Malkah Tales

Malkah’s tales first emerged in the 1990s as blogposts on “And this part is true,” then in a novel that followed Malkah’s disappearance on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific at the same time her father, the Tzaddik, got stuck in southern Tunisia unable to cross the Sahara.  Mrs Tzaddik also appears in many of the original tales, so if you read them, you’ll know why she was omitted from Malkah’s Notebook: she would have completely taken over.

Tali Tales

Tali’s tales began to be written down in 1991 and the first watercolor of Tali’s big dream was made by Neil Johnson, z”l, who became sensei to my daughter when at last he had a dojo of his own.  I miss him a lot, his art, his martial arts, and his transformative teachings. I assure you that the adventures and dreams of Tali are as real as Malkah’s, and her fears, frustrations, and solutions to insoluble problems are as real today as when they first happened.

Older Tales

My first journeys in the Middle East started in 1961 when I was just 13 and accompanied my parents who had gone to Jerusalem to attend the Eichmann trial.  I spent most of that summer on a kibbutz in the north learning agriculture with the other kids.  I studied in Jerusalem in 1966-67 when the ’67 war broke out, replacing our final exams. Clearly, it was time to start studying Arabic and balancing my education. In the late 1960s when I was living in Brussels with Marc Zussman evading the war in Vietnam, we began our travels throughout the Middle East and Africa. Subsequently, I have traveled, studied, lived in, and written about North Africa more than anywhere else.  My heart remains there, always, even when I’m unable to return.  And it has been a great honor and pleasure when my family there has been able to visit and stay with me, at last, at my home in San Francisco.