Necessary Stories

West 26th Street Press  2017


Twenty-four stories of Israeli and Jewish life, chosen from the more than one hundred Haim Watzman has written over the last nine years in his “Necessary Stories” column in the The Jerusalem Report. Bookended by a flashback to his first weekend in Israel forty years ago and a storytelling encounter on a recent flight back home from the US, these stories—funny, meditative, and sad, set in immigrant camps, the army, and the author’s own neighborhood in south Jerusalem—uniquely capture what it is like, in our age, to be an Israeli and a Jew. Praise for Haim Watzman: "His stories detail the lives of ordinary Israelis, often touching on current events ... The dialogue, though written in English, has the distinct feeling of Hebrew speech — that unmistakable combination of impatience and warmth." — Naomi Zeveloff, Forward “Watzman knows that every encounter, no matter how fleeting—a conversation in a cemetery with a long-dead Talmudic sage; Felix Mendelssohn’s great aunt scolding the young prodigy; four Jews on a plane discussing the Bible, the Zohar and Wuthering Heights—is a matter of life and death. Necessary Stories is a quietly beautiful work, haunting in places, gently funny in others, written by a graceful, thoughtful, eloquent man who understands that life itself is not enough. One must live to tell the tale.” — from the Introduction by Joseph Skibell

Visiting Scribe: Haim Watzman

Fiction on a Deadline

Talmud as Literature

Discussion Questions

Courtesy of Haim Watzman

Download discussion questions for Necessary Stories here. 

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