You Shall Know Our Names

Ezekiel Nieto Benzion
  • From the Publisher
December 22, 2014

Now or nev­er, I sighed as I took down the last of the many jour­nals my grand­fa­ther had giv­en me. I had already spent years por­ing over the tiny Hebrew writ­ten 200 years ago dur­ing the Napoleon­ic wars by the mys­te­ri­ous author, Judah Hale­vi. My grand­fa­ther had been sure that these frag­ile old books would con­tain sto­ries of his family’s heroes. Instead I had found mys­ter­ies. The jour­nals were filled with codes, false names and vague places and dates. This man, this Judah Hale­vi, elud­ed me still. He wrote these jour­nals so he want­ed us to know some truths about his life but yet he was afraid to reveal too much. What was he try­ing to tell us across the cen­turies? I rif­fled the pages gen­tly before I opened the last book he had labeled Mis­cel­lany.” A fold­ed paper fell out. A map…faded and drawn by hand — many places labeled with tiny Hebrew let­ters and an arrow point­ing north labeled To Prague” with a sin­gle Hebrew word: Bereshit” — In the begin­ning.” Then I saw the river’s dis­tinc­tive S‑shaped bend on the map. All of my grandfather’s tales of the old coun­try cen­tered on a vil­lage near such a curve in the riv­er in Bohemia. I called my wife. I am going back to the old coun­try. I will find Judah Hale­vi at last.”

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