Editor’s Wrapup: Exodus: Variations on a Theme
Memory fades, but not all memories fade equally. Although more than three millennia have passed since the Exodus from Egypt, the memory of our forebears’ transition from slavery to freedom has been hard-wired into our culture.
But there was a second exodus. Between 1948 and 1967, in response to everincreasing anti-Semitism, virtually all of modern Egypt’s Jewish community of 80,000 departed. And in stark contrast to the first Exodus, memories of that recent departure are fading fast. In “Try to Remember” (page 16), Sarah Bronson describes the affection Egyptian Jews around the world hold for their history and the sadness some feel at not having passed on a sense of their old community to their children.
A growing phenomenon of Jewish life is the temporary exodus: Jews who uproot the entire family and go on vacation for Passover. Call it a flight to enhanced freedom—no cooking or housework. Gloria Goldreich describes the “Passover Getaway” (page 10).
Closer to the model of the original Exodus is the experience of Jews from the Former Soviet Union. In this issue, three reporters take a closer look at the artists, still tied to their former culture, who have found paths that connect childhoods lived in other colors, languages or notes to the lives they lead today. Shoshana London Sappir explores the careers of Russian writers who live in Israel, achieve success in the world Russian-language market, but are largely unknown to their non-Russian neighbors (page 38). Rahel Musleah looks at fine artists, many based in New York, who face no language barrier but nevertheless struggle to communicate the roots of their art to a public unaware of the oppression from which their art sprouted (page 42). And Norman J. Finkelshteyn reports on singers and musicians who routinely travel across the once-closed border to their former homeland (page 52). For the Russians—so far—the memories of their exodus are still very much alive.