Hebrew, Lizavetta claimed, was the holiest and most beautiful language in the world. Alexey trusted her in most things, but he knew for a fact this couldn’t be so, because Lermontov had written his poems in Russian.

THE SCHOLAR AS POET: Remembering Geoffrey Hartman (1929-2016)

YOMA   a previously unpublished poem by Geoffrey Hartman

Rain in the autumn, rain in the spring let it rain poetry, dear God, midrashic parables, rabbinic cliches, or, better still, the comfort of Psalms.

I kmow those traps, those enemies, Lord, ·help me in my old age, my distress: this day I stand contrite before you, eyes, broken images, ears, dimmed by unceasing sighs. Where is comfort to be found? No longer in the lai-lai-lai of prayersong. In all your holy mountain what survives not stained by cries for blood? Where now the numinous Jordan, the pure Helicon?

Eduardo Galeano: A Visit to Heaven and Hell

Tikkun is proud to share with our community excepts from Eduardo Galeano’s last book (Hunter of Stories). Galeano was widely recognized as one of Latin America’s most distinguished writers. A Visit to Heaven and Hell 
Mapping Planet Earth 
By Eduardo Galeano

[The following passages are excerpted from Hunter of Stories, the last book by Eduardo Galeano, who died in 2015.  Thanks for its use go to his literary agent, Susan Bergholz, and Nation Books, which is publishing it next week.]


By day, the sun guides them. By night, the stars. Paying no fare, they travel without passports and without forms for customs or immigration.

Love Will Not Save You

For years after, you will ask yourself, Should I have held her that night? Do you hold someone who tells you this? You won’t remember holding her…

The Empty Chair

After dinner his father would sit across the formica kitchen table and fire words at him. Bellicose, symbiosis, cartilaginous, revenant. The rule was, he did not have to go to bed until he got a word wrong.

Seeing Double: A Middle Eastern Comedy of Errors

In the 1980’s, few Americans knew much about life in the territories Israel had occupied in 1967. Fewer still understood the PLO’s historic offer to settle for a state in less than half what had been Palestine. Yet in 1989, the San Francisco Mime Troupe produced Seeing Double, a mistaken-identity farce that argued for a two-state solution. The seeming unfitness of the genre for the topic proved the secret of the show’s success: laughter allows room for hope.

Life So Good

There was another picture of her at their wedding. Two young boys in coffee-colored suits stood behind them, holding guitars way too big for their bodies, surrounded by a crowd of what must have been a hundred, their priest dressed in white toasting them with a big glass of red wine.

The Women’s Balcony–a delightful film

The Women’s Balcony, a movie which captures a beautiful
slice of Israeli life, is a huge upper at a time when many
people are feeling depressed and saddened by the state of our world. The movie captures the way that Jewish women have been
marginalized in parts of the Israeli Orthodox religious world,
and how they mobilize themselves to achieve power in the face
of rabbinic authority that is dismissive of their concerns. Yet this is
not another of those “religion is evil” or “men are jerks” kind of
dismissals, but rather a sensitive portrayal of how men and
women find a way, even within the boundaries of orthodoxy, to
recapture each other’s humanity, to stand up against irrational
rules, and find a path that is at once affirming of women and
affirming of parts of the Jewish tradition that these Israeli women
wish to retain in their lives. It is, in its own caring and complex way,
a celebration of the actual and potential power of Jewish women, and
it’s highly enjoyable to watch.–Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

Cataract Surgery Blues

By Raymond Barglow
Last week I handed myself over to a medical team at Kaiser-Oakland that did a cataract surgery on my eyes.  My symptom?  I couldn’t see clearly, and no eye-glass prescription was sufficient any longer to fix the problem.  Then a doctor at Kaiser told me: there’s clouding in the lenses of your eyes that’s been building up for many years; cataract surgery will replace those lenses with new artificial ones, thereby repairing your vision. Immediately following the operation, I discovered that I could now see blue as never before in all my years (within memory) of viewing the world around me!  Turns out that an eye cataract sometimes adds yellow to the visual field, and the surgery corrects that.  Before the surgery, with both eyes affected by cataracts, it had been as if I were unknowingly wearing a pair of sunglasses that painted everything with a veneer of yellow.  Now, when I view the world through born-again eyes, I see an astonishing gamut of shades and textures of blue. There’s a bower of blue-violet flowers above the gate just outside my house, and it’s breathtaking to let my eyes fall upon it.  And when I see a shadow now, I often notice that it carries just the slightest sheen of blue.  I’m reminded of what the 19th-century French impressionists did with shadows, although I used to believe that they were inserting color where none at all exists in reality.  I was wrong!  And two centuries earlier, Vermeer also had imported blue masterfully to the canvas.  

Renoir, The Swing

Vermeer, Young Woman with a Water Pitcher


Monet, Gare St. Lazare.  The painter found abundant blue in the smoke-filled station.

Poetry: The Ten (or so) Plagues by Nicola Morris

God is a visual and auditory learner
his angels say.  He doesn’t like to read
but show him a picture of twenty dead
children, tell him he’s the least popular god
in the history of gods and then he’ll drop
fifty nine Tomahawk missiles. Pictures of bear cubs or wolf pups don’t move
him though. He signs the paper allowing his
chosen people to murder them.  Sioux
or Lakota stories of river water diluted
with oil or blood excite him. Either no-one told him the story
of the earth heating up or
he wants the seas to rise. He sends all those dark people
who worship different gods
away.  Only his chosen people
can stay.

Poetry: Love Letter to Syria by Laura Lauth

Love Letter to Syria  by Laura Lauth

The bats cross and recross the dusk. What they hear is theirs to eat. Wind chimes admit the many worlds

through. Our key lime comes to bloom. We’re living here in spring—a blaze

of early East Coast heat.