“Machberet” is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it’s also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I’ve chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.
To argue that only an openness to all points of view is acceptable, to claim that unless we invite our fiercest critics into our house and let them thunder we’re somehow abdicating our responsibilities as mindful and moral human beings is to adhere to the most flightless form of relativism, the kind that believes in nothing save for the fact that all values are equal, which, of course, makes all values meaningless.
Source: Liel Liebovitz, “Why Talk About Israel With People Who Want It To Disappear?” (Tablet)
Moreover: to be a Jew almost always means to relate mentally to the Jewish past, whether the relation is one of pride or gloom or both together, whether it consists of shame or rebellion or pride or nostalgia.
Moreover: to be a Jew almost always means to relate to the Jewish present, whether the relation is one of fear or confidence, pride in the achievement of Jews or shame for their actions, an urge to deflect them from their path or a compulsion to join them.
And finally: to be a Jew means to feel that wherever a Jew is persecuted for being a Jew—that means you.
Source: Amos Oz, “The Meaning of Homeland” (trans. Nicholas de Lange)