Our Little Histories by Janice Weizman
In an impoverished village in the White Russia, Raizel Shulman needs to find a way to save her three young sons from being drafted into the Czar’s army. Before splitting them up forever, she pens a poem with three short verses. A different fate awaits the descendants of each, as one branch will immigrate to America, a second will leave for Palestine, and a third will perish in the Holocaust. Through it all, the poem accompanies them, a silent, mysterious token from a place lost in time. In seven episodes, moving backward through the tumult of the twentieth and nineteenth centuries, Raziel’s descendants make fateful choices as they struggle to reconcile their identities, their dreams, and the constraints of their time and place. Their stories play out on a reality set in rural Belarus, 1960s Tel Aviv, a pre-independence kibbutz, 1930s Chicago, pre-war Vilna, turn- of-the-century Minsk, and finally, in the tiny shtetl of Prepoisk, not as one overriding narrative, but as a collection of small, intimate histories.
Year first published: 2023