But, however, in the midst of doubts and questions, something was gestating and taking on a permanent character. And it dealt with certain aspects of my identity, whose profile could no longer be gone without—it was proven—by Argentinean nutrients.

All my family ancestors saw themselves obliged—they couldn’t choose—to abruptly cut their roots. They had crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, abandoning languages, cultures, filling themselves with nostalgia at every leaving. They were leaving behind landscapes, languages and songs of Europe and the Orient, to end up in the plains of Entre Ríos or a tenement in Once of Barracas, and after making up, once more their suitcases and cross the ocean again, giving up new cultures, new feelings, in search of that, so alleged, so desired, promised land. Because since the very birth of that country, they came singing the chant: “Next Year in Jerusalem. . .”

And every move implied a painful amputation as with a body that with leave pieces behind.

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También por/Also by Enrique Amster

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Victoria Dana — Novelista judío-mexicana/Mexican Jewish Novelist — “Adónde tú vayas, iré” – Una novela de los judíos sirio-mexicanos/”Wherever You Go, I Will Go” – Novel of Syrian Mexican Jews — fragmentos/excerpts

 

9517bec6ef786e24c631c854837c3b73Adonde__________________________________________

Victoria Dana es hija de inmigrantes sirios, nacida en la ciudad de México. Su interés por las letras nació desde muy pequeña, cuando se nutrió de todas las lecturas que caían en sus manos. Es licenciada en ciencias de la comunicación social por la Universidad Anáhuac. Tuvo la suerte de conocer y estudiar teatro con el maestro Hugo Argüelles, cuyos conocimientos la ha acompañado hasta ahora. Forma parte del taller literario del doctor Miguel Cossío Woodward, quien ha trabajado con toda una generación de escritores mexicanos contemporáneos. En 2012 incursionó por primera vez en la narrativa de ficción, y así fue como nació su primera novela Las palabras perdidas.  Adónde tú vayas, iré es su segunda novela, con la cual trata de mostrar que sólo desentrañando los secretos del pasado podemos enfrentar el presente.

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Victoria Dana is the daughter of Syrian immigrants, born in Mexico City. His interest in letters was born from a very young age, when she consumed all the readings that fell into her hands. She has a degree in social communication sciences from the Universidad Anáhuac. She was lucky to meet and study theater with maestro Hugo Argüelles, whose knowledge has accompanied her to this day. She was  part of the literary workshop of Dr. Miguel Cossío Woodward, who has worked with a whole generation of contemporary Mexican writers. In 2012 she ventured for the first time in the fiction, and that was how her first novel Las palabras perdidas was born.  Adónde tu vayas, iré is her second novel, with which she demonstrates that only by unraveling the secrets of the past can we face the present.

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Notas preliminares: Durante siglos, los judíos de Damasco, Siria, vivieron como una minoría despreciada en el Imperio Otomano. Mantuvieron sus costumbres ancestrales–como la dominación total del hombre sobre la mujer y el comercio. Latife, la heroína de la novela se a sí misma cada vez más miserable cuando su madre se muere repentinamente y tras el abandono de su padre. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial cuando se destruye el Imperio y la vida en Damasco se hace imposible para los judíos, muchos se trasladan a México para conseguir una oportunidad y un futuro. [Kamil es el esposo de Latife.]

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Preliminary Notes: For centuries, the Jews of Damascus, Syria, lived as a despised minority of the Ottoman Empire. They were able to maintain their ancient customs which included the total domination of the men over women and commerce. Latife, the heroine of the novel sees herself become more and more miserable when her mother suddenly dies and her father abandons her. In the First World War, the Ottoman Empire, including Damascus is destroyed, and Jewish life becomes untenable. Many leave for Mexico looking for opportunity and a future. [Kamil is Latife’s husband.]

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La llegada a México

A Latife le asombró el cálido recibimiento de los vecinos. Acostumbrados a ver a los no judíos como enemigos, agradecieron la amabilidad de la portera y las muestras de solidaridad. La vecina de al lado los obsequió con unas galletas, una más trajo dulces para los niños. Latife se sintió apenada; ella no tenía algo que dar a cambio, no tenía cómo agradecer sus atenciones, Aunque, pensó:  Llegará el día.

Los niños no tardaron en detectar a otros de su edad. El avioncito y las canicas se volvieron sus juegos preferidos.

Entre las familias judías un aire de hermandad flotaba en el ambiente. La vecindad se parecía al hosh donde habían vivido en el Sham. Igual gozaban del patio comunal, aunque aquí, cada señora tenía su cocina particular. Los chismes ya no se sazonaban como antes, al hervor de los guisos, así que optaron por hacer del patio su lugar de reunión.

A menudo se escuchaba a las mujeres comunicarse a gritos de un departamento al otro. Como la puerta de la vecindad permanecía abierta, el ruido se mezclaba con el de vendedores ambulantes y con el bullicio de los niños creando una alegre sinfonía que llenaba de vida cada rincón.

El primer Sabbat se reunieron todos en el patio. Cada señora hizo las veces de anfitriona con un platillo. Los padres de familia recitaron al unísono la bendición al Creador y saboreaban de los guisos, los mismos que acostumbraban en Damasco, como si los hubieran traído con ellos.

Un ambiente de alegría hizo explosión en forma de chistes, bailes y anécdotas. Juntos disfrutaban de la vida. Poco a poco se recuperaban de ellos mismos. Nada les faltaba, a pesar de sus carencias.

Con el tiempo se convirtieron en sus propios maestros. En una libreta pequeña escribían las palabras que escuchaban con su respectivo significado en árabe. El diccionario multiplicó sus vocablos hasta que ya no fue necesario. Gracias al francés que habían aprendido en la escuela, más parecido al español que el árabe, en pocos meses dominaron el idioma. La libreta les sirvió para anotar su estado financiero, y la cartera de clientes. La sirvienta de la reja verde debe $ 1.00, la señora de la escalera amarilla debe $2.00. . .

Ajustaban el precio con una clienta, cuando Murad escuchó la frase que ahora se repetía en su cerebro sin descanso: ”El casado casa quiere”.  En México y en el Sham, pensó, los dichos son muy sabios. . .  tal vez estorbo. Kamil y Latite necesitaban estar solos, sin que nadie se interponga.

En la sinagoga se enteró de que varios jóvenes de su edad habían llegado solos, por lo que crearon “La casa del soltero”, rentaron una vivienda de buen tamaño y contrataron a una mujer para que los atendiera. Entre todos, el costo no era tan alto y la convivencia les daba esa sensación de pertenencia que tanto necesitaban.

A pesar de los ruegos de Kamil, Murad se mudó a la conocida casa, donde además de divertirse con sus miembros, encontró pasto fértil para sus intenciones de crear un grupo de jóvenes al servicio de la comunidad, con ideas progresistas. Estaba bien rezar, como hacían los viejos, pero no era lo único que hacía falta. Con la ayuda de los jóvenes lograría trasladar Natán ba seter, la ayuda secreta, desde Damasco a México. Otra de sus ilusiones era crear la escuela, en ella pondría todos su esfuerzo. Una escuela de la comunidad donde niños y niñas se sintieran a sus anchas sin ser señalados.

Para Kamil el pozo de los sueños no se secaba nunca. Quería vestir un traje nuevo como los que lucían sus conocidos en la sinagoga. Acariciaba la idea de tener un negocio propio y una casa más cómoda. También pretendía comprar un auto: Imaginar a Latife paseando en él le provocaba un gozo enorme. Pero por lo pronto, su anhelo más inmediato era de la traer a casa los bolsos del mercado colmadas, con todo lo que se antojara, y conseguir carne o pollo para su familia al menos una vez por semana. La lista de deseos parecía interminable, así como la fuerza para lograrla. Pero su más preciado sueño, el que alcanzaría tarde o temprano, era ver a su padre, Yusuf Lisbona, franquear la puerta de su casa. Los traeré a México, se dijo, lo prometo.

Sus anhelos se convirtieron en el motor que lo impulsaba a trabajar el día entero con su mercancía a cuestas.

Veía a los vecinos entrar al estanquillo y comprar un “cachito” de lotería con la esperanza de “salir de pobres”, así se escuchaba que decían. Kamil comprobaba que desperdiciaban su dinero sin obtener nada en el cambio. No estaba de acuerdo en dilapidar. Sus sueños eran más realistas. La suerte no lo hace a uno, uno hace su suerte, pensaba.

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Latife sola:

YO SOY EL SEÑOR TU DIOS

Y ESTARÉ CONTIGO

DONDE QUIERA QUE VAYAS

         Así como los ciclos lunares ocasionaban cambios en el cuerpo, Latife intuía que los embarazos provocaban cambios en su vida. ¿Cómo será esta vez?, pensaba con inquietud, mientras acariciaba la apenas visible protuberancia.

Ese viernes por la mañana, Latife se dirigió a la sinagoga. Todavía le asombra el hecho de andar sola por las calles. No había límites que los apartaran del resto de los habitantes. En México judíos y católicos convivían con respeto y, aunque no faltaba quien los mirara con extrañeza o desprecio, a ellos no les importaba, porque aquí eran considerados ciudadanos como todos. No había leyes especiales, ninguna restricción que les hiciera sentirse humillados

Latife caminaba unas cuadras más para observar con detenimiento los edificios. Cada detalle le parecía importante. Leía los nombres de las calles y procuraba memorizarlos. Sentía que de esa manera se adueñaba poco a poco de la ciudad. Paseaba libre, nada le intimidaba, nadie tenía que protegerla, al menos durante el día. De noche, las calles oscuras se volvían peligrosas, merodeaban los borrachos; era mejor guarecerse.

En la sinagoga se acercó a una mesa donde habían preparado varios pabilos que flotaban en pequeñas vasijas con aceite y agua. Algunas ya estaban encendidas. Los viernes, a partir del mediodía, el knis se atiborraba de mujeres. Todas pedían algo, aunque no necesariamente para ellas. Bienestar para los hijos, una vida mejor para sus familias y salud para los mayores. Latife prendió una mecha y observó la luz surgir y acrecentarse. Ella no venía a pedir, más bien deseaba agradecer este embarazo. Una vida que nace siempre representa una oportunidad, pero ¿agradecer a quién?, se preguntaba. ¿Dios, existes realmente? A pesar de las dudas, invocaba al Todopoderoso

¿En qué parte del universo te encuentras? Si es cierto que eres todo y no tienes fin, me escuchas?. .  ¿Acaso te molestarías en fijarte en una criatura sin importancia como yo?

A menudo me parece que juegas con los humanos y te alimentas de nuestro sufrimiento. Eres capaz de segar la vida de un niño y como si nada hubiera pasado, un buen día ofreces otra. ¿Juegas conmigo? ¿Me quitas y me das.? Voy a ser madre de nuevo y me pregunto ¿para qué? ¿Para qué?. . .Piensas arrancarme as este hijo también?

Tengo miedo lo confieso. Sé que me encuentro en sus manos, que deben ser inmensas: con ellas lo abarcas todo, pero, ¿eres realmente el Dios de bondad que tanto necesito? Kamil reza todos los días al Creador misericordioso y yo observo su fervor, puedo no puedo compartirlo. No te conozco y te temo. Desearía creer en Ti, sentirme confiada de que nos protegerás bajo tu sombra.

Mientras tanto, la cabeza de Kamil está llena de sueños que no has interpretado todavía. ¿Hacia dónde nos llevas? En ese fluir de la vida somos como guijarros que arrastra la corriente. Pero no todo es oscuro. Por otro lado, a pesar de la tormenta que nos has traído a una tierra de bondad, donde podemos construir un futuro y apaciblemente esperar a que llegue el tiempo de la cosecha. Nosotros apenas surcamos la tierra, ya hemos puesto la semilla y justo ahora Tú nos bendices con un nuevo ser. Ansío verlo, tenerlo en mis brazos, asegurarme de ha nacido sano y fuerte. Aún faltaba tanto y la incertidumbre me domina, me llena de angustia. Señor, te lo ruego, cuida de él.

Dicen que las almas retornan. En Pesaj, la historia asegura que somos los mismos que salieron de Egipto. ¿Será verdad? ¿Me está devolviendo a mi Musa? Su alma era tan pequeña como esta luz, cualquier soplo podría apagarla. ¿Cómo haré para cuidarla de nuevo?  Sé que Tú conoces todas las respuestas, muéstrame el camino, ayúdame a lograr a el milagro: convierta mi miedo en confianza y mi dolor en fe.

No puedo explicarlo, siento que ahora será diferente. Yo también soy distinta. Yo no soy la niña que se entrega a un hombre por órdenes de otros, Después de todo lo que he vivido, no estoy dispuesta a hacer nada contra mi voluntad. Si he recibido a Kamil por las noches es porque él enciende mi deseo y sé que lo amo. Todos dicen que nuestra unión está predestinada. ¿Será cierto? ¿Tú, desde el no sé dónde los dispones? ¿Eres el casamentero celestial? Si es así, te agradezco haber elegido para mí un hombre que me trata con cariño. Un hombre justo, capaz de hacer el mayor de los esfuerzos con tal de complacerme. Con este hijo que llega, nuestra unión será más fuerte todavía.

Gracias por permitirme compartir contigo el milagro de la vida, Bendito seas, Dios mío, por haberme hecho mujer.

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The arrival in Mexico

Latife was amazed at the warm reception by the neighbors. Accustomed to see non-Jews as enemies, they were all thankful for the friendliness of the lady building manager and the shows of support. The next-door neighbor gave then some cookies, another brought candy for the children. Latife felt sad, she didn’t have anything to give them in exchange, she didn’t have a way to thank them for their assistance. The time will come. . .

The children spent no time in finding others of their age. Darts and marbles were once again the favorite games.

Among the Jewish families, and air of brotherhood floated in the atmosphere. The neighborhood seemed like el hash where they had lived in the Sham. In the same way, they enjoyed the communal patio, although here, although each lady had her own private kitchen. The gossip wasn’t peppered as before, at the boiling of the stews, so the chose to make the patio their meeting place.

Often the women communicating by yelling from one door to another was heard. As the door of the neighborhood was always open, the noise mixed with that of the hawkers and with the racket made by the children, creating a happy symphony that filled the life in every corner.

The children spent no time in finding others of their age. Darts and marbles were once again the favorite games.

The first Sabbat, everyone gathered in the patio. Each señora took her place as hostess with a specialty dish. The fathers of the families recited in unison the benediction to the Creator and tasted the dishes, the same ones that they knew in Damascus, as if they had been brought with them.

An atmosphere of joy exploded in the form of jokes, dances and anecdotes. Together, they enjoyed life. Little by little, they recuperated themselves. They need nothing, in spite of what they lacked.

With time the became their own teachers, in a little notebook, they wrote down the words the heard with their retrospective meaning in Arabic. The dictionary multiplied its words until it was no longer necessary. Thanks to the French that they learned in school, closer to Spanish than to Arabic, in  a few months, the dominated the language. The little notebook served them also to keep track of their finances, and the list of clients. The servant of the green grate owes one peso, the lady of the yellow staircase owes two pesos.

They agreed on the price with one client, when Murad heard the phrase that now repeated in his brain without stopping” “The married man wants a house.” In Mexico and in the Sham, he thought, the proverbs are very wise. . . perhaps an obstacle. Kamil and Latife need to be alone, without anyone bothering them.

In the synagogue, it was known that several young men had arrived alone, so that they created :The Bachelor’s House. They rented a large apartment and they hired a woman to take care of it. Split among them, the cost was not great and living together gave them the sense of belonging that they so needed.

Despite Kamil’s pleas, Murad moved to the bachelor’s house, where besides enjoying himself with the others, he found fertile ground for his intentions to create a group of young men in service to the community, with progressive ideas. It was fine to pray, as the old people did, but that was not the only thing needed. With the help of the young men they would be able to bring from Damascus to Mexico, Natan ba Seder, secret help. Another of his dreams was to create a school. In that, he put all his effort. A community school, where boys and girls would feel free without being singled out.

For Kamil, the well of his dreams never dried up. He wanted to wear a new suit as his acquaintances were showing off at the time. He cherished the idea of having his own business and a more comfortable house. He also intended to buy a car: imagining Latife riding in it, provoked in him an enormous pleasure. But for the moment, his most pressing desire was to bring home the filled bags from the market, with everything that was wanted, and obtain meat or a chicken at least once a week. The list of wishes seemed interminable, as well as the force required to fulfil it. But his most treasured dream, that which he would reach sooner or later, was to see his father. Yusuf Lisboa, knocking on the door of his house. He would bring them to Mexico, he told himself, I promise.

His desires became the motor that impelled him to work all day with merchandise on his back.

He saw his neighbors enter the little stand and buy a lottery ticket with the idea of “leaving poverty behind,” as he heard them say. Kamil understood that they were throwing their money away, without obtaining anything in return. He did not believe in squandering. His dreams were more realistic. Luck doesn’t make you, you make luck, he thought.

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Latife alone:

I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD

AND I WILL BE WITH YOU

WHEREVER YOU WISH I GO

Just as the lunar cycles cause changes in the body, Latife knew intuitively that pregnancies provoked changes in her life. “How would it be this time?” she thought with concern, while she caressed the barely visible protuberance.

That Friday morning, Latife headed for the synagogue. The fact that she could walk alone in the street still amazes her. There were no boundaries that separated her from the rest of the inhabitants. In Mexico, Jews and Catholics lived together with respect and, although there were those who looked at them with suspicion or contempt, it didn’t bother them, for here they were considered citizens like everyone else. There were no special laws, no restriction that might humiliate them,

Latife walked a few blocks more to observe the buildings with care. Each detail seemed important to her. She read the names of the streets and was able to memorize them. She felt that by that way, little by little, she would master the city. She walked about freely, nothing intimidated her, nobody needed to protect her, at least during the day. At night, the darkened streets became dangerous, the drunks lurked; it was better to protect yourself.

In the synagogue se approached a table where they had prepared several wicks that were floating small receptacles filled with oil and water. Some were already burning. On Fridays, after midday, the knis was full of women. All needed something, although not necessarily for themselves. The asked for the well-being of their children, a better life for their families and heal for the elderly. Latife lit a wick and watched the light surge and grow. She didn’t come to ask; she wanted to give thanks for this pregnancy. A live being born always represents and opportunity–but to thank whom?, she wondered. God, do you really exist? In spite of her doubts, she invoked the All Powerful.

In what part of the universe are you to be found? If it’s true that you are everything and you have no end, you hear me?. . . Would you bother to pay attention to an un important creature like me?

It often seems to me that you play with humans and you feed on our suffering. You are capable of cutting short the life of a child, and, as if nothing had happened, on another day, you offer another. Are you playing with me?  You take from me and you give to me? I’m going to be a mother and I wonder: for what?. . for what?…are you planning to tear this child from me too?

I’m afraid, I confess. I know that I find myself in your hands that must be immense: in those, you encompass everything, but, are you really the God of goodness that I need so much. Kamil prays everyday to the merciful Creator and I watch his fervor, but I can’t share it. I don’t know you, and I fear you. I would wish to believe in You, to feel myself trust that you will protect us under your shadow.

Meanwhile, Kamil’s head is full of dreams that he hasn’t yet interpreted. To where are you taking us? In that flow of life, we are like pebbles that the current pulls along. But not everything is dark. On the other hand, despite the storm that has brought us to a land of goodness, where we can construct a future and peacefully wait until harvest time comes. We have scarcely plowed the land. We have just placed a seed and just now you bless us with a child. I yearn to see him, hold him in my arms, assure myself that he has been born healthy and strong. So much still is yet to come, and the uncertainty dominates me, fills my with anguish. Lord, I beg of you, take care of him.

They say that souls return. In Pesach, the story assures us that we are the same ones who left Egypt. Could that be true? Are you returning my Musa to me? His soul was as small as this light, any puff of air could blow it out. How will I care for him once again? I know that You know every answer. Show me the way, help me achieve the miracle. Convert my fear in confidence and my pain in faith.

I can’t explain it. I feel that now will be different. I am also different. I am not the little girl who gave herself to a man by the orders of others. After all that I have lived, I am not prepared to do anything against my will.  If I have received Kamil at night it is because he excites my desire and I love him. Everyone says that our union is predestined. Could that be true? You, who arranges things from I don’t know where? Are you the celestial matchmaker? Si it is so, I thank you for having chosen for me a man who treats me with affection. A just man, capable of making the greatest effort so as to please me. With this child that arrives, our union is yet stronger.

Thank you for permitting me to share with you the miracle of life. You are Blessed, My God, for having made me a woman.

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Elisa Lerner — Escritora de ficción, dramaturga y cronista judío-venezolana/ Elisa Lerner– Venezuelan Jewish Fiction Writer, Playwright and Columnist — “La mujer venezolana”/”The Women of Venezuela”

 

untitled elisa
Elisa Lerner

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Elisa Lerner es hija de inmigrantes judíos de Europa del Este que se establecieron en Valencia, Venezuela, a principios de la década de 1930. Después de la muerte de Juan Vicente Gómez, la familia se mudó a Caracas. A pesar de estudiar leyes, la verdadera pasión de Lerner era la literatura, y luego escribió obras de teatro, ensayos, ficción corta y, una novela (De muerte lenta, 2006). En 2000, Lerner ganó el Premio Nacional de Literatura en Venezuela. Elisa Lerner es conocida por sus comentarios mordaces sobre Venezuela post-Pérez-Jiménez de maneras implacables. Sus comienzos se dieron en el grupo literario “Sardio” junto a conocidos escritores nuestros como Adriano González, Salvador Garmendia o Guillermo Sucre. Además de escribir obras de teatro, Lerner ha trabajado como columnista de un periódico, como personalidad de la televisión. En España,  su cargo fue el de consejero cultural.. Los personajes de Lerner son casi todas mujeres. A menudo, su drama explora cómo las mujeres no se cumplen sexualmente, emocionalmente e intelectualmente porque están limitadas por los roles y comportamientos que la sociedad patriarcal les impone. Temáticamente, a Lerner también le preocupa comentar sobre la Venezuela posterior a la dictadura y las formas en que la cultura pop y la creación de imágenes, así como el consumismo, actúan sobre la conciencia venezolana. La cuestión de la memoria y la identidad impregna el trabajo de Lerner. El estilo de Elisa Lerner es altamente satírico y sus diálogos se basan en observaciones sobre la vida cotidiana en períodos históricos particulares, con múltiples referencias a la cultura popular.

Adaptado de: http://www.outofthewings.org/db/author/elisa-lerner.html

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Elisa Lerner is the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in Valencia, Venezuela, in the early 1930s.  After the death of Juan Vicente Gómez, the family moved to Caracas. Despite studying law, Lerner’s true passion was literature and she went on to write plays, essays, short fiction and, more recently, a novel (De muerte lenta, 2006). In 2000 Lerner won the Premio Nacional de Literatura in Venezuela. Elisa Lerner is known for her biting commentary on post-Pérez-Jiménez Venezuela in unforgiving ways.  As well as writing plays, Lerner has worked as a newspaper columnist, as a television personality.  In Spain, her position was as cultural advisor,  Her literary beginnings were in a group called “Sardio” with well-known Venezuelan writers such as Adriano González, Salvador Garmendia o Guillermo Sucre. Lerner’s characters are almost all women.  Often her drama explores how women are unfulfilled sexually, emotionally and intellectually because they are constrained by the roles and behaviours which patriarchal society imposes on them.  Thematically, Lerner is also concerned to comment on post-dictatorship Venezuela and the ways in which pop culture and image-making, as well as consumerism, act on the Venezuelan consciousness.  The question of memory and identity pervades Lerner’s work. Elisa Lerner’s style is highly satirical and her dialogues draw on observations about everyday life in particular historical periods, with multiple references to popular culture.

Adapted from: http://www.outofthewings.org/db/author/elisa-lerner.html

Obra/Works de Elisa Lerner

Teatro

  • En el vasto silencio de Manhattan (1961, teatro)
  • Vida con mamá (1976, teatro)
  • Teatro (2004, teatro reunido)

Ensayo

  • Una sonrisa detrás de la metáfora (1969, ensayo)
  • Yo amo a Columbo (1979, ensayos)

Crónicas

  • Carriel número cinco. (Un homenaje al costumbrismo) (1983, crónicas)
  • Crónicas ginecológicas (1984, crónicas)
  • Carriel para la fiesta (1997, crónicas)
  • Así que pasen cien años (2016, crónicas reunidas)

Novelas y relatos

  • En el entretanto (2000, relatos)
  • Homenaje a la estrella (2002, relatos)
  • De muerte lenta (2006, novela)
  • La señorita que amaba por teléfono (2016, novela)
  • Homenaje a la estrella (cuentos) Segunda edición (2019, El Taller Blanco Ediciones Bogotá)

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El país odontológicoThe Dental Country (1966)

«Yo no me acerqué al teatro, yo estaba dentro del teatro. Mi familia fue un poco como la familia Barrymore. Aunque te parezca hiperbólica. Pero fíjate, mi padre cantaba en la sinagoga. El rito judío es un rito dramático, gravemente teatral por lo conmovedor y arcaico. Pienso, a veces, muy pícaramente, que en mi padre, el apego a la sinagoga, era una rutina teatral, un acercamiento al canto.”

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“I didn’t approach the theater, I was in the theater. My family was a bit like the Barrymore family, although, that may seem hyperbolic to you. But, note, my father sang in the synagogue, The Jewish rite is a dramatic rite, gravely theatrical for being moving and archaic. I think that, at times, very slyly, for in my father, the most important part of the synagogue was a theatrical rhythm, an approach to singing.”

Citada de Alicia Perdomo H./Quoted from Alicia Perdoma H.

“Aunque empecé a escribir muy joven, es ahora cuando estoy entendiendo mejor al venezolano y a la sociedad venezolana. Esto ha sido el resultado de un proceso muy lento, porque el hecho es que mi vía para comprender el país ha sido a través de sus mitos. Al final de mi infancia se produce la llamada Revolución de Octubre, la caída de Gallegos y luego la muerte de Delgado Chalbaud, todo eso repercutió muy profundamente en mi trabajo literario. No es que yo sea una escritora histórica pero sí he estado atenta a los ruidos que me rodean: primero percibí las palabras, después las voces y finalmente escuché a la sociedad venezolana. Claro que siempre de una manera oblicua, valiéndome de pretextos.”

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“Although I was very young when I began to write, it’s only now that I understand better the Venezuelan and the Venezuelan society. This has been the result of a very slow process, because the fact is that my way to understand the country has been through its myths. At the end of my childhood the so-called October Revolution took place, the fall of Gallegos and later the death of Delgado Chalbaud. All of that had deep repercussions in my literary work. It’s not that I am an historical writer, but I have been attentive to the noises that surround me: first, I perceived the words, then the voices and finally, I heard Venezuelan society. Of course, always in an oblique manner, making use of pretexts.”

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“Como releí mis piezas de teatro, puedo decirte lo siguiente: en ellas, hay mujeres solas. Pero creo yo, es una soledad de tercer mundo o de dolida lucidez.. . .Son mujeres interesadas en la política, la democracia, la cultura, incluso  los nombramientos de una burocracia no siempre leal. Son muy críticas, lectoras de periódicos. Honestas, pero impotentes para decidir. Hay alguna que es arribista. Otra que, por lo menos, tiene acceso a una entrevista de prensa pero el entrevistador no sabe abordar su torbellino mental, su torbellino emocional; es un testigo inocuo.

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“As I reread my theatrical works, I can tell you the following: in them, there are women who are alone. But I believe that, it is a Third World loneliness or of a painful lucidity. , , They are women who are interested in politics, democracy, culture, even the appointments to a bureaucracy not always loyal. They are critical, readers of newspapers. Honest, but impotent to decide, There is one who is a — climber. Another who, at least, has access to a press interview, but the interviewer doesn’t know how to deal with her mental whirlwind, her emotional whirlwind. He is an innocuous witness.

Adaptado de: http://www.andes.missouri.edu/andes/Especiales/AP_ElisaLerner.html

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“La mujer del periódico de la tarde/The Woman of the Afternoon Paper (1976)

“¿Hijos? No. No tengo. Mi negligencia, mi descuido, mi distracción no me ha permitido tenerlos. Pero, ahora, cuido de cada arruga de mi rostro como
de un hijo. ¡Y en que madre prolífica me he convertido! Por supuesto, el máximo
desaliño ha sido arribar a los cincuenta. (…)  Pero, últimamente, estoy
albergando la convicción de que los productos de primera, en el rostro de
una mujer de cincuenta,  se vuelven  de segunda. (…)
Untándole un poco de petróleo a mi crema Ponds  me siento mucho más nacionalista. (…)
Para una, la inflación comienza después de los cuarenta.Cómo se ponen, entonces, de caros los hombres.”

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“Children? No. I don’t have any. My negligence, my carelessness, my distraction have not permitted me to have them. But, now, I take care of every wrinkle on my face as a child. And what a prolific mother I have become! Of course, the ultimate carelessness has been to arrive at fifty years old. . .But, recently, I have begun harboring the conviction that the first-class products, on the face of a fifty-year-old woman, become second class,…Adding a bit of petroleum jelly to my Ponds cream, makes me feel a bit more nationalist. ..For one, the inflation begins after the forties.  How they become, the men, so expensive.”

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Crónicas Ginecológias (1983) ficción/fiction

Miss Venezuela: otra fracasada versión El Dorado

“Las futuras Miss Venezuela  no son, sólo muchachas de esplendor físico. Ellas son los otros compatriotas, pertenecen a un país implacable, vertiginoso, país de espejismos y azares financieros, donde todos podemos hacernos ricos, en la dominical locura de cinco y seis, o en el burocrático bonche de la corrupción administrativa.”

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Miss Venezuela: Another Failed Version of El Dorado

“The future Miss Venezuelas are not only girls of physical splendor. They are the other compatriots, they belong to an implacable, dizzying country, a country of mirages and financiacial changes, where all of us can get rich, in the Sunday craziness of five and six of the the bureaucratic bunch of administrative corruption.

En el modo del comer venezolano: La Mujer, muy resguardada comensal/The Venezuelan Way of Eating: The Very Safe Dinner Guest

“Ese obediente y reiterado secreto de nuestros comedores, sirvió de algo. Comer para el venezolano terminó siendo un acto de estricta intimidad. Comer, fue un acto donde se coronaban los gozos del tranquilo efecto y de la larga intimidad. De modo que la figura del comensal, pudo tener más resaltada, que el menú en sí. No se invitaba para pregonar enfático gusto, por un convencional plato de arroz con caraotas. Si no, para recibir la fidedigna compañía del comensal.”

“That obedient and repeated secret of our dining rooms, served for a reason. For the Venezuelan, to eat ended up being an act of strict intimacy. So that the figure of the dinner guest, could maintain himself more prominent than the menu itself. One didn’t go out of one’s way to praise a conventional plate of rice with beans. If not even to receive the dependable company of the guest.

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La señorita que amaba por teléfono (2016)

“Desde mi pequeña terraza–esperanzada–miro caer las hojas de un árbol catradlico en el techo de zinc del edificio de enfrente como dulce llamarada de otoño tropical. Sólo me inquieta la harina ignota, desconocida, que se apodera de la montaña cercana cuando comienza a llover. temo que la montañ blanca oculte los recuerdos más íntimos del país”.

From my small terrace–hopeful– I watch the leaves of a    tree in the zinc roof of the building in front like a sweet call of tropical fall. I’m only concerned with the little-known flour, unknown, that takes over the nearby mountain when it begins to rain. I fear that the white mountain my hide intimate memories of the country [Venezuela}.

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El Youtube está en español.

This Youtube is in Spanish, though easy to follow and with many photographs.

 

Mario Goloboff — Novelista y escritor judío-argentino/ Argentine Jewish Novelist and Writer “Criador de palomas” – dos fragmentos de la novela” — “Dove Keeper” – two sections of the novel

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Gerardo Mario Goloboff

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GERARDO MARIO GOLOBOFF nació en el pueblo Carlos Casares, en de la provincia de Buenos Aires. En 1966 publicó su primer libro de poemas, Entre la diáspora y octubre. En 1973 fue invitado por la Universidad de Toulouse-Le Mirail. Francia, a enseñar civilización y literatura hispanoamericanas, y continuó enseñando en ese país y en otras universidades hasta 1999. En 1976 apareció su primera novela, Caballos por el fondo de los ojos. En 1978 publicó la primera edición de Leer Borges (reeditado y aumentado en 2006). En 1984 publicó Criador de Palomas, la primera novela de la saga de Algarrobos, que se completó con La luna que cae (1989), El soñador de Smith (1990) y Comuna Verdad (1995).  Sus textos de creación han sido traducidos a varias lenguas y especialmente su novela Criador de palomas junto con las tres novelas siguientes de la saga, todas en un solo tomo bajo el título The Algarrobos Quartet (2002); en italiano, L’allevatore di colombe (2010). En 2013, en La Habana, la publicó en español otra vez. Desde su retorno definitivo a la Argentina, enseña literatura argentina en la Universidad Nacional de la Plata, donde ha sido designado profesor extraordinario en la categoría de «consulto». Fue electo Miembro de la Comisión Directiva de SADE (Sociedad Argentina de Escritores) para el período 2011-2015. En la actualidad tiene una columna semanal titulada «Relecturas» en el suplemento literario Télam de la agencia nacional de noticias Télam.

Adaptado de EcoRed (La Habana)

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Sus obras

Novelas

  • 1983: Criador de palomas (1978).
  • 1989: La luna que cae (1989).
  • 1990: El soñador de Smith (1990).
  • 1995: Comuna Verdad (1995).
  • The Algarrobos Quartet (2002)

Ensayos

  • 1989: Genio y figura de Roberto Arlt (1989).
  • 1998: Julio Cortázar. La biografía (1998, reeditada en 2011).
  • 2001: Elogio de la mentira. (Diez ensayos sobre escritores argentinos) (2001).
  • 2011: De este lado. (Crónicas de nuestro tiempo) (2011).

Poemarios

  • 1994: Los versos del hombre pájaro (1994).
  • 2010: El ciervo (y otros poemas) (2010).

Cuentos

  • 2005: La pasión según San Martín (2005) Textos breves.
  • 2008: Recuadros de una exposición (2008).

Goloboff is the autor de numerosos trabajos sobre problemas culturales y estéticos, y sobre artistas y escritores argentinos, latinoamericanos y europeos.

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GERARDO MARIO GOLOBOFF was born in the town Carlos Casares, in the province of Buenos Aires. In 1966 he published his first book of poems, Between the Diaspora and October. In 1973 he was invited by the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail. France, to teach Spanish-American civilization and literature, and continued teaching in that country and in other universities until 1999. In 1976 his first novel Caballos por el fondo de los ojos.. In 1978 he published the first edition of Leer Borges (reissued and augmented in 2006). In 1984 he published Criador de Palomas, the first novel in the Algarrobos saga, which was completed with La luna que cae (1989), El soñador de Smith (1990) and Comuna verdad (1995). His creative texts have been translated into several languages ​​and especially his novel Criador de paloma along with the following three novels of the saga, all in a single volume, in the United States, under the title The Algarrobos Quartet (2002); in Italian, L’allevatore di colombe (2010). In 2013, in Havana, it was published again in Spanish. Since his definitive return to Argentina, he teaches Argentine literature at the National University of La Plata, where he has been appointed extraordinary professor in the category of “consulting.” He was elected Member of the Board of Directors of SADE (Argentine Society of Writers) for the period 2011-2015. He currently has a weekly column entitled “Reread” in the Télam literary supplement of the national news agency Télam.

Adapted from EcoRed, Havana

Works by Gerardo Mario Goloboff

Novels

  • Caballos por el fondo de los ojos (1976)
  • 1983: Criador de palomas (1978).
  • 1989: La luna que cae (1989).
  • 1990: El soñador de Smith (1990).
  • 1995: Comuna Verdad (1995).
  • The Algarrobos Quartet (2002)

Essays

  • 1989: Genio y figura de Roberto Arlt (1989).
  • 1998: Julio Cortázar. La biografía (1998, reeditada en 2011).
  • 2001: Elogio de la mentira. (Diez ensayos sobre escritores argentinos) (2001).
  • 2011: De este lado. (Crónicas de nuestro tiempo) (2011).

Poemarios

  • 1994: Los versos del hombre pájaro (1994).
  • 2010: El ciervo (y otros poemas) (2010).

Cuentos

  • 2005: La pasión según San Martín (2005) Textos breves.
  • 2008: Recuadros de una exposición (2008)
  • Goloboff is the author of many works about cultural and aesthetic problems and about artists  and writers author of numerous works about social and aesthetic problems about Argentine, Latin American and European authors.

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Criador de palomas

(dos fragmentos)

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No sé dónde ni cómo, un día el tío consiguió el petiso bayo pata mí. Donde entonces comenzamos a hacer excursiones hasta la laguna de Alto. Él con sus cuarenta años y tantos, iba encima de su yegua Arisca, bien erguido, con el toscanito a medio encender entre los labios.

La laguna de Alto se había secado veinte años atrás, pero el tío buscaba visitarla como si aún existiera. Recordaba con melancolía su esplendor poblado por sombrillas multicolores de turistas que venían hasta de la Capital. Todo allí, sobre esos pedazos de tierra pelado. donde él veía aún un loco hormigueo, noviazgos y risas. En su versión, las salas concentradas de la tierra habían ido absorbiendo poco a poco las aguas, y por eso quedaban solamente algunos palos blancos, alambres rotos y muchos esqueletas de animales.

Cuando el sol rajaba la tierra, yo me ponía un sombrero de paja de ala ancha marca Hawai, y me quedaba quieto sobre mi petiso mientras mi tío dormía la siesta debajo de Arisca.

Al atardecer volvíamos y encontrábamos a algunos paisanos en el cmoo. Los viernes nos topábamos con Solito Wainfeld, quien regresaba a su chacra con el caballo a su lado, sin montarlo, porque ya había descubierto la primera estrella de sábado. Los domingos eran las mujeres que pasaban de sus chacras, emperifolladas para algún baile o una fiesta de familia. O los hombres que venían de cuadreras, o los muchachos que gustaban galopar contra el viento.

Durante unos de esos paseos, el tío me hizo conocer el antiguo cementerio de la Colonia, donde estaban enterrados sus  padres, y me mostró que, subiendo un pequeño semiderruido , podíamos ver del otro lado, my cerca, unos montículos bajos los cuales los indios puelches, un siglo atrás, ponían a sus muertos. “Ya ves  como al final nos mezclamos todos” creo que me dijo.

En las que alguna vez había la callecitas ordenadas del cementerio,, caminábanos mucho, y él se detenía a cada paso como para recordar a uno y saludarlo porque conocía todas las fotografías borrosas y descifraba para mi las inscripciones: “Yace aquí Berta Lifchitz, maestra de la Colonia. Nos enseñó los dos alfabetos, pero la muerte la visitó una tarde, muda”. “Aquí descansa José Aburbuj. La vida lo abandonó suavemente., como cuando cuando se funde nieve en el agua”. “Salomón Vapnir, muerto en diciembre. Un viento fuerte voló por los aires y lo confundió con un pequeño pájaro”. Yo me preguntaba si el tío en realidada leia o inventaba para mí estas frases, pero, en todo caso, lo hacía de un modo veloz y natural, contándome además la vida de cada uno de aquellos seres, habitantes abandonados de un cementerio también abandonado.

El regreso al pueblo se hacía en esas ocasiones muy ameno. Yo volvía con miedo, para sacármelo, hacia mil y una preguntas. El tío Negro pitaba intermitentemente su toscano, dejaba que Arisca le condujera el paso, y me hablaba de esas personas queridas y desaparecidas del mundo natural. moradores ya sólo de un cuenco de palabras.

El sol bajaba despacio. Yo probaba a mirarlo de frente y podía. A mi lado, en contraluz, marchaba el tío, firme y levantado sobre su yegua como otro hermoso animal. Los molinos daban uma sombra larguísima, menos Arisca, todo estaba quieto, hasta el olor de la tierra. El tiempo parecía no pasar; éramos nosotros los que íbamos hacia él, buscándolo.

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          Algunos dijeron que la culpa la tuvo Arisca, que se espantó. Otros, que algo la había asustado. El doctor Piacenza fue de la idea de un aneurisma: allí, en medio del camino, viniendo de Zubeldía, a las tres o cuatro de la tarde, bajo el solcito de abril, así nomás, como se te estira y se te rompe pero sin mucha fuerza, un final de los dulces, más que nos quisiéramos.

Oí murmurar también que venía galopando ligero, después de haber almorzado unas achuras cib buen vino en lo del Go  yo Sartori, y que esas cosas pasan además porque los autos andan a lo loco por los mismos caminos donde uno va tranquilo, sin molestar, pero ya no, ya no es antes.

Hubo quien dijo que ni siquiera había comido, y que hacía días que no andaba bien. No faltó el lenguaraz que chimentara “la vida que llevaba”, demasiado descuidada, solo, con mujeres, y que por la edad., se sabe, hubiera debido pensar más. Cuando no por el muchacho. . .

Alguien protestó, alguien dijo “callate”. Muchos lagrimaeron;. escuché decir “la vida”, “el tiempo” “Dios lo quiso”. Entendí todo y nada me importó.

Esta mañana de domingo, tomé café en vez de mate amargo, me miré al espejo cuando me lavaba, no me reconocí mucho en esta cara de joven, en esos ojos azules, en el bigotito rubio que empezaba a asomar. Me puse una camisa blanca, planchada, zapatos negros, al pantalón gris y la campera azul.

También quise ponerme algo de él , pero que no se viera. Después de pensarlo bastante, me decidí por su pañuelo negro, el que llevaba muchas veces en el cuello. Lo busqué en su pieza, me dio trabajo encontrarlo, al fin, di con él. Lo planché con la palma de mi mano y con el canto, lo doblé en cuatro, hice un rectángulo más o menos chico, me lo metí en el bolsillo izquierdo del pantalón, donde pudiera tocarlo y tenerlo conmigo sin que nadie se diera cuenta,

En su dormitorio no reparé nada, tal vez no quise mirar bien, y lo único que me quedó fue la silla de paja, sola, con una camisa gris colgada en el respaldo.

 

A las nueve tocaron unos bocinazos y salí, Subí atrás y compartí el asiento con Flora y con Carmencita Rosenfeld. Era el auto del Doctor Piacenza, al lado de él no recuerdo quién iba.

Pusimos una buena hora en llegar al cementerio de la Colonia. Pensé que en mi memoria estaba más distante, y creo que también pensé que sería la última vez que iba a ese a ese lugar.

Alguna gente se nos juntó en la puerta. Dos p tres me dieron la mano firme y sentidamente, alguien me toma de la nica, acerca mi cabeza a la suya y murmura palabras en idish que no alcanzo a comprender. Caminamos todos por una callecita hasta llegar a un pozo. allí un rabino con voz grave, barba con vetas blancas y manos de dedo finos, canta su elegía.

Flora, que no ha dejado de temblar y lagrimear un solo instante, rompe su silencio en un sollozo ahogado que me desconcierta. La miro y me toma fuertemente del brazo. Siento su mano caliente en la muñeca, y tomo a mi vez su brazo. . El gesto no tiene mayor importancia para mí, pero siento que ella lo necesita. Deja de temblar aunque solloza intermiteamente.

Ya han puesto el cajón en la tosa/ todos inclinan las cabezas en silencio. Los hombres tienen puestos gorros negros en los que hay letras hebreas y un candelabro dorado.

Alguien me aprieta el brazo desde atrás. El doctor Piacenza se agacha, toma un terrón de tierra y lo tira sobre la madera. Carmencita hizo lo mismo. Después Villaba, Soria, los Arriaga, Satori, muchos. El rengo Clementino se me acerca y se abraza  contra mí. Coraje, pibe, escucho que me dice.

Frente a mis ojos aparece la cara de Rosita. No sé si es de verdad. Espero que me deja libre Clementino. Mientras acerca como durante un siglo mi cara a la suya empapada en lágrimas saladas, me dice: “Querido cómo debes subir”.  Meto la mano en el bolsillo izquierdo. Toco el pañuelo negro. Siento que la garganta se me cierra. Que ya no tengo a nadie. Que es Rosita quien, después de tantos años, me abraza. Que, así, la tengo por primera vez. Quiero llorar pero tampoco puedo .

Vamos saliendo. El melodía otoñal es, aún más cálida. Pisamos hojas secas, amarillentas, ocres. Hubo algunas fogatas a lo lejos.

 

Me quedaré con con Flora, con Rosita, con dos o tres personas más. Así pasará el tiempo.

Después nos dejaremos. Al fin estaré solo, y el verdadero tiempo comenzará a crecer. Palmearé a Arisca, la llevaré algunas hasta la cancha de Sportivo para variarle un poco, la andaré, la subiré, y ella irá comprendiendo el peso diferente de los cuerpos, las voces diferentes, el silencio, como yo.

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Dove Keeper

 (two selections)

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I don’t know where or how, one day El Tío obtained the bay colt for me. From then on we began to make excursions as far as Alto Lake. He, with his forty and something years, would rid on the back of his mare Arisca, sitting very straight, with The Toscano half-lit between his lips.

Alto Lake had dried up twenty years back, but El Tío liked to visit it as if it still existed, Melancholically, he remembered its splendor, populated my multi-color parasols and by tourists who came from as far away as the capital. Everything there, on those      pieces of barren land, where he still saw crazed movement, couples and laughter. In his version, the salts had concentrated in the land, had little by little by little absorbed the waters, and because of that, there are now left only some white sticks and many animal skeletons.

When the sun cracked the earth, I put on a straw hat with a wide brim, Hawaii brand, and I stayed quiet on my colt while El Tío took a siesta under Arisca.

At dusk we would return and meet some Jewish comrades on the way. Fridays, we would run into Solito Wainfeld, who was walking back to his farm with his horse at his side, not riding, as he had already discovered the first star of the Sabbath. On Sundays, , it was the women who passed in their gaudy dresses, all dolled up for some dance or a family party. Or the man came from the horse races, or the boys who enjoyed galloping against the wind.

During some of those rides, El Tío made me aware of the old cemetery from the Colony, where is parents were buried, and he showed me, by raising up me to a partially broken wall down little wall, that we were able to see the other side, very close by some small mounds under which the Puelche Indians, a century back, put their dead. “You see how at the end we are all mixed together,” I believe he said.

In what had once been the ordered paths of the cemetery, we walked a great deal, and he stopped at each spot as to remember someone and greet him, because he knew all the faded photographs and he deciphered the instriptions for me: “Here lies Berta Lifshitz, schoolmarm of the Colony. She taught us two alphabets, but death visited her, mute.” “Here rests José Aberbuj. Life abandoned him softly as when snow dissolves in water.” Solomón Vapnir, dead in December. A strong wind blew through the air and confused him with a little bird.” I wondered if El Tío really read or invented these phrases for my benefit; in any case, he did it in a rapid and natural way, telling me also about those people, abandoned inhabitants of a cemetery also abandoned.

The return to turned out to be, very pleasant. I would return fearful, and to pull myself out of it, ask a thousand and one questions. El Tío puffed intermittently on his Toscano, let Arisca find the way. and talked to me about those people, dear and lon gone from the natural world, residents now of only hollow words.

The sun was going down slowly. I tried to look straight at it and I could. At my side, against the light, El Tío rode, firm and raised up high above his mare like another beautiful animal. The windmills created a very large shadow: other than Arisca,  everything was quiet, even the smell of death. Time seemed not to move; we were the ones that went toward it, seeking it.

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          Some said that it was Arisca’s fault, that she bolted. Others, that something had frightened her. Doctor Piacenza was of the opinion that it was an aneurism; there,in the middle of the road, coming from Zubeldía’s, at three or four in the afternoon, under the slight April sun, just like that, as it stretches you and breaks you without much force, and end to sweetness, more than we wished.

I also heard murmurings that he rode at a light galop, after having lunched on some achuras with good wine at Goyo Sartori’s place, and that those things happen because the autos go like crazy, on the same roads where one goes on tranquilly, without bothering anyone, but it’s not like it used to be.

There was one who said that he hadn’t even eaten, and that he hadn’t felt well for days. And there was the big mouth who gossiped about “the kind of life he lead,” too unkempt, alone, with women, and at his age, he should have thought about it more. At least for the boy. . .

Someone protested, someone said shut up. many wept; I heard it said: “life,” “time,” “God wanted him>” I understood everything. Nothing mattered to me.

That Sunday, I drank coffee instead of bitter mate, I looked at myself in the mirror as I washed, I didn’t recognize much uin that face that was so young, in those blue eyes, in the little blind mustache that was beginning to show. I put on an irone, white shirt, black shoes, the gray pants and the blue jacket.

I also wanted to put on something of his, but that wouldn’t be seen. After thinking about it for a while I decided on his black kerchief, the one he often wore around his neck. I searched for it in his room, it was hard to find; finally, I chanced on it. I ironed it well with the palm of my hand, folded it in four, made a rectangle that was small, more or thes, and I put it in the left pocket of the pants, where I could touch it and have it with me without anyone knowing.

In his bedroom, I didn’t notice anything, perhaps I didn’t want to see clearly, the only thing that remained for me was the straw chair, alone, with a gray shirt hung on the back.

 

At nine there was honking and I went out. I climbed in the back and shared the seat with Flora and wit Carmencita Rosenfeld. It was Doctor Piacenza’s car; I can’t remember who rode beside him.

It took us a good half hour to arrive at the Jewish Cemetery. I thought that in my memory it was further, and I believe that I also thought that it would be the last time that I would go that place.

Some people met us at the entrance. Two or three shook hand firmly; someone touches the back of my neck, brings his head near his, and murmurs some words in Yiddish that I don’t understand. we walk together down a path until we arrive at a hole in the ground. There a rabbi with white veins and hands with fine fingers, sang the elegy.

Flora, who had not stopped shaking and weeping for a moment, breaks into a stifled sigh that disconcerts me, I look at her and she takes me forcefully by the arm. I feel her hot hand on my wrist, and in turn I take her writs. The gesture doesn’t mean much to me, but I understand that she needs it. She stops trembling, though she continues to sigh from time to time.

They have already placed the coffin in the grave. All bow their heads in silence. The men are wearing black caps in which there are Hebrew letters and a golden candelabra.

Someone squeezes my arm from behind. Doctor Piazenza bends over, takes a piece of dirt, and throws it on the wood. Carmencita does the same things. Then Villaba, Soria, the Arreagas, Sartori, many. The lame Clementino approaches me and holds me against him. Be brave, boy, I hear him tell me.

Before my eye, Rosita’s face appears. I don’t know it is true. I wait for Clementino to let go of me. While he keeps his face, soaked in salty tears for what feels like half a century, he says to me, Dear boy, how you must be suffering. I put my hand in my left pocket. I touch the black kerchief. I feel my throat close up. That now I don’t have anyone. That it is Rosita, who, after so many years, is embracing me. That, in that way, I have her for the first time. I want to cry, but I can’t.

We are leaving. The autumn midday is still very warm. We step on dry leaves, yellow, ochre. I smell some faraway bonfires.

 

I will stay with Flora, with Rosita, with two or three more people. In that way, the time will pass.

Later we will leave each other. Finally, I will be alone, and the true time will begin to grow. I will pat Arisca with my palm a few times. I will take her as far as the racetrack, to vary things a little. I will walk her, I will mount her, and she will go, understanding the different weight of the bodies, the different voices, the silence, like me.

 

Translated by Stephen A. Sadow

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Obras de Gerardo Mario Goloboff/   Works by Gerardo Mario Goloboff

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Alicia Freilich Warshavsky — Novelista y periodista judío-venezolana/Venezuelan Jewish Novelist and Journalist — “Cláper” — un fragmento de la novela/ “Cláper” — a selection from the novel

Alicia 2019
Alicia Freilich Warshavsky

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           Nacida en Caracas, Alicia Freilich Warshavsky, es hija de inmigrantes de origen judío polaco. Asistió a la Universidad Central de Venezuela, donde recibió un B.A. en literatura en 1960. Freilich comenzó su carrera de periodista en 1969, trabajando desde entonces en una columna sobre literatura y política informativa, con un enfoque en temas de niños y familiares, entre otros temas. Gravitó hacia historias que presentaban luchas de la vida real de la gente común, con artículos de perfil que han obtenido premios nacionales de escritura y honores internacionales. Freilich también ha publicado artículos independientes en la prensa venezolana. Además, su interés en los medios se proyectó en la atmósfera televisiva, cuando fue anfitriona de un programa de asuntos culturales en Televisora ​​Nacional. Escribió un guión para un drama televisivo basado en la novela La Rebelión, del autor y presidente venezolano Rómulo Gallegos. Como educadora activa durante más de cuatro décadas, Freilich ha sido capaz de proporcionar instrucción en varios niveles en su disciplina desde la escuela primaria hasta la universidad, tanto en educación pública como privada. Su obra más conocida es Cláper (1987), una novela que muestra un sentido más profundo de pertenencia e identidad familiar durante un viaje espiritual y físico de un inmigrante judío a Estados Unidos a principios del siglo XX, que comienza en Polonia e incluye paradas en París. , Cuba y Estados Unidos antes de aterrizar en Venezuela. A través de los años, esta novela fue traducida al inglés y publicada por la University of New Mexico Press (EEUU). Freilich estuvo casado con Jaime Segal, un neurólogo, en 1962, hasta su divorcio en 1998. Tienen dos hijos, Ernesto y Ariel.

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Trabajos seleccionados

Libros

Cuarta Dimensión • En clave sexymental: Aldemaro Romero a medio siglo creativo • Entrevistados en carne y hueso • Ilan Chester es verdad • La Venedemocracia • Legítima defensa • Triálogo, Notas de crítica urgente

Novelas

Cláper (Traducido al inglés) • Colombina Descubierta • Vieja Verde (Traducido al inglés).

Adaptado de: Revoly Biografías

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          Born in Caracas, Alicia Freilich Warshavsky, is the daughter of immigrants of Polish-Jewish origin. She attended Universidad Central de Venezuela, where she received a B.A. in literature in 1960. Freilich began her journalism career in 1969, working since then on a column about literature and reporting politics, with a focus on children and family issues, among other subjects. She gravitated toward stories that featured real-life struggles of ordinary people, with profile articles that have garnered national feature-writing awards and international honors. Freilich also has published freelance articles in the Venezuelan press. In addition, her interest in the media projected into the television atmosphere, when she hosted a cultural affairs program at Televisora Nacional. She wrote a script for a television drama based on the novel La Rebelión, by the Venezuelan author and president Rómulo Gallegos. As an active educator for more than four decades, Freilich has been capable of providing instruction at various levels in her discipline from elementary school to university, both in private and public education. Her best-known work is Cláper (1987), a novel which shows a deeper sense of belonging and family identity during a spiritual and physical journey of a Jewish immigrant to America in the early twentieth century, which starts in Poland and includes stops in Paris, Cuba and the United States before landing in Venezuela. Through the years, this novel was translated into English and published by the University of New Mexico Press (EEUU). Freilich was married to Jaime Segal, a neurologist, in 1962, until their divorce in 1998. They have two sons, Ernesto and Ariel.

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Selected works

Books

Cuarta Dimensión • En clave sexymental: Aldemaro Romero a medio siglo creativo • Entrevistados en carne y hueso • Ilan Chester es verdad • La Venedemocracia • Legítima defensa • Triálogo, Notas de crítica urgente

Novels

Cláper (Translated into English – Colombina Descubierta – Vieja Verde (Translated into English

Adapted from: Revoly Biografías

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download
Cláper: Una novela

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Cláper

Llega la Semana Santa. El miércoles todavía abren los comercios. Desde que salgo de mi pensión, noto que las mujeres y hombres de todas las edades y en gran cantidad, van vestidos en túnicas moradas de tela gruesa. Algunos avanzan de rodillas como si en verdad fueran tullidos.

Decido seguir esa extraña manifestación silenciosa y así llego hasta la Basílica de Santa Teresa que está repleta de fieles apretujados, a su alrededor también.

Por la tarde luego de cerrar, paso de nuevo y entonces de lejos veo saliendo un Jésus de madera, cas arrastrándose bajo el peso de una gran cruz. Lo llaman Nazareno de San Pablo y va lentamente al centro de la multitud que lo pasea por las cercanías de la iglesia. A su paso ves que todos se persignan rogãndole ayuda por los males de salud.

Aquella inmensa cruz se vuelve mi martirio. Nadie me ha señalado en las calles como un criminal, pero de nuevo creo de advertir el odio, allá en Léndov, cuando la procesión de los cristianos en alguna Semana Mayor, culminó en piedras, palos y sangre  . . .  Como un asesino que acecha/ puñal en la mano/ a su víctima/ en altas horas de la noche/ así acecho tus pasos/ dios mío./ Mira tu piedad/ nunca me ha sonreído todavía a mí/ el nieto de Iscariote. . .?  Es otra vez un poeta que me explica con sus versos que leí tantas veces y ahora sólo ahora, son poema mío. Gracias, Itzik Manger. . .

Casi corriendo, voy a bañarme y vestirme pues esa misma tarde celebramos nuestra primera cena de pascua. Es lógico. ¿No fue la comida pascual como ésta llamada la Última Cena?

Nos reunimos en la quinta moderna de los esposos /Tolder, muy religiosos. Han traído de Estados Unidos el vino de consagrar y pan de aflicción, esas galletas de harina sin levadura recuerdo del maná que comieron nuestros antepasados en sus cuarenta años de peregrinaje por el desierto para alcanzar la tierra santa de Abraham, de Isaac y de Jacob.

Como si fuera una sola voz todo el grupo canta — Esclavos fuimos del Faraón en Egipto, de donde dios sacó con potente mano y brazo protector. . .

Y una sola voz de verdad, la del hijito de los Berger, hace las cuatro preguntas de qué esta noche es diferente de los otros del año.

Nos servimos hierbas amargas porque fue amargo nuestra forzado cautiverio egipcio y comemos huevo cocido y remojado en agua salada para reproducir la vida plena sumergida en lágrimas de servidumbre, aunque tú sabes, mi teoría particular sobre esta costumbre de los huevos duros en agua de sal, es que a nuestros hermanos se les mojaron mucho los suyos al cruzar el Mar Rojo. . . Y dios sabe que no le falto el respeto con esta esta opinión sincera porque no es necesario creer que él nos puso la cosa tan fácil, abriendo el mar en dos para huyéramos. No tiene gracia. ¿Dónde queda entonces el espíritu de lucha? Yo pienso que Moisés era muy astuto y cruzó la parte más angosta en tiempo de sequía, como hice yo en el Oder sin ser tan grande como Moisés. Aprovechó la baja marea y es seguro de ella que allá más de los nuestros se ahogaron. ¿Y dónde está el milagro entonces? preguntarás tú.  –En que calculó bien bien y se salvaron los necesarios para que sigamos existiendo como pueblo. . .

También probamos una crema de manzana triturada con nueces y vino para recordar la arcilla con que, año tras año pegamos los enormes ladrillos pues fuimos la mano de obra más barata para construir esas pirámides que admiras plácidamente hoy existiendo luego de tantos siglos ¿no?

Y el fin de aquella misma semana, soy testigo de un escena grotesca. En varias esquinas por donde transito queman un muñeco nombrado Judas. Es lo que llaman aquí un monigote, vestido con ropas viejas pero como nosotros, en flux de dril blanco y corbata. Antes de prenderle fuego lo cuelgan para significar su horca. Me resigno a no comprender el escarnio duele igual. Están cobrando la milenaria culpa a un correligionario mío de trapo y paja convertida en ceniza con gran contenido del poblacho,

Debo entonces agradecerme ¿verdad dio mío? Al menos esta vez, hoy, aquí, no soy la víctima de carne y hueso. . .

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Cláper: A novel —        in English

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Cláper

Holy Week is here. On Wednesday, the still open. From the moment I leave my boarding house I notice men and women of all ages and in large numbers wearing dark purple tunics made of heavy cloth. Some are kneeling as if they were really crippled.

I decide to follow that strange silent parade and arrive at the Basílica of Sta. Teresa packed with parishioners. That afternoon, after closing, I go again and at that time. I see from afar a wooden Jesus, dragging himself under the weight of an enormous crucifix. The refer to him as the Nazarene of St. Paul, He proceeds very slowly at the center of the crowd that accompanies him all around the church neighborhood. As he goes by, people cross themselves and beg his help for their many sorrows.

That immense crucifix becomes my martyrdom. No one has pointed me out as a criminal, but, once again I can feel the hatred I felt back in Lendov, when the Christian procession for the Holy Week would always end in stoning, beatings and bloodshed. . . .

 Como un asesino

puñal en mano

a su víctima

en altas horas de la noche

así acecho tus pases, dios mío.

Mira, tu piedad

Nunca me has sonreído todavía

el nieto de Iscariot. . . .

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Like an assassin who lurks

knife in hand

waiting for the victim

in the early hours of the morning

I search your steps my god

Your mercy has not yet smiled on me

I am the grandson of Judas Iscariot. . . .

           Once again, the answer comes from the poet Itsik Manger whose verses I read so often, yet only know have become truly mine. Thank you, Itsik!

I run to bathe and dress because that same night we celebrate out first night Passover Seder. Nu! After all, wasn’t the other on. the so-called Last Supper, a pashal meal too?

We gather in the modern house of the very religious Tolders. From the Univter States, they get kosher wine and the bread of affliction, matzoh to remind us of the manna our ancestors ate during the forty-year journey through the desert on the way to the Holy Land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

As if in unison, the whole group chants,

 “We were the Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt from

where He took us with a firm hand and an

outstretched arm.”

          Then, one true voice, the Berger’s youngest son, asks the four questions that answer:

“Why is this night different from any other night?”

We partake of bitter herbs because we were forced captivity by the Egyptians was bitter; we eat hard boiled eggs-dipped in saltwater in order to produce life submerged in the tears of slavery. You know that something though? To me, eggs dipped in salt water comes from the fact that I always thought that our brothers got them wet when they crossed the Red Sea. God knows I have no disrespect for with this theory, but they way i see it, he wouldn’t have made things that easy for us by just separating the waters so that we could flee. To me that makes no sense at all. What would that do to our fighting spirit? No, I think Moses was a pretty smart fellow, and he crossed the narrowest point during the dry season, just like I did , when I crossed the Oder and I’m not even half as Moses was. No. He, like me, took advantage of the low tide. The others probably died. So, nu? Where is the miracle you ask? Ah, in that Moses calculated right! He save enough of us so that we could continue to exist as a people. Believe me, that’s a miracle!

We also had some chopped apples mixed with wine and nuts to remind ourselves of the mortar with which, year after year, we cemented together the giant bricks to hold the pyramids you admire so much today and have lasted for centuries. Weren’t we, after all, the cheapest labor around!

At the end of that same week, i witness a grotesque scene. On several street corners they burn a rag doll named Judas. It’s a puppet, dressed like us, in white linen suits and ties. Before setting him on fire, they hang him. I pretend not to understand but the mocking hurts just the same. I know that once again a fellow Jew is paying for a thousand year-year-old sin, only this one is made of cloth and straw. to the mob’s great delight, it turns into ashes.

I thank you, gottenyu, that this time, today, here, now, I am not the flesh and blood victim. . . .

Translation into English by Joan E. Friedman

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Otros libros de Alicia Freilich Warshavsky

Other books by Alicia Freilich Warshavsky

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Angelina Muñiz-Huberman — Novelista judío-mexicana/Mexican Jewish Novelist — “Los esperandos”- fragmento de la novela sobre piratas judíos judeoportugueses/ “Those Who Wait”- a section of the novel about Portuguese Jewish Pirates

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Angelina Muñiz_Huberman

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Poemas místicos

Una historia cabalista

Cábala

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Angelina Muñiz-Huberman nació en Francia en 1936, hija de refugiados republicanos de la Guerra Civil Española. Está radicada en México desde que tenía seis años. Trazó su ascendencia por parte de su madre de judíos conversos que nunca salieron de España. Después de leer intensamente el Viejo Testamento y sus comentarios y en particular los libros místicos de la Cábala, se convirtió formalmente al judaísmo.  Por muchos años, Muñiz-Huberman ha sido profesora de literatura comparada en la Universidad Autónoma de México. Es escritora de numerosas novelas como La guerra del unicornio (1983), El mercader de Tudela (1999), y El sefaradí romántico: la azarosa vida de Mateo Aleman II (2005). Es autora de muchos libros de poesía, entre ellos El ojo de la creación (1992) y La sal en el rostro (1998). Sus temas predilectos son la creación y la destrucción, la unión de opuestos, el centro de la existencia, y más recientemente, el exilio como un estado de vivir. Escribe con gran cuidado, midiendo cada palabra y haciendo caso de sus sonidos. Sus imagines son sugestivas y alusivas. Insinúa en los poemas su enorme erudición y su conocimiento profundo del misticismo y lo hace sin frustrar a su lector.

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Angelina Muñiz-Huberman was born in France in 1936, daughter of Republican refugees from the Spanish Civil War. She has lived in Mexico since she was six years old. She traces her ancestry on her mother’s side to converted Jews who never left Spain. After reading intensely the Old Testament, its commentaries, and in particular the mystical books of the Kabbalah, she formally converted to Judaism. For many years, Muñiz-Huberman has been professor of comparative literature at the Autonomous University of Mexico. She is the author of many novels such as La guerra del unicornio (1983), El mercader de Tudela (1999), y El sefaradí romántico: la azarosa vida de Mateo Aleman II (2005). She is the the writer of many books of poetry, among them, El ojo de la creación (1992) y La sal en el rostro (1998). Her favorite themes are creation and destruction, and more recently, exile as a state of being. She writes with great care, considering each word and paying attention to how they sound. Her images are suggestive and allusive. Into her poems, she inserts her enormous erudition and her profound knowledge of mysticism, and she does so without frustrating her reader.

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Piratas

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“El cocinero de los piratas”

NO ES CUALQUIER COSA ser cocinero de unos famosos piratas. Unos piratas que han incursionado en casi todos los mares, que siempre han salido avante, que han obtenido cuantiosos botines, que, en tierra firme, también, han sabido desenvolverse y se han atrevido a ser espías, intermedios entre poderosos reyes, diplomáticos, escritores; que han urdido planes de ataque; han fundado colonias agrícolas y nuevas industrias; para, a la postre, retirarse a vivir de sus ganancias y convertirse en respetados miembros de su comunidad.

Si a esto añadimos que no eran cualesquier piratas, ni católicos, ni protestantes, ni musulmanes, sino judíos y que yo no era cualquier cocinero, sino un experto en las más exquisitas gastronomías, probadas y deliciosas recetas, con una sorprendente capacidad innovativa, aprovechando los más extraños y desconocidos sabores, en una palabra, que yo era un refinado gourmet y, aún más importante, que era un cocinero kósher.

Ante tales características empiezo en este momento a contar la historia de los llamados esperandos o piratas judeoportugueses del mar Caribe y del Mediterráneo. ¿Quiénes son los esperandos? Aquellos judíos de Sefarad, conversos forzados, que escapamos la persecución del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición y que hallamos nuevas fuentes de trabajo en las tierras recién descubiertas. Creamos los principales vías comerciales entre las nuevas tierras y Europa. Desarrollamos los cultivos de la caña de azúcar, del café, del cacao, del tabaco, del maíz, de la papa, y la explotación minería.

Hasta aquí iba bien todo, pero cuando el comercio     florecía nos eliminaron y los reyes de España y Portugal encargaron a la Inquisición nuestro hostigamiento, despojo y muerte. Los esperandos, ni cortos ni perezosos, buscamos otros lugares donde refugiarnos y acudimos a la protección de gobiernos protestantes que no habrían de perseguirnos. Holanda e Inglaterra nos permitieron establecernos y nos apoyaron, sobre todo ésta última, en su lucha contra los católicos. Fue así muchos de nosotros, expertos marinos y cartógrafos, y yo gran cocinero, nos convertimos en piratas del mar Caribe, al lado de los ingleses, para atacar los barcos españoles y arrebatar sus cargamentos.

A eso se debe que adoptáramos el nombre de esperandos para dar a conocer de manera velada nuestra identidad judía, a la espera de la llegada del Mesías, y distinguirnos de los cristianos.

Pues bien, para mi fue un gran honor preparar la comida para tan valientes personajes. Sobre todo, disfruté cuando me embarcaba bajo las órdenes de los capitanes Palanche, y cuando en cada una de nuestras excursiones fortuitas, mis dotes culinarias mejoraban Ahora quiero recordar una de nuestras incursiones.

La Burladora, el barco en el que entonces trabajaba, al avistar en el horizonte dos poderosos galeones españoles, enfiló la proa a toda velocidad, se introdujo entre las naves anulado su capacidad de maniobra, disparó  sus cañones por ambas bandas, siguió su veloz carrera y se esfumó.

A continuación nuestro barco de guerra, La Reina Esther, aprovechando de la confusión de los galeones españoles para atacarlos a su vez. Se hizo valer poderosamente, como verdadera reina, y los dejó a punto de hundirse para entonces iniciar el abordaje. Nuestra tripulación poseía una furia desatada y sus espadas centelleaban a diestra y siniestra sin dar reposo a los enemigos.

En poco tiempo dominaron a los españoles que no podían reponerse de lo que ocurría ante sus ojos. Pronto fueron empujados hacia la sentina quedando encerrados y despojados de sus armas.

Los piratas, en perfecto orden, desmantelaron las naves, y se llevaron un botín rico en monedas de oro, piedras preciosas, barras de plata y todo tipo de metales extraídos de las minas. La jornada resultó muy productiva y no contaron con ninguna baja. Prendieron fuego a las naves y se alejaron a toda vela para reunirse con La Burladora y dirigirse a puerto seguro. Lo que me daba tiempo preparar el exquisito banquete kósher en su honor, ya que nuestra sefardí manera de celebrar cualquier victoria es con una espléndida cena.

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Lápida de un pirata judío/Tombstone of a Jewish Pirate

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“The Pirates’ Cook”

IT’S NO SMALL THING to be the cook for famous pirates. Pirates who have made raids in almost all the seas, who have always gotten ahead, who have obtained substantial bounties, who, on dry land, also, have known how to stay afloat  and have dared to be spies, intermediaries among powerful kings, diplomats, writers; who have plotted attack plans; have founded agricultural colonies; so, in the end, retire to live of their gains and become respected members of their community.

And if we add to this that they weren’t any old pirates, not Catholics, not Protestants, not Muslims, but Jews and that I wasn’t any old cook, but an expert in the most exquisite gastronomies, proven and delicious recipes, with a surprising innovative capacity, taking advantage of the strangest and unknown flavors, in  word, that I was a refined gourmet and, even more important, that I was a kosher cook.

Given such characteristics, I will begin, now, ro tell the story of those called “esperandos,” “those who wait” or Portuguese-Jewish pirates in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas. Who are the esperamdos? Those Jews from Sepharad, our term for Spain and Portugal, forced converts, we escaped the persecution of the Holy Office of the Inquisition and we found new sources of work in the recently discovered lands. We established the principal commercial routed between the new lands and Europa. We developed  the cultivation of sugarcane, coffee, cocoa, tobacco and corn. the potato and the exploitation of mining.

Up to that point, everything went well, but when commerce was flourishing, they got rid of us, and the kings of Spain and Portugal commissioned the Inquisition with our harassment, removal and death. The esperandos, bold as they come, sought other places of refuge and we turned to the Protestant governments that wouldn’t persecute us. Holland and England permitted us to organize ourselves, and they supported us, especially the second, in their fight against the Catholics. So it was that many of us, expert sailors and cartographers, and I, great cook, we became pirates of the Caribbean Sea, beside the English, to attack the Spanish ships and snatch their cargo.

That’s why we took on the name “esperandos” to let our hidden Jewish identity it be known, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, and to distinguish ourselves from the Christians.

Well, for me it was a great honor to prepare food for such valiant fellows. Above all, I enjoyed it when I embarked under the orders of the captains Palanche, and when in each of our chance excursions, my culinary gifts improved. Now I want to recall one of one of our attacks.

The Lady Prankster, the ship in which I then worked, on catching sight of two powerful Spanish galleons, headed its bow at full speed , got in between the two ships and nullifying their ability to maneuver, shot its cannons from both sides, continued on its swift course and disappeared.

Next, our warship, The Queen Esther, took advantage of the confusion of the Spanish galleons by attacking them in turn. She took on powerful value, like our true queen, and left them about to sink in order to then commence the boarding. Our crew possessed an unbridled fury and their swords flashed left and right, without giving quarter to their enemies.

In little time, they dominated the Spanish who couldn’t respond to what was appearing before their eyes. Quickly they were pushed toward the bilge, hemmed in and stripped of their arms.

The pirates, in perfect order, dismantled the ships and took with them a rich booty of gold coins, precious stones, bars of silver and every type of metal extracted from the mines. The day resulted very productive and without a single casualty. They set fire to the ships and got away at full sail to meet up with The Lady Prankster and head for a safe port. Which gave me time to prepare and exquisite kosher banquet in their honor, since our Sephardic way of celebrating any victory is with a splendid supper.

Translated by Stephen A. Sadow

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Angelina Muñiz-Huberman:  Los Esperandos: Piratas judeoportugueses . . . y yo.                                  Ciudad México: Sepharad Editores, 2017, pp. 16.

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Algunos de los libros de Angelina Muñiz-Huberman

Some of the books by Angelina Muñiz-Huberman

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