On Her Road.
Photographs by Patrick Swirc.
Edition 7L, 2008. 128 pp., 37 tritone and 24 color illustrations., 11½x13¾".
It was in Paris, the day before I left. A first kiss, the first day of April, the taste of her lips and words close to my mouth: “see you soon, somewhere in China.” She is Sephardic, lives in China and is studying the traces of the country’s Jewish past. I am half-Jewish through my father and half-catholic through my mother. When asked if my name was Jewish I always answered: “No, why?” Yet, deep inside, I feel Jewish. A few weeks after that first kiss, I travelled to Kirghizstan as planned. West China was only a few hours away by bus. Using phone text messages, she guided me around China, sometimes through sinister cities, one of which Jews had inhabited during the 12th century. It is on her road that I would reconnect with my origins. It is with her and a Loubavitch rabbi I would celebrate the shabbat in Peking. The more I move forward, the more I was afraid to look at myself in her eyes.
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