- Translation Bookshelf
I wrote this review during the time between Passover and Shuvuoth—thought by some to be a time when we think about our political freedom (Passover) and our spiritual freedom (Shavuoth). These books too, address many layers of Jewish identity—political, spiritual and more. Each is steeped in Jewish identity, yet each book, poem, play or story is a unique combination and mix of what Jewish identity, particularly for women, means. Each may be viewed on many levels and layers. Translations, in and of themselves, bring a layering as we see one language with all its nuances and cultural attributes reflected and shaped into another. Not infrequently, these authors know many languages as they've moved from place to place, culture to culture; sometimes the authors themselves are translating as they write the original works.
These translations bring us insights into diversity that we would not have available unless we are familiar with the many languages and cultures represented here. Thematically, authors write of immigration, struggling identities, wandering, being the stranger and the outsider—surely not news for Jews and women. I am struck, though, by the paradox of the intense thread of these themes throughout these works and yet the exceedingly distinct way these themes are manifested. Each book can be a touchstone for looking at the multiplicities and diversity of who we are as Jewish feminists and finding our complex histories helping to inform our individual and collective journeys.
tova stabin lives in Eugene, Oregon with her long time partner and their teenage (yikes!) son. Her work has been published in places such as the Best of Jewish Writing, The Jewish Transcript, Jewishfamily.com, Queerly Classed, Jewish Currents, Garden Variety Dykes, and Bridges. Currently, she works for Community Alliance of Lane County, freelances, and creates and facilitates diversity trainings. She loves watching her garden and her son grow and dance in the wind.
Editors' note: There were many more books we wished could have been reviewed in this issue devoted to translation. To give some notion of the breadth of recent work, we asked long time Bridges editor and friend to annotate a handful of translations published over the past ten years that are particularly relevant to Jewish feminism.