Notes Toward an Israeli Jewish Culture
Cancelled and current passports show that I have been in Israel 40 times since 1992, on visits lasting from several days to several months. In the future I will no longer have this secure record of entry and exit, since rather than stamping visitor passports, Israel border control has taken to issuing its visitors small identity cards that say “valid until” the same date three months later. This past June, when I was handed back my unstamped passport and told that I could keep—or return—my visitor’s card on leaving the country, my first thought was of the fashion in shaven heads among young men that seems more prevalent in Israel than elsewhere. Rather than suffer the indignity associated with balding, young Israelis tend to advertise their virility by preemptively shaving their heads.
About the Author
Ruth R. Wisse is Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and a professor of comparative literature at Harvard University. Her most recent book is No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (Library of Jewish Ideas, Princeton University Press).