Chidusz 4/2019: Bibi Netanyahu, Oriana Fallaci, Jewish DPs, Noa Yedlin and more

We are pleased to inform that Chidusz 4/2019 is out.

As seen on the cover we couldn’t avoid talking politics, but, hopefully, we don’t politicize.

Just after the Israeli parliamentary elections and with a few days left until Benjamin Natanyahu’s deadline to build the new government, we analyze what his success tells us about the Israeli society and what are the possible scenarios for Israel’s future. Our expert is professor Łukasz Tomasz Sroka from Pedagogical University of Cracow, co-author of Polskie korzenie Izraela [Polish Roots of Israel] and Demokracja izraelska [Israeli Democracy].

Michał Bojanowski, Chidusz’s editor in-chief, writes about the legacy of Oriana Fallaci in the eve of her 90th birth anniversary. After 9/11, when a significant part of the intellectual world was filled with anger towards Fallaci, in Poland Gazeta Wyborcza’s editor in-chief and anti-communist opposition leader Adam Michnik accepted the Jan Karski award on her behalf. Although many would like to see Fallaci’s legacy as two separate entities – before and after she decided to employ all means to wage war against Islam – her superficiality and tendency to give preconceived opinions is visible in all her works. Juxtaposing Fallaci’s words with Amos Oz’s Dear Zealots the article bares the Italian jounalist’s fanaticism, while also discussing the saccharine story of Fallaci’s life Podwójne życie reporterki [The Double Life of the Reporter] and the monodrama Chwila, w której umarłam [The Moment in which I Died], both by Polish journalist Remigiusz Grzela.


Magdalena Wójcik talks to dr Katarzyna Person (Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw) about her newest book about DPs. Analyzing the post-war fate of former concentration camps prisoners, Person mentions for example the key role of the Harrison report, written for President Truman, in which the author, Earl Harrison compared the way Americans treated the Jews to nazis, with the only difference being that Americans were not killing them.

Dariusz Latosi writes about Dzieci nie płakały [The Children Didn’t Cry], a fascinating reportage book by Natalia Budzyńska about her uncle, doctor Alfred Trzebinski, sentenced to death in 1946 for conducting medical experiments on twenty Jewish children in concentration camps. Budzyńska researches the complicated (Trzebinski was half-German and half-Polish and always felt a B-class German who needed to prove his value), dark family history and tries to see her uncle life from his perspective – a small cog in the nazi machinery, who considered himself devoted to the “right” ideology.

Katarzyna Andersz talks to the popular Israeli author, Noa Yedlin, who is also the script writer for the mini-series Stockholm (based on her book), soon to be adapted by other TV stations. Stockholm tells a story of a group of seventy-something year old friends who decide to hide the body of one of them, hoping the deceased will be awarded the Nobel Prize, without the committee realizing he is dead. Yedlin talks about the meaning of awards and the everyday life of a writer.

In the next chapter of the Yiddish novel Edenia – a City of the Future we find out that in the utopian city money and all political parties were liquidated. How does one pay for a newspaper in Edenia then? The Life Card makes everybody eligible for “purchasing” everything what is needed.

Joanna Maria Machel, a Jewish educator, tries to answer the question: what does it really mean to be a religious Jew? Is it enough to respect the laws of Shabbat and kashrut? In her essay, Joanna Maria Machel looks at two categories of mitzvot: bnei adam le-Makom and bnei adam le-chavero, and the modern concept of social justice, to conclude, after the prophets, that the ritual is not enough to be considered a righteous person.

Social injustice and class differences as the elements that must be questioned are also the topic of the queer commentary to parasha Behar by Jacob J. Staub (translated by Jolanta Różyło form the book Torah Queeries). Then, Sarah Passin, in her commentary to Bechukotai writes about the “price list” that the Hebrew Bible gives us with division for men (more expensive) and women (cheaper) and tries to find the foundation to interpret the Torah verses in a non-traditional manner, that is by seeing the fragment as opposing the patriarchal culture.


Chidusz is published ten times a year thanks to the generous support of: Polish Ministry of Interior Affairs and Administration, Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Found, Wrocław Jewish Community, Mr Joe Erlichster, Koret Foundation, Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden and private donors.