Journalist Michael Orbach asked me a few questions for "Jewish Action" and I thought I'd share the Q&A:
Q: Was it difficult leaving Israel?
A: I remember my last day there, I felt like my stomach was getting ripped out of me. I’ll put it this way: In Israel whenever I got in someone’s daled amos, their four cubits of space, I could almost hear a song under the breath. There was this uplift, this musicality that was thrumming through Israeli life. When I came to America it felt a lot saner but there was just so much less beauty. I didn’t feel that underlying spiritual bass rhythm.
Q: Both your main characters seem flawed. What is it that attracted you to write about them?
A: I think that, if I’m honest, I’m very attracted to writing about failed men. Men who are on the verge; Isaac is the almost person: he almost became a rabbi; he almost married the woman of his dreams; he almost started a yeshiva. [I’m interested in] people who strive but are not quite there. People who are successful don’t always strike me as interesting. They’re not in a state of yearning because often a person who is successful has already arrived, at least in his or her own mind, and so they’re just boring to me, fairly or not.
That’s why I’m also attracted to singles, especially older singles. They’re in limbo, not there yet, whatever ‘there’ means. (more…)