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Nicky Gluch talks about her 'book of fragments'

Q. What prompted you to write this memoir?

A: Writing this memoir was motivated by circumstance. Shortly after I returned to Australia from my time in Israel, the war with Gaza broke out and I found that as I was a Jew who had lived in Jerusalem, there were people who would no longer call me their friend. Two years later, I was sitting in the dining hall of an American university being shouted at by a fellow musician because it was found that I had an Israeli boyfriend. 

And I didn't know what to do, because I didn't understand why, considering all the complexities of the world, this man saw it as his right to condemn the entirety of that which could be associated with the tiny State and simultaneously why I, as a non-Zionist, was obliged to defend it. But what else was my choice, condemnation? Well that was impossible, given all I had seen and experienced, and so I became compelled to share some of my stories. Not to glorify Israel, nor to indiscriminately praise it, but rather to reveal the country's immense complexities and that there is far more to the story than the media chooses to portray.


Q. Why do you think people in general know so little about Israel?

A. The question is not why do people know so little about Israel, but why do people feel so determinedly about Israel when they would not wage similar opinions on the circumstances in Hong Kong, for example. And to answer that question is to step into a minefield, which is why I have chosen to share personal stories eschewing as far as possible the polemic. I believe the biggest mistake is seeing Israel as a situation in which one has to choose a side.


Q. What take-away message do you want readers to gain from the book?

A. If there is a message I'd like readers to take away from the book it's that we should be seeking that which unites us rather than that which divides. But the aim of the book is more to provide a reflective space. I call it a book of fragments and how the pieces come together is one part, but I also urge readers to look between the gaps.


Q. In a practical way, how can music bring people of different backgrounds and cultures together? Even specifically, Israelis and Palestinians?

A. In 2017, I (a Jewish woman) conducted a Lutheran Mass sung by an Anglican choir and accompanied by a Seventh-Day-Adventist orchestra. And this was by circumstance, not design, so imagine the possibilities when we put our minds to it!

Read more about Nicky's book here.

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