Surely you know the Biblical tale about the Tower of Babel in which, according to tradition, God punishes humankind’s arrogance by scattering them and destroying people’s ability to understand one another’s language. In our modern lives, we certainly struggle to communicate across continents and cultures, knowing full well that the stakes are high. Both international conflict and genuine peace depend heavily on our ability to connect with people whose lives and vocabulary are profoundly different from our own. And as we hear from Shai Afsai, sometimes our well meaning efforts to connect indeed bear, wonderful, wonderful fruit.
Shai Afsai has published articles on Ethiopian, Israeli, Nigerian, and Rhode Island Jews, as well as Jewish-themed short fiction, in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, The Jerusalem Post, Rhode Island History, The Providence Journal, and Midstream: A Jewish Review. Afsai was the recipient of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association’s 2013 Horvitz Award.