Meet Jewish Person of the Week Tali Cohen Shabtai
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city full of eagerness and symbolism.
Where did you go to school?
I attended a neighborhood school in south Jerusalem, in Gilo. Gilo is named after a Biblical city of the same name, identified with the town of Beit Jala, which is south of Gilo: “and Goshen and Holon and Gilo” (The Book of Joshua, Chapter 15, Verse 51).
What do you do Jewish now?
My entire existence is Jewish.
In 2007, while I was living in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, the Norwegian author of “Sophie’s World,” Jostein Gaarder, wrote a visibly anti-Semitic article called “God’s Chosen People”.
I was asked by the editor of the country’s largest-circulation newspaper Aftenposten to express my opinion as a Jewish poet with Israeli citizenship – from a country where the total population was roughly the number of people killed in the Holocaust.
What is your favorite Jewish Chicago event?
Rosh Hashanah Eve at Chabad House in Skokie, where Rabbi Menachem welcomed us so hospitably.
What do you do for fun/to relax and What do you for work?
I am a poet. For fun, I have my writing.
I have written four bilingual poetry books so far: “Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick” (2007), “Protest” (2012), “Nine Years From You” (2018), and “Naked” to be published in 2022. Right now I’m proofreading the fourth book – the bilingual edition will consist of about 350 pages of impressions and poems in the spirit of biography, contemplation, and challenges – and have already begun to write the fifth book.