Judaica Lev Raphael Dancing on Tisha b'Av

ISBN 13: 9780312048624

Dancing on Tisha b'Av

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9780312048624: Dancing on Tisha b'Av

Novel about Jewish homosexuality.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Tisha B'Av (the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Ab), which commemorates the destruction of both Jerusalem temples, is observed by fasting and public mourning. In the title story of Raphael's first collection, a gay student has been publicly humiliated in a university synagogue. Furious and frustrated, he lashes out at God and his own commitment to Judaism by dancing on the holiday. Raphael's characters, struggling to find identities as Jews, gays or children of Holocaust survivors, are angry, humorless and largely self-absorbed. Although message dominates plot in most of the tales, when the author permits personalities and events to play themselves out, he creates a more natural and sympathetic setting for his themes. In "War Stories," a remote, morose New York cab driver believes he is his family's sole survivor. When a cousin long thought dead enters his cab, he is transformed; he can finally break down and express his emotions. In "Abominations , " on the other hand, in which the characters in the title story are reencountered, Raphael errs into overemphasis: the torching of the gay student's dormitory room is compared by his sister to the Holocaust's conflagrations. Here as in other stories, Raphael forgets that people's lives can be interesting, instructive and important without the explicit ascription of cosmic significance.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The 19 short stories in this first collection give the reader a glimpse of what it's like to be gay and Jewish, probing the problems encountered when trying to reconcile seemingly incompatible sensibilities. The author draws interesting parallels between the treatment of Jews in Europe before and during the World War II; several stories include concentration camp survivors parenting gay children, with each generation painfully aware of the discrimination and suffering experienced by the other. The title story begins with a sister admiring her brother's devotion to Orthodoxy, while refusing to confront his homosexuality; it concludes with his expulsion from his religious minyan, the torching of his dorm room by bigots, and her new understanding and sensitivity to another potential holocaust. Recommended.
- Kevin M. Roddy, Oakland P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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