KUCHINATE, ‘CROCHETING’ in Tigrinya, the language of Eritrea, is a collective of African asylum-seeking women who crochet colorful baskets and carpets in a studio pulsing with children, hot food, volunteers and nuns.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER)
Over 400 years ago, when Shakespeare wrote his “Jewish” play, nobody in England had actually seen a Jew. They had all been kicked out, or murdered, by Edward I, in 1290, 300 years before The Merchant of Venice hit the Globe Theater. Yet Elizabethans still loathed Jews with a passion.While I was discussing this with my students some years ago, one raised her hand. She related a crazy story: In the 1970s she was a young freshman at a provincial university in England. Each night a different boy asked her out for a drink; each boy subsequently leaned across the pub table and stroked her hair. Eventually, one of the dates explained. The students had heard that she was Jewish; the campus challenge was who would find her horns first.