Editor’s note

This issue, our Food issue, is the first open edition of The Ilanot Review. When we opened submissions to English-language writers who live or have lived in Israel, we hoped that the many prose and poetry creators, living in a land of Hebrew and Arabic but writing in English, would find us a worthy venue for sharing their work.

Happily, our hopes were gratified. Poets and writers from all over the English-speaking world sent submissions, and enabled us to put together an issue that is varied, powerful, and of a high creative caliber. We are proud to present this collection of writing and poetry which adds many new and thought-provoking angles to the prosaic but endlessly fascinating topic of what we ingest, under what contexts and circumstances, and the surprising, often paradoxical meanings that accompany our choices.

In Mitch Ginsburg’s Paisan, a Jewish boy from an observant family makes a clandestine visit to an Italian pizzeria, with very unexpected results.  In Maya Klein’s It’s Always Better When We’re Together, a woman deliberates about leaving her boyfriend as they prepare a dinner for friends.   In Elisa Albert’s How This Night Is Different, as a young woman returns home for seder night with a Gentile boyfriend, she ponders whether she herself is not quite kosher.  And in Anthony Morena’s Geek’s Ball, dinner takes on the bizarre surrealism of a Dali painting.  While nonfiction pieces such as Ilene Prusher’s The Crustacean and Slava Bart’s Whiskey- A Dram of Art and Love, present colorful and sensual mediations on specific foods, Judy Labensohn’s Left Thumb invites a wider understanding of the notion of oral satisfaction.

We were delighted to find that the subject of food evoked poetry that is imaginative (Johnmichael Simon’s A Connoisseur’s Distress), lyrical (Gabriella T. Rieger’s The Bearer, Dara Barnat’s The Secrets of Challah), evocative, (Michal Mahgerefteh’s Last Day in Marrakesh), and closely linked to history and memory (Brandel France de Bravo’s The Food of Belonging, Judy Belsky’s Ripe Cherries).

These are just a few examples of the fine writing you’ll find here.  Rounding out the collection is Marcela Sulak’s interview with South African novelist Tony Eprile, who offers his insights on what Sulak calls “the alchemy of the kitchen that brings out the parts of ourselves we hide”.

We want to express our gratitude to all the poets and writers who submitted their work. Thanks to you, we’ve decided to change our submissions policy to make all our issues “open” issues. We hope that the many English-language Israeli artists who wrestle in solitude with words will continue to view us as a forum where they can share the best of their endeavors.

Janice Weizman
Managing Editor

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