Exiled from Iran, daughter heals fractured family in telling its saga
BY LEERON HOORY for The Times of Israel
Farideh Goldin left her native Iran at 23, while her ‘baba’ stayed. Fulfilling a promise to her father, today she writes extensively on the Persian-Jewish experience
Persian Jew Farideh Goldin promised herself she wouldn’t write any more books after her first memoir was published in 2003. But she’s recently released “Leaving Iran: Between Exile and Migration” (AU Press), an account of both her and her father’s lives preceding the 1979 Islamic Revolution and its aftermath.
During his final trip to the United States in 2006, her father, Esghel Dayanim, gave her a suitcase filled with his writings about life in exile.
“I had promised him I would tell his story,” she says. “It took 10 years to write… It was difficult to translate, and very emotionally draining.”
A Double Life
By Michael Frank for Tablet Magazine
For much of my childhood, my two grandmothers, Harriet Frank Sr., and Sylvia Ravetch, lived unhappily together in an apartment on Ogden Drive in West Hollywood, California, an arrangement I took to be perfectly normal until I grew older and realized that not everyone else’s grandmothers were roommates. Actually: not anyone else’s. Improbable roommates, too, in the case of these two women, who—I understood only later—could not have been more mismatched. Harriet (“Huffy,” in the family) was American-born, Reed- and Berkeley-educated, a writer who had had her own radio program and had worked as a story editor for Louis B. Mayer; she was a powerful personality, outspoken, dominant, and highly charismatic. Sylvia was born in Safed in what was then Palestine, and while she spoke five languages and worked for much of her life as a teacher of Hebrew, her formal education ended abruptly when, at 16, she left her native country. She was quiet, observant, and steady, a resident of the back (thus smaller and inferior) bedroom on Ogden Drive. For years, Sylvia’s volume button was turned down low—until suddenly it wasn’t.
A New Book on the Six-Day War Should Be Required Reading
by Jack Riemer / JNS.org for Algemeiner
Guy Laron’s forthcoming book, The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East — to be published, fittingly, around the war’s 50th anniversary — is both impressive and disheartening, and it should be required reading for US President-elect Donald Trump.
Laron delved into the archives of different governments and thoroughly documents the mindset of the leaders of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Russia and the US in the days preceding the war, describing circumstances in which none of these countries really meant to go to battle, but political leadership, despite their misgivings, reluctantly capitulated to the pressure of the military.
The Danger of a Society without Religion
In The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray argues that the continent is committing suicide—in part because of the decline of religion and its replacement by a public dogma of human rights completely detached from theology. A very different book, Yuval Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, likewise acknowledges the Judeo-Christian roots of liberal democracy, while putting on display its author’s contempt for religion. Discussing both books, Jonathan Sacks notes that Harari in fact demonstrates precisely the dangers of secularism against which Murray warns.
The Afterlife of Rabbi Akiva
By Jewish Lives (Sponsored) for Tablet Magazine
An excerpt from Barry W. Holtz’s new biography of the 1st-century sage of the Talmud
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Yale University Press and its Jewish Lives series.
To die saying the Shema, to fight against attempts to abrogate the study of Torah, to fulfill your mission as teacher even at the point of death—these are legacies handed down through the powerful narrative of Akiva’s last moments. But Akiva’s afterlife—that is, his place in the consciousness of the Jewish people—goes beyond his tragic death. He has lived on as the hero figure of rabbinic Judaism in many ways.