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November 14, 2003 - Image 78

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-14

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

MELVIN JULES BUKIET

TONGUE OF THE JEWS

J

ane Hawkins, nee Hodges, from a line as

cessful settlement, Edward found other reasons

venerable as her husband's — railroads-

to remain involved in the world of his Jews. He,

had once been proud of Ned. She

who had hardly ever known a Jew, immersed

remembered him on the basketball court, All-

himself in Hebrew tragedy. He looked backward

Ivy, pre-law, senatorial timber. Their first home

past the Holocaust toward the Crusades, and

was a smart one-bedroom in a brownstone off

spent his infrequent free time investigating the

Park, but she should have known then that

Inquisition as if he were plotting to bring

something was wrong, because all of her friends

Torquemada to trial. Worst of all, Edward

were already on the avenue. She should have

Hawkins, whose great-grandparents had emigrat-

confessed her misgivings to his senior partners at

ed from Germany in the middle of the previous

Dobbs and Litmus; they would have understood.

century, burned with shame for his origins.

Photo by Jerry Bauer

Melvin Jules Bukiet is the

But when he made partner, she relaxed and they

He set out to write an article for a law review

author of several novels,

moved into a three-bedroom at an address with

suggesting genocide legislation. It was published

story collections and

an awning, where the tenants were vetted as

and he decided to relinquish the perks and salary

anthologies, including

severely as partners. They had children, Edward

of Dobbs and Litmus to teach Holocaust Law, but

Strange Fire and Nothing

IV and Jeanette. Ned's hair turned gray, though

academia was not the manner to which Hawkinses

he kept his physique with regular squash. Then

and Hodgeses were born. A tenured professor

he took "the case"— pro bono, no less.

earned as much as a first-year associate. Nor

Edwards's white-shoe hours had always been

could he and Jane afford the leisure of his inquiry.

brutal; but he had never brought his work home

For all Edward's social aplomb, his grandfather

with him, not even when it involved the restruc-

had lost everything in the Crash, given up the

turing of Jane's family's railroads, faint rusty

apartment that Chanka Moscowitz moved into

tracks long since superceded by airlines. Yet sud-

years later and retired to alcoholic solitude at the

denly their bedroom was covered with papers and

club that would never allow the late Mr.

books, including those by Simon Keeper. This

Moscowitz to join. Jane's parents had to help with

was before The Prize, when the chronicler of the

the kids' tuition at Brearley and -Browning.

Makes You Free: Writings by

- Descendants of Jewish

Holocaust Survivors.

"Tongue of the Jews

"

appears in his new story,

collection, A Faker's Dozer.
I

SfOrl I'S

survivors' history was still a relatively obscure

1

taste and, for Ned, a source.

And by then even law became too dry for Ned.

It was stories he craved. Gradually his interests

A FAKER'S DOZEN MELVIN JULES BUKIET

18

The case was that of a survivor seeking repara-

shifted from issues to narrative. From Depth to

tions not from the German government but the

Pinnacle had a serious intellectual surface, but it

French, for its collaboration during the war. But the

was clear that the book was written for the sake of

attorney went beyond the requirements of the case,

the dramatic stories it told. And if the message of

and when he took his family to France that summer

resilience and redemption was there in his char-

he insisted on an outing to Drancy. He was hooked.

acters' lives and his pages, it was absent in his life.

Even after the litigation was brought to a suc-

He stopped sleeping, stopped screwing. He

NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR JEWISH CULTURE

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