Author's Note included in the ARCs:
A Note from the Author
I began writing the first draft of Once More with Chutzpah shortly after my first trip to Israel. I
will forever be grateful that I had the chance to attend Jerusalem Pride, visit the gender-neutral
section of the Western Wall, and see my Safta’s homeland. I even got the chance to meet her
cousins, who grew up with her like siblings, for the first time.
This book is a work of fiction. There are liberties I took, from the specifics of the temple
high school exchange program to moving Jerusalem Pride to January (it was in August when I
went) so the characters could attend. There are some unusual cultural elements that I realized in
the actual writing that feel important to acknowledge, like the fact that there are no standard
translations for Hebrew words into English. The most common example many people are
familiar with is Chanukah/Hanukkah, though my particular favorite is Safta/Savta.
There were many details from my own trip that I included here and others that didn’t
precisely fit into Tally’s story. I was older than Tally when I visited, and remember sitting in an
academic lecture on the Middle Eastern conflict run by a professor and stopping outside a
checkpoint. While those experiences aren’t echoed exactly, it was important for me to include
other opportunities for characters to explore this topic. Moments like these were and are
immensely meaningful to me as someone with Israeli family facing the deeply complicated
history of the country and the even more complex present, and through the journey of my trip
and of writing this book it’s been important to me to listen, learn, and think critically about the
nuanced aspects of my own cultural background.
On the whole, my experience with my own trip, and the time I’ve had to reflect upon it
since, both by myself and in conversation with others, has been extremely educational and
meaningful. That said, this is, ultimately, one story. There is so much nuanced history around the
Israeli land, and this book reflects only a fraction of the whole. The complete story of the Middle
East includes many other voices, including those of young people who live in Palestine or are of
Palestinian descent. I also hope to read more stories from across the diaspora about Jewish
identity and anxiety and asexuality. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have made this contribution.
Thank you for reading Tally’s story!