By Joshua Cohen

One of many nice comedian epics of our time: the final Jewish Novel in regards to the final Jew within the World.On Christmas Eve 1999, all of the Jews on the earth die in an odd, millennial plague, apart from the firstborn men, who're quickly followed through a cabal of robust humans within the American executive. by way of the next Passover, notwithstanding, just one continues to be alive: Benjamin Israelien; a kindly, blameless, ignorant man-child. As he reveals himself remodeled into a global megastar, Jewishness turns into the entire rage: matzo-ball soup is in each bowl, sidelocks are hip; and the single actually Jewish Jew left is more and more stigmatized for now not being non secular. due to the fact his very life exposes the illegitimacy of the newly switched over, Israelien turns into the thing of a global hunt . . . in the meantime, within the not-too-distant way forward for our personal, “real” global, one other final Jew—the final residing Holocaust survivor—sits by myself in a snowbound ny, offering a last depression witness to his reviews within the type of the punch traces to half-remembered jokes.

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Extra info for Witz: The Story of The Last Jew on the Planet (American Literature (Dalkey Archive))

Example text

The first one inside and the last one inside sit next to each other, atop one another, share between them a book, but there aren’t enough books, never are. Ben Someone or Other’s summoned up to the almemar, the bima an island at middle he bridges across on the backs of his fathers; he throws up his tallis, is hugged, kissed, returned, hugged, kissed, then seated again, bound to his chair with tefillin. Outside faces press up against glass, crucified by the mullions, they’re stretched across shards, eventually shattering, each other, themselves; window glass that’s been silvered over, why not, the better to straighten yourself for what’s to come—and so, mirrors in which the waiting arrange hairs, under collars tuck ties, breathe against the panes to know they’re alive.

An idle worship, given to graven imaginings. Because, with regard to that memory, there’s not much of it left—but still, there’s hope…to be hoped for. Above the sill of the world, a pair of diamonds suspended. The moon and its stars, and the diamonds, too, are the impurities in the night, of the night, impurifying as those diamonds they’re only poetry, art; casements flecked with white paint, rubbled with plaster chips, remains of parget…these lights—no candles or candlesticks, which have been sacrificed to the rubble, melted down with their wicks wicked away, wisped into smoke with the upward ambition of flame—hover; what’s left is only their purpose: a question…does the light float in darkness?

Four are the legs of their table, a table with three legs is suspect, two are impure, and a table with one leg is an abomination in the eyes of God, which are infinite and are less eyes than they are legs upon which we might flee from the gaze of His judgment come the close of the Sabbath, our day of rest. The table sits on its legs, its legs sit on the floor. All is grouted—stayed, put—not moving, nothing rushing anywhere is what, just now no; all is grounded. Upon the ground, we know what is expected of us, and what to expect of others—to grovel for air.

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