by Daniel Bloch · 01/27/12
Courtesy of fotosencontradas.com.ar
Here’s what’s on our mind this week:
Reclaiming home, warts and all
“Pinch your nose and off we go,” advises novelist and Habitus contributor Aleksandar Hemon in this month’s issue of Guernica Magazine, as he leads us through the “deep shit pit of war, peace and politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” Hemon unflinchingly examines the foreboding trend of ethnicity-based education in the former Yugoslavia. (See our Sarajevo issue for more from the region.) “Do three or more passports make you alive several times over?” wonders Irin Carmon in a fascinating meditation on citizenship and family, as she explores her acquisition–and potential loss–of a German passport. “Where they fled, we globetrot, a historical asymmetry that parallels the other privileges earlier generations earned for us.” (See our Berlin issue for more on contemporary German Jewish identity.)
Life in pictures, lost and found
Be sure to check out three captivating photo essays: Jessica Ingram’s “A Civil Rights Memorial” captures the often un-memorialized sites of hope, resistance and violence scattered throughout the South that, once re-discovered, provide vivid insight into the struggle to end segregation. Polish photographer Rafal Milach has followed the lives of seven young Russians as they find their way amidst ever-shifting landscapes. And Hiroyuki Ito, whose work has largely focused on New York, his home for the past 20 years, documents his return to Japan following the death of his father.
And don’t miss out on browsing through the hundreds of random photographs found on the streets of Buenos Aires–namely the Once neighborhood, the one-time center of Jewish life in the city–collected and loosely curated here. It’s at once an entertaining and unsettling experience.
Sketches of Idisshu
Now that our New York issue is about to come out, we have time to catch up on some recent books we missed. One of our favorites is Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, co-edited by the late, great Harvey Pekar. The book is a colorful consideration–through comics and essays–of secular Yiddish culture through the ages, focusing on the artists and writers who helped revive the language in the diaspora, especially in New York. And another new book that we just might actually get a hold of someday is the Yiddish-Japanese Dictionary/Yidish-Yapanish Verterbukh/Idisshu-go jiten, which runs over 1,300 pages and was compiled by one of Japan’s foremost Yiddishists. Who knew?!