Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Who are you?" The author of HOTEL MOSCOW reveals

Talia in the IDF
"Who are you?"
Since I am yet to appear in any of my novels, my life and “adventures” often intrigue readers and you?” My background also fascinated Lucette Lagnado (author of the bestselling “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit,” and a seasoned Wall Street Journal writer) whose probing interview appears in the back of HOTEL MOSCOW. I’ve also published personal essays, which you may read on my website. Each cracks open a window into my own history. (Photo: Talia as a soldier in Israel Defense Force.)
audiences, who ask, “Who are

The highlights of my career?

Chinese abandoned baby found in street
What were the high moments of my career? One event that stands out is my 2007 presentation at the UN on the subject of gendercide in China—the singling out of baby girls for death—the first time in UN history. Since then, unfortunately, my projections about the continued disappearance of girls in China have been proven correct even as China has just announced that it would allow two children per family. Only 1/3 Chinese families are expected to actually have a second child, and girls will still be the unwanted choice. (My UN PowerPoint presentation is available.)


USA Book News announced the 2015 winners--and HOTEL MOSCOW took the prize in the Multicultural category. 

Indeed, the novel combines the harsh realities of Russia during transition from communism and an American woman's view as she visit there but must face her own family legacy.

Democracy or "Cleptocracy?"

We tend to have a romantic notion about the removal of an authoritarian regime, with our hopeful, utopian belief that a nation wakes up the next morning to democracy. How wrong! When laws are erased off the books, a nation wakes up to lawlessness, and the factions that are quick to fill in the void are the most greedy and violent gangs. That’s the backdrop of my novel HOTEL MOSCOW. (This four-minute book trailer shows rare footage of what happened in 1993.) 

My Paris was Attacked  

In my teens, I attended a French high school in Tel-Aviv and was fluent in the language. My Francophile side was abandoned upon my arrival in the USA and the focus on English—until Esther, the protagonist of my previous novel, JERUSALEM MAIDEN, ran off to Paris (supposedly in 1924) and I had to chase after her through the alleys of the Left Bank…. Since then, checking off my bucket list, I’ve spent longer time in Paris, with yet again a fresh view of the city that had once dominated my dreams. (Read my Paris blogs here in April-June 2013)

Great TV interviews:

The end of October has seen new airings of great TV interviews in which I discuss HOTEL MOSCOW, the background and the creative process of creating such a thriller. You may watch The Artists’ Forum here. (Click for additional TV interviews, including Sarder TV about my business life in the 1980s.)

"Talia Tells Tales" blogs are a hit!
Did you miss my previous monthly newsletters? If you are already here, scroll up and down and at
least glance at the photos. Judging by the number of hits this blog gets, readers enjoy the behind-the-scene peeks into book publishing.

Skype me!

Now that HOTEL MOSCOW has been out since June, book groups have been selecting it for lively, thought-provoking discussions. Yet, many groups do not realize that they can invite me to join their meeting via Skype. If you are not in a book group, please let your friends who belong to one know about this option. They will thank you.

My words on paper are only marching little ants. You, the reader, give them meaning. I continue to appreciate your great support!


P.S.Florida here I come! 
This winter will find me in Florida, with a dozen speaking appearances. I do not do “a reading” (frankly, I find it boring,) but rather tell stories and anecdotes that have inspired my novels and my quest for social justice. Please check the schedule on my website and join me.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

HOTEL MOSCOW--The Pleasures of Book Touring

On the road....

One of the pleasures of book touring at this time of the year is savoring the beauty of the changing of the season. This week alone, on visits to Boston, New Jersey, and Long Island (NY), I found myself looking forward to gulping more mileage on the road just so I could watch the sun ignite the leaves in the brightest yellow, orange, and red.

Russian living conditions are still so Soviet.... 

Photo credit: Yevgeny Kondakov
Take a look at this extraordinary photo of a family in a Russian communal apartment. Even today, almost a quarter century since the fall of communism, millions of Russians still live in such conditions, with no physical or emotional privacy. What has deprivation of one’s self done to the Russian psyche? That is one of the topics I speak about at my many presentations. Please join me in any of my coming up talks in NY, PA, NJ, FL, MI, and CT, a schedule that now stretches deep into May 2016. 

A peek behind the scene of book publicity:

Friends who get a closer peek behind the scenes at what my life is like these days often express amazement at what’s involved. Gone are the years when an author mailed a manuscript to her agent, then sat down to pen her next book. The concept of “promotion” doesn’t sound as elegant as “touring,” but the nitty-gritty is just that. Yes, I am invited for TV interviews, but how does each such an interview come about--and how does the video get onto YouTube? Yes, HOTEL MOSCOW garners reviews, but how do reviewers know about the book and the active links pop up on my website? And what about the “guest blogging”? These days, rather than review a book, some websites ask authors to post an interesting essay. That’s a great opportunity for me to expand on issues related to my novel, but it takes away from penning  my next book. 

Are you in a book group? Skype with me!

There is no greater pleasure for me than to interact with reading groups, which I often do over Skype. In fact,Reading Groups Choices has selected HOTEL MOSCOW as one of its featured book groups’ selection for 2016! If your book group selects HOTEL MOSCOW, please contact me at to set up the time for me to join online. (If you can't access Skype, the phone works superbly well.)

What does being Jewish mean to me?

Some of you have noticed that I skipped a September issue. It was due to the Jewish holidays. My non-Jewish friends find it interesting that like me, many Jews are secular, their Jewish identity well rooted in the traditions but not the faith. Here is one of my essays on the subject, titled "Jewish Through and Through." (More essays on topics ranging from the political, global and social issues to my family life can be read under My Writing.)

"Which of your books shall I read next?"

“Which of your books shall I read next?” I get this question often from readers who’ve come into my writing via HOTEL MOSCOW, my fourth novel. Since each of my books is entirely different in setting, topic and even voice, I suggest that you read the first chapter of each on my website to help you decide. (Audible versions are available too--including samples.) I promise that no matter which novel you choose, you’re up for an emotional adventure of the “can’t-put-it-down” nature.

The pleasure of sharing your reading with others

Short of writing your own book, sharing with others a novel you’ve enjoyed is part of the pleasure of reading.…Therefore, I have a favor to ask: Please post a review on Amazon and/or, (where you can now pose me a question.) Even a couple of lines will do for a review, but it gets those mysterious algorithms working.  

Onward with this adventure

And finally, if you’ve missed my previous newsletters, they are available right here on Talia Tells Tales blog. Just scroll down now!
Judging by the number of clicks they get, it seems that indeed, readers like you enjoy taking the journey behind the scene of publishing.

Thank you again,


Talia Carner

P.S. A librarian reader has sent me this quote by author William Styron: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” That what she felt about HOTEL MOSCOW—but added that she felt elated and “a better person” for learning so much.…

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

HOTEL MOSCOW --The Adventure Continues

Fun literary events:

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria
 The summer’s most star-studded literary event in the USA must be the East Hampton (NY) Authors’Night. Once again I was honored to be selected among the 100 invited authors to autograph my books. The reception—catered by the best wines and food offerings of the east end of Long Island—was swarmed by a couple of thousands visitors circulating among the celebrity authors and visitors.

Nelson DeMille, who's become a friend

Nelson DeMille, bestselling suspense author, was also honored at a private dinner following the reception, sharing the honor with Dick Cavett. To my surprise and delight, when DeMille rose to speak, he introduced me and talked about HOTEL MOSCOW! (His prior written endorsement is posted on the front cover of the book.)

Book groups are selecting HOTEL MOSCOW

Recording a video for Sutter Home book club
Is it the end of August already? When it came out of the gate, HOTEL MOSCOW was recommended by Reading GroupChoices directory (print and digital) as a book club discussion choice.
Indeed, the first group to Skype with me will so this week. Quite a few others have informed me that they are gearing up for a lively, thought-provoking discussion because the novel’s themes are so varied. (Many book groups simply do not realize that I am available for a phone or Skype participation, so please pass the word.)

A reminder: What is HOTEL MOSCOW about?

Set in Moscow in 1993 during the uprising of the Russian parliament against Yeltsin, the novel is both the story of the valiant Russians going through transition after the fall of Communism and the personal journey of a visiting American woman who teaches the sorely needed business to women. She becomes embroiled in investigating the mafia that controls their ventures, but soon must come to terms with her parents' legacy and her own personal secret that might compromise her future.
            HOTEL MOSCOW is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, friendship, and heritage.

Soviet life—before and after communism:

How much has Russia changed? Below is the layout of a typical Soviet communal apartment, where 13 families (20-30 people) share two lavatories, one bath and one kitchen. Millions of Russian still live in such conditions today. Read more about it in the novel.

                                                    A diversion from book tour:

I must share with you my experience of taking time off from writing and public speaking to fly to Berlin to attend the historical event of the European Maccabi Games. This was the largest gathering of Jews in that city since Hitler’s days, and the show of  Jewish power and pride took on a special dimension at the opening ceremony in the arena adjacent to the stadium where he had once banned Jews from participating. You may read more about the event here.

A complaint lodged to Amazon:

Rather than be redundant by posting another rave review of HOTEL MOSCOW, I'd like to share with you a fun "complaint":

            I'm writing to complain about Talia Carner's last book.
My husband is riveted to Hotel Moscow, and I cannot get him to come and play with me. In truth I did the same thing to him last month when he could hardly get me out of the bed in the morning because I had read the book half the night.
            This is almost never happened with the same book between us. But at least I don't have to cook, wash, or comb my hair until he finishes.
--- Page-turner widow"

                                             What’s next?

I hope you will all become “page-turner widows and widowers.” If you haven’t yet done so, please get your copy of the book in paperback or digital format by clicking here.

Thank you again, for making the launch of HOTEL MOSCOW a success. Please come and hear me in any of my dozens of speaking events coming up in  NY, CT, NJ, MA, PA, FL and MI.


Talia Carner

P.S. If you have missed my previous monthly newsletter (and the interesting photos,) please check them out on my blog, Talia Tells Tales.  

P.P.S. If you’ve read HOTEL MOSCOW, may I ask that you post a comment on Amazon (and/or GoodReads) in the form of a review?  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

HOTEL MOSCOW -- Summer Reading

Presenting against the backdrop of Cape Cod beach
Since HOTEL MOSCOW was released, I’ve been on a whirlwind of personal appearances. I do not do “readings,” but rather speak about the background of my novel: my experiences when teaching Russian women business skills and the grim reality of life of Russians during transition time--often worse than under communism. Some groups ask me to speak about the question of today’s secular Jewish identity (the protagonist’s haunting internal struggle.)
        While most often I keynote an event as the sole speaker, the occasional sharing of the podium with other authors is a great bonding experience. Such inspiring recent events were the literary luncheon in Cape Cod organized by a bookstore, Where the Sidewalk Ends, in the plush Wequassett resort (with bestselling authors Jane Green and Beatriz Williams above,) and the Stamford library event in Connecticut (with bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank.)
        In each event the organizers included a talented debut author showcasing her first novel, and it reminded me how far I've gone since 2002 when PUPPET CHILD was published--and how grateful I am forever for the successful authors who helped me along....

​Summer reading! 
HOTEL MOSCOW is taking its place as a serious summer read—“thought-provoking yet adventurous," a novel that readers claim to have taken to the beach because they couldn’t put it down. Library Journal joins the choir with this review: “…This tense thriller, based in part on author Carner’s (Jerusalem Maiden) own experiences in post-Communist Russia, is an eye-opening exposé of life following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. ….Carner’s novel of vividly drawn characters and taut suspense adds up to a real-life dystopian page-turner of the un-put-downable variety.” (Read more reviews on my site. )

The Surprise after "The End"

  But when the story ends, the book does not, because the publisher has prepared a series of surprises for you. Appearing as a "P.S.," the section contains “About the author” complete with my photos in Russia as well as exclusive photos of communal apartments, an insightful interview with me by bestselling biographer Lucette Lagnado, my essay “Russia Then and Now,” and a Reading Group Guide.

 TV interviews: 

Ann Bocock interviews me for Between The Covers
A few TV interviews have been particularly thorough and probing, each in its unique way. While Between The Covers  was conducted in front of studio audience and discussed my escape from Russia, which underpins the background of the novel, Jewish Education Media focused on my family heritage, personal life, feminist issues and cultural topics. Surprisingly, Sarder TV probed a topic rarely raised: my take on the nascent realities of women breaking into the business world in the 1980s as well as some of my contributions to shedding light on women entrepreneurs. 

Book tour:   
Presenting at Stamford library 
Dozens of speaking engagements are scheduled for the coming months, and many more are in the finalizing stages and will be posted next month. Come to hear me speak in NY, CT, NJ, MA, PA, FL and MI.(Please read the testimonials to get a sense of why you shouldn’t miss such an event.)

      Most importantly, I hope that HOTEL MOSCOW has or will give you a satisfying reading experience, with characters and eye-opening events that will stay with you long after you've finished reading. As a book review blogger, Black Dog Speaks , wrote: "Books contain an intense magic, so powerful that it can transport us to a different time and place... These wizards of words not only teach us about history, but they weave together the threads of history, humanity, thought and perception to create the most vivid tapestries, which tell the stories of places, people and the events in which they partake. Talia Carner’s wand has created such a tapestry that vibrantly depicts a time and a place that most of us know almost nothing about."

Book groups: 

Sutter Home winery selected HOTEL MOSCOW as its June book groups' read receiving 400,000 hits and complete with my recipe of blini caviar for a great book discussion meeting!
Watch the video of my book introduction, and please contactme to Skype your meeting.

And so the fun continues for both me and my readers.

Thank you for making the launch of HOTEL MOSCOW a success!

Talia Carner

 P.S.  Did you miss the prior monthly newsletters? Please scroll down for more Talia Tells Tales posts..

Sunday, July 12, 2015


         My new novel, HOTEL MOSCOW was released in June with a great party, in which the ice sculpture was as much of a hit as the book.
          In my April  and May newsletters I  touched on my experiences in Russia: I was a consultant to Fortune 500 companies when, in 1993, I was sent by the U.S. Information Agency to Russia to teach Russian women the entrepreneurial skills they needed after the fall of communism. On my second visit, in October, I was caught in the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Yeltsin, was chased by the militia, and was threatened with jail.

Most intriguing: 
         In the dozen radio talks I’ve given these past two weeks since the launch of HOTEL MOSCOW, every interviewer was fascinated by the novel’s backdrop: the terrifying portrait of a nation in transition from Communism, of a world superpower undergoing a profound and violent change.
            It is hard for us to imagine the misery of life under Soviet totalitarian regime. It is even harder to grasp the nightmare of waking up one day to a world where all laws have been obliterated. While bewildered Russians struggled to learn new survival skills in new market economy, the corruption and brutality of the former Soviet regime was now imitated by thousands of mafia groups. HOTEL MOSCOW tells it with an inside view. As one reviewer wrote, “HOTEL MOSCOW taught me lessons about humanity, about what we, as people, are capable of.”

What has not changed? 
Photo by Yevgeny Kondako
In the new Russia young people discover new opportunities and restaurants are now store-front (formerly out of sight in basements or second floors.) Yet, dozens of industrial cities are as bleak and hopeless as before. And in beautiful St. Petersburg, the Soviet kommunalka, the communal apartment, where a family of three may live in a room as small as 5 x10 ft.—and shares a toilet, bath and kitchen with five to ten other families—is still home to millions of Russians. The lack of privacy is shown in this unique photo I was able to obtain. In HOTEL MOSCOW, readers get an inside view of such a life through Svetlana, one of the Russian characters.

 Author at launch time.... 
    “What does releasing the novel involve?” people ask me.
It’s exhilarating. But a book does not break out of the gate without long preparations and continued attention. The book launch was immediately followed by the release of my essays and blogs. My piece about identifying with Second-Generation—children of Holocaust survivors (even though I am not)—garnered a huge readership, as did my essay about my secular, faithless Jewish identity. Both are issues that the protagonist of HOTEL MOSCOW, Brooke Fielding, struggles with. 
            But it is the early morning commuter radio shows that present me with a physical challenge: How do I speak without sounding as though I had just woken up? I wake up 40 minutes earlier and reset my sleepy voice by belting out the ABC song. I am not up to anything more operatic….

Meeting you! 
            The most exciting part of publishing a new novel is my many speaking engagements. After years of toiling away at my keyboard in solitude, now comes the time when I share my passions with others. I don’t do “readings,” but rather talk about the background issues of the novel. Please join me in the coming weeks and months at the many events already scheduled in NY, NJ, CT and MA. (In August I’ll publish the travel schedule to Detroit, Pennsylvania, Boston and others.)
To say that my new novel, HOTEL MOSCOW was “long awaited” is a cliché that I, a writer, must avoid. But the thousands of readers who pre-ordered it and the dozens of bloggers that areposting their reviews give me a high that only an entertainer on stage can understand.
The bloggers are joining the chorus of bestselling suspense authors such as Nelson DeMille who wrote: “A finely drawn tale of a country emerging from its dark Soviet past into a present overshadowed by a new kind of terror and lawless corruption…. That will keep the reader mesmerized…. An insightful post-Cold War thriller.”

Thank you!

Talia Carner

P.S. While I encourage you to support your local indiebookstore, and I thank B&N for its loyalty, and Amazon is always a great online seller, I can’t not share with you that Costco now carries HOTEL MOSCOW (see below)!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

HOTEL MOSCOW-- The Surprises

[Note to readers: With the launch of HOTEL MOSCOW this week, I've been late in posting the May newsletter that had been sent last month to subscribers. Please write to to receive your June mailing as soon as it is available.]

Hello to old friends who have read my previous novels, and hello to new ones that, I hope, will soon embark on a satisfying journey with Brooke Fielding, the protagonist of my new novel, HOTEL MOSCOW.

In my April newsletter—the first in this monthly series—I touched on how my experiences in Russia have finally materialized in HOTEL MOSCOW: I was a consultant to Fortune 500 companies when, in 1993, I was sent by the U.S. Information Agency to Russia to teach Russian women the entrepreneurial skills they needed after the fall of communism. On my second visit, in October, I was caught in the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Yeltsin, was chased by the militia and was threatened with jail.

What equally terrified me in the midst of a civil war was seeing graffiti of Yeltsin's name with the letter L—a triangle in Cyrillic—turned into a Star of David. When I asked why, I was told, “The Jews are behind it.” 
       It was a sobering introduction to virulent anti-Semitism. Jews were again being blamed for events that had nothing to do with us! 

The second surprise happened on November 3, 1993 at 2:48 PM—just four weeks after my escape from Moscow—when I sat down and began to write fiction. 
       A story happens when the individual’s spirit clashes with the power of religion, social conformity, or political upheaval—and emerges victorious. And I’ve had quite a few stories to tell. But it took me to mature as a writer and have the perspective of time to return to this particular historical time and place. 

An over-arching situation sets the background for a novel and drives the plot, but often marginal fragments of research spin the story into a surprising, new orbit. 

In Moscow I had witnessed some of the uprising first hand, with hundreds of civilians attacking a large police unit, the heavy artillery military confrontation, and the burning of the parliament building. But to make sense of the events, back in the USA I attended lectures about the Russian politics of the time and interviewed Cold War-era US security personnel. I recorded personal accounts of recent Soviet immigrants about the suffering and tribulations of living at the bottom of the food chain in a corrupt society. Personally, while visiting Russia twice in 1993, I watched the most educated group of women I had ever met suffer the indignation that came from deprivation: When the famous food lines led to empty stores, these women were reduced to being gatherers and hunters almost like the African women I had counseled before.

HOTEL MOSCOW's unique themes:

       Brooke meets Russians conditioned to distrust after a lifetime of bankrupt ideology and empty slogans—and living in nightmarish communal apartments. They are trying to make sense of a bewildering world in transition from communism, a world where economic survival is critical yet overwhelmingly foreign. 
       On a different layer, HOTEL MOSCOW also has two strong Jewish themes: One is the legacy of second-generation, children born in freedom to Holocaust survivors. The other is the challenge of forging secular Jewish identity unrelated to faith. I wanted to juxtaposed these ideas against blatant anti-Semitism, and so I sent my protagonist to Russia to see how she would react. 


It is exhilarating to meet book lovers. Please check my upcoming book tour schedule, starting in NY, NJ, and CT. (By August I’ll add my visits elsewhere.)

In my keynote speeches I talk about what happens to a society when women are excluded from participating in the public arena. I speak about the forged identity of an unaffiliated, secular Jew, or I discuss how stories find me.
Stay tuned: There is so much I want to tell you (and Skype with you in your book groups!) In my next newsletter I will write about the Kommunalkas—the communal apartments that were a lifelong nightmare which has left its mark on the Russian psyche.

The countdown to the release of HOTEL MOSCOW on June 2nd has begun. Now is the time to pre-order it at a great discount at  Amazon, B&NiTunes, or even better--support your indie bookstore. (My novels are published in paperback format to keep the price down.)

Thank you, former readers and future friends. I am looking forward to hearing from you,

Talia Carner

       Endorsements for the book have been coming from bestselling authors of suspense thrillers. Nelson DeMille wrote: “HOTEL MOSCOW is a wonderful evocation of time and place and a post-Cold War thriller that will keep the reader mesmerized.” 
       Or Kirkus Reviews: “…a compelling narrative of lives lived in dystopia. The novel sheds much-needed light on this turbulent period in Russian history."

       For more pre-publication reviews from best-selling authors Andrew Gross, Tami Hoag, Ellen Mesiter, Rodney Barker, and Jay Neugeboren, please click here.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

HOTEL MOSCOW- The Real Story


Oct. 1993-During the uprising: The Kremlin
and deserted Red Square behind me
In 1993 I ran my New York-based marketing consulting firm whose clients were Fortune 500 companies. I was also a volunteer counselor for the Small Business Administration for women's programs, when I was asked by the U.S. Information Agency to travel to Russia shortly after the fall of communism to teach women entrepreneurial skills.
On my second visit to Moscow, in October 1993, I was caught in the uprising of the Russian parliament against then-president Yeltsin. In the mayhem, I was chased by the militia and was threatened with jail ! 


​The night the American Embassy ensconced me safely in a hotel--before I caught the first flight out in the morning--I wrote a 23-page report to the USIA. Upon returning home, (pre-Internet) I mailed hard copies to all my concerned friends. A month later, at a lunch with a journalist friend, she said, “All it needs is hot sex and you have a novel.”

And thus, on November 3, at 2:48 PM, my writing career began. 


June 2015
That novel, celebrating the valiant Russian women I had met, was never published. However I had done extensive research, and years later, while on book tour for my third published novel,
JERUSALEM MAIDEN, I decided to use the material in a new novel I was penning.

Set in Moscow in 1993 during the uprising of the Russian parliament against Yeltsin, HOTEL MOSCOW is both the story of Russians struggling through transition after the fall of Communism and the personal journey of a visiting American woman who becomes embroiled in investigating a business crime in Moscow. She soon must come to terms with her parents' Jewish legacy in a country steep in anti-Semitism—and her own personal secret that might compromise her future.
Pre-publication, the novel has just received endorsements from the greatest suspense authors of our time!  
Here is what Nelson DeMille writes: "... HOTEL MOSCOW is a finely-drawn tale of a country emerging from its dark Soviet past into a present overshadowed by a new kind of terror and lawless corruption... that will keep the reader mesmerized.... A wonderful evocation of time and place and an insightful post-Cold War thriller which reminds us that in Russia the more that changes, the more that stays the same.” 

Tami Hoag writes: "Talia Carner sweeps us away along with her brave and determined heroine to an exotic and complex time and place, and keeps us riveted with the tension and dangers of international intrigue. A real page-turner!" 

(Read more accolades from best-selling authors, and/or read the first chapter.)

There is no greater pleasure for an author than to share her work with an appreciative audience. Many readers have enjoyed learning more about the background of each of my novels. For HOTEL MOSCOW, I have fascinating tales to share.

I will mail my newsletter monthly. I hope that you will subscribe (please write to and choose to take the journey with me.
  In the meantime, you may also: 

  • Pre-order HOTEL MOSCOW now at a great discount on AmazonB&N, or your indie bookstore. (My novels are published in paperback format to keep the price down.)
  • Suggest to your organization, local library or charity to invite me to speak at your events--or check my tour schedule and plan to attend any of my talks in your area, 
  • Forward this newsletter to others so they may subscribe directly.

Thank you, former readers and future friends. I am looking forward to hearing from you,

Thank you,

Talia Carner

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Give Me A Yellow Star

Yellow Jewish star, which all Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis and their allies.

In a departure from using my own words, I am posting a strong letter-to-the-editor written by an Israeli, voicing my outrage over the new wave of anti-Semitism sweeping Europe and which has long reached USA's academic world.


By Eitan Chitayat (Edited by Dr. Chaim Bernard)
             Give me a yellow star. A dreary, cloth patch sewn in the shape of a Star of David that every Jew was forced to wear in Nazi Germany along with every country the Germans conquered; every country in Europe, some even allied with Germany ; every culture looking to expose the hated Jew.
            A yellow star worn by both my parents, while you, Europe, were standing by. That's what I am to you: The guilty Jew. The filthy Jew. The stealing Jew. The disgusting Jew. The less-than-human Jew. The Jew that can only do wrong – bomb innocent Muslim children - for that is, of course, all we do, all we ever aspired to as a nation, a race.
            The yellow star was forced on us. Rammed down our throats. It stood for dishonor and was associated with anti-Semitism as you probably know. It was to be a badge of shame like Hawthorne’s Scarlet letter. But 6 million times worse.
            Give me a yellow star. I want to wear a yellow star above my left breast where six million of my brothers and sisters were forced to don one. I want to walk around with a yellow star on every solitary piece of clothing I own. On my Armani suit, my Nike sweatshirt, Ralph Lauren sweater, my Champion hoodie, my Diesel jeans, my South Beach biker jacket. I’ll even wear it at the beach on my bare chest if I have to.
            I want to walk down the streets of Paris near Le Marais and be seen by you European anti-Semites. Outside the Great Synagogue of Stockholm, the Torah Center in Brussels, the Anna Frank Memorial in Amsterdam, the Holocaust Museum in Berlin, outside the Sigmund Freud House in London.
            I want all of you to see me with it and hear you say, ‘Hey, here comes the Jew’, he’s not just like the rest of us .
He’s just a dirty Jew.
A mass murderer.
He kills Muslim children and then uses their blood for matzah, just like the rest of the Jews.
They carpet bomb innocent people.
They are useless except for their knowledge, their Nobel prizes, and their success.
They kill children, those Jews.
Don’t you know? It’s the Jews who own Hollywood, the media, the banks.
They’re the scum of the earth.
They steal.
Hitler was right.
Let’s go spray-paint swastikas on his grandparents’ graves.
Let’s go beat him up.
Let’s kill him.
Let’s murder a rabbi in Miami or Brussels.

That'll teach them--to exist.

            I want that yellow star. Europe, to me that yellow star is a symbol of almost everything I stand for. It’s a symbol of surviving evil. It’s heritage and knowledge. Tolerance and optimism. It’s strength and confidence in the face of the weakness and insecurity of those not being taught well enough what their mothers should have taught them.
            That yellow star is education, resilience. It’s right over wrong, and it is life. It is testament to all who tragically died wearing it, so that their future surviving brothers and sisters know to never be afraid of who they are again. To never be silent again, not apologize for surviving. Thanks to them and indeed, for them, this yellow badge ceased being a badge of shame a long time ago. It's my badge of honor. I survived your indifference, your stupidity, your inhumaneness, your hatred, and your ignorance.
            For me, it’s a yellow F**k-You-Europe-Star.
            It’s a star that blinds out any other emblem that preaches hatred. It drowns out the form, shape and color of swastikas, the black flags of ISIS and Al Qaeda, and the green of Hamas or the yellow of Hezbollah.
            Before being herded off to the gas chambers around 70 years ago, Jews wearing their yellow star were hearing ‘Kill the Jews’, ‘Heil Hitler’, ‘The only good Jew is a dead Jew’, ‘Stealing Jew!’ – and all that before being ostracized from their communities, stripped of their belongings, property, identities, humanity and eventually, their lives.
            They were hearing words. It happened in many other countries too. Like my father’s country. A country he was expelled from for being a Jew. For being a dirty Jew. It. Always. Begins. With. Words. The same kind of words we’re hearing now here on your social media. On your streets. At demonstrations. In conversations. Words that have nothing to do with Israel. Palestine. Politics. The Middle East or anything.
            You might not be all too happy with ISIS and Hamas, but if you aren’t trying to expose them for who and what they are, then you’re not part of the solution but part of the problem. You know nothing about your own history, nothing about the Islamic conquest of Europe from the year 626 until this very day – the holy Jihad.
            The world’s abuzz right now with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic words. Anti-Semitic words that Jews like myself are used to. I’m talking to you, Dieudonné. Mel Gibson. Roger Waters. And the rest of you ignorant Jew-haters. And I’m talking to you, Radical Islamic leaders, standing behind your pulpits preaching lies and hate and division in the name of Allah. And to you – innocent bystanders in Europe.
            I’m talking to you, supposedly liberal minded people – friends of mine, even – who spend way too much time talking about Israel fighting for its existence in a defensive war, “disproportionally” ( as if the bombing of Dresden, the killing of Bin Laden, the invasion of Berlin by the Russian Army never happened) but very little talking about hundreds of thousands being murdered in Syria. In Iraq. About people being murdered for being followers of any other religion save Islam. Very little talking about ISIS taking over the middle east and putting heads on spikes, shooting people in ditches by the thousands, beheading a journalist on YouTube. Very little time talking about Syrians being gassed or a semi-literate peasant turned Turkish Prime minister spewing the kind of virulent anti-Semitism which ends with only one thing. And don’t forget 9/11, London’s 7/7, Spain’s Madrid train bombings or the Boston Marathon while you’re at it.
            Take a good hard look at my yellow star. Look at where it came from. Look what was done after we, the Jews, were forced to wear it and then ask yourselves, are we doing the same to others? Us Jews? Us Israelis? Are we Jews hellbent on exterminating people? Is that really what we want? Or are others doing that which you think we’re doing – others you refuse to be vocal about nor condemn with a simple post or click of your Like button.
            Here is what the German cleric Pastor Martin Niemöller wrote: “First they burned their books and their synagogues, and I didn't speak out. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me”. He wrote these lines in 1933 - too late – and he referred to the Nazis. But these words ring equally true in view of over 10% of the Muslim population in France, over 8% in Germany, over 6% in England, the neo-nazis in virtually every European country, or the Nazi Udo Voigt holding a seat in the Civil Rights Commission of the European Parliament.
            I, for one, Europe, am not going anywhere. Never again.Though some might wish it, NEVER AGAIN. For anyone else reading this from afar who might agree with what I’m saying, Jews and non-Jews alike, don’t feel sorry for me, my family, my friends. Don’t feel sorry for us. We’re fine and we’re not afraid, and we're here to stay. Don’t be afraid Europe, because I’m not intending to be a victim. None of us are. And I hope you aren’t either. My yellow star is staring extremism in the face.
           Am I cool with the yellow star? You’re damn right I am, totally.
--Eitan Chitayat

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