Sally Benforado. Bring Me More Stories: Tales of the Sephardim. ISBN 0915745674. $22.95.

In these short tales, author Benforado weaves together the oral history of a family of Sephardic Jews, from their close knit home in Turkey to their new lives in America. They are stories of a heritage that spans the globe, of centuries-old traditions transported to a different world, and of people who held tightly to the ways of their ancestors, who, like them, left their homes to settle in a strange new land. Following their exodus from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews were not allowed to remain on Spanish territories in North America, such as New Mexico and Colorado. Any Sephardim who chose not to leave, had to convert to Catholicism.

Many chose to emigrate and leave Spain, their ancestral land forever. The hardships faced upon leaving Spain were horrific for the Spanish Jews. Paris vividly describes the following: Although some Jews "traveled by donkey," the Jews of Spain, for the most part, literally walked out of their country. These refugees were the "scholars, the sons and daughters of families who had served their monarchs . . . shoemakers, tanners, butchers, the old, the pregnant, [and] the young." Extraordinary weather conditions, in the heat of summer, and the harshness of the land caused many to endure severe suffering. The Sephardim who had so much pride in their achievements could not believe their banishment. Traveling conditions were quite dangerous, especially in unsafe ships. Yet, many chose exile, and as Paris explains, "Those who chose exile were, for the most part, the salt-of-the-earth of Spanish Jewry: the artisans, the tradesmen, and the women—the historical carriers of religious tradition." An extraordinary civilization was lost in Iberia, probably to never again regain its glory. Bring Me More Stories stands as a living testament to a people born of their Hispanic ancestry, Jewish tradition and immigrant experience. Gloria Golden, Author of Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Pérez Gay, Rafael. Heaven is Hard to Swallow=Paraísos duros de roer. Translated in to English by Dr. Eduardo Jiménez Mayo ISBN : 978-1-888205-29-9. $22.95..

A forlorn psychoanalyst; a cultural historian exploring the possibility of life after death; a middle-aged couple that schedules a rendezvous with a younger version of itself; a man who compensates for his phobia of death and dying with intense sadomasochistic practices; a writer who futilely explores the sexual habits and customs of Mexico City: These five short stories comprise the body of Heaven is Hard to Swallow (Paraísos duros de roer), the latest masterpiece of the phenomenal Mexican publisher, journalist and fiction writer, Rafael Pérez Gay. Here are the national commentaries of Rafael Pérez Gay on television.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV3cuPMKnkk&feature=related

 


 

 

Sánchez, Sandra Shwayder. The Secret of a Long Journey. Edited by Yasmeen Namazie and Roberto Cabello-Argandoña. ISBN 978-1480285033. $24.95.

The Secret of a Long Journey is the story of a cherished and dangerous secret, passed along from generation to generation through many lands and many perils: from Spain to Flanders across the ocean to Vera Cruz and up through the desert to what is now New Mexico. In magical realist style, this chronicle takes the Sephardic characters through the terrors of the Inquisition, shipwrecks and hurricanes, sandstorms and wars, lost loves and illness, all culminating when Lois Gold, a passionate court advocate for the disenfranchised, discovers the legacy of her lost grandfather.

“In The Secret of a Long Journey, Sánchez moves effortlessly through time and place with a mesmerizing plot. Generations come and go and each one propels the next. Her fascinating characters are solidly grounded in vivid natural or urban environments. Whether it is 16th century Flanders or 20th century Denver, you never lose the thread of the story, thanks to the author’s mastery of craft and her powerful imagination. The characters will lodge in your mind long after you’ve read the book . . .” Gloria DeVidas Kircheimer, author: Goodbye Evil Eye, and Amalie in Orbit.


 

 

Jacobo Sefamí Mourning for Papá: A Story of a Syrian-Jewish Family in Mexico. ISBN: 978-1-888205-31-2. $23.95.

Using the death of the father as a point of departure, the novel is divided into ten chapters, a structure that is particularly effective because the chapters correspond to the ten days that begin on the Jewish New Year and end on the Day of Pardon... Thus the mythic time of a millenarian religion such as Judaism is strategically juxtaposed to the recapturing of a family's memory that is both contemporary and unmistakably Mexican . . . The dialogues are tinged with Jewish humor -Jorge Schwartz

Each character lives simultaneously within three cultures -Jewish, Syrian, and Mexican-in a hybrid narration that produces fascinating mixtures -Lucía Guerra The representation of a state of mind throughout the novel is magnificent, particularly since he dares to portray a personal story as it pertains to both a collective consciousness and to the alienation that is caused by death... The blend of comedy and tragedy is maintained throughout the novel, in the best Jewish tradition, as established by Fernando de Rojas. I certainly enjoy the interweaving of languages and linguistic varieties. It is a pleasure to see such linguistic complexity sustained throughout the entire novel, without ever faltering. -José Kozer