Has your work as a television writer had an impact on your fiction?
It certainly has in the way that I envision the scenes; they unfold for me in a very visual way. But the great pleasure of fiction in this case is the intimacy of the storytelling. I am able to spend a time with my characters in a very interior world.
Are the stories in this collection an attempt to reconcile the spiritual with the secular?
What I think it mysterious and beautiful is that these things cannot be reconciled and yet reside together in our lives. Much of what we pursue when it comes to faith does not make sense but makes it possible to live in a secular world. There is a sigh that takes over your body when you enter a sanctuary. For me it is the value and respect for the spiritual that makes the rest possible. I think this is true in the story New Jew. When you hold an infant and feel the weight of its fragility – you pray. It matters very little what you believe or what you think know– the prayer is what you enact in that moment.
What are you working on now?
In the 70’s I lived in the Sde Boker in a youth village of students from all over the world that was part of Ben Gurion’s effort to “make the desert bloom.” I am working on a coming of age novel about these young students living in the Negev and follows the same group of characters as adults, and traces their changing relationship to Israel. The title Mizrach/East is taken from the traditional papercuts that were displayed on the Eastern walls of the homes of Jews living outside of Israel, so that they could turn in the direction of Jerusalem to pray.
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