Aleph, broken, a collection of poems by Judith Kerman, explores the tension between American identity and the other resonances rooted in culture of origin. Powerful and beautiful, the poems seek to expand our understanding of human identity in a context that is scientific and secular but deeply imbued with a yearning for connection to the spiritual. Also under particular scrutiny in this volume is the experience of Jews who often feel tugged toward cultural memories that may range from heavily romanticized to horrifically traumatic. In these poems, Jewish life can be seen as emblematic of the difficulties presented by striving to realize the American dream; how well we fare on the journey from the homeland of the past to the new world of today and tomorrow may well determine whether we assimilate and thrive or remain isolated and adrift. Either way, there is a price to be paid, which can be tallied in pain, in dreams, in joy, in conflict, in love, in success and in failure. In Aleph, broken, Kerman assesses the toll of her own personal journey and, like a guide to the world of the wandering heart and raging soul, shares what she’s learned along the way.
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