My Bronx, Your Bronx

by Mark Chmiel

When Allen Ginsberg visited Israel in 1961, he met up with the eminent scholar Gerschom Scholem.   Scholem found Ginsberg “A likable fellow. Genuine. Strange, mad, but genuine.”  At one point in their getting acquainted, Fania Freud, Gerschom’s wife, asked Ginsberg, “Why don’t you come to live here?” Ginsberg’s response:  “Me? Your great ideal is to build a new Bronx here. All my life I’ve been running away from the Bronx, and here I come to the Jewish State and find that the whole big deal of the Zionists is to build a giant Bronx here. If I have to go back to the Bronx, I may as well stay in the original one.”

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