Dara Horn delves into the nature of remembrance, and how it ‘affects our choices for the future,’ in ‘A Guide for the Perplexed.’
Jewish Week Book Critic
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Dara Horn’s latest novel is propelled forward by ideas about preserving the past, over three different eras. “A Guide for the Perplexed” (Norton) is set in present-day California and Egypt, late-19th-century Cambridge and Cairo, and further back, in 12th-century Cairo. With great skill and originality, she layers stories of a software developer who invents a program called “Genizah” for recording a life, Solomon Schechter’s discovery of the Cairo Genizah, and the life of Moses Maimonides, or the Rambam.
It was a testimony to the influence and longevity of the life of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that the health updates on an ailing rabbinic leader were headline news in Israeli newspapers and broadcasts in recent weeks. Outside of haredi, or ultra-Orthodox circles, in which Rabbi Yosef played a prominent role for more than a half century, most Israelis have little interest in aging rabbis.
When turmoil erupts in the Middle East, it is understandable to ask about the impact of events on Israel, on its treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and on its overall security. Given Israel’s ever-precarious security situation, the changing geopolitics of the region tends to have a magnified impact on Israel’s political and security perspectives. Such is the case today with the fluid situation in Egypt.
Egypt swore in an interim president as Israel kept a low profile following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Adli Mansour, chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in Thursday as Egypt’s interim president less than a day after Morsi was deposed by the country’s military in a near-bloodless coup. Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, reportedly is being held by the military under house arrest. Mansour will serve in the position until new elections are held.
Andrew Pochter, the American student stabbed to death Friday during a protest in Egypt, was active in Hillel and motivated by a desire to encourage peace and democracy in the region.
“He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding,” said a Facebook post reportedly put up by his family, according to Reuters.