Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Steve Stern

Creative Amnesia, or the Persistence of Magic

Novelist Steve Stern found his fictional world by searching for a lost Jewish tradition

June 1, 2015 I grew up wanting something I couldn’t name. I was raised in the Reform Jewish “tradition,” though the word here is gross hyperbole. The temple I attended as a kid in Memphis represented a variety of Judaism designed to be invisible, to blend indistinguishably with the Christ-haunted Southern landscape. As a consequence, I was virtually untouched by tradition and had not even an awareness of its absence. Nevertheless, one Sunday, playing hooky from confirmation class, I went exploring the old red brick pile of our temple along with a couple of partners in crime.

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