Not Not a Jew

Waiting for Androcles

There’s a splinter sunk in the spongy bottom of my foot – in front of the Medial Plantar area, close to the Pointer Toe. Trusted others have been asked to help remove it but excuses spray like mist; my plea refused. Whatever this splinter is – glass shiver, wood sliver, ceramic chip – it hurts in step, out of step, especially barefoot. Never underestimate the power of a splinter. I’d best wait for Androcles.


A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live.

But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days.

The emperor and all his court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog.

The emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the lion let loose to his native forest.

Moral: Gratitude is the sign of a noble soul.

[Source: The Fables of Æsop, selected, told anew, and their history traced by Joseph Jacobs

Suddenly it’s the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Androcles hasn’t (as yet) shown up. Meet a few of my Jewish/non/Jews – Eli, Vera, intrepid Ira:

Stormy torrent in his chest, gassy reflux gurgling in his gut, the tempest tapered off and soft light suffused into twilight. Ira dropped the red ball back into his KLM bag while side-stepping Vigilante when she flew through the air. Her inky eyes were immune to static electricity, partial to oboes and can openers that pierced indigo tin labels, oblivious to draconian door-slamming. Vera’s filigree face was grave, she admitted, Terrible indigestion. Swallowed flies. Feet swollen. I played Schubert before I was ten.

She sat on the chintz chair.

Water, Eli. Celery? I’m sweltering. My hands are cramped. I could sight-read but no more. Camille Saint-Saëns. You play Saint-Saëns. You can’t. Our child can’t. Won’t.

She air kissed, up to her wrists in bacteria.

No Great Dane for my son. Clover and grass stains on his red corduroy overalls, you get them out. You, my dear husband hated basil. Try cooking without basil for sixty years. Where’s my cane, Bubbie?

Percussively, Eli hollered, What cane? Stop with the cane bullshit.

You’re faultless and I’m no Medea. I can’t joke?

She swatted ethereal green flies bruising their exotic plumage. Eli emulated the rapture, tossed his head against the corrugated iron bedpost. He was an old centurion twisting the flounced duvet. He craned his neck in the direction of Vera’s sightline though Vera’s eyes were ensnared by his son, captivated by his primitive foot as it pressed into the boot. When his foot disappeared, she moved her panicky gaze onto Eli, demanded insistently, Do something.


The boots felt tight. He swallowed chuckles, had inoculated himself with Salvationist ruses. After ignoring uncombed hair, he changed his mind and smoothed it with his palm, clockwise around the soft scalp. He folded a clean undershirt.

Don’t laugh, Pa, she’s not pregnant. Should I water your geraniums before I go, Ma? Should I tighten the clothesline between the two birch trees, Ma?

Use your brain, Vera snapped by way of reply.

Does she look like a chaplain? Eli asked, scattering the same flies for the fifth time.

With each gesture, the flies advanced, retreated, advanced. Eli reached for Vera’s humped back, palpated the pocket between her shoulder blades, the periwinkle cloth. He studied her hair, when washed it was like springy cashmere. Her hair produced enough current to charge Eli’s nerve ends. Her frog hands had the feel of felt. Vera puckered her lips while Ira played an uneasy second fiddle.

Ira posited, Lunch?

Without hindsight, Ira cadged a feel of his crotch. What had it been like? Since he lacked concrete memory to detail much of his unsensational childhood, he wasn’t sure.

Are you against euthanasia, Pa? he asked.

Is it allowed here? I didn’t think it was, his father replied.


Vera’s green turban covered her hair. In his spruce suit (a dry-cleaned scarecrow) Eli squeezed vermilion onto his palette while they waited, stricken. He contemplated the comestibles that Ira had assembled on the wicker tray – kiwi fruit, cheese chunks, round whole wheat crackers, tepid fetishes. Ira was spruced up for the farewell. His nose silted up. He hadn’t learned how to prepare paschal roast lamb or singing trout. Vera assuaged him, uttered, Try the cheese, though she was engrossed in fastening earrings.

[from Not Not a Jew – a novella in verst section Long days journey into day]

I did try the cheese. What I believed were tepid fetishes weren’t tepid at all, tasted of bitter lemon. I pulled a soft pillow from the braided, unfussy Challah and it soothed my mouth. Meanwhile: Am stretched out on the couch while a helicopter stutters above the building, The sun has almost set, tender mauve and lavender and pink leak across the southwest sky. None of us are strangers to long waits. Thanks: but I’m not in any hurry. There’s a good chance Androcles will turn up before Halloween.

‘Attention must be paid’ so said Willy Loman’s wife


I’ve been neglecting my four most recent creations: A three year old, a two-and-a-half-year old, a two-year-old and a one-and-a-half year old. (Though all very recent, they represent fifteen years of  intensive on-and-off work.) They come to mind … but then I enshrine my time on other things. Time passes. I swallow hard and slap the side of my head; am reminded that Willy Loman’s wife Linda said of Willy, ‘Attention must be paid’.

Give a hand: Tell a friend! Order one or more as summer reading! Take to the beach! Take camping! Take on an airplane flight and leave for the stewardess to read when you depart! Buy two or three for bedside table! Order early for holiday/birthday/anniversary/wedding/retirement gifts! Again:  Attention must be paid!

Themes vary from: Matisse to Alcoholism to Jewish Identity to Gay Life in the 40’s and 50s and more.

Very soon a new book will be launched. Before that, let’s do read the others. Like you and me, Attention must be paid!

Nominations in the category of Most Neglected :

Potato Eater:

The raw true story of Padric, a gay hustler from the Bronx who spent 1941-1965 in and out of 20 prisons- paperback

Padric McGarry was the surviving twin born in 1925 to the unwed 15-year-old daughter of Irish immigrants. Raped at the age of 7 by an older boy, he learned early during his Bronx childhood to use his wits and good looks to hustle and steal at every opportunity. He eventually did time in twenty prisons across the US, where McGarry improved his criminal skills and snatched moments of comfort with Miss Scarlet and other queens in the “Homo Blocks.” The Potato Eater is an unsentimental biography that offers a stark, unembroidered view of the intersection of gay and prison cultures. For this unapologetic and often darkly comical account of a rootless life at the bottom of the heap, award-winning author Alison Leslie Gold drew on interviews she made with McGarry in the 1970s, as well as his letters and his own notes. McGarry died, with two years of sobriety, in a halfway house in San Diego in 1982. From an audio tape made in 1977 in New York City: “I was 16 when I was arrested for corrupting the morals of soldiers and sailors, blocking a public doorway, and disturbing the peace. In prison I began to grow up and learn. I learned how to pick pockets, how to open five kinds of safes, how to forge checks, how to work second story, how to boost. We’d practice there. I learned all the necessary things to spend 20 more years in different prisons. Riker’s Island was my Junior High School. Sing Sing and Dannemora State were my High Schools. The chain gang and Leavenworth were my colleges. Immediately I had ‘Homosexual, Degenerate, Cock Sucker’ stamped on my records so I was rarely in population with the rest of the men. I was kept in segregation with junkie queens, wino queens, booster queens, prick peddlers, drag queens and some men who just preferred to be in the homo block where they were adored and given sexual comfort. Life in segregation with those mad sissies was like being caged with a mass of mad, screaming peacocks.”

Not Not a Jew, a novella in verst   

In 1930s Berlin, Eli G. is an abstracted young Jewish painter addled by Marxist idealism and tangled memories of his mother and the shtetl. Longing to move to Paris, Eli feverishly paints maps and watches the baby while his wife Vera gives up her ambition of becoming a doctor and works as an accountant. This is where Not Not a Jew – A Novella in Verst, by Alison Leslie Gold, begins, wryly shadowing the life arcs of Eli, Vera, and their son Ira who are depicted in glistening kaleidoscopic shards. Although Ira tries to lose himself through sex, food, and restless travel, he returns to his parents to grapple with his birthright as their lives are ending. In Not Not a Jew, internationally acclaimed Holocaust writer Alison Leslie Gold presents a boldly surrealistic novella that explores Jewish identity, rootlessness, Diaspora and self-absorption in a century of upheaval and annihilation.

Elephant in the Living Room:

The story of a skateboarder, a missing dog and a family secret

by Alison Leslie Gold and Darin Elliott

Eleven-year-old Danielle Godot has her own room in a nice house near the beach, two devoted parents, a kid brother who is only occasionally a pain in the you-know-what, a parakeet, a rabbit and a loyal best friend who is as into skateboarding and animals as she is. What could possibly be wrong with this picture? In Elephant in the Living Room, authors Alison Leslie Gold and Darin Elliott show that even colossal problems can be invisible as long as no one wants to see them for what they are. Gutsy, tom-boyish, big-hearted Danielle loves her father fiercely. But she is embittered by the loss of her beloved mutt, Beckett, who disappeared as a result of one of her dad’s bouts of drinking-induced irresponsibility. What’s wrong with him? Are they all going crazy? Aimed at children from the ages of about 10 to 14, and all who are confounded by problem drinking, Elephant in the Living Room tells the story of how a good man’s slide into alcoholism damages the people who love him most, and how his family summons the courage to make themselves – and him – face up to it and get help. The narrative is leavened with Beckett’s clear-sighted and irreverent commentary and the book concludes with a list of resources for those whose lives are affected by alcoholism.

The Woman Who Brought Matisse Back from the Dead

In The Woman Who Brought Matisse Back from the Dead, award-winning author of Anne Frank Remembered and The Devil’s Mistress, Alison Leslie Gold presents the life of nun-cum-artist’s model Claude Boule. Inspired by a true story and told in spare, evocative prose, this improbable, color-soaked life arc spans the art of Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol, a convent in 1930s Nice, wartime Lyon, postwar Paris, New York in the dazzling 60s on to millennium’s end. The Woman Who Brought Matisse Back from the Dead explores the abstruse relationship between artist and model: Who transfixes whom? The incidental, often travail-filled, life of Claude Boule – impenetrable and inscrutable – serves as a poignant foil for intimate views into the creative processes and behind-the-scenes life of one of the 20th century’s most momentous artists. The brash assemblage of The Woman Who Brought Matisse Back from the Dead also encompasses diverse uncelebrated but no less vividly tinctured people whose lives were touched – erotically, devoutly, unscrupulously and in other often unpredictable ways – by the model’s.IMG_5984

IMG_0699[All are available on Amazon as paperbacks and/or kindles

by Alison Leslie Gold

(except Elephant is by Alison and Darin Elliott)

Page 100 – from Not Not a Jew, a novella in verst



…  She separated the gall bladder from the goose liver, salted water in a bowl, soaked the liver in it, removed it with a fork and set it on a wrought iron skillet, sprinkling paprika, sugar and ginger, adding goose fat and began to sauté.

Sit down, Ira. You don’t look well.

Ma, Pa told me that you’ve sliced off his balls. Is he losing his mind?

No such thing. I performed a merciful orchiectomy. He didn’t feel a thing I assure you since his bath water would have scalded anyone but him. and then added, His thick skin!

She glared at her son. Are you afraid I’ve castrated Papa?

Ira thought: What an idea!

She lowered her voice and spoke as she would to a 4-year-old: He doesn’t need those testicles anymore.

The goose fat sizzled setting a delicious odor free.

What do you know? We haven’t seen you in 17 years, 2 months, 12 days, 14 hours. But who’s counting?

She put 3 leaded crystal glasses onto a tray and filled each halfway with peppermint liquor. The sight of the glasses and the smell filling the room made Ira want to cry.

Ira sat at the edge of their bed while they shared the meal. Was she right, had 17 years passed? He had nothing to show for so many years. No extraordinary memories, no children, no wife, no property, no stock.                  

All he had was a few flopping fish, several well-fed hummingbirds, tender …

[NOT NOT A JEW- a novella in verst 

available from AMAZON as a paperback book or kindle]

Page 1 – Not not a Jew


*****Page 1 *****

Why leave Berlin for Paris? An unemployed man with no friends, Eli G., with a wife, Vera, and one child to feed, Karl, got fifty-one mark a month (1931) in relief. Vera budgeted:

Per month = 51 mark

rent, electricity, heat, outings = 32.50 mark

feed family = 18.50 mark

Per day                       

½ loaf bread

2 ½ kilo potatoes

100 grams cabbage

50 grams margarine

Per adult per day

6 potatoes

5 slices bread

knob margarine

fistful cabbage

herring on 2 Sundays out of 4

Child per day

½ liter milk

herring on 3 Sundays out of 4

Young and foreign, Eli had been a member of the Red Front Fighters’ League in the Wedding District when he caught sight of Vera, a bright-eyed medical student who wanted to find a cure for all cancers. He was at a meeting on Bülowplatz at Karl Liebknecht House. After the meeting, Eli, Eleazer, Baruch and Shmerl and other members of the Red Front kicked a makeshift soccer ball around the square. Eli missed a kick when he turned to gape at orange curling hair. From far off Vera was a friendly, hovering hummingbird.

            Eli asked Shmerl, Who is she?

            Shmerl answered without hesitation, Her dialectic is razor sharp.            

Flying backwards with him away from Viktoria Park, Vera didn’t resist.            

[[available on Amazon as a paperback Novella and as a Kindle]]

Heard sobs coming from my bookcase

Last night I woke because the usual velvety silence (punctuated by the sound of an occasional tiny caïque in which a solitary fisherman softly put-putts through the moonlight or a disoriented rooster crowing) was interrupted. I could swear I was hearing the sound of  weeping. I sat up. It wasn’t coming from outside on either terrace, above or below, I climbed down the metallic spiral steps. This is what I heard, give a listen: Weeping woman behind a door. Awful. Sad. But where was it coming from? It was hard to tell. My ears took me to a bookcase in the old part of the house. (See photo)photo-91


And there, leaking tears, my recent novella Not Not a Jew, desolate, feeling unloved, marginalized. When accused of abandonment, I shamefully realize, I have been favoring other works and have …. I don’t know why…put my attention elsewhere, and so have many of my readers. Thus, to re-introduce, refresh and coddle my deeply loved and esteemed creation, be reminded of the publisher’s flap copy:   

In 1930s Berlin, Eli G. is an abstracted young Jewish painter addled by Marxist idealism and tangled memories of his mother and the shtetl. Longing to move to Paris, Eli feverishly paints maps while his alluring wife Vera gives up her ambition of becoming a doctor and works as an accountant. This is where Not Not a Jew – A Novella in Verst, by Alison Leslie Gold, begins, wryly shadowing the braided life arcs of Eli, Vera, and their ever-unsatisfied son Ira who are depicted in glistening kaleidoscopic shards. After trying to lose himself through sex, food, and rootless travel, Ira returns to his parents’ deathbed to grapple with his birthright. In Not Not a Jew, internationally acclaimed Holocaust writer Alison Leslie Gold presents a boldly surrealistic novella that explores Jewish identity, Diaspora, carnality and self-absorption in a century of upheaval and annihilation


Somewhat reassured, after dabbing away the tears, after caresses, my lovely youngest creation settled down surrounded by its concerned siblings that had also been disturbed. For all, following, a little Mozart lullaby music (four hours worth, for those who tend toward insomnia). Also: A whispered promise to my precious creations, especially insecure Not Not a Jew – I won’t forget about you. Not to worry. Now sleep tight, and stop scratching your punctuation marks!

Jerusalem meets Not Not a Jew


Met my visiting friend Sandra Zemor for lunch. Sandra’s an often-exhibited  Paris-based Israeli artist. It’s a drizzly day. I’m tired because I was up reading almost the whole night but hadn’t wanted to cancel. Thinking that perhaps Sandra would enjoy some New York-style deli food in a place where the ghosts of New York Jewish immigrants still wander and nosh, I text instructions on how to get to Katz’s Delicatessen from Alphabet City.

We find each other in the high cholesterol crowd of tourists and hungry locals. Sandra’s carrying a copy of her book of drawings Jerusalem and the Lost Princess; I’ve brought a copy of my newborn novella Not Not a Jew. We exchange our Jewish-themed gifts. How much we seem to have in common.


I ask how she’s weathered the 11/13 Paris attacks?

It’s awful for everyone, she  tells me, And being Jewish makes it worse.

How so?

Well, it’s complex. For Jews it’s not any longer whether or not to leave France … but when to leave. I keep a suitcase ready.

I’m taken aback. You’re not really planning on leaving?

I am, she asserts, And most everyone else who is Jewish is too. Many have already gone.

I’m tongue-tied: (I think: about a Jewish couple I know who raised their children in Paris, lived there for twenty-five years and suddenly, a few years ago, moved to the States. Why? I’d asked at the time. To be closer to my husband’s old father, I was told. I’d believed and not believed, but it seemed too personal to pry further. I think: of my daughter-in-law’s family living in Brussels, the many tensions I’ve heard discussed about being Jewish in Belgium. I think: of the arguments I’ve had with my knee-jerk-lefty friends (some Jewish), over their blanket disdain (sometimes rage), against Israel (Israel as Goliath; Palestine as Little David). When I wonder, Aren’t both sides right and both sides wrong? no softening or nuancing is forthcoming. I think: of the cement and metal barricade around the Oslo synagogue with the round tower topped by a spire to which I was invited to give a talk a few years ago, of the bullet holes in the synagogue’s stuccoed facade from some kind of attack.)

While we lunch, Sandra laments daily life that’s heavy with so much fear and tension as an “out” Jew. It’s awful. I love Paris. she pines, I love my studio. My work has gone well in Paris. It’s 2015 but is like 1940 all over … and again its time to leave Europe …

But where might you go?

I don’t know, she hesitates, Maybe Venice…

As someone once saturated in 1940, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45, my innards twist. I do not want to believe it’s come to this. Not that I’m blinkered as to increased anti-semitism around the world.  Roll anti-Semitism and anti-Israel and anti-Zionism into a ball and what do you get? A ball of hate? But leave France? Am I in denial? Am I blind? Am I not enough of a Jew to recoil? I’ve hardly felt menaced in Europe or North America at anytime during my travels but her words freeze into black ice under my wellbeing. Additionally, as I’m old and death or marginalization isn’t worrisome to me, it’s more than anything so so so sad. My novella, chewed over for eighteen years (Not Not a Jew) is about Jews as an endangered species. I think of our tribe at this point in time this way: Jewishness as a pimple on one’s nose, or a pebble in one’s shoe, but – so far, though something of an outsider all my life – I’ve not felt as if I need to keep a suitcase packed or begin looking for a present-day equivalent of Anne’s hiding place if such exists.

We finish eating and go out into the misty drizzle. Walking along Bleecker Street, I open and share my red striped umbrella. Very soon, though, we both admit we hate umbrellas and would rather be wet. Yes, we have much in common. We laugh. I close the umbrella. Indeed we do, but, not quite everything. I ask, Would you write a little about our conversation and send it to me? I’d like to understand your feelings as a Jew and child of a Holocaust survivor living in Europe seventy years after the Holocaust better.

Sandra says she will. Anointed by friendly rain, we go our separate ways. That night she writes the following:

After Paris 

to eat with you Alisson a hot pastrami
where everybody is openly happy
to eat jewish in New York
a surrealist experience of freedom

In Paris staying home
no where to go
soldiers around synagogues
children locked in their schools
draw the eiffel tower with blood

It is the old Hatred Itself
I thought it was burnt
I thought we payed the price
lost our families
tried to trust again

We saw it coming
not really surprised
it was hidden under the stone
hidden under their skin

It is fear
It is deep sadness

And again and again
we are the cause
the enemy
and the reason..
for the blood

so we will pack again
we know we will have to leave
the question is when 
paris attacs


[It’s a black hallelujah

Visit in Sandra Zemors studio

Sandra Zemor meets Tal Dekel Tel Aviv university

​The lost princess]​

*Artwork title: “Paris Attack”]


Review: Not Not a Jew

In the midst of these brutal days (slaughters in Paris, slaughters in Beirut, slaughters in Nigeria, slaughters in Tel Aviv), that have bled blame, reprisals, pleas for tolerance, fear, aggression, turmoil, bewilderment, enough impending doom to unsettle even the toughest among us, a young professor actually read and thought about my new novella. Gratefully received, especially at a time of so much distraction, her comments follows:

Prepare to let go and enjoy the ride as you tumble through Alison Gold’s newest gem – Not Not a Jew. The story follows a family of complex, relatable(ish), yet flawed characters from pre-war Europe through to the American present. Gold touches on the often subtle consequences of war and loss for families, particularly in later generations and asks the question what it means to be, or not be, Jewish. Experimental in style, Not Not a Jew stands out for its imaginative, magical, sublime descriptions and imagery. I recommend it whole-heartedly.

Dr. A.L., City University of New York


from Not Not a Jew, tiny schmears on tiny matzohs


She asked, Why no foreskin?

He replied, A foreskin is redundant.

She asked, Do they tie the baby up in a receiving blanket? Are his legs tied down? Are his arms tied over the head? Is the individuality ignored? Are his limbs strained like Dürer men?

He replied, Don’t ask me.

They drove along the Gulf, passed fishermen’s nets made of chain mail. The setting sun jellied crevices and precipices beside the gravelly road. Ira sloughed off the mariachi music. Carmen bit into her apple like a capitalist. What would Joe Louis do with Carmen? What would Bergman do with the camera wrapped in burlap? What would Tony do with human skulls made of sugar? No gong rang. No round ended. No one sponged cold water onto his neck.

Unpropitious cathedral, Ira’s hard head. She touched him with a splash of dash. His bedmate: Barbara, a Jewish temptress with changing Petri dish eyes, welded an acerbic tongue. At a roadhouse, Ira (a monkey’s uncle) and Barbara (meddling, secretive) unrolled the wet map, unsure of the way. Unseasonal snow coated shocked oleander and chilled rose bushes. Barbara (140 pear-shaped pounds of ballast) had made a casserole with cubed bread crumbs, savory herbs, sautéed onions with butter, celery, mushrooms, broth, salt, pepper, celery seed, sage, rosemary, not a ton of fat for the journey. The smell visited the car while he built a case in his mind. How to tell her … There were blue-topped clouds above the historic marker: Forty-nine steps to defilement. 

He was asked, Eggs or cereal?

He tasted blood from bleeding gums. It was a riddle as to what instigated the bleeding, what nerve set it oozing, what biological substance was weeping? Barbara injected, Eggs, and added, What say an omelet of fast sperm? Why don’t we do something to make up for the murdered millions?

Ira clamored across the mires and the puddles, his face into zephyr. Barbara tagged along. He’d folded the mettlesome conscription notice like a paper airplane and sent for a ride. Airily, he tightened the belted raincoat. He got her to see Love is Colder than Death (1969) with him six times in New Orleans, was in love and in hate with Schygulla, with Fassbinder. Did the wild boar really live in a German forest?

Stagflation (1972), gloom of winter freeze. No dramatic focus after all. Barbara’s tongue, a dull blade, Barbara’s inhibition had escaped from its hiding places. She turned her wine glass upside down, put protein in the center of his plate but had no conscience about tossing the dishwater into the sparrow’s nest. His retaliation was to harvest a crop of bravura and fertilize her bathwater. He brought two hand-stirred egg creams into the foggy bathroom. Ice Queen, he called her. Watching Ben Casey, enthralled by symptoms, they sat together guessing diagnoses, arguing over diabetes or polio. Being right was a trigger. Their tireless repartee fell drop by drop into a bucket of bleach in hot water. His parents’ house key languished in the pocket of his black chinos. Ira spit into his palm. He summoned trumpet, guitar, cornet, nuzzled her neck. She had developed endocrine blockage otherwise referred to as sluggish glands. A riff of tongue played chopsticks along his shoulder, her glossy gold eyelids drooped as they always did after too many dazzling oriflammes. They adopted one calico cat and kept it in a grapefruit carton. Barbara’s vocation – mail order – spread across their three rooms, in stacks, avoiding all controversy.

Don’t say no, Ira. Just say yes.

As her lips moved, she opened blouse buttons, removed cuff links. Ira dropped a forty-five of Purple Haze, humming along like a wasp, pulling her away from the Post.

Put down the Epsom salts.

He guided her uncritical fingers, arousing fortune.

[excerpt from Not Not a Jew]

What’s NOT NOT A JEW about?


“In 1930s Berlin, Eli G. is an abstracted young Jewish painter addled by Marxist idealism and tangled memories of his mother and the shtetl. Longing to move to Paris, Eli feverishly paints maps and watches the baby while his wife Vera gives up her ambition of becoming a doctor and works as an accountant. This is where Not Not a Jew – A Novella in Verst, by Alison Leslie Gold, begins, wryly shadowing the life arcs of Eli, Vera, and their son Ira who are depicted in glistening kaleidoscopic shards. Although Ira tries to lose himself through sex, food, and restless travel, he returns to his parents to grapple with his birthright as their lives are ending. In Not Not a Jew, internationally acclaimed Holocaust writer Alison Leslie Gold presents a boldly surrealistic novella that explores Jewish identity, rootlessness, Diaspora and self-absorption in a century of upheaval and annihilation.”