Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Yiddish: Modern Jewish Studies 15.4. 42-58 (2009).


The experience of arrIving from the "other" shore is inherited in the Jewish condition, and is often related to the absence of an authentic origin, thus impeding the univocal determination of the" private" and the "collective" while narrating the personal history and evoking the past. The impossibility to belong to one place and the individual dilemma facing the surrounding society require considering the ethnic, racial, and cultural elements, as well as those factors concerning class and gender, and their inter-textual and intra-textual significances when analyzing the ambivalence of the Jewish newcomers.

In the case of Gabriela Avigur-Rotem (1945, Israeli resident since 1950) and Alicia Dujovne Ortiz (1945), native Judeo-Argentinean writers, this absence corresponds also to their exclusion as women and daughters of immigrants, and with their sense of alienation and exile prior to the decision to leave their place of origin. Writing from Israel and France, these two authors accept their exile (real and imagined) as part of an ontological operation mode; a personal alienation from their immediate surrounding which expresses this bifurcated sensibility. How is this self-implied marginality represented in the literary works? What are the significances of the act of departure and the desire to return in each particular case?