MELVIN JULES BUKIET
TONGUE OF THE JEWS
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
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tracks long since superceded by airlines.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
"Tongue of the Jews
appears in his new story,
collection, A Faker's Dozer.
survivors' history was still a relatively obscure
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
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