Journeys and Arrivals
Reviewers have called Lev Raphael's fiction, which includes the Lambda Award-winning Dancing on Tisha B'Av and Winter Eyes, "dazzling," "astonishing," and "masterful," praising his "passion for telling the truth, however painful" and his "powerful message for Jews and non-Jews alike." Journeys & Arrivals reveals in a collection of equally potent autobiographical and critical essays the influence these often conflicting identities of being gay and Jewish have had in his life and his writing. The child of Holocaust survivors, Raphael came to his positive Jewish identity late in life and his gay identity even later. He describes growing up in a secular family, discovering a Jewish community, early sexual exploration, the turning point that came with writing his first autobiographical story, and life with his partner and his partner's sons. Throughout, Raphael confronts with unflinching honesty the difficulties and rewards of laying claim to a dual identity.
"Lev Raphael poignantly shows that being either gay or Jewish should never exclude other identities and experiences, but rather enhances and enriches them. He is a trustworthy and readable social critic for whom identities are not prisons, but vector forces pushing and pulling us through a life-long sequence of journeys & arrivals."
"Lev Raphael's personal accounts of being Jewish, gay, American, literate and human touch deeply on issues of identity and spiritual growth we are all wrestling with today."