On March 16, 2020, Tirzah Goldenberg sent Norman Finkelstein a poem she had written ending with the line all's arc's dark door to Torah. Finkelstein responded with a poem of his own that began with Goldenberg's line, followed by a simple question: Your turn? So began an extraordinary poetic dialogue. The two poets, who were already conducting an intense email correspondence focusing on their Jewish identities, had discovered a poetic form through which they could enter a shared shtetl of the soul. Months later, after composing a total of thirty-six poems (two times eighteen, twice chai, life times two), Goldenberg and Finkelstein realized that they had collaborated on a book, a book written in what the great Jewish American novelist Cynthia Ozick had long ago called New Yiddish. Jagged, telegraphic, yet intensely lyrical, often swerving into the Hebrew of Torah and Talmud, this is a book of the Jewish past and the Jewish present, of ordinary life and of mystical apprehension.
Poetry. Jewish Studies.