Malchus

From the Sanhedrin police records

I am sitting in this cell. Until yesterday, I was the one to put people here. But I’m a fugitive now – at least I was for a few hours.

On the eve of the feast, my master’s lieutenant came to me. He told me to find and watch a certain house in town.

I’m not quite sure what this feast is about. Some spirit or god passing over, or something. I was born far away and my master’s lieutenant bought me off the street in Hebron years ago. Mind you, I don’t even know how old I am. Continue reading

Fathers, teach your sons well – to be different from you

Last night my daughter came to me and said, “I want to talk”. I said, “Sure, what’s on your mind?” “Nothing really, whatever you want”, she said.

She’s turning 13 today.

Without much hesitation, I asked her if she was ever groped or touched in any way that she didn’t want – by a schoolmate, an adult, or by a teacher. She said no. I have reasons to believe her – and I have other reasons not to. My intended message was that she could (and should) come to us immediately when anything like this happens. And I just hope I was not too late here. Continue reading

Forgotten by the unburied

Engrave their names on a wall

A Jewish cemetery in Central Europe, early 21st century. More than half of the stones are in disrepair. Some are slanted, others are broken. Many are covered in the undergrowth.

There is a sense of finality in the death of those buried here. They were forgotten because no one was left to remember. Those who could remember didn’t choose to forget. No: almost an entire generation was wiped out in forced labor and in death camps – or on the way. Continue reading

Stand. Your. Ground.

The world is becoming a worse place every day, laments a colleague of mine while sipping a casual coffee in the morning. She said this just a few days after Trump was elected, and our PM started boasting how the PEOTUS loved Hungary.

For the few of us who’d prefer to live in a world without hatred, to cherish life and freedom, and maybe to help others, the list of safe places grows thinner by the day. Because when the “people” elect a crook who, with his (her?) every move and action, fuels racism, xenophobia, ignorance, and poverty – our first thought is to go someplace else where our values are not being mocked and derided. Continue reading

Encounter with a Young Man (by Frigyes Karinthy)

Connecting to the previous post, here is my attempt at the translation of a short story by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938).

Encounter with a Young Man

Frigyes Karinthy

I was in high spirits: forgetting about many things, I fumbled to light my cigar, and then we began walking down Andrássy út, the grand avenue of Budapest. My beatiful and darling wife was smiling at me from beneath the veil, my beatiful darling, who, behold, loved me, and had allowed me to love her.

Continue reading