I write (usually) funny things about sad topics
MAKING SENSE OF LOSS BEFORE BURYING MY STILLBORN BABY, KVELLER,
MARCH 2 2017
I have written about still birth on Kveller (if you are after some light reading).
MARCH 1, 2017
In case you didn’t get enough about still birth, I wrote more on Kveller here.
GIRLFRIENDS MATTER, JEWISH WOMEN OF WORDS,
MARCH 23, 2016
I talk about how precious our female friends are on Jewish Women of Words here.
A NEW YEAR OF SHARING,
SEPT 26, 2016
But if you found my article on female friendships too uplifting, then I invite you to read my writing on infertility also on Jewish Women of Words.
IS HANNAH GOOD FOR THE FEMINISM? PLUS 61J
SEPT 17, 2017
I write about the role of women in the Jewish New Year Narrative and how it is both anti-feminist and feminist. You can read it here.
A Q & A WITH DALIT KAPLAN, MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL NEWSLETTER,
MARCH 24, 2015
I was interviewed by the my Alma Mater, Melbourne University Law School, about my extremely interesting international career and all round general brilliance here.
“What about our Persian Rugs” in the book In the Shadows of Memory : the Holocaust and the Third Generation , Ester Jilovsky, Jordana Silverstein, David Slucki (Eds.)
I have published a chapter called, “What about our Persian Rugs” in the book In the Shadows of Memory : the Holocaust and the Third Generation about being a third generation holocaust survivor (gosh, this all sounds like a downer). The chapter is not online, but here is a sample to whet your appetite:
One summer evening, Bronia’s father came home with an announcement. ‘I have tickets and visas for us all to go to America.’‘But what about our Persian rugs?’ Bronia’s mother exclaimed. ‘I’m not leaving the rugs behind!’So they forfeited their tickets and visas, and stayed in their elegant upper-middle-class home in Kraków, with their servants, their fine china, their crystal glass sets, their gilded Louis XIV furniture and, of course, their Persian rugs. The year was 1939.
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My maternal and paternal grandparents were part of a wave of Jewish refugees who resettled in Melbourne immediately after WWII. All of my childhood friends were, like me, grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. Until my late teens, I assumed that every Jew over the age of sixty had a thick Yiddish accent, numbers tattooed on their forearms, and had survived genocide. I often joke that my community was comprised almost exclusively of people who grew up in the same shtetl in Poland, were deported to the same barrack in Auschwitz, and finally settled in the same suburb in Melbourne.
My maternal grandmother, ‘Nana,’ and grandfather ‘Nana-Zeyde’, were born in Kraków and Lodz respectively. They were proud to come from large developed cities boasting factories, theatres, universities and a flourishing middle class. As youths, their worlds bustled with the creativity of Yiddish Theatre, the revolutionary spirit of Jewish youth movements, and the excitement of new possibilities as Jews in big cities had begun to enjoy greater acceptance in wider Polish society. My paternal grandfather, ‘Bube-Zeyde,’ and grandmother, ‘Bube,’ were from Volomin and Chelm respectively – two predominantly Jewish towns, or shtetlekh. Theirs was a world with less freedom and opportunity. Anti-Semitic attacks and discrimination were part of daily life, as were poverty and hunger. But their lives were rich with family and community, and their coming of age was also marked by the tension between tradition and modernity that was endemic in Eastern Europe during the early 20th century.
In the eyes of Australians, the similarities between these two couples far outnumbered their differences. They spoke the same strange languages, ate the same heavy Eastern European foods, and had all left behind a ravaged continent with nothing but the clothes on their backs. But the two couples perceived each other to be from fundamentally different worlds, which led to much friction. My Nana in particular, ridiculed my paternal grandparents for being unsophisticated ‘small town Jews’, while my Bube-Zeyde derided my maternal grandparents’ snobbery and affectedness. Though all the Jewish communities of their big cities and small towns had been utterly decimated, their contempt for one another’s pedigree endured for decades.
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