Last Sunday at Jewish Book Day, Borders Books in Knoxville, we filled the store with poetry, stories, laughter and tears, and Klezmer music, of course! The entire Jewish community gathers for several hours to schmooze, buy books by Jewish authors, dance to Klezmer music, to kvell about our creations: children, grandchildren, and yes, books. The talk is loud and expressive, the faces familiar. And we are people of the Book--and we buy books! Honestly, this group is ultra-loyal to its authors. Some people have purchased copies of my Chanukah book every year. ("One for Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes.") New babies are born and their grandmothers don't want them to feel deprived of the book! Either that, or some families are stockpiling the book. You would not know that we're in a global recession if you saw the fervor with which the Yiddisha grandmas buy children's books! They may be skimping on food and medicine, but not on literature. We have such a good time, that our Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and atheist buddies also bop over to the bookstore to hang out and cruise the bookshelves, schmooze and nosh. Families bring babies and kids. The children pick up books and hug them! Generation after generation.
There's a mural at the university, hung up under a stairwell, that depicts "The Rapture." People are flying up to heaven out of their cars; others are stuck in traffic resembling a bad day on the Long Island Expressway. It's not meant to be funny, and the decorators of our public university know that it's politically incorrect to display a huge painting depicting the ecstasy of one particular religious group. So they have half-hidden the work of art.
I would be one of the hapless unsaved stuck at the intersection. My Baptist students would be waving down at me.
The Rapture for a Reform Jewish poet is "Jewish Book Day" at Borders. (And maybe an evening with my husband at the Hotel Spendide in Paris!)
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.