World Literature Today, Sept. 2018
"I’m driving down the coastal road, flashes of bright blue sea, glimmering gold and silver in the afternoon sunlight, rolling beside me, and I’m flicking through my You Tube playlist called Good Arabic Music. I don’t really speak Arabic, except for that brief class I took last year in Yaffo, which in Arabic is called Yaffa – which always puts me in mind of the Hebrew word, Yaffa – which means pretty, or good."
The Jerusalem Report, Aug. 2013
"In recent years I’ve come to think of myself as an atheist. This is something of a paradox, because at the same time, like two lines running parallel but never touching, I’ve also felt a deepening of my identity as a Jew. Obviously there is a failure of logic here, a paradigm which does not stand up to rational analysis. Judaism is based on belief in God’s laws as they appear in the Torah. If one doesn’t believe that they were given by a higher power, on what is one’s Jewish identity based?"
"Japan in Light and Darkness or Meditations on the Japanese Toilet"
Queen Mob's Tea House, Dec. 2016
"Architecture speaks. Its messages, spoken in the languages of size, material, dimension and style disclose the mind and soul of the builder, but not only that; if one learns how to read its language, architecture lays bare the way a society perceives and expresses its deepest beliefs about how life ought to be lived."
"As the curtain went down to thunderous applause on the premiere of Hanoch Levin’s comedy Hefetz (Hebrew for “object” or “thing”) at the Tzavta Theater in Tel Aviv in 1972, the director turned to Levin and asked him, “So? What do you have to say?” The writer’s previous plays, hard-hitting political critiques such as You and Me and the Next War, and Queen of the Bathtub, had so incensed critics, the government, the military and the general public that some of them had to be shut down mid-run."
The Jerusalem Report, Aug. 2016
"My bible, the one I’m using to write this, is the Soncino Press second edition, whose translation of the ancient Hebrew is recognized as “conforming more faithfully to traditional Jewish interpretation,” than its predecessor. It was given to me in May of 1977, on the occasion of my Bat Mitzvah, by the Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Toronto."
Jewish Currents, May 2016
"Yiddish Tales. The book lies casually, almost coyly, on my desk. It’s a hardcover bound in fading blue cloth, a 1946 reprint of a 1912 collection of Yiddish stories translated into English. I found it in a used book store in Tel Aviv, and though the volume’s dusty presence there was clearly the result of a long and inscrutable journey, I regard it as the culmination of my own pilgrimage; for it is I who came, by way of a convoluted mental odyssey, to the threshold of its pages."
"An Abusive System" Interview with Elana Sztokman
(The Tel Aviv Review of Books)
“Leonard Couldn’t Own Leonard”
Interview with Michael Posner
"A Conversation with Jessica Cohen & Evan Fallenberg"
(World Literature Today)
Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp
by Jozef Czapski
New York Journal of Books
"Who, from the outside, would ever conceive of Proust’s stories of the supremely privileged as a subject suitable of an audience of famished, lice-ridden, frostbitten prisoners of war huddled together in bombed-out buildings?”
by Jessamyn Hope
The Jerusalem Post
"One of the pleasures and privileges of writing fiction about Jews is that the subject matter offers a wealth of history, anthropologically and culturally, for the writer to draw upon. It is a legacy that can only add depth and perspective to any story, setting plot against a rich, almost metaphysical canvas."
by Yonatan Berg,
trans. Joanna Chen
World Literature Today
"The Hebrew language has a special term for the process of becoming less religious, which translates as “to revert to a mode of questioning” (Lahzor Be She’ela). It is a term that expresses an awakening, a skepticism about what has been, until now, believed unconditionally, an opening of what was considered closed. This frame of mind forms the backdrop of Frayed Light, the first translated collection of work by the Israeli poet and novelist Yonatan Berg."
"Is there any place on earth that evokes stronger reactions, from enthusiasm to horror, from rage to joy, from hopelessness and despair to messianic euphoria, than the Israeli settlements in the territory commonly known as the 'West Bank'?”
"The Wehrmacht invaded Poland from the west, the Red Army invaded from the East, and Italian planes bombed Tel Aviv and Haifa. Yeruham Reiter and Meir Laks loaded their trucks at the Kelet factory and drove to Haifa. They were killed on arrival."
"The temple was silent. Whoever traversed the large, sacred rooms was accompanied by the rhythm of his own footfalls on the stone floor. He walked wrapped in a cold fog, as if in a cave of marble and stone. With each step, the High Priest’s heart groaned from congestion or discomfort."