The Arty Semite

How Some Jews Live

By Ilie Ruby

Earlier this week, Ilie Ruby wrote about the idea of bashert. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


I always begin like this, with Irv, my grandfather, and then I describe him, “An angel on Earth, never another like him.” I repeat this as I have been told, though he died long before I was born. I used to think about his life as a tree with roots reaching far into the future and encircling the past. Irv is my namesake, a hard act to follow. I can still hear my grandmother telling me at night, “May you live as he did and be just as blessed. May you see those who are unseen, and hear those who don’t speak.”

What she meant, I learned later, were the stories of my grandfather, and more, of the people he knew. I’m told that when my relatives sat shiva for Irv, who died suddenly at 46, leaving a young wife and two daughters who would mourn him forever, strangers came from near and far to share untold memories of him — the gifts he bestowed, the countless lives he saved, the support he’d offered through money, counsel, friendship, always without judgment and without any fanfare. He was not rich, but comfortable. As a child, I thought him a saint, before his frailty and humanness appeared to me. Still, there was a divinity about his connectedness — to the wanderers and those who found themselves caught in moments of fracture. Today, I think about how difficult this must have been for him to embrace it all, given his own complicated and pressured life.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Salt God's Daughter, Ilie Ruby, Books, Author Blog Series

Author Blog: What's Meant To Be

By Ilie Ruby

Ilie Ruby is the author of “The Salt God’s Daughter” and “The Language of Trees.” Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


One of the things that I find most compelling about Judaism is the idea of bashert. It fills me with joy when someone says our meeting was bashert, our friendship is meant to be, when a new connection seems predestined. From the time I was a child, raised slightly less traditionally than my Conservative grandparents, this paradoxical sense of destiny, elusive yet certain, made of equal parts fate and faith, resonated with me.

Perhaps it’s the ethereal aspect of bashert, the assertion that some things are meant to be while others are not meant to be, which skeptics undoubtedly dismiss as merely a lens through which to impose order on chaos. And yet, the promises of bashert are vast. Those who were lucky enough to find their bashert, well, it seemed somehow the divine favored them. They’d passed the test, were deemed worthy, and had been chosen.

No matter what else happened, they could claim this: They found theirs in this lifetime.

How many basherts did you deserve? And when would you run out of chances? What happened if you never found your bashert?

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ilie Ruby, Books, Author Blog Series, The Salt God's Daughter




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.