I am the shiksa of the family.  No, I don’t have blonde hair, nor do I have the stereotypical sex appeal, but I do function as the wrecking ball of my in-laws’ expectations for my husband.  For years, I clung to the notion that there should be this equality of demands.  My father-in-law was, prior to his conversion to Judaism, Christian.  He converted.  What was the big deal about our Christian home?  All choices for family religion are equal.  Right?  No, they are not.

What I am not is a member of the people of forever.  My Anglican roots conspicuously lack a history of attempted extermination, of slavery, of chronic anti-Semitism across millennia.  My ‘people’ have the stain of divorce as the crowning moment of religious identity.  Populating country clubs and ornate cathedrals across the genteel portions of the globe, ‘my people’ were never afraid.

So when reading THE PEOPLE OF FOREVER ARE NOT AFRAID, I could hear the nation of Israel echoing my in law’s reactions:  you have no perspective.  I represent the West, demanding equality in all things while Israel drums for equity.  No, the border control of Israel cannot remotely resemble those of the United States.  The Mexican army is not firing on its citizens disappearing into the Texas desert, and our Canadian neighbors at worst provide stiff competition for our entertainment industry.  Our religious zealots are swiftly pegged as crazy outliers; those in Israel’s region deliberately strive to uproot the nation’Images current existence.  Our military is all-volunteer, because it can be; Israel’s military cannot afford such Western luxuries.

Who is right in the Middle East?  Is there a ‘right’ side?  Who knows?  What I do know is that author Shani Boianjiu in THE PEOPLE OF FOREVER ARE NOT AFRAID demonstrates that I, or any member of the Western hemisphere, don’t have the perspective to answer these questions.  My daughter will go off to college: she might join a sorority, play in the school band or bury herself in the library with grad school aspirations.  The military life, while an option, is her choice and hers alone.  The daughters of Israel don’t have such choices.

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid

Shani Boianjiu


September 2012

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