Kil’ayim is the Torah prohibition of mixing things that shouldn’t be mixed. Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan’s experience shows that this extends to love
There are many different ways to complete the sentence “I cannot be antisemitic because… ”. All of them are dodgy. For the liberal left, the standard answer is “because I am a committed anti-racist”. For the “alt-right” it is “because I support Israel”. For me it is “because my wife is Israeli” – and I have learned never to say that one. Even “because I am Jewish” is not safe. There is no formulation of the sentence “I cannot be antisemitic because…” that you should trust. Not one.
I am sitting in a tent at the Charleston literary festival with the Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan. We are “in conversation”, discussing her novel All the Rivers, recently published in English translation. The Charleston festival has this lovely boutique, country-garden feel. Based at the Bloomsbury movement’s Sussex retreat house, this is where the progressive intellectuals of the day discussed big ideas round the kitchen table and swapped bedrooms upstairs. Among them was Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard.