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Dara Horn: On Jewish Fiction and Non-Jewish Fiction

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SUMMARY

This series is sponsored by an anonymous lover of books. 

This episode is sponsored by Twillory. Use the coupon code 18Forty to get $18 off of all orders more than $139. 

In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Dara Horn, a leading contemporary Jewish writer, about how fiction and non-fiction can change the way we view our fellow Jews.

While we at 18Forty love scholarly and factual writing, fiction has long enabled the Jewish people to be more imaginative and contemplative about the meaning of Jewish identity and memory in our collective past, present, and future. In this episode we discuss:

  • What is Dara Horn’s writing process?

  • What is the role of belief in literature?

  • Are there living Jews whom we struggle to love?

Tune in to hear a conversation about how, as Dara says, “the uncomfortable moments are where the story is.”

Interview begins at 7:17.

Dara Horn is a Jewish American novelist, essayist, and professor of literature. She has written five novels and in 2021, released a non-fiction essay collection titled People Love Dead Jews, which was a finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in non-fiction. Her other books include All Other Nights, The World to Come, Eternal Life, and A Guide for the Perplexed. Dara joins us to talk about Jewish stories, in fiction and non-fiction.

References:

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Sin•a•gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought by David Bashevkin

Breakdown & Bereavement by Yosef Haim Brenner

Becoming Anne Frank” by Dara Horn

People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn

Savoring the Haterade: Why Jews Love Dara Horn’s ‘People Love Dead Jews’” by Shaul Magid

American Jews Know How This Story Goes” by Dara Horn

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory by Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

All Other Nights by Dara Horn

College Commons Podcast from Hebrew Union College

Adventures with Dead Jews from Dara Horn

Mr. Mani by A. B. Yehoshua

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

Message” by Avi Shafran

David Bashevkin: 

Hello and welcome to the 18Forty Podcast where each month we explore different topic balancing modern sensibilities with traditional sensitivities to give you new approaches to timeless Jewish ideas. I’m your host, David Bashevkin, and this month we’re exploring books, books, books. Thank you so much to our series sponsor an Anonymous Friend, a lover of books, somebody who goes back a long way with me. And thank you, of course, to our episode sponsor. Once again I want to give a shout-out to twillory.com. Twillory where you can get all sorts of great swag for your outfit. They’ve got joggers, they’ve got great sports coats, all sorts of great stuff. You use the coupon code 18Forty. It’s a great way to support us if you need to go shopping anyways to let our sponsors know that the 18Forty listeners are an active audience. 

So if you want to do us a favor, next time you need shirts, pants, whatever it is … I believe it’s only men’s clothes so I think that’s an important disclaimer. I believe that’s true. Or great collar stays, they may killer collar stays that could really be used as weapons. They’re pretty intense collar stays. But go to twillory.com, T-W-I-L-L-O-R-Y.com, type in the coupon code 18Forty. 

This podcast is part of a larger exploration of those big juicy Jewish ideas so be sure to check out 18Forty.org. Again, that’s 18 F-O-R-T-Y.org where you can also find videos, articles, and recommended readings. Many of our listeners already know that I am not a huge reader of fiction, it’s not really what has ever ignited my soul when it comes to reading. It’s been a while since I’ve read any serious fiction but I do make exceptions from time to time. And one of those exceptions a while back is the incredible novel that our guest wrote called Eternal Life. And the premise is something that has always stuck with me, it is about somebody who lives forever. It’s a premise, as we discussed in our interview, the notion of time and memory and how it relates to the Jewish people in general is something I’ve always found moving. 

There’s an essay that I believe I’ve quoted once before in the book Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. Alan Lightman I believe teaches literature at MIT, and he has this phenomenal book called Einstein’s Dreams, I quote it a few times in my own book Sin•a•gogue. It’s one of the most brilliant, creative fictional books I’ve ever read, and he has one story in there called About the Nows and Later. Each chapter in Einstein’s Dreams describes … They’re two, three pages each. I can’t emphasize enough, you really want to check it out. It’s a very easy read, it’s very brilliant. And each chapter in the book describes a town that operates under a different conception of time. 

And he has one chapter where he imagines what if time was forever. What if people lived forever? What if people never died? And he describes a society that essentially breaks up into two parts. You have some part of society that are called the Nows, the people that are like, “I have an infinite amount of time I could accomplish everything” so they’re doing everything right now. And then there are people in this story that are called the Laters, the people who “Look, I’ve got all the time in the world why not sleep late I always have tomorrow, I always have the next day.” And it’s a microcosm to talk about how we … Us living today in a regular conception of time, but how we deal and how we react to the conception of time that is limited. 

And in a very similar way, and almost with a much deeper, richer Jewish angle, Dara Horn has this book called Eternal Life which imagines this person named Rachel, Rachel, who’s able to live forever. It’s a really incredible book, it’s almost a prolonged thought experiment. In the book she writes, and it was reviewed to the New York Times … But in the book she writes, “At one point she,” meaning Rachel, this person who will live forever, “Tried to estimate how many thousands of times she had nursed an infant, how many meals she had cooked for others, how many spoons of medicine she had raised to other people’s lips, how many withered hands she had held at bedsides, how many bodies had she buried in the earth?” And it’s this moving story that’s an analogy, I believe, for the Jewish people. And she has this incredibly poignant line at the end where she writes, “The hard part isn’t living forever it’s making life worth living.” 

I think if the point of this novel is in fact to reflect on the Jewish people themselves, this from the famous verse in Shmuel Aleph in the 15th chapter, I believe. The eternity of the Jewish people will never lie, will never be undermined, will never collapse, so to speak. It’s a very moving idea. But in eternity, as with any relationship, the longer you live the more experienced, the more wondering. How many people have we buried? How many babies have we nursed? Exactly which she’s wondering. 

You could stare into the expanse of Jewish history and instead of just focusing in the particular generation that we live in, the particular community that we live in, to take that really wide lens and just imagine that each of us are a part of this eternal body of Knesses Yisroel, the Jewish people, this eternally living body that has gone through generations, it really does make you pause and think about what makes the life of Knesses Yisroel, worth living, so to speak? How do we contribute and advance what Yiddishkeit is supposed to be in 2023? A big part of that is preserving everything that we have kept and the traditions we’ve passed down until now, and some of it has to do with advancing. What’s next? How do we elevate our community? It can’t, of course, just be about surviving but thinking about how we thrive in this eternal collective soul that is the Jewish people. 

I think that there is nobody who has captured to a wide audience what it means to be Jewish in the modern age but with very old ideas. New words, maybe new settings but with old ideas. And you can sense that real love, that real Ahavat Yisrael, the love of the Jewish people, and the writing of Dara Horn. Which is why I think it’s so appropriate when we reflect on books, books, books, the people who have been able to take pen to paper, type it out, and really reflect on what it means to be Jewish in the modern day world, what it means to preserve Yiddishkeit in the world that we live in. Dara is really such a gifted and skilled writer and is able to evoke feelings that feel that newness and oldness, that eternity that is both new and old in every single moment which is why it is our absolute privilege and pleasure to introduce our conversation with Dara Horn. 

I’m so excited to speak with you, and I really appreciate the time that you’ve taken out. You really have such an incredible gift for sharing ideas about Jewish identity and Jewish memory. And I wanted to begin not with any of your novels, not with your most recent book but with your Ph.D. that you once mentioned to me in passing and that I have done a terrible job of trying to find. You can’t really find it online but you wrote a Ph.D. about fiction in Hebrew and in Yiddish, correct? 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. 

David Bashevkin: 

That you received from Harvard. 

Dara Horn: 

The reason maybe it’s hard to find is because it’s under a different name so maybe that’s part of the problem. 

David Bashevkin: 

I found the name. It’s hard to find the PDF, it’s not yet on that Michigan site. I couldn’t find it. It was uploaded maybe a little bit after that time or before. But that’s fine. What I wanted to talk about are the unique opportunities of sharing ideas about religious faith and Jewish identity, specifically in fiction. I believe that was a big part, a central part of your Ph.D. And I’m wondering if you could share with me just what was the central thesis of your Ph.D. As it relates to fictional writing in Hebrew and Yiddish? 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. So I was getting the Ph.D. at the same time that I was writing novels and so I was almost doing it to help myself write novels which I don’t recommend. I mean- 

David Bashevkin: 

It sounds like a terrible idea. 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, went through life always knowing I wanted to be a writer, and I was like there’s sort of two ways I can make that work. One is find some job where someone will pay me to write as a journalist or something like that, and then another option is find some job where I have time to write. Graduate school became that. The great thing about a dissertation is no one expects you to ever finish it so it’s like- 

David Bashevkin: 

Exactly. 

Dara Horn: 

Writing a novel and writing a dissertation at the same time and it always felt like I was procrastinating on and not doing the thing I was supposed to be doing, and so I never felt like I was doing real work. And at the same time, I produced a second novel and a dissertation. 

David Bashevkin: 

I want you to know how comforting it is to hear that. I wrote my first book, my first English book, Sin•a•gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought while I was in a Ph.D. program. And my relationship to my Ph.D. program was almost identical where it just gave me an excuse of, what are you up to? I’m finishing a Ph.D., and I was finishing it for a decade straight. I very much identify with that. For me, it was really the same. The Ph.D. gave me space to explore some of the themes that I was anyways grappling with. So I’m curious for you, what was that central theme that you were exploring in your Ph.D.? 

Dara Horn: 

My doctorate was actually in comparative literature so I was focusing on certain languages within comparative literature so my focus was in Yiddish and Hebrew. My dissertation was about belief as an element of plot structure in fiction. I guess one way I can describe this is, the British novelist E. M. Forster has a book called Aspects of the Novel, and there’s a part where he talks about what constitutes a plot in a work of fiction. He gives this example, he says, “The sentence the king died, then the Queen died doesn’t have a plot, it’s a sequence of events. But the sentence the King died then the Queen died of grief has a plot.” And he says in that book that the difference between those two sentences is that the second sentence has a causative connection between the two events and that’s what gives something a plot is that not just the sequence of events but there’s a causal connection between the events. 

I noticed that that was just, obviously, false, and even within the example that he gives. What does it mean to die of grief? I mean, it’s not like the sentence has a clearly articulated suicide note featured in this sentence, right? It’s like the king died and then the queen died, the king died and then the queen died of grief. What I realized is that it’s actually not a causative connection between two events that give something a plot, it’s the beliefs of the storyteller that lead him or her to impose a causative connection between two events. In other words, you couldn’t even say the sentence the king died then the queen died of grief unless you believed, at least while you’re saying it, that one person could mean so much to the other person that she couldn’t live without him. 

David Bashevkin: 

Wow. 

Dara Horn: 

So that’s the belief that gives a structure to this sequence of events. 

David Bashevkin: 

Wow, that is incredibly profound. Meaning the beliefs that you’re talking about are the beliefs of the writer, of the author, so to speak, correct? 

Dara Horn: 

Well, I mean, and I don’t even think it’s so important whether it’s … Whether that author happens to believe that or not, it’s like that’s what is generating the story. Whether you’re going to come back to that author a year later and say, “Oh, is this your belief?” I mean, in other words, it doesn’t have to be that strong a conviction it’s just that is the conviction that animates the story. 

David Bashevkin: 

Wow. 

Dara Horn: 

You know what I’m saying? And that can be something that’s the author’s personal conviction or it can be something that’s part of the culture that the author’s writing from or about so there’s a lot of different ways to think about that. I noticed that this idea of belief is an animating feature of all plots. I can give some examples here. 

David Bashevkin: 

Please. 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, even something that we consider a very basic story, we call it let’s say a Hollywood action movie, there’s a set of beliefs and expectations that are set up at the beginning of that story that you as the viewer are then going along for the ride. And it’s almost irrelevant whether you … You don’t have to believe those things outside of that experience. So, for example, let’s say you’re watching an action movie that’s about an art heist and the hero is this is the thief. What happens is at the beginning of that story there’s a setup where you’re introduced to a set of values. Let’s say in the case where you’re rooting for the thief then maybe the value is like oh, this guy’s a maverick, he’s bucking convention. These stodgy cops, they represent this establishment. 

And the reality is, as a viewer, you’re probably not going to go home and be like “It’s awesome to go rob a museum.” You know what I mean? It’s not didactic in that way. It’s other words, it’s not this idea that there’s a moral of the story. My point is that there’s a moral in the story that makes the basic plot line possible. 

In the action movie, let’s say it’s this … Oh, there’s this value placed on being a maverick, and being creative, and getting out of a sticky situation. There’s some other motivation why this person needs the money, there’s a revenge, or he’s protecting his family, or whatever it is. They set that up as the value and that’s the belief. That belief makes the whole rest of the story possible. You don’t have to agree with these beliefs in order to appreciate the story but the story doesn’t make any sense if you don’t acknowledge that those beliefs are there. To give a slightly higher-end example, let’s say something like Oedipus Rex

David Bashevkin: 

Okay. 

Dara Horn: 

So the thing about Oedipus Rex is the whole plot is set into motion by this oracle at Delphi, right, and the Oracle says that Oedipus is going to kill his father and marry his mother. There’s then the whole rest of the plot is unpacking is this possible. If you go to see this play in 2023, you don’t have to believe in the Oracle but you have to appreciate that in the world of the play this Oracle is what’s functioning to generate the plot. 

David Bashevkin: 

Fascinating. 

Dara Horn: 

See what I’m saying? Basically, my argument in the dissertation is that all literature works this way. Then I look at it … And I’m looking at it specifically in this sort of moment in Jewish literature where you have a changing set of beliefs. 

David Bashevkin: 

So tell me about those beliefs that animate Jewish Hebrew and Yiddish novels. Are there specific beliefs or themes that keep on cropping up in that set of literature that set the plot structure free? Or changing beliefs, ways that the novels are grappling with the changing notion of Jewish identity? 

Dara Horn: 

Well, so what I was looking at specifically in my dissertation was the way that these modern Hebrew and Yiddish writers were using older forms of literature, of traditional Jewish literature, and reinventing them in ways that were projecting a different set of beliefs onto … They were changing the belief structure while trying to maintain the plot in some of these stories. So for example, I have a chapter about I. L. Peretz. Peretz’s a major modern Yiddish writer. He has a lot of stories that are rewrites of either folk stories, Yiddish folklore, or … Chelm stories, things like that, or traditional stories like Hasidic stories that he rewrites with … But he’s a socialist and so when he’s rewriting these stories he’s writing them to … Basically, there’s a different moral that’s animating the story, but he does it in this way that you’re still within this traditional framework. 

I’m going to give one example that probably will be familiar to some of your readers. I’m sorry, some of your … I’m a writer I think of readers. Some of your audience. This story, “If Not Higher” is the story of this … There’s this town where everybody in the town says, “The rabbi disappears on Yom Kippur.” And they all say, “Oh, our rabbi goes to heaven every Yom Kippur and intercedes for us for Yom Kippur.” And there’s this one guy who’s this skeptic and he’s like “I don’t buy this, I want to find out where this rabbi really goes on Yom Kippur.” He hides under this guy’s bed. There’s all kinds of references there. 

There’s these inside jokes like that, right? Everyone in the story has something like that. He hides under this guy’s bed, and then what happens on Yom Kippur is this guy, this rabbi, dresses as a Polish peasant and then goes into the forest and there’s this elderly peasant woman who’s sick in bed, and he chops firewood for her and serves her tea, and whatever, and then he comes back. And then the next day all these people say to this guy, “See, you saw, our rabbi goes to heaven on Yom Kippur.” And then he says, “If not higher.” 

David Bashevkin: 

Wow. 

Dara Horn: 

The thing about this story is it’s playing with these wonder … There’s this whole genre of wonder tales of Hasidic rebbes and things like that. But if you notice what he did with that. 

David Bashevkin: 

Exactly. 

Dara Horn: 

He is basically, in a lot of ways, undermining Jewish law. 

David Bashevkin: 

He’s undermining the Jewish law and inverting what the higher which probably has some socialist under underpinning of that material health. 

Dara Horn: 

Yes, it has a socialist underpinning, right, because he’s saying serving the … Helping the poor is more important. But what’s interesting about it is that idea is also part of Yom Kippur, it’s in the haftarah for Yom Kippur, right? It’s in the haftarah from Isaiah. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. Yes, yes. 

Dara Horn: 

Right? Is this the fast I have chosen, right, is to share your bread with the hungry, right? I mean, Isaiah is pushing back on that, the prophet Isaiah. You know what I’m saying? He- 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s incredibly profound that- 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. But he’s coming from a socialist framework. I don’t talk about this in the dissertation but actually, I think there’s an argument to be made that a lot of the sort of ethos of the American Jewish community where there’s a huge … There’s sort of more liberal segments of the Jewish community that ground a lot of their energy in social justice initiatives and things like that. That’s often thought to trace back to the Reform movement in Germany, I actually think that it traces to Peretz because Peretz was much more influential on the people who came to the United States through the mass migration. You really can’t overestimate Peretz’s influence. He was a king kingmaker in Yiddish literature. I mean, people have had his picture in their homes, the way people have a rebbe’s picture in their home. Which by the way, also, we don’t think there’s this cross-pollination. That whole idea of when you see the rebbe’s picture in somebody’s home, you know where that comes from? I mean, that’s from these Eastern Orthodox Church where they had icons of saints- 

David Bashevkin: 

Sure, sure, sure. 

Dara Horn: 

That were put in people’s homes, right? I mean, so that’s interesting. There’s a lot of- 

David Bashevkin: 

Cross-pollination and cultural overlap. 

Dara Horn: 

There’s a lot. I mean, we like to think this is an autonomous civilization and it really isn’t. And in both directions, right? Anyway. Just looking at how you take a set of beliefs and then you use those beliefs through plot structure. I look at novels by Yosef Haim Brenner who’s this Hebrew novelist to- 

David Bashevkin: 

An adversary friend to Rav Kook. 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. Well, he’s Second Aliyah but he’s sort of very bleak outlook, very sort of … Again, another person who grew up and came from a traditional background and then joined this Second Aliyah which was very non-traditional and was sort of trying to create this Zionist ethos. He’s very, very dark. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

He’s like “This sucks.” He has a book called Breakdown and Bereavement, and it’s about the devastation that these chalutzim went through. Anyway. I have a book of … I have a novel of his that’s actually never been translated that I analyzed in my dissertation about … That still takes place in Russian. It’s about these Russian Jews who were really all in on sort of joining Russian culture, and they were being what they called externs which were these university students who don’t get degrees because they wouldn’t let Jews get degrees but these students still were so enamored with this and went to these … Went to the university and were involved in these revolutionary groups. And the whole book sort of falls apart at the end when this mean character’s town is devastated by pogrom. There’s sort of this collapse of all of the beliefs. I don’t know I wrote this a long time ago. I look at poetry by Bialik that’s like narrative poetry that tells a story. No, actually this wasn’t poetry. See, I don’t even remember this dissertation. There’s- 

David Bashevkin: 

A true dissertation is one that you already forget. 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. No, it was-

David Bashevkin: 

The moment you submit it it’s like- 

Dara Horn: 

It’s sort of a prose column by the Bialik that’s a very abstract sort of look at … It’s also sort of this really self-critical reexamination of Zionism. I look at stories by a Soviet Yiddish writer Der Nister who also was sort of taking these folk forms and doing really weird things with them and sort of blowing apart the plot structure. And this was all sort of things that people were doing with plot structure at a time when these beliefs were really in flux and where they were either sort of aiming to shift their own audience’s beliefs or their own beliefs or themselves shifting. And so- 

Dara Horn: 

… Shift their own audience’s beliefs, or their own beliefs, or themselves shifting. And so, just looking at the way that storytelling becomes not a way… These are challenging the idea that there’s this moral of the story, which isn’t true. I mean, in general, it’s not like stories are not a great way to teach morality. But that there’s rather a moral in the story, meaning that you can’t have a plot structure that doesn’t start out with some value judgments that are at the beginning of the story that are telling the reader what to expect, even if you’re going to blow those up. You just can’t have a story without a set of beliefs. 

David Bashevkin: 

So, I’m so curious, because it’s such a fascinating way of understanding storytelling, particularly in the Jewish community. And I’m curious, you began your career, as you mentioned, wanting to write fiction. So, I’m curious if there was a specific set of that internal moral that you were trying to convey to your readers when you first began as a writer. We’ll talk later about some of your nonfiction writing, but your initial entry into the fellowship of the books, so to speak, was in the world of fiction, I believe. And I’m curious if you had internal beliefs that were animating your writing. 

Dara Horn: 

Well, so I’m going to push back against the idea that there are beliefs I wanted to convey, because as I said, I don’t think that’s how literature works. It’s that there’s a set of beliefs that are built into the structure of the story. It’s not that you want to convey those beliefs to the reader. You know what I’m saying? So, it’s not like Oedipus Rex, I don’t need you to believe in oracles. My goal in- 

David Bashevkin: 

Correct. Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

… You know what I’m saying? But it’s just that the story only exists with that… It’s the infrastructure of the story, right? 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

It’s not, I’m trying to convey, so to speak. Also, as a fiction writer, and honestly even as a non-fiction writer at this point, I don’t go into my writing like, “Here’s what I want to convey.” 

David Bashevkin: 

Well, how do you go into it? 

Dara Horn: 

I don’t think about that at all. Also, it’s funny that you’re like, “You started out as a fiction writer.” I’m like, I wrote five novels, and then I took a detour for the most recent book and wrote a nonfiction book. I still think of myself as a novelist. In fact, trying to think about what I’m doing next, I have three-fourths of a novel that I wrote before this most recent book came out. And, now I have everybody clamoring for me to write another nonfiction book. And so, I have this other book on the back burner. Anyway. I mean, even when I’m writing nonfiction, I’m not going into it being like, “Here’s what I want to teach people or convince.” I’m not that kind of writer. I mean, I’m not trying to persuade you of anything. I never plan any of my novels. I never plan any of my non-fiction work. I never have an outline. 

David Bashevkin: 

I was about to ask you that. 

Dara Horn: 

I never know where I’m going. 

David Bashevkin: 

Your process, is that true, you don’t storyboard or have some outline? 

Dara Horn: 

No. God, no. I’m writing it the way you are… And this is true for my fiction and my non-fiction. I’m writing it the way you’re reading it. I want to know what happens next. 

David Bashevkin: 

I am utterly shocked by that. Is that typical for… I mean, I write non-fiction. I wouldn’t call it scholarship, but I’m writing either on the Talmud or I’m writing essays on Rabbinic thought, and I begin with a blank piece of paper that I have bullet points… Not bullet points, Roman numerals actually, where I have like, “This is the basic idea that I want to put in the introduction. Then there’s a middle.” And sometimes I don’t know exactly what the bridge of the middle is going to be. “And this is where I want to land.” And I have some basic fuzzy image of the beginning, middle, and end. But you just to start blank and go sequentially through. Is that unusual? Is that always how you’ve written? 

Dara Horn: 

That’s always how I’ve written. I mean, God, I wish I knew what was going to happen next. I would have a lot less anxiety about, “How can I land this plane?” 

David Bashevkin: 

So- 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, yeah, no, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I have this book that I’ve written three-fourths of it. I’m like, “Well, crap. I don’t know what’s happening next.” It’s really scary. I mean, even with with nonfiction. Even with nonfiction, even when it’s reported nonfiction. I just published this piece in The Atlantic. It was a massive piece about American Holocaust education. I traveled around the country interviewing, I don’t know, dozens and dozens of people. And, I gathered all this stuff and I’m like, “Well, crap. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this.” No, let’s just see where it takes me that. And I think that, that’s like, I’m then taking the reader on this journey with me. Yeah, but with the novels, for sure, I have no plan. No plan. 

David Bashevkin: 

… Yeah. Again, non-fiction I could understand. 

Dara Horn: 

I’m jealous that you have a plan. 

David Bashevkin: 

No, don’t be jealous of my writing, Dara, please, do me one favor today. But, help me flesh this out. For nonfiction, I understand the notion of, “I want to see where this takes me.” Because there’s an external reality that can in fact pull you in different directions. You can interview somebody, you could stumble across an idea. The fictional structure only exists within your mind. So, how could you not have some preexisting notion of, I guess, the characters? I mean, you know there’s some friction or some plot tension. You can’t possibly be beginning with nothing. Do you hear my question? I’m just trying to imagine an unfolding plot line. 

Dara Horn: 

Oh, God. 

David Bashevkin: 

These characters don’t exist outside of your own mind. So, you’re just moving forward and throwing things at them and imagining how they would react? Or do you at least have their names? Do you pick out the names, the titles of your novels before you write them? 

Dara Horn: 

No. No. Okay. Should I just give an example of how this works? 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah. Yeah, please. 

Dara Horn: 

Okay. Yeah. Okay. I mean, also my novels are all really different from each other. In fact, I’ve always hated when writers write the same book over and over again. And so, I’ve always tried to avoid doing that. I’ve been very aggressive in not doing that. Although, obviously now, I’ve published all these books I now see, well, the reality is everyone has a style. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah, sure. 

Dara Horn: 

And I’m still writing my own books. But, I try to set new challenges for myself with each book. Okay, so let’s see. My most recent novel that came out just before People Love Dead Jews was a book called Eternal Life. And, it’s about a woman who can’t die. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

It’s about a Jewish woman who can’t die. She’s been alive for 2000 years. The metaphor is not subtle. But anyway. Yeah. And, I actually got the idea for that when I was in the shower. I have four children and my husband for Mother’s Day one year, he gave me a waterproof writing pad and pencil that’s on the wall of the shower. 

David Bashevkin: 

So you could actually- 

Dara Horn: 

Because this is the only place in my house where no one is bothering me, because I have four kids. 

David Bashevkin: 

… I have come up with the best- 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah, it was a joke. 

David Bashevkin: 

… No, that I identify with completely. When I am stuck, a shower, a walk. I need to let my mind wander. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. I do walk a lot. But, this particular book, I was in the shower, and then I just was thinking about… So, I also I leyn Torah fairly frequently, although, not in the last couple years. The last few years I have been traveling too much. But, I was just thinking about all the different parts of the Torah, where there’s like, “These are the generations of…” Whatever character. And, it’s always a guy. 

David Bashevkin: 

Okay. Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

And they’re begetting all these people. And, I just remember thinking, “I’ve done some begetting in my life.” 

David Bashevkin: 

You’ve done some begetting? 

Dara Horn: 

I have four kids. Just doesn’t seem like a guy thing. And actually, I wrote this on this pad in Hebrew. I wrote, “Ele toldot Rachel.” And, I was thinking about Rachel Imenu, the matriarch Rachel. And, how that she is the only person who’s not buried with the other matriarchs and patriarchs. 

David Bashevkin: 

Sure. 

Dara Horn: 

Because she dies in childbirth on the road. And how there’s this moment in Yirmeyahu, and the prophet Jeremiah, where he talks about the people leaving Jerusalem, and how you hear the voice in Ramah, which is where she’s buried. 

David Bashevkin: 

Sure. 

Dara Horn: 

And, she’s weeping for her children. And this idea of this eternally present mother was very resonant to me. And, I just thought of this concept of this woman who can’t die and is eternally present for her children. And so, there’s a lot of these ‘ele toldot‘s in the Torah about guys begetting people and whatever. But then, which as I said, didn’t seem like a guy thing. But then, I also thought about how in Western literature, there’s a fair number of stories about immortal people. 

David Bashevkin: 

Sure. 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, this is pretty common. It’s not an unusual storyline. But they’re almost never fertile women. 

David Bashevkin: 

Mm-hmm. 

Dara Horn: 

And I was just thinking eternal life is a lot less fun if you’re going to outlive all of your children. Then I just started writing. The first chapter’s called #CrazyOldLady. 

David Bashevkin: 

No, it’s such a moving plot device. It’s been used before, but the one that I always remember, and so many of your books play with the notion of time, and memory, and presence. There’s this novel that I… It’s not a novel. I don’t think I would call it a novel, but I quote it constantly. It’s called Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. 

Dara Horn: 

Oh yeah. I remember that one. Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

And he has one story about what if people lived forever. And he talks about how that would’ve divided up society, where you have kind of the nows and the laters. It happens to have been the essay on my AP English exam when I took it. And I recognized, and I remember taking the AP English exam being, “Hey, I read the reading passage from this already. It was from Alan Lightman’s, Einstein’s Dreams. But that notion of… Obviously, it’s a very Jewish idea, the eternity of the Jewish people. I’m also trying to imagine what the person who took the shower after you was thinking, when they saw that pad and it says like Ele toldot

Dara Horn: 

Well, I think I took it off and I put it on my desk’s. 

David Bashevkin: 

Okay. Good, good, good. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

Trying to decipher that. So, I’m actually curious, because your book, which I don’t know if it was your widest-read book, it got an incredible amount of attention. People Love Dead Jews, which has a very jarring title. I wanted to first start with the title, because it is so jarring. And I’m curious, did you pick out that title? And when did you pick out that title? 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, first of all, obviously yes. In fact, I was like, “Is this publisher going to let me keep this title?” 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. No, there are always titles that on the editing floor… I know Shulem Deen, he has a book that also has this longer, jarring title, All Who Go Do Not Return. And he said his publisher wanted him to call the book, Sheigetz . He said, “It’ll sell better. It’s juicier. It’s more controversial. Transgressive.” I’m curious for you, when did you pick out the title? And did you get any pushback from the publisher? 

Dara Horn: 

It’s actually a series of essays that, not all, but a lot of which I published in other places. And, that line, the phrase, People Love Dead Jews was something I had published in a piece that I wrote, which now is the chapter one of the book, which is a piece I wrote for Smithsonian Magazine. And, I mean, I don’t know if you want me to take a detour to explain the origins of this whole project a little bit. 

David Bashevkin: 

Sure, you can. 

Dara Horn: 

I was writing novels about Jewish life, past and present, all intertwined. And, excuse me, I write nonfiction frequently for pieces for magazine newspapers. But, I was thinking of that as a detour for my novels. And, this was from 2018, Smithsonian Magazine approached me and they asked me to do a piece for them about Anne Frank. And I got this request and I was just overwhelmed with dread, because I was like, “Oh God, I don’t really want to write some long essay about Anne Frank that’s going to then be disseminated in doctor’s offices across America, because that’s what happens to Smithsonian Magazine. And, the normal thing to do would’ve been to turn this assignment down. But, I’m a writer, so I’m not a normal person. So, I just thought, “This is interesting. Why don’t I want to do this?” And, that was when I remembered this news item that I had read about of something that had happened at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam. 

David Bashevkin: 

A wild story. Tell us what. This is crazy. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. I don’t know if you want me to share this. 

David Bashevkin: 

Please. 

Dara Horn: 

People have read the book, already heard me talk about this. It’s really just a news item about, there was a young Jewish man who was working at that museum, and the museum would not allow him to wear his yarmulke to work. 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s wild. 

Dara Horn: 

They made him hide it under a baseball hat. And, he appealed this decision to the board of the museum. The board of the museum then deliberated for six months, and then finally relented, and let this guy wear his yarmulke to work. And, I always had just read this news story, and I just thought, six months is a really long time for the Anne Frank Museum to ponder whether or not it was a good idea to force a Jew into hiding. 

And then, I was like, “Did this really happen? Did I dream this?” And then, I went back and looked up this news story, and not only did it really happen, but in fact something equally stupid had happened at the same museum a few months earlier in 2017, where visitors had noticed something strange about the audio guide display. It’s a big international museum. They have maybe 10 languages for their audio guide. And, there’s that display with the audio guide, where it says English, and then there’s a British flag, and says France, and there’s a French flag. Español, there’s a Spanish flag. Until you get to Hebrew. Hebrew, no flag. No flag. 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s wild. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. And the museum has since fixed these things. But, I read this and I was like, “These are PR mishaps, but they’re not mistakes.” And, at that point, I went back to Smithsonian Magazine and I said, “Oh, I think I will write this piece for you about Anne Frank.” And it was not the piece they probably were expecting, because the very first line of this piece was, “People love dead Jews, living Jews, not so much.” Yeah. So that was just a line that I had put in this piece. And, I mean, a variety of things happened that led me further down this path, which I can talk about if you’re interested. But, I had been avoiding this topic for years and years. But, I was just joking around with my husband about this at the dinner table. And I was like, “If I ever turn this into a book, I’m going to call it, People Love Dead Jews.” 

David Bashevkin: 

So you had this in mind from a- 

Dara Horn: 

No, I was joking. I was joking. And my husband’s like, “That’s a great idea.” And I’m like, “You have to be kidding me.” 

David Bashevkin: 

… It’s a fantastic title because it is so provocative and jarring. It’s hard to just walk by a book that says People Love Dead Jews on the cover, and not have feelings, and not either feel offended, or drawn to it. That’s why it’s so good. And I’m just curious, in your own relationship with the publisher, did they even even take a breath or a beat like, “Are we really doing this?” 

Dara Horn: 

Okay. So then, I did submit it to the publisher under this title. And, it’s funny because I remember telling friends about it and saying, “My next book is going to be called People Love Dead Jews until the publisher makes me change it.” Because I never expected them to let me keep this title. And, they didn’t make me change it. And, I later found out that there were internal meetings they had at the publisher about this. 

David Bashevkin: 

There must have been. 

Dara Horn: 

And, that there was a lot of arguments about it within the publishing house. And I also found out later how much they really didn’t like it, because at some point, I saw a press release that they had made for the book and they buried the title on the second page of the press release release, which is not a move, right? 

David Bashevkin: 

No, that is not a move. Yeah. 

Dara Horn: 

When you’re publicizing a book, you don’t put the title on the second page of the press release. 

David Bashevkin: 

You have one job. Get the title- 

Dara Horn: 

Right? I mean, so it was really clear that they were very well, shall we say, ambivalent about it. But, actually I have a theory about why they didn’t push back and why they let me keep it. 

David Bashevkin: 

… Tell me, I have a semi theory too, but I’m curious what yours is. 

Dara Horn: 

Okay. So my theory is, it so happens that no one who worked on this book in my publishing house is Jewish. My editor’s not Jewish. And actually, this is the same editor I’ve had for all of my books, for all my novels. She’s not Jewish. The publicist who is assigned to this book is not Jewish. The marketing manager is not Jewish. The publicity director’s not… I mean, there are people who are Jewish who work at this publishing house, obviously. But, it so happened that none of the people working on this book were Jewish. I think, because none of them were Jewish, they felt like, as we say, #ownedvoices. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Dara Horn: 

I don’t know if you know that theme in publishing. And I think because this was in… I submitted this manuscript in 2020. And, I think that there was this whole vibe going through the publishing industry about who can speak for who. I mean, I actually find these discussions profoundly boring. And, I’m not at all invested in that whole, “Can you write about someone who’s…” I think it’s absurd. But, I recognize that that’s a thing that’s happening. 

David Bashevkin: 

But it got your title through. 

Dara Horn: 

It’s certainly happening at that moment among New York publishers. I think they were too scared to go to me, the Jewish writer and say, “You can’t have this title.” That’s my theory. But I don’t really know. 

David Bashevkin: 

My theory is similar. But, I think that if they would’ve pushed back too hard, it would’ve been too meta like that Anne Frank Museum itself, where they’re telling a Jew about… Similar to what you’re saying. And they could have very easily become one of the chapters. If that pushback doesn’t go well, you don’t want to prescribe very narrowly what Jewish stories we can tell about our own Jewish past as a- 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. I mean, and I just think that there was this whole thing going on in 2020, this was the Black Lives Matter movement. 

David Bashevkin: 

… Yes. Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

And it was a couple years out of the Me Too movement. And I just think that there was a lot of energy that was invested in that strata of society about who’s telling what story. And like I said, I don’t find that interesting at all. Although now, I’m at the center of it. So, I mean, literally now, because of this book I’m doing like DEI for Google. 

David Bashevkin: 

Oh, wow. That’s incredible. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. I don’t know, I was one of the consultants for the White House combating antisemitism plan. I’ve been now been roped into all these kinds of weird- 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s wonderful to hear. 

Dara Horn: 

… Politics kinds of things that are not- 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s nice to know that you’re in there. I’m curious, the book receives incredible accolades. There was one review… I wouldn’t call it biting, but I would definitely call it critical, that was written by somebody I am sure you know them as well, by Shaul Magid. I believe, he wrote it for Tablet, or perhaps someplace else. I don’t remember where he wrote it. And he felt that your book was guilty of, what I believe, Salo Baron pushed back on, on this notion of a lachrymose view of Jewish history. That he felt that the book was taking too dark of a retrospective on what has animated Jewish history. And I’m curious, first and foremost, without responding initially to the specific review, do you read the criticism and reviews of your work? And how do you process that if you do? And then secondly, I’m curious if this particular review, did you come across it and how would you respond? 

Dara Horn: 

… I did see it. Someone did send that to me. I actually was surprised. I expected much more mixed response to this book. And aside from the review you mentioned, there wasn’t a mixed response to this book.

David Bashevkin: 

Correct. 

Dara Horn: 

I was actually stunned. I mean, like you said, it’s very provocative, and it’s not just the title. If the title makes you uncomfortable, what’s inside the book’s going to make you a whole lot more uncomfortable. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

And my goal in writing this book was to make people uncomfortable. I was expecting a lot more pushback than I got. So, yeah, that was what was surprising to me, was the lack of pushback. And that made me laugh, because I spent 20 years not writing this book. What I mean by that is my previous five books, these five novels, are all deeply invested in Jewish life. They’re deeply invested in Jewish civilization. And also, my scholarship as we discussed, and I do teach in variety of places. I’m not teaching at the moment, but I’ve had many visiting professorships in many different settings. And, in all of my writing and teaching, I have always been team Baron. 

David Bashevkin: 

And just for our listeners who don’t know about this. What he lamented was this view of Jewish history that was just tragedy after crisis, and then tragedy, what he calls the lachrymose, meaning this very negative, sour, dire view of Jewish history. 

David Bashevkin: 

… meaning this very negative, sour, dire view of Jewish history, and he wanted to ensure that the living stories, kind of what your book talks about, are centered as well in the way we think about Jewish history in the communities that maybe weren’t just defined by their crisis and persecution and tragedy. 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. So I spent 20 years doing this, like my entire career. So much so that literally with every book that I published, at events that I would do, I speak about my book in Barnes & Noble or something like that, I would often ask the audience, “How many people here can name three concentration camps?” That’s something that a lot of people in Barnes & Noble can do. I would then say to those same people, “How many people here can name three Yiddish writers?” That’s something far fewer people in Barnes & Noble can do. But the fact is that of the people who were murdered in the Holocaust, 80% of them were Yiddish speakers, a famously literary culture. So I’m really asking my readers, why in the world do you care so much about how these people died when you really don’t care how these people lived? Extravagantly don’t care how these people lived. 

So that was always my challenge to my readers, always, and to my students. I did this for 20 years. So if you want to ignore the 20 years of my career when I published constantly and was writing all these books and teaching all these things, then sure, I seem really dour. But I’ll tell you what actually happened, is that I spent 20 years avoiding this topic and never writing about this topic. What I discovered though was, I mentioned that piece in Smithsonian that I was asked to write in 2018, which I did write. I wrote that piece. The reason I didn’t want to write about old Anne Frank is for exactly this reason, because I’m like, “I don’t want to contribute to this narrative.” So that’s what I did, was I turned it on its head. 

Then what happened though is … I was basically thinking about this Anne Frank piece that I wrote for Smithsonian, People Love Dead Jews, that I was basically getting this out of my system. And I’m like, now I can go back to writing novels about Jewish civilization. But what happened was that piece came out in one of their fall issues in 2018. It was a few days after that piece came out that there was the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and it was within hours of that attack, the New York Times calls me and asks me, “Do you want to write about dead Jews?” I mean, they didn’t say it that way, but that was basically what they meant. Again, I felt the same way I felt when I got … I mean, it was a devastating thing, but I felt the same way I felt when Smithsonian‘s asking me this. I’m like, “Short answer, no.” 

But then it’s like, you know what? I remember thinking with that assignment, if I say no to this, who are they going to ask next? Maybe the person they’re going to ask next is a bozo. Maybe I’m the person standing and protecting the public from a bozo. I felt this weird sense of obligation. I’m like, someone’s going to have to say yes to this assignment in the next 24 hours. It almost felt like an obligation. So I was like, “Okay.” And then six months later, there’s another shul shooting. The New York Times calls me again. It’s like what I said in the book, I became the New York Times’ go-to person for the emerging literary genre of shul shooting op-eds. And I’m like, I didn’t apply for this job. 

But I then had this realization, which is that as a writer for a general public, not as an academic, that this was what my editors at mainstream publications wanted me to write about. 

David Bashevkin: 

Wow. Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

And it was this really upsetting and devastating realization that really, this is what they want me to say, or it was like there was a particular thing they wanted me to do. There was a pose I was supposed to have. I mean, you see how with the Smithsonian piece, I turned that pose right upside down and turned it back on the magazine and its readers. So what I decided to do was, one thing that I’ve learned in my 20 years of publishing books is that the uncomfortable moments are always where the story is. Because when you go up to that point where you’re like, oh God, I don’t want to write about that, that’s when you’re about to learn something that you never would’ve learned otherwise. 

Once you go past that point, what are you going to find? What are you going to find there if you actually dive into this? At that point, I thought, this is the uncomfortable moment where the story is. And then I thought, I’m just going to dive into this and see what I’m going to find. I mean, I don’t regard this as a book about antisemitism. I now found out that my readers think that’s what it is. So I mean, I defer to my readers, but- 

David Bashevkin: 

What is it about then? 

Dara Horn: 

I feel that this was a book about the role that dead Jews play in a non-Jewish world’s imagination. So it’s very different from all of my previous books because all my previous books are writing about Jewish life from the inside, and this book is the opposite of that. This book is looking at this perversity of the way the non-Jewish world uses these stories about dead Jews. 

Like I said, I am on Team Baron, but what happened to me is sometimes the circumstances force you into something that, in my case, I really didn’t want to do. I really didn’t want to write this book. I mean, I know that sounds crazy because I wrote it, but I wrote this book despite my instincts, and it was really something I didn’t want to do because it’s so uncomfortable. What I’ve done with this book is basically blow up this narrative and take that lachrymose narrative and invert it because I’m not looking at this like it isn’t a lament about these destructions in Jewish history. It’s a look at how non-Jewish societies use those stories and exploit them. 

David Bashevkin: 

I’m so glad that you are the writer who is transmitting these ideas because you have such dignity for the stories and such esteem for the way that you transmit them, that they really, really resonate. I guess my final question, I wouldn’t even call it a question. It’s what prompted me, it’s how I read the book. I’m Jewish. So I’m also a people, so I’m included within the title. I guess when I was reading the book, I thought of the following. There’s a famous joke. I don’t know how famous it is, but I’ve heard it from multiple people. I don’t even know if I could call it a joke, but it goes as follows. It’s about when you talk to a non-Jew about the Jewish people, or a big antisemite, an antisemitic, non-Jew, they’ll say, “The Jewish people are terrible. They’re conspiring to run the whole country.” 

And then you’ll ask and say, “Well, what about Robert, your next door neighbor?” He says, “Ah, he’s an exception. He’s my great dentist. He helps me out.” “What about your accountant?” “Oh, my accountant’s a good guy.” So they’ll demonize the conceptual Jewish people, but when it comes to meeting an actual Jew, they’ll be like, Oh, okay. Seems like a nice guy. He’s the exception.” And when you talk to Jews, and this is why I was thinking about the joke, Jews are the opposite. Jews, they’ll always say, “I love the Jewish people and Jewish peoplehood and Klal Yisroel.” We’ll use all sorts of words to romanticize the Jewish people. But then when you confront them with their next door neighbor, the person who they sit next to in synagogue, will say, “Ugh, he’s the worst. He’s terrible. I can’t handle him. He’s a cheater. He’s a liar. He didn’t invite me to a wedding, to a bar mitzvah.” 

I think what prompted me in the book, I didn’t tell it over as a joke, but for some reason it gets a laugh sometimes, for me, when I read the book, I was thinking about what this book means for us Jews, and are we guilty of this too? Is it easier for me to love dead Jews? Because a lot of times, and you saw this after the literal schul shootings, the synagogue shootings that you had reported on, there are different communities. And now all of a sudden when there was a tragedy, there was permission to now join together as the Jewish people. It gives us permission, now that this story of an individual has been terminated, has been ended, we now have permission to join together and memorialize this individual, this rabbi, this congregant, this whoever. 

And in a similar way, communities that never would have walked into that synagogue for very real ideological differences are given permission. And on the flip side, let’s say communities that never would’ve felt comfortable or even would’ve felt deeply uncomfortable or even prejudiced or biased against certain Jewish communities, when there’s a tragedy, God forbid, let’s say, in a Hasidic community, then people who otherwise would’ve felt deeply uncomfortable in those communities are now given permission to join together and say, “This is the Jewish people. This is us. This is who we are. Let’s join together.” And there was something very uncomfortable that the book prompted in me, even though it wasn’t the focus of the book, about how dead Jews function in our living Jewish society. 

So I guess my question for you was, did any of that tension bubble up when you were writing it? And on a very personal level, do you grapple with loving living Jews? I’ll be honest, I do. It’s hard to love living Jews. There are always communities that don’t resonate or you don’t feel comfortable in, and you struggle to find that morsel, that string of people hood that tethers you to them. So I’m curious if there’s a very quiet indictment for our community on how we relate to one another. 

Dara Horn: 

It’s funny, I often get some version of this question where they’re like, “Oh, don’t Jews do this too?” But you took it in a different direction. Usually people ask me, are there Jewish communities also that their basis of their identity is about Holocaust memorialization or something like that? 

David Bashevkin: 

Not that, yes. 

Dara Horn: 

Well, I have an answer to that, which is actually that the whole structure of Jewish tradition is based on this idea of Jews of the past and their relationship with Hashem and relationship with God, and that everything that we do is a historical reenactment. I mean, that’s the whole premise of Judaism, is that you see- 

David Bashevkin: 

Yerushalmi in Zakhor— 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. Right, exactly. Right. Where you see where he says that there’s an idea of memory. Yerushalmi says there’s an idea of memory rather than history. You see yourself as if you came out of Egypt, you were standing at Sinai. I mean, it’s almost like, actually, I have a novel that’s about Jewish spies during the Civil War. And when I published that book, I discovered that when you write a novel about the Civil War, people show up for your events in costume. 

David Bashevkin: 

That is- 

Dara Horn: 

So, they would come to my event in their Civil War uniforms. It was super creepy. And and they would tell me me, how every year we go to Gettysburg, we set up our tents and we eat our hardtack. And I’m laughing at them, but then I go home and I build a sukkah in my backyard. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah, and you’re reenact- 

Dara Horn: 

How is this different? Yeah. They’re eating hardtack. We’re eating matzah. Jews are the original reenactors, and there’s the whole relationship with the past that has to do with. Anyway, so normally I’d take that. But your comment and your question in this regard is a little bit different. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

You’re talking about these attacks being a unifying element for the Jewish community or something like that. First of all, I don’t think that’s true. I think that you saw that response after the massacre in Pittsburgh. I guess you saw a response like that after, there was a whole string of attacks against Hasidic communities in New York and New Jersey, and then there was this march in New York right before the pandemic. I guess you saw it there. What I find, actually, when I speak about this topic around the country, is that I don’t think that there’s this idea that, I mean, for lack of a better term, that antisemitism is this unifying force. Because what I find is that people like to protect themselves cognitively by claiming that it’s not their problem. There’s many layers to cognitively claiming something’s not your problem. So one layer is, oh, this never has happened to me. 

I’ve had so many people tell me, “Oh, I’ve never experienced antizemitism in my life. And then two minutes later, they tell you some horror story, and then I’m like, “Wait, how did that” … And there’s this cognitive dissonance where they’re just doing this where they’re like, “Ding. Oh, that never happened to me.” And then they’re like, “Oh, yeah, people were throwing pennies at me on the school bus every day when I was a child.” I was like, “So it never happened to you? That’s weird.” Yeah. Anyway, so there’s that level of cognitive dissonance where you’re literally pretending that something that’s happening is not happening. 

But then the deeper level of cognitive dissonance is the real problem with antisemitism is coming from people who don’t vote like me. 

David Bashevkin: 

That’s where I’m getting at. 

Dara Horn: 

And that’s a self-protective thing, because that means that whatever team I’ve decided to join is the good team that is not going to turn on me. There’s this cognitive dissonance thing. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

What I’ve discovered is that’s a self-protective mechanism. That’s the way that you just take anything that happens and you turn it into that. You’d even take positive things and turn it into that this is, that there’s some way you’re going to dismiss positive efforts. Like, let’s say, for example, the White House plan to combat antisemitism. People got so hung up over like, oh, it didn’t accept this definition of antisemitism or that one, and it’s like, who cares? I don’t know. There’s a lot of frustrating things like that. So I don’t agree with the premise of your question, but in terms of that sense, I think that this actually is quite a divisive thing still among the Jewish community. So, you asked if I struggle with this. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah. Do you push yourself to love living Jews after writing this? Meaning, I thought to myself, who are the living Jews that I struggle to love. That’s what it prompted in me. So I am not guilty of the very premise that underlies the entire book. I think every Jew should read this. It’s so easy to read it and say, “Oh, those silly non-Jews memorializing dead Jews and not appreciating living Jews.” I guess there was a part of me that’s saying, “Am I guilty?” Are there living Jews that I am not just ideologically different than, that’s fine, but deeply uncomfortable. I don’t feel they’re not of my world. They’re not of my community. They’re not of my people. I think every community, and that’s why there’s a vagueness in the question, because I think everybody closes their eyes and has a different community for them that is the living Jew that’s so hard to love. 

Dara Horn: 

So I think I have maybe a different perspective on this and perhaps a somewhat unique perspective, because I think I’m the most ecumenical Jew in America in that I talk to absolutely everyone. When I say I talk to absolutely everyone, I mean personally I do, but also professionally. I have spoken at the Reform Biennial Convention, and I’ve spoken and taught at Yeshiva University. I’ve spoken at every version of shul. I have a lovely correspondence with people at Agudath Israel of America, which is basically like Black Hatters of America. But also, I have a lot of correspondence and I spend a lot of time with people in completely secular settings. 

David Bashevkin: 

Have you had interactions in the Hasidic community ever? 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. Mostly Chabad, which is not really quite the same thing because Chabad is all about kiruv and they’re outward facing, but when I say Chabad, I don’t mean just, I go to a local Chabad. I was actually just texting with the spokesperson for Chabad of America. 

David Bashevkin: 

Mati? Yeah. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. He was just texting me just before I- 

David Bashevkin: 

He’s the best. 

Dara Horn: 

… came onto this podcast. Yeah, he’s awesome. And also, I have a lot of readers among various communities who come to my events, and I meet them and they tell me about their experiences. And that’s another piece, is that I have an enormous amount of correspondence with readers. I should say, I unfortunately am not corresponding with them because I get a lot of mail and I can’t possibly write back to people, but everyone is telling me their stories. It’s the joke in my family. One of my sisters is like, “Dara, you’re like the antisemitism Lorax.” 

David Bashevkin: 

The antisemitism Lorax. 

Dara Horn: 

Every Jew in America comes to me and tells me their horror stories, which I don’t love this. This is really unfortunate. Also, I was traveling around the United States talking about my books for 20 years before this. So I have a lot of perspective on a lot of different types of Jewish communities, and I feel comfortable in all of them. 

David Bashevkin: 

Is that true? Meaning to- 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. Dozens and dozens of times I’ve done the Shabbaton in the Orthodox community or the events in the Orthodox community where there’s a mechitza and I’m wearing a skirt and whatever. Then I’ve also done the Shabbatons in reform communities where they’re playing a guitar and they’re doing a Torah study where they’re not reading the whole parsha, but they’re discussing this and why … I mean, and different types. I’m just very comfortable in all these different settings. I just don’t feel this … And honestly, I think that this is embedded in Judaism itself, and this is where there’s a little overlap with the non-Jewish versus Jewish perspective. What I’ve discovered actually is a lot of our neighbors who are from other traditions that are universalizing traditions don’t understand why you don’t want to go out and convert people. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes. 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, they’re puzzled by that. And the reality is, Judaism is not a universalizing tradition. I’m not going to go out and convert people. But I extend that ethos within the Jewish community. And it’s not just within the Jewish, and that’s not just me. I mean, that’s the tradition. I mean, we have this whole idea of “these and these are the words of living in God.” We have a machloket l’shem Shamayim. We have arguments for the sake of Heaven. We don’t have this idea that there’s an answer to things or there’s a way to be a Jew. 

You can be way chumra after chumra and be way on the deep end of the spectrum in terms of halacha, and a person from that community is still not going to deny that someone who is an atheist and has never even had a single thought about a single halacha in their entire life, if that person is halachically Jewish, no one’s going to say- 

David Bashevkin: 

Correct. 

Dara Horn: 

… that person’s not Jewish. 

David Bashevkin: 

Absolutely. Yes, yes. 

Dara Horn: 

Whereas our neighbors in Christian communities, let’s say, it’s all about- 

David Bashevkin: 

Beliefs. 

Dara Horn: 

You meet people who are like, “Oh, I became a Christian. Oh, I used to be Christian. I’m not anymore.” No one’s like, “I used to be Jewish, but I’m not anymore.” I mean, I guess there’s some people who convert to some other religion. But yeah, I mean there’s just not that idea that there’s a way to do this. What I found in traveling around the country and the world and meeting people from lots of different Jewish communities is there’s just a lot more conversations happening than you might expect, and I find that really interesting and encouraging. So yeah, I mean, maybe I just have a weird perspective on this in that I spend a lot of time in an extreme variety of Jewish spaces, and non-Jewish spaces too. I mean, I’ve been on Christian TV. I speak at churches- 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah, no, Dara- 

Dara Horn: 

… and do all those things too. 

David Bashevkin: 

… I love your perspective. I love your title, Most Ecumenical Jew in the World. I just want you to know, watch your back, because I am trying to grab that title for you. I don’t think I’ve earned it yet, but- 

Dara Horn: 

I will fight you for it. 

David Bashevkin: 

… I’m coming up on your left. But I’m curious, and maybe this is- 

Dara Horn: 

You’re probably coming up on my right, to be honest. 

David Bashevkin: 

I’m coming up on your right. Very good. 

Dara Horn: 

I was looking at who else you’ve interviewed in the past. Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

I’m coming up on your right. But I was wondering, we both have either platforms or experiences that allow us to interact with that wide variety of Jews. 

Dara Horn: 

Yes. Yes. 

David Bashevkin: 

To your average Jew, that notion that there is a segment of the community that you are not comfortable with, maybe because they don’t vote like you or they don’t live like you, they don’t look like you, they don’t have beliefs like you, they don’t practice like you, whatever it is, do you have any tips, even books, even anything short of not everyone could plop themselves down to a synagogue that is 100 miles away or they’re not a member of, short of going shul hopping, do you have any advice of what worked for you to remain so open-hearted to the full spectrum of Jewish people that would benefit somebody who doesn’t have the platforms that maybe you or even I have to interact with a wider perspective? 

Most people have their one or two synagogues, their handful of organizations, and they’re in circulation with a very particular kind of Jew. Maybe it stretches one standard deviation outside of- 

David Bashevkin: 

It stretches one standard deviation outside of their personal identity, but rarely is it going all the way out to the margins. I’m curious if you have any tips for somebody who wanted to expand, to contain multitudes, so to speak, of the Jewish people. What advice would you give somebody who wants to have a broader sense of connection with the full tapestry of the Jewish people? 

Dara Horn: 

I am very fortunate that I came to this perspective at a young age. When I was 17 years old, I was a Bronfman fellow, which is this program called Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, where they choose 26 17-year-olds and put them in this intense… You go to Israel for the summer, but it’s also this whole alumni experience. The whole premise of that program was to take people from a variety of Jewish backgrounds and put them all together, and have them study Jewish texts together. The entire premise of that was pluralism. I had that experience when I was a teenager, and it quickly became really clear that you’re… How much you lose if you don’t do that? I went from there to college experience where there was a Hillel structure that was, again, many different types of Jewish communities within one structure. I was fortunate to have those experiences, which most people don’t have. 

I think, today, it’s now much easier to find these ways of connecting with other types of communities because of all the positives and negatives of the internet. I think that there’s all kinds of online communities and every platform has different ways that you can connect with people from Jewish communities that are different from yours. It’s very easy to find these things online. It’s very easy. Podcasts like yours, there’s many other podcasts in the Jewish world that are from different perspectives. How easy is it to download the… If you’re from the Northwest community, listen to the Hebrew Union College podcast. They’ve got a lot of interesting, thoughtful people talking about Jewish life. If you’re from one side of the political spectrum, go listen to the podcast from the other side of the political spectrum. 

David Bashevkin: 

Dara, are you about to advertise competing Jewish podcasts on my- 

Dara Horn: 

I’m not going to advertise. 

David Bashevkin: 

I’m joking. 

Dara Horn: 

Well, I have my own podcast. I have a podcast called Adventures with Dead Jews. The stories that I got- 

David Bashevkin: 

Yes, but that was a series. That was a cool series. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah, it was a series. Yes. Yeah. I did it about a year ago and- 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s fantastic. 

Dara Horn: 

… they want me to do another season and I just haven’t had time. Yeah, now I think there’re… I mean, it’s funny. In the past, I would’ve said, “This is a big challenge,” and now it’s much less of a challenge than it used to be in the past. It just broadened your horizons. I mean, unfortunately, the problem you’re talking about though is not unique to the Jewish community. I mean, you have a polarization and siloing in American society as well. I mean, this is a problem that transcends the Jewish community in this case. Unfortunately, we’re all up against that, but I would say… I mean, I would encourage people to be doing that in what they read. Also, in terms of broadening what you read. If you usually read one news source, go look at another news source. I mean, I think that that’s a valuable thing also. I think I’m just really easily bored, and I’m not interested in reading and listening to media that’s just going to validate what I already think. I just find it super boring. 

David Bashevkin: 

I cannot thank you enough. I share that boredom. I like being provoked and being challenged. Your books do that. Really for everything that your book has taught the world in terms of learning to love living Jews, both people included non-Jews and Jews alike, is really something that we are all indebted for. I always conclude my interviews with more rapid fire questions. Just a little quickly. I’m curious if there is a book that you would recommend to help somebody specifically fall in love with fictional Jewish writing, hopefully something in English, not in Yiddish or Hebrew. It can be in translation, a book that helped you fall in love. But where would you tell somebody to start? We have a lot of non-fiction recommendations. Obviously, your book is one of them, but I’m curious if there is a particular book that inspired you or would inspire others about fictional Jewish storytelling. 

Dara Horn: 

Well, I don’t know if what inspires me would inspire others, but a book that I feel like made me a novelist, and this is an old book, it came out in Hebrew in 1989 and it was translated into English a few years later, is the Israeli writer Avraham Yehoshua, who Avraham recently passed away, his novel in English. It’s called Mr. Mani. This is a novel about five generations of a Sephardi family in Jerusalem and with a suicidal gene, but what’s amazing about this novel is that it’s written backwards. The first chapter takes place in what was then the present day. 

I mean, it’s in the 1980s in Israel. The next chapter takes place in the 1940s on the Island of Crete. The next chapter after that takes place in Jerusalem in 1918. The chapter before that takes place in Poland in 1899. It goes backwards through this story to unlock this mystery of this self-destructive family and becomes a metaphor for Jewish history. He writes this story as though it’s like a tell, a sort of archeological tell where you’re digging down layers through time. I just love what he… It’s a weird book in a lot of ways and may not appeal to every reader. It’s not very unconventional but I just thought it was a fascinating book. Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

It’s a deep cut that, again, Mr. Moni, right? 

Dara Horn: 

Mr. Mani. Mr. Mani

David Bashevkin: 

Mani. Mani. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. M-A-N-I. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah. Oh, is that deliberate? 

Dara Horn: 

Now that I get… Well, he’s not explicit about that, but it’s a book about identity and what makes us who we are. Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

That is absolutely fantastic. My next question, which is always strange with somebody who’s already completed a PhD and has already written so many books, but here we go, if somebody gave you a great deal of money and allowed you to take a sabbatical or as long as you needed to go back to school to write a PhD, another PhD or a book, what do you think the subject and title of that dissertation would be? 

Dara Horn: 

I mean, this is weird because I feel like that’s what I’m doing. 

David Bashevkin: 

Correct. 

Dara Horn: 

Basically, what’s your next book is basically? 

David Bashevkin: 

More or less, you can answer it that way. Whenever I ask an author, it’s fair to… You could tell me, what’s the next subject that you would like to explore if you had no other responsibilities? 

Dara Horn: 

Well, unfortunately or fortunately, this is my responsibility, but if I was going to get training that I don’t have, I guess would be an impression, is since I published this book, People Love Dead Jews, I have everybody asking me, “What’s your solution to the problem of antisemitism?” Which I’m like, my obnoxious and totally tasteless response to that is, “Do you really want me to give you the final solution to the Jewish question?” Really not prepared for that, but I now have thought a lot about this because literally everyone’s asking me this, including the White House. The cheeky answer is like, “Yeah, you’re not going to solve this problem.” But there have been a lot of attempts to address this problem and not just for… In terms of other minority groups also and Jewish communities in the past. 

I would be interested in looking into this deeper question of… Because I also, another thing that’s depressed me, I keep interrupting myself. But something that’s depressed me, I wrote this long piece for The Atlantic a couple months ago about Holocaust education in America. I didn’t say this in the piece but it soured me on the whole idea of education, because the idea that you’re going to educate people morally… I don’t know. Looking in it more deeply, you realize all the problems and limitations with that. I would be interested to learn through a more sociological study of how do people change their minds? What are the circumstances that make it possible to change people’s minds and scaling that? It’s not just one person who had an epiphany or whatever and changed themselves, but are there examples of… What are commonalities among societies where there has been a profound social change that didn’t happen in a traumatic way through a war or something, but where there’s been a social change that was brought about without huge violence or dramatic social revolutions? I would be interested to learn about that. 

David Bashevkin: 

That is a great answer. If I can be so bold to recommend you a book, there happens to be a great book by Kathryn Schulz called Being Wrong. Kathryn Schulz, she’ sometimes writes for The New Yorker. It’s right behind me, but it’s a great book and she does explore some of that. If you ever have a chance, it’s definitely worth reading, though I definitely want to read your version of that. My final question, I’m always curious about people’s sleep schedules. What time do you go to sleep at night and what time do you wake up in the morning? 

Dara Horn: 

What a weird question. I mean, I’m curious why… I mean, I’m happy to share with you, but why do you want to know? 

David Bashevkin: 

I think I learn a lot about people’s rhythm or… I’ve struggled with sleep my entire life and, I don’t know, you learn a lot about people’s responses, even if the response is very often, “What a weird question,” but that’s always… 

Dara Horn: 

It seems to be more a question about people’s personal obligations than about their tastes or their proclivities. 

David Bashevkin: 

It is. Their, I guess, personal obligations or how they- 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. 

David Bashevkin: 

Yeah. 

Dara Horn: 

I tend to go to bed around 12:30 at night, and then the problem is I have to get up at 6:00 in the morning just to get my kids off to school. I mean, I’ve been fighting this for years in terms of… My natural cycle would be to go to bed at 1:30 in the morning and wake up at 9:00. If I had no responsibilities, that would be my natural- 

David Bashevkin: 

Sleep, yeah. 

Dara Horn: 

… sleep pattern. 

I’ve had children for the past 17 years, so I don’t really get to pick when I sleep. 

David Bashevkin: 

That is fair. I do not get to pick either. I appreciate you. 

Dara Horn: 

I don’t know. Most people have obligations that make it not possible for them to choose when they sleep. 

David Bashevkin: 

Correct. Correct. I very much appreciate you entertaining even my weird questions. 

Dara Horn: 

Yeah. I was saying my son was in some selective band at school where he is like, “Great news. I auditioned for the band and I got into this selective school band.” I’m like, “Wow. Mazel tov. That’s awesome.” It’s like the rehearsals are at 7:00 AM. 

David Bashevkin: 

I cannot thank you enough for speaking today for all of your work and for all that you’ve done on behalf of the Jewish people and really humanity. Thank you so much, Dara, for speaking with me today. 

Dara Horn: 

Thanks for having me. 

David Bashevkin: 

The conversation that we had towards the end about what the book People Love Dead Jews, not what it says about non-Jews but what it says about us is a hard conversation, but one that I always think about and return to. Maybe it’s part of the very distinct privilege of never having grown up in a community or experienced a violent or dangerous antisemitism that allows me, when I think about loving and hating Jews, I instinctively return to the communities. I mean that, in the broadest sense, that I live in the Jewish community. I didn’t read this book and think smugly about, “Oh, those non-Jewish antisemites.” For me, when I read this book, I reflected inward. I reflected inward on myself. I reflected inward on what I’ve seen our community do at times. Very often when we are preserving, I was just having a conversation with a mentor of mine who I quote pretty often, Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, and he told me something. 

I’m going to miss all the details, so I’m going to leave a lot of it out, but he told me that there was a very serious from the more haredi yeshiva community who went to sit with the certain rally that was very much not in the spirit of the community that he belonged to. What he told the community, what he said, “Well, why am I here? I don’t believe in this. I’m not marching with these people and with the cause that they are supporting. But the reason why I am here,” he said, “is to serve as a reminder that these are not our enemies.” Sometimes, internally, in the community, we need to remind ourselves, I need to remind myself, we so instinctively see things, ideological ideas that we find so distasteful. Every listener is going to have their own ideological idea. 

He must be talking about this one. I think every community within the Jewish world has their own enemy. It’s okay to fight with all of your might against certain ideologies that you find destructive or corrupting. I don’t have an issue with that. What I have an issue with is that the same way that we have Torah values, our Torah values also inform the way we share our Torah values. I think our community needs reminders every once in a while that just because there are ideologies that we may find destructive, arcane, wrongheaded, whatever words you use in the particular nook of the Jewish community that you find yourself, we shouldn’t look at other Jews as enemies. That’s a dangerous thing that even… I’ve quoted this many, many, many times. It’s a quote from a Shalom Carmy article, where Rabbi Carmy was memorializing actually the former rabbi of the shul I grew up in, Shaaray Tefila, Rabbi Walter Wurzburger, who was a brilliant, brilliant figure and personality. 

He was a student of Rabbi Soloveitchik. I believe he was German-born, an incredible philosopher, and really an elevated, dignified soul. You don’t find people who carry themselves the way that he did, really had a dignity. In this issue that was commemorating the life of Rabbi Wurtzberger after he passed everything, was the 41st issue of Tradition, I think Volume 41, Issue #2, he said reflecting on Rabbi Wurzburger, he wrote, “Like Ramban, he,” meaning Rabbi Wurzburger, “was concerned about the way even a justified war corrupts those who wage it. Like Ramban,” I’m going to just repeat it again, “he was concerned about the way even a justified war corrupts those who wage it.” He’s referring to the words of the Ramban, I believe in Parshas Bo, were the Ramban is deal dealing with the question of why the Egyptians were punished for subjugating the Jewish people if God prophesies that the Jewish people were going to be slaves in Egypt. 

They didn’t really have a choice. Of course, they subjugated. Then this was part of the prophecy that he said earlier at the covenant of the parts, as it’s called, “This was part of the prophecy. They were supposed to be subjugated.” One of the answers, there are many different answers given, but the answer that the Ramban suggests is that, yes, they were supposed to be slaves in Egypt, but they didn’t have to be so mean, and so vicious, and so tough, that even though it was justified, even a justified war corrupts those who wage it. I think sometimes internally in the Jewish community, it can be very hard. I think about myself, I think about what I see, I think about how social media and I’m just as guilty as anybody else. 

If we take all the people listening to me right now, how much time do you log on social media, I’m probably number one. But how that has radicalized us and our soul in that this adversarial approach to fellow Jews, and it makes me wonder. That’s what I think about when I read People Love Dead Jews. I don’t look smugly at antisemites. I’m not thinking about Nazis or people who subjugated in years past that. That’s obviously a part of it. It’s an important part of it. But what I think about most is internally. In the community that we live in today, are we guilty of this? Are we guilty of this? Is it easier to love dead Jews than living Jews? The struggle of love living Jews, of having Ahavat Yisrael, a love, a deep love, even when the ideology is very different, even when we have to erect boundaries around our community to make sure that our way of life is not interrupted, is not broken, is there a way to preserve that Ahavat Yisrael, that reminder that no matter the ideology, we’re not enemies to fellow Jews? 

That’s a question I think about a lot and what the boundaries of that are. It’s something that we’ve touched upon a lot in 1840. It’s something that Dara’s novel really awakened within me. It remind me of a very, very old article, probably almost 20 years old, I think it was written by Avi Shafran in the famous CrossCurrents website, where he got a phone call from somebody who was yelling at him about how… I don’t know. Maybe he was from the more Haredi community or the more ultra-Orthodox community, whatever you want to call it, and somebody in the more centrist, Modern Orthodox community didn’t like the way that they, I don’t know, spoke about the state of Israel, something related to Zionism. He concludes this article. I remember I copied and pasted it because I found it so moving. 

They had this heated phone call about the respective ideologies of their communities. He concludes the articles with saying as follows, “It was only when I hung up that I realized something and it dawned with the shiver, the majority of the Israeli army fatalities at this point, may they be no more, were the result of friendly fire, accidental shooting by their own comrades. Painful as it is to ponder, sometimes the gravest harm is what we unwittingly visit on ourselves.” I don’t know if that stat about casualties in the Israeli army is true. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, but I know the sentiment that underlies that the friendly fire, the gravest harm is what we unwittingly visit on ourselves is extraordinarily true. I think that the work of Dara Horn in connecting, in both depicting that collective soul of the Jewish people as she’s done in her previous fiction work, but really what provoked me most in her book, People Love Dead Jews is that shiver that Avi Shafran describes in this article from almost 20 years ago. 

That shiver that I had is, am I guilty of this? Can we be guilty of this? It is easier to love people who are no longer around. You’re able to canonize them and depict them in the way that best reflects on you. It is very hard and it’s a real challenge to love those who are still alive, have their own opinions, have their own way of going about it. That struggle and the boundaries and how we express that is something that has always been on my mind. Really, her book provoke that thought. I think it’s an appropriate way as we enter into the time of mourning, which is the three weeks which lead up to Tisha B’Av, the ninth of Av. So much of this time is about reflecting on unity and disunity within the Jewish people. I never liked the word unity. 

It’s such a platitude. It’s easy to have unity. You just have a picture of you with a thousand other Jews who look like you. “Oh, I did it. Unity.” No, unity is hardest when you are thinking about how I relate to Jews who you don’t like, who you really strongly disagree with, who you find upsetting, who you find destructive. Is there a place there? Is there a sliver of connection, of ahava in that direction? Maybe the answer is no, maybe the answer is sometimes. But her book really made me ask myself that question. I hope, if you pick up a copy and you very much should, People Love Dead Jews reflect on the world. But more than anything else, we should reflect, as always, on us. Thank you so much for listening. This episode, like so many of our summer episode, is edited by our friend Rob. Thank you, Rob. It wouldn’t be a Jewish podcast without a little bit of Jewish guilt, so if you enjoyed this episode or any of our episodes, please subscribe, rate, review, tell your friends about it. 

You can also donate at 18forty.org/donate. It really helps us reach new listeners and continue putting out great content. Thank you again to our series sponsor and our episode sponsor. Series sponsor, of course, our anonymous friend who is a lover of books, and our episode sponsor, our friends at Twillory. Please do us a favor. It helps 18Forty go on, make a big order for your summer outfits, whatever you need, your collar stays, your joggers, your sports jackets, and type in the discount code 18Forty, 1-8-f-o-r-t-y. We are so appreciative of their sponsorship and support. If you’d like to learn more about this topic or some of the other great ones we’ve covered in the past, be sure to check out 18forty.org. That’s the number one eight, followed by the word forty, f-o-r-t-y, .org, where you can also find videos, articles, and recommended readings. Thank you so much for listening and stay curious, my friends.