The Chaos of Memories

Habitus, A Diaspora Journal, issue #3: part of a new breed of Jewish magazines being created by young Jews defining Judaism and their involvement on their own terms. With funding from the Dorot Foundation and focusing on Diaspora literature and culture, the editors tell us

“Habitus is not simply a magazine about Jews–it is a Jewish magazine about the world. Habitus takes its shape from the elusive concept known as the Diaspora – that untidy mix of longing and belonging, past and place.” With the first two issues focusing on European cities, Budapest and Sarajevo, and now the third on Buenos Aries, the magazine speaks to contemporary readers “who wrestle with what it means to be truly at home.”

from the editor’s notes:

“It’s winter in Buenos Aires, one of the coldest ever. This is a port city in the southern hemisphere—low and humid—and the winds here have a raw, sudden sting. People look restless. If they are outdoors, their heads are down. Most activity has been driven inside. All the life that usually takes place on the street has been corralled into narrow spaces. Noise floods out through the openings in every border or barrier.

The city is always moving, almost compulsively, but it’s also breathlessly studying its own reflection, taking its own pulse. The very existence of the city seems to depend on the psychic exertion—urgent, anxious, and loving—of the people who live here. As if the whole metropolis might vanish if their attention flagged, even briefly. The city has to be conjured anew every day through sheer resolve.

Trying to understand Buenos Aires feels like trying to master the human heart. This is not a place that can be learned in the usual ways: it’s too fragile, too volatile, cobbled together from too many unlike parts. The journalist Jacobo Timerman writes, “Argentina…does not yet exist. It must be created.” Over the generations, Argentines have shaped the city out of desire and discomfort, and these heavy emotions seem as real as all the towers and avenues and parks.”

Some highlights from the issue: interviews with the composer Osvaldo Golijov and the photographer Marcelo Brodsky, fiction from Rodrigo Fresan, Anna Maria Shua, and Marcelo Birmajer, poetry from Alejandra Pizarnik, Tal Nitzan, and Mirta Rosenberg…and a very rare interview with Jorge Luis Borges.

Habitus 03:Buenos Aires is available now.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.