Self-Por­trait at Spurveskjul by Vil­helm Ham­mer­shøi (1911)

Gift of Charles Hack and the Hearn Fam­i­ly Trust, in hon­or of Kei­th Chris­tiansen, and in cel­e­bra­tion of the Muse­um’s 150th Anniver­sary, 2020, The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the 2021 win­ner of the Paper Brigade Award for New Israeli Fic­tion in Hon­or of Jane Weitz­man: Oren Gaz­it, for The First End­ing, Then the Sec­ond trans­la­ted by Jes­si­ca Rut­man Set­bon. This selec­tion from the win­ning title can be found in the 2022 issue of Paper Brigade.

The Paper Brigade Award for New Israeli Fic­tion in Hon­or of Jane Weitz­man seeks to hon­or an out­stand­ing short work or excerpt of Israeli fic­tion pub­lished in Hebrew. The goals of this prize are to intro­duce Amer­i­can read­ers to new Israeli writ­ers; to help Israeli writ­ers gain access to the Amer­i­can mar­ket; and to inter­est Amer­i­can pub­lish­ers in pub­lish­ing new Israeli fiction.

In his debut nov­el, Oren Gaz­it deliv­ers an inci­sive com­men­tary on the poten­tial dis­tor­tions of democ­ra­cy. The sto­ry begins in 2028, in a theo­crat­ic Israel that lim­its free­dom of expres­sion — polit­i­cal, cul­tur­al, and social. Flags wave atop every build­ing, and fam­i­lies who don’t con­form to the state’s ide­al are penal­ized. The nar­ra­tor, Avra­ham, a well-known play­wright and song­writer, has sold his soul to remain on the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Patriotism’s list of approved artists.

As Avra­ham records his mem­oirs for his daugh­ter, Dana, he recalls a fate­ful night a decade ago, when an explo­sion shook the walls of their Tel Aviv home. With him were Dana, then a resent­ful teenag­er, wheel­chair-bound after a car acci­dent-cum-sui­cide attempt; Mag­gie, Avraham’s eccen­tric British moth­er-in-law, whose the­atri­cal pos­tur­ing hides her inner tur­moil; and Dalia, an aging actress and Avraham’s for­mer lover. The four­some is haunt­ed by the mem­o­ry of Avraham’s late wife, Adi­na, who was killed in a car accident.

Through­out the night, sur­round­ed by a per­va­sive sense of dan­ger from out­side, the char­ac­ters act out their own internecine dra­ma, each attempt­ing to snatch away the masks that obscure the true nature of the others.

—Jes­si­ca Rut­man Setbon

Adina’s pho­to fell off the shelf and shat­tered. A shock wave rat­tled the win­dows and the door. A cho­rus of neigh­bor­hood dogs began to bark. I remem­ber you shout­ing, Dad, what was that?” and the intense boom that fol­lowed. Our ears rang.

Mag­gie was the first to speak. It must have been a ter­ror­ist attack. It sounds like it was real­ly close, maybe near Ichilov Hos­pi­tal or the shop­ping center.”

Maybe it’s at Arlozorov train sta­tion,” Dalia said. I’ve always said there would be a ter­ror­ist attack there one day, God forbid.”

I remem­ber silence and fear, and loud, rac­ing heart­beats. I remem­ber our eyes dart­ing to each other’s faces, to the crooked pic­tures and a shat­tered vase. No one screamed or moved. That’s what was strange, I think — we all froze in place, accept­ing the silence and the echo that ping-ponged off the walls.

A tumult of sirens made their way from Ichilov to the site of the blast. A few min­utes lat­er, the tele­vi­sion screen was filled with passers­by. They gripped the micro­phone and insist­ed, I nev­er thought this could hap­pen in our neighborhood.”

I helped you get out of bed and roll into the liv­ing room. Togeth­er we watched the images of the shop­ping cen­ter and the cor­ner store where the ter­ror­ist had blown him­self up — the same store we vis­it­ed every day to buy rolls and sliced cheese. We mur­mured how ter­ri­ble it was and how close it had been. Mag­gie said that Dalia had mum­bled God for­bid” sev­er­al times. She’d count­ed how many times.


It’s a good thing that Adi­na ran away to me in Eng­land. She had to get away from this crazy coun­try you live in, full of ter­ror­ists who mur­der peo­ple in the streets.” The ancient phone was plagued by inter­fer­ence and its bat­tery was dying, but Maggie’s screech­ing came clear­ly over the line.

You were six years old at the time. We were sit­ting in that same liv­ing room. I hand­ed you the phone, and Adi­na got on the line. I couldn’t hear her voice as she answered you — I heard only your side of the conversation.

Hel­lo,” you whispered.

Mom­my, why didn’t you take me with you?”

Is it because I don’t like being there at Maggie’s house?”

If you want to, so come home. But if you don’t feel like it, that’s okay, too, Mom. What­ev­er you decide.”

Yes, I’m clean­ing up my room, and I’m doing my home­work with Dad, and I’m going to ballet.”

Mom­my, why didn’t you take me with you?”

At night I heard your sobs. I couldn’t stop them — not with a sug­ar-laced bribe, not by shout­ing. It wasn’t your fault, under­stand? You were a lit­tle girl when she ran away to Lon­don and left you with me. You felt unwor­thy — she’d saved her­self, but left you behind. Adi­na ran away because she was pet­ri­fied. She’d bro­ken our agree­ment. She intro­duced him to you, and took you to the shop­ping cen­ter and the safari park with him. But instead of reas­sur­ing you that you didn’t have to wor­ry about me dis­cov­er­ing her secret, I kept ask­ing you if you were wor­ried about sui­cide bombers. I wouldn’t have been angry with you, if you’d told me. If only I’d known that that’s what you were hid­ing. You see, there were no secrets between me and Adi­na. We shed our secrets once we began to speak the truth. We carved it into each other’s backs.

I liked it when we were togeth­er, the three of us. I could live like that, Avra­ham,” Adi­na had said. With him and Dana.” You see, every­thing between us was out in the open. Toward the end, our love was the only thing that remained hidden.

Years lat­er, you told me that I aban­doned you that night. I didn’t promise you that every­thing would be all right. You couldn’t trust me — not when you were six years old, and not as a six­teen-year-old in a wheelchair.

Don’t promise her any­thing,” one of your boyfriends told me. If you promise her some­thing, she just focus­es on prov­ing that it can’t hap­pen.” I told him that I’d made you too many promis­es that I hadn’t kept. So it was my fault that you couldn’t believe anyone’s promises.

You?” the boyfriend asked in sur­prise. She nev­er men­tions you when she talks about that. Only her mom. She was the one who didn’t keep her promis­es. One day she promised she’d come home, but then she died.”


The tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ed a live, impromp­tu press con­fer­ence with the police chief. He said that there had been no advance intel­li­gence about the ter­ror­ist attack, although the min­is­ter of defense had announced pre­vi­ous­ly that there had been advance infor­ma­tion, but no spe­cif­ic warn­ing. The police chief repeat­ed that this was a sui­cide bomber, although the emer­gency ser­vices spokesper­son who’d been inter­viewed before him explained that at the moment, there was no con­fir­ma­tion that the terrorist’s body had been found.

I remem­ber silence and fear, and loud, rac­ing heart­beats. I remem­ber our eyes dart­ing to each other’s faces, to the crooked pic­tures and a shat­tered vase.

The police chief asked the pub­lic to Let the secu­ri­ty forces do their job. It’s very hard to pre­dict the actions of a sin­gle terrorist.”

Dalia shout­ed at the tele­vi­sion, If they’re so hard to pre­dict, what are you all so busy at?”

Dalia rubbed her cell phone on the edge of the sofa. She tapped it again and tried to dial. She said all the lines were down and she couldn’t get through to her daugh­ter, Efrat, to tell her she was all right. Then she stood up.

Tell me if you’re plan­ning to write for me. If not, then I’ll go home. This is no day for celebrations.”

Why are you insist­ing? There are plen­ty of oth­ers who can write lyrics for you.”

You know why, Avra­ham. They aren’t inter­est­ed. Those peo­ple don’t even call me back. It’s been years since they’ve returned my calls.”

I’m sor­ry.”

Real­ly. Anoth­er one who’s sor­ry. I’m still wait­ing for those lyrics that you kept promis­ing me, right here in this liv­ing room. Until the day I heard Cha­va Alber­stein singing a new song on the radio. When it end­ed, I final­ly real­ized why it sound­ed familiar.”

Dalia col­lect­ed her bead­ed hand­bag. In it, all the col­ors of the rain­bow shim­mered uncomfortably.

Feel bet­ter, sweet­ie,” she said to you. I didn’t feel I need­ed to say any­thing to her. Years lat­er, I explained to you that some­times Dalia didn’t need expla­na­tions — she just need­ed an audience.

You prob­a­bly know that Adi­na called me​.It was after I left you that mes­sage that you were a son of a bitch — excuse my lan­guage — for giv­ing away those lyrics you promised me,” Dalia said to me as she reached the front door. She said she’d heard that I was upset. At least after she died, you grew some balls. Now you can tell peo­ple things to their face, instead of them hear­ing about it on the radio.”


After each of my quar­rels with oth­er peo­ple, Adi­na would call and apol­o­gize for me. She’d sit in the wood­en chair in the din­ing nook, a Par­lia­ment burn­ing in one hand, in the oth­er the let­ter of apol­o­gy that I’d care­ful­ly com­posed and read to her the night before. As Adi­na read the let­ter, we’d snick­er and pic­ture the insult­ed person’s face swelling with pride as they lis­tened to the emp­ty words. I’d tick­le Adina’s stom­ach with the soles of my feet. Then she’d slam down the receiv­er, and we’d burst out laughing.

After she made my apol­o­gy to Dalia, Adi­na chuck­led. She said that you’re a shit. And she also said that she can hear you in the back­ground, gig­gling like a lit­tle girl.”

When we laughed like that, I would always give Adi­na a hug, a sym­bol that we were a team. Then we would argue. You prob­a­bly still remem­ber the sounds of our argu­ments — your child­hood refrain. We argued about every­thing. When the radio kept play­ing the song Everyone’s Got It,” Adi­na shout­ed at me, Why can’t you write some­thing like that?” When Prime Min­is­ter Ariel Sharon want­ed to evac­u­ate sev­en­teen set­tle­ments, she demand­ed, I don’t under­stand how you can think he’s right.” When I found her pink slip in the laun­dry pile, and I didn’t recall her wear­ing it on any of the nights she’d slept beside me, it was Find some­thing else to wor­ry about.”


The tele­vi­sion screen was red and filled with blar­ing head­lines. One of the reporters was stand­ing beside the train sta­tion that bor­dered our back­yard. He said that a neigh­bor had found the body of an elder­ly woman. Appar­ent­ly, the ter­ror­ist had hid­den there through­out the day until he went out to per­form the attack. The tele­vi­sion station’s mil­i­tary reporter added that there may have been two or even three ter­ror­ists, and that they might still be in the neighborhood.

It’s a very unusu­al sit­u­a­tion,” said the announc­er beside him. I’ve just received a report that all inhab­i­tants of the area are request­ed to remain in their homes until the search for the ter­ror­ist or ter­ror­ists has been completed.”

The wail­ing of the sirens out­side was inter­rupt­ed by an announce­ment: Stay in your homes. Lock the doors. Close the win­dows!” The mil­i­tary reporter in the stu­dio said that the most impor­tant thing was to remain calm and drink water.

Drink water? That’s what they told us in the Gulf War!” Dalia said. I’ll try to get out quick­ly. I can prob­a­bly grab a cab up on Ibn Gvirol.”

Mag­gie went around clos­ing the blinds. She asked me to go upstairs and check that the win­dows in the attic were locked. I wasn’t afraid, just wor­ried and uncom­fort­able. The over­whelm­ing fear came lat­er — see? Many long days after that night was over.

From the win­dow of my bed­room on the sec­ond floor, I watched Dalia on the path from the house. Her dis­joint­ed way of walk­ing has always amused me. She stretched her head for­ward like a car­toon char­ac­ter, her body fol­low­ing as if in pursuit.

First get orga­nized, then start walk­ing!” I used to shout at her dur­ing rehearsals.

Get orga­nized,” I whis­pered that evening beside the win­dow. I saw the ambu­lance turn left into the street. Dalia stepped from the side­walk to the road and fum­bled in her hand­bag. Then I saw the hand­bag fly up between the branch­es of the rub­ber plant and land on the lemon tree at the entrance to the house. Its con­tents rained down in a del­uge. Through them, I saw the ambu­lance dri­ve up onto the oppo­site side­walk and stop.

I ran down­stairs and shout­ed, Dalia got run over!”

When did she man­age that?” Mag­gie asked.

The women close to me have an inex­plic­a­ble attrac­tion to car wheels. I’ve often been asked to explain this in casu­al con­ver­sa­tions with friends or in inter­views. I also ask myself about it when­ev­er I hap­pen to hear those stu­pid songs about fate, when I don’t cov­er my ears quick­ly enough. There is no such thing as fate — the the­ater of life has no direc­tor. Recent­ly you told me you thought that acci­dents might run in our fam­i­ly. Like oth­er fam­i­lies that hand down trau­mat­ic expe­ri­ences in their genes, you said, our fam­i­ly had a strong epi­ge­net­ic expe­ri­ence of tragedy.

So how do you explain Dalia’s acci­dents?” I ask you. She’s not relat­ed, so an expla­na­tion based on our family’s genes doesn’t apply to her.”

You laugh — I love to hear that sound.

I can think of two expla­na­tions,” you say. Either she’s become fam­i­ly over the years, just like there are cou­ples whose bac­te­ria become sim­i­lar. Or else she’s so des­per­ate that she’s will­ing to get run over just to prove she’s close to you.”

I repeat that it’s only a coin­ci­dence. I say that if there’s one thing I inher­it­ed from Mag­gie that I’d love to get rid of, it’s the fam­i­ly folk­lore. In my weak­ness, I rec­og­nize its ridicu­lous­ness, and I laugh at it still. You do, too. We both recall those pre­cious pearls of Maggie’s wis­dom. When­ev­er she saw a beau­ti­ful young man, she’d whis­per, I hope he doesn’t come to a bad end, like James Dean.” For a proud sol­dier, it was, I hope he doesn’t end up like Gen­er­al Pat­ton.” And for a cou­ple behav­ing affec­tion­ate­ly — I hope they don’t end up like Princess Di and Dodi.”

We both love to laugh at her irra­tional fear of cars. Her whole life, she refused to learn how to dri­ve. Peo­ple don’t need to dri­ve machines,” she used to say. Either the machine should dri­ve by itself, or peo­ple should car­ry each oth­er on their backs. You both have your licens­es,” she would mock, and look how I’m still car­ry­ing all of you on my back.”

I ran to the gate. Dalia lay on the side­walk, blood drip­ping from her forehead.

He ran into me. His left mir­ror hit me on the head. That nut­case! He was dri­ving way too close to the sidewalk.”

The para­medic from the ambu­lance began to ban­dage Dalia’s fore­head and instruct­ed her to remain lying down. Lady, you might have bruised your spine. It’s dan­ger­ous, I’ll have to tie you to the stretcher.”

Help me get up, young man,” she told him, attempt­ing to stand. None of that non­sense about tying me up. We’ll do that later.”

Then she leaned over and vom­it­ed. The para­medic put his arm under her back for sup­port and hand­ed her a bot­tle of water.

Some­one call Efrat and tell her that I was hit by an ambu­lance,” she said.

The para­medic tried to con­vince her to go to the hos­pi­tal. He warned me about con­cus­sions and back injuries, inter­nal bleed­ing, coagulation.

Bet­ter to die in Avraham’s house on the sofa than in the emer­gency room at Ichilov,” Dalia said. At least peo­ple will say, She was work­ing right up until the last minute!’”

Then she ordered me, Stop look­ing at me like a stat­ue. Put your hand under my back and help me get up, please.”

Don’t get up, lady!” the para­medic shouted.

I’ve got to wait for the police,” said the driver.

Dalia lashed out at him. You cut my head off and then you scream at me! You fool! Watch out, those crab lice will make you itch.”

Hey, I know that line!” the ambu­lance dri­ver said. That’s what the Pol­ish woman said to her hus­band at the begin­ning of the sequel to Lemon Pop­si­cle.”

This lady here played the Pol­ish woman in that film,” I explained.

No, no,” the dri­ver said. It was that oth­er actress — I don’t remem­ber her name, but she was great. She died a while ago. Now, you take your moth­er to the hos­pi­tal because she’s con­fused, and that’s not a good sign.”

Who do you mean, his moth­er?” Dalia asked. Are you talk­ing about me?”

You see, mis­ter,” the dri­ver said, she doesn’t even remem­ber who she is.”

I’ll sue you!” Dalia said to the dri­ver. For the acci­dent, for what you did to my head, for all the stuff in my hand­bag! Who knows where it is now. I’ll take every last pen­ny of yours! You’ll be sleep­ing inside that ambulance.”

Slow­ly Dalia stood up and leaned against me, her arm around one of my shoul­ders, her head rest­ing on the oth­er. We walked down the path toward the house. At each step, she groaned and gasped. A bead of sweat dripped from her face onto my arm, and she wiped it away quick­ly with her sleeve.

My head is explod­ing. I’ve got to lie down. But don’t take advan­tage of me, not on our first date,” she joked.

Stop, you’ll exhaust your­self,” I demanded.

It’s my age, Avra­ham. If you’d have come to my six­ti­eth birth­day par­ty, you’d know how old I am,” she said. When I hear strange sounds in the night, I know they’re com­ing from my bones.”

Back in the house, the tele­vi­sion hummed. Dalia lay down on the sofa. Tears trick­led down her neck — at least, I remem­ber some­thing like that.

Why me?” she mum­bled. Why does this always hap­pen to me?”

Years ago, at the Euro­vi­sion pre­lim­i­nar­ies, she’d made that same com­plaint when she’d sung Tomorrow’s Par­ents.” The song had been sub­mit­ted in the cat­e­go­ry for songs with­out per­form­ers, and the Broad­cast­ing Author­i­ty com­mit­tee had offered it to her. Through­out the rehearsals, she’d whined to any­one who crossed her path. Why me? she’d demand­ed. Why had the com­mit­tee giv­en the dumb­est song to her? Why had she ever agreed to per­form it?

Then she’d argued with the direc­tor. He’d want­ed to begin film­ing the song with her in pro­file, but Dalia object­ed. You’re doing that on pur­pose, so right at the begin­ning every­one will see how the kids ruined my boobs.”

After that, she made the rounds of the par­tic­i­pants and the stage­hands, repeat­ing a joke about the dress she was wear­ing: It’s the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of bride and whore — for uni­ver­sal appeal.” Before the live broad­cast, she burst into tears. She came to me and said, Maybe I can still quit, so I won’t embar­rass myself. What do you think, Avra­ham? Or maybe you’re glad I’m par­tic­i­pat­ing, because then it will be eas­i­er for one of your songs to win.”

When she won sec­ond place, no one went over to con­grat­u­late her. From the win­ners’ table, I watched her break down again. Maybe the tears left damp trails on her cheeks, I don’t remem­ber — just like I can’t recall if she cried when she lay on the couch that evening and mum­bled, Why didn’t they choose me? Why does this always hap­pen to me?”


I nev­er liked that shal­low tune that Dalia had sung. A few years ago, I was jeal­ous of her when I read that she’d received an unprece­dent­ed sum for the rights to it. It had been cho­sen for the new Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or ad cam­paign on the def­i­n­i­tion of a real” fam­i­ly. Accord­ing to the new reg­u­la­tions, a fam­i­ly with a father and a moth­er was a red” fam­i­ly, and it would receive the full state ben­e­fits. Fam­i­lies with one par­ent or two par­ents of the same gen­der were yel­low,” and they had to pay a spe­cial tax to the state. They weren’t rec­og­nized as a fam­i­ly unit by the Min­istries of Edu­ca­tion, Trea­sury, or Welfare.

For most of my life, I was afraid of being replaced. By the can­cer that devoured my par­ents when I was a teenag­er, by Adina’s choices.

It’s ter­ri­ble,” you said, when I called and told you the news. Do you real­ize that means we’re a defec­tive fam­i­ly?” For a moment I felt like say­ing I didn’t care — that you were over eigh­teen, so the law didn’t affect me. But I didn’t say any­thing. At the end of the con­ver­sa­tion, I men­tioned Dalia’s song.

Why did they choose that awful song?” I protest­ed. I have so many songs about par­ent­hood. It makes no sense for state mon­ey to go to a song­writer who doesn’t even live in Israel, and to a com­pos­er who every­one knows votes for an Arab party.”


How long will we be stuck here?” Dalia asked. Mag­gie told her that she thought it would be over soon. She brought out sand­wich­es from the kitchen and placed them on the cof­fee table in the liv­ing room.

That shot they gave me killed my appetite,” Dalia announced. I’ve got to check what it was so I can ask for some more. What did you make?”

Some­thing I like. I can live on bread and cheese.”

Just on that?”


So what are you, a rat?”

Then Dalia smiled at me and said, That’s a line from a musi­cal that I’ll nev­er for­get — even when some­one hits my head with a car mirror.”


I don’t recall cring­ing then, as I am now while I write this. The the­ater peo­ple had object­ed when Dalia was cast as the lead in Annie Get Your Gun. The artis­tic direc­tor had want­ed a dif­fer­ent actress, who was receiv­ing a reg­u­lar salary from the the­ater and who didn’t have anoth­er role at the time. I didn’t object to the theater’s deci­sion. The sec­ond actress was just as good, and I also didn’t want to be marked as some­one who wasn’t help­ing the the­ater solve its crises. More and more song­writ­ers were attempt­ing to write dra­mas. I pre­ferred not to rock the boat. I want­ed the the­ater to remem­ber that I was a sol­dier who could be sent into any battle.

For most of my life, I was afraid of being replaced. By the can­cer that devoured my par­ents when I was a teenag­er, by Adina’s choic­es. You also tried to replace me with your exploitive, inac­ces­si­ble boyfriends. That’s exact­ly how you described me dur­ing those years. That I was afraid of being replaced by your boyfriends. That they would detect the big lie, the man with noth­ing inside of him, and then I would disappear.

There’s one song I always turn off when­ev­er it comes on the radio: Be My Friend, Be My Pal.” That child­ish wish is com­plete­ly illog­i­cal. Friends come and go — even old ones. They dis­ap­pear in times of hap­pi­ness, and they suck your blood in times of pain. Friend­ship is nour­ished by a false sense of coop­er­a­tion. You feel good when a friend does the right thing. The rest of the time, friend­ship is like soap bub­bles that blow away in the wind. It’s in their nature to pop. It’s hard to under­stand the human need for those bub­bles to stay whole. Often, a beau­ti­ful friend­ship forms between fel­low actors in a play, but when the play ends, it dis­ap­pears. In those moments, the­ater real­ly is larg­er than life. I’ve learned that even a broth­er is tem­po­rary. He leaves noth­ing behind.

In my pro­fes­sion­al world, I nev­er allowed myself to be replaced. I nev­er per­mit­ted life’s obsta­cles to block my path. I nev­er for­gave a singer who sent me a score and then chose lyrics com­posed by a dif­fer­ent writer who was giv­en the score lat­er on. I didn’t agree to give my play to a pro­duc­er who was depend­ing on it to avoid bank­rupt­cy, when two years ear­li­er he’d decid­ed to work on a com­e­dy with anoth­er trans­la­tor. Once, a cer­tain suc­cess­ful Mediter­ranean singer recount­ed in an inter­view that he’d cut my song from his lat­est album at the last moment and replaced it with one he’d writ­ten himself.

I didn’t let this slide. A week lat­er, the tax author­i­ties appeared at his home and walked off with his safe and the four mil­lion shekels he’d hid­den in the walls of his pent­house bedroom.


They’re idiots for replac­ing me at the the­ater. I could have been a won­der­ful Annie Oak­ley,” Dalia said. But that stu­pid direc­tor insist­ed that I sleep with him, and I just wasn’t up to it. The very thought made the stitch­es from Efrat’s birth hurt. I told him to go to hell, that I wasn’t going on vaca­tion with him to any hotel in Tiberias. So he took that whore with him instead — excuse my lan­guage, there’s a child here.”

Every so often, I make sure there’s no change in the Wikipedia entry for Annie Cole — the name of the per­son who wrote Dalia’s big hit of that peri­od, Don’t Give Up on Me.” It amus­es me that this sin­gle song is the answer to a pop­u­lar triv­ia ques­tion, How many songs did the song­writer Annie Cole pub­lish?” I’m cer­tain Dalia nev­er sus­pect­ed that I was the one who’d left the lyrics in her mail­box on Jor­dan Street.

I don’t get it,” Adi­na had com­plained. Do you have to make it up to her because they didn’t want her? You don’t owe her any­thing. If you feel like you owe her some­thing, go give it to her in per­son, like a real human being. I can’t stand how you’re always hid­ing from real life. Some­times I feel like I mar­ried my mother.”

Oren Gaz­it was born in Ramat Gan in 1971. He is the head of the doc­u­men­tary and docu-real­i­ty depart­ment at Israel’s Chan­nel 13. Gaz­it is a sin­gle par­ent to twins, a boy and a girl.

Jes­si­ca Rut­man Set­bon is a native San Anton­ian who stud­ied Japan­ese at Har­vard, made aliyah in 1992, and has been a Hebrew – Eng­lish trans­la­tor for over thir­ty years.