The Newsletter of Fig Tree Books LLC
February, 2021: Issue #15
Fredric D. Price, Founder & Publisher
SHORT STORY: Write It In Stone by Rita Plush,
from The Jewish Literary Journal

"Just shy of 60, my son died last year of ALS. He left a wife and two teenagers. And he left me. He’d left me before. The first time for pre-school—the separation harder on me than on him. To day camp he went, “on the bus like a big boy.” Years later he left for sleepaway camp, then college, his first apartment. Milestone leavings, all. But this one goodbye was the parting of no return."

Buy either My Mother's Son (print $17.99 or e-book $2.99), the multiple award-winning debut novel by David Hirshberg or Thane Rosenbaum's incredibly prescient book Saving Free Speech ... from Itself [with a foreword by Bret Stephens] (print $24.95 or e-book $7.49) on Amazon.

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JEWS OF DIFFERENT HUES: Michael Twitty's complex identity—and a deeper understanding of culinary history—comes through in his cooking

When Michael Twitty was growing up outside Washington, D.C., the treat in his house every weekend was challah—a taste his Lutheran mother developed during her childhood in
Cincinnati, where the only baker open on Sundays was Jewish. When Twitty was 7, after seeing the film adaptation of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, he informed his mother that he was
Shira Feder interviews 10 Jews in an article in the JTA
We sent Shira Feder’s article that is reprinted in this newsletter (Jewish life in 2021: Predictions about the future of politics, culture and anti-Semitism) to a group of people and asked what their predictions were about what life would be like for Americans in general and American Jews specifically in 2021. What follows is an amalgamation of their responses, which are, in a word, pessimistic.

Q. What is your set of predictions for Americans in general and American Jews specifically in 2021? 

A. From the point of view of the far right’s assault on our democracy through the Republican party:

1.    Despite many arrests of the January 6 insurrectionists, the huge amount of ink spilled on this despicable uprising will only embolden those intent on de-stabilizing our democracy. It will serve better than any recruiting poster.
2.   Donald Trump’s failure to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win will continue to be a ‘dog whistle’ to his die-hard loyalists that the election was stolen, and will lead to more ‘January 6 insurrection-like’ events.
3.   Popular among right wing nationalists in Weimar Germany after the end of World War was the ‘stab-in-the-back’ legend (Dolchstosslegende) that gave momentum to those who wanted to topple the government. The ‘stolen election of 2020’ falsehood will be elevated to this status.
4.   Those Republicans who voted for the second impeachment will have primary challenges from the far right and many will likely lose their seats, thereby cementing a more extreme position of the Republican party.
5.    The possibility that members of Congress were, at least tangentially involved in the uprising will embolden more extreme partisans to run for and win on both the state and federal levels.
6.   Public manifestations of anti-Semitism will become more common and will be promoted without shame. There is great fear of more violent ‘Pittsburg’ and ‘Poway’ shootings.

A. From the point of view of the far left’s ascendancy on college campuses, the media, and within elements of the Democratic party:

1.    Far from being marginalized figures, the ‘squad’ will gain more influence in a government controlled by Democrats and this will manifest itself in a push to demonize and marginalize Israel in American eyes.
2.   Despite abject failures of the BDS movement, the noise it creates will continue to harm Jewish students on college campuses, who will be targeted for abuse simply because they are Jewish.
3.   Anti-Zionism will become the new calling card of the far left as a means to say that these people are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Israel.
4.   The U.S. will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, once again negotiating as if it were in a position of weakness, as opposed to one in which the U.S. has all the cards. The boycott of Iran will be rescinded, thereby freeing up vast sums for Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and others to wage war against Israel.
5.    Jews will continue to be harassed, excluded, and marginalized from panels, marches, and other civil and human rights events due to their ‘whiteness’ and ‘privilege’, which will continue the trend towards de-humanizing Jews, a frightful echo of what went on in Germany in the 1930s.
6.   The steady drumbeat of (misrepresented) anti-Israel writing in the major media outlets will lead to a defection of moderate Jewish voters from the Democratic party. (Editor’s note: this response from almost all queried was usually accompanied by a comment that this was part of a longer trend and was not intended to suggest that there would be a major shift in 2021.)
CHAPTER FROM A FORTHCOMING NOVEL: By The Rivers of Babylon by Mary Glickman

In 1997, two Boston Jews, Joe and Abigail Becker, come to live in the deep South after Abigail’s aunt wills her a home on a sea island off the coast of South Carolina. By the Rivers of Babylon follows them as their lives on the island propel them into an adventure of personal discovery. The South eats them up whole, sucking out all self-deception, forcing them to face their true selves under the glare of a bright and unyielding sun. Afterward, there’s no place else they’re fit to go. This chapter reveals all is not as it seems amongst their new friends or indeed between themselves. . .
MY JEWISH YEAR: The Purim Report, Chapter 15
"Jackie Mason had it wrong when he said gentiles are focused on the next cocktail and Jews on the next meal. I’m learning that Jews do their share of drinking on the holidays. There’s wine every Shabbat, single malt on Simchat Torah, eggnog on Hanukkah (okay, maybe just in my family), four cups of wine on Tu B’Shvat, four cups on
Passover—and now we’re supposed to get blotto on Purim."
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