Thursday, December 21, 2017


Rachel Kadish reads from her recent novel, THE WEIGHT OF INK, at the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands. Photo by Marash Girl

Author Rachel Kadish spoke to the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands this week about her experience writing THE WEIGHT OF INK, a novel set in 17th Century London (based on maps made by Queen Elizabeth's cartographer) and Amsterdam, where the Jewish people sought refuge (although the author admits that she herself never made it to Amsterdam -- only to the Houghton Library in Harvard Square!)  The question for the Jewish people was, according to Kadish, "Though we have found safety, are we really safe?"  The novel centers around a 17th Century woman, poor and Jewish, who has taken seriously Verse 5 from Psalm 137
ה  אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם--    תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי."If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."
and the central theme, according to the author?  "Writing can be a life or death act!"

When asked about her approach to writing, Kadish says that, as she gets ideas, she places post-it notes on her wall, reorganizing as she goes, but she does NOT recommend that others necessarily do so!

Set in the present,  and in the 1660's,  the main character in THE WEIGHT OF INK is a woman who has been allowed to be the scribe for a Jewish Rabbi.  A fascinating look at history, the place of women in history, the courage to write, the secrets that our houses hold, and the history of the Jewish people.