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October 04, 2002 - Image 115

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Dance Elite Ballroom Studio, Inc.

is introducing ballroom dancing instruction to
Oakland County residents ages 5 and over.

Frequently, he is asked
says, referring to the title
questions about Israeli
character of his title story,
politics and the possibili-
an American who moves
ties for peace. He answers
to Hebron, feeling called
briefly, without giving
by God.
much indication of his
Eli, a former producer
own opinions. "Speaking
of lowbrow television
as a fiction writer, the sto-
shows in America, grows
ries are pretty even-hand-
his beard long, wears a
ed. I would hope that peo-
kippah (skullcap) and,
ple can't tell if I'm a hawk
when he joins a crowd in
or a dove. I wanted to step
burning Rabin in effigy,
back, even though my
feels a profound sense of
perspective is Jewish."
connection, even stronger
When it's pointed out
than when the Yankees
In his collection of short
to the author that the
won the World Series.
stories, the author transports Hebrew prayer Shema
"You come to Israel
Yisrael is invoked in sever-
because you are a Jew and us to modern-day Israel

a
country
torn
by
war,
al
of the stories, he says
you act like a maniac," a
strife
and
controversy.
that
he hadn't made that
soldier scolds Eli. The
.
connection. "But obvious-
story unfolds in alternate
ly it's important to one's being as a Jew.
time frames, beginning and ending with
These stories compress a lot of history
Eli as a shepherd in the hills, guarding a
and experience, with the most intense
dark secret.
moments of the seven characters' lives."
Papernick's stories have bold titles:
He notes that the Shema, "that pillar
"The King of the King of Falafel,"
of faith," is an intense connection.
about the competition between two
In a review that was a first-time
rival shops; "For as Long as the Lamp is
writer's dream, Noah Richler wrote in
Burning," about a man and his mother,
the New York Times Book Review that
a Holocaust survivor haunted by her
Papernick's "penetrating, clear-sighted
past; and "The Art of Correcting," in
stories ring true."
which an aging rebbe, who can no
Papernick not only was very pleased
longer stand up to pray, undergoes
treatment from a Christian chiropractor. with the review, but also with the choice
Papernick says the titles often come to of reviewer — the son of the late
Mordecai Richler, Papernick's favorite
him first, and then he spins the stories.
Canadian writer. "I would have also
On a recent Friday night, after a din-
wanted Mordecai Richler to have read it."
ner at Congregation Ansche Chesed in
Manhattan, Papernick reads "An
Unwelcome Guest" to an appreciative
Young Jewish Writers
audience. The story has a layer of fanta-
Although they don't necessarily know
sy, or nightmare.
one another, at least not yet, Papernick
Yossi Bar-Yosef, a New York-born
is part of a growing number of young
yeshiva student who's a resident of the
Jewish writers who write about Jewish
Arab section in the Old City of
subjects with both pride and irrever-
Jerusalem, wakes up late one night to
ence.
find an Arab man waiting at his kitchen
"I see the world through a Jewish
table. He's not shocked; he "knew that
lens," he says. "My characters aren't
many people wandered the dreamy
going to wake up and have flashbacks of
moonlit paths between sleep and prayer
rosary beads. I'll write about people
in this golden city of light and stone."
from a background I can relate to and
The Arab, Ziad Abu Youssif, explains
care about."
that he was born in the room where
He is one of about 25 writers whose
Yossi's pregnant wife is sleeping, and
work
will appear in a new collection
that his father was born where Yossi is
titled Lost Tribe: New Jewish Fiction from
sitting, before the area was made into a
the Edge, edited by Paul Zakrzewski, to
kitchen. The Arab man takes out a
be published by HarperCollins next
backgammon game and they play and
summer.
disagree about history, as the kitchen
This fall, Papernick began teaching
fills up with Ziad's relatives.
English at Friends School in Manhattan,
When the muezzin's call to prayer is
and also at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
heard, the unwelcome guests disappear
He finds New York City to be, like
into the blue morning light, but Ziad's
Jerusalem, a great center of energy.
son Youssif leaves bloodstained tracks.
He says his next book is a novel, and
Papernick, who says he loves backgam-
mon and can beat most people, speaks at although it's set in Brooklyn, it will have
much to do with Israel. ❑
book readings and other appearances.

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