Chag Urim Sameach! This year we are celebrating Hanukkah by introducing our readers to a new member of our incredible staff each night as we reflect on the work we’re most proud of from 2022.
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Claire and her younger sibling play the game of dreidel.
Hi! My name is Claire Schwartz, and I’m the culture editor at Jewish Currents.
One of the highlights of my year was working with contributing editor Dylan Saba on his essay “Point of No Return.” Drawing together three generations of family history—beginning with the story of his paternal grandparents, who, along with more than 700,000 other Palestinians, were expelled from their homes in 1948—Dylan weaves personal narrative with political theory to make the case for a politics of return that refuses the seductions of nostalgia. Instead, he reframes the idea of return as an imperative to bring about a world where the violences of expulsion cannot be repeated. Dylan worked on “Point of No Return” while he was a fellow at Jewish Currents, so I was lucky to see his thinking thicken as he developed the essay, drawing from wide-flung sources, including those engaged with Palestinian intellectual histories, resistance to the transatlantic slave trade, and various decolonial contexts. It’s a beautiful, roving piece that I’ll be thinking about for years to come.
It was also a joy to edit this folio on Toni Morrison’s only short story, Recitatif, which was reissued this year. Taken together, the contributions from Dionne Brand, Simone Browne, Adania Shibli, and Lauren Michele Jackson—which engage various aspects of the story, from its archival contexts to its resonances with Arabic grammar—illuminate the way a text can act as a site for polyvocal gathering. At Jewish Currents, we talk often about what it means to be a magazine with a capacious understanding of Jewishness, one that turns us toward a vigorous engagement with the world; this experiment in revisiting a text in community resonated with Talmudic practices and reminded me that reading alongside others—attending to how we each see the world—is an element of the work we do that I cherish most, and one that I hope we can continue to enlarge in the future.
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Thank you for your continued support, and we wish you a relaxing and peaceful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate.