About This Blog

Who are you? And who is Josep?

This is us:

Photo of Daniella and Josep holding a copy of Letters to Josep
Making a rare joint appearance at Llibreria Geli, Girona, October 2018

I’m Daniella Levy, an observant (a.k.a. Orthodox) Jewish American-Israeli writer, and this is my Catholic Catalan friend Jordi, who I call Josep for the purposes of this blog. We met in his home city, Barcelona, in 2006, and have been good friends ever since. (It’s actually kind of a crazy story. Click here to read how it all began…)

You can read more about me, my other writings, and the other random things I do on my author website.

What’s that book you’re holding?

Good of you to ask! That’s a book based on this blog, a collection of letters explaining the basic concepts of Jewish life. A new edition of it is in the pipeline from Kasva Press, but in the meantime, you can still purchase the first edition here.

Why do you write him these letters about Judaism and Israel?

One of the things that drew us together was the fact that we’d each been harboring a fascination with each other’s backgrounds for years before we’d met–I with Spanish history, particularly the history of the conversos and their descendants, and he with Judaism and Israel. I was the first Jew or Israeli he had ever met, and he was eager to learn more about my life and my beliefs.

I have been very enthusiastic about my Judaism since I was a young teen, but I am always surrounded by other Jews who know just as much as I do. He was the first person I had known who didn’t know, and expressed interest. So upon my return home from Barcelona, we began corresponding, and I started trying to explain things to him. It was so much fun, I just couldn’t stop! Years later, I created this blog to post my thoughts and explanations about Judaism so others could read and enjoy them as well, and eventually I compiled the letters into that book we’re holding in the photo.

A Catholic Catalan? What’s a Catalan?

The Catalans are the people of Catalonia, an autonomous community in northeastern Spain. Historically, the region currently known as Catalonia and some of the neighboring areas were first united under the Count of Barcelona. The County unified dynastically with the Kingdom of Aragon in the twelfth century, and ruled over Aragonese territory for the next seven centuries. However, it maintained a political structure, culture, and language distinct from those of Aragon. In the eighteenth century it was conquered by Castile, and has been under Spanish rule since. The Catalans have nonetheless maintained their unique culture, language, and identity.

Who are Eitan, H, R1, R2, and A?

Eitan is my long-suffering husband, who is a rabbi and tour guide. H, R1, R2, and A are our kids.

Can I leave a comment?

Absolutely! Keep in mind, however, that I filter comments, and I only approve ones that adhere to basic standards of common decency. If you disagree with something I said or wish to point out an error, please feel free, but you must do so in a respectful and kind manner. And it goes without saying that antisemitic comments of any kind will go straight in the trash where they (and probably those who write them) belong. All comments and guest letters must reflect the atmosphere of respect, compassion, and friendly curiosity that characterize the blog and the friendship that inspired it.

Can I use one of the images on this site?

I’m careful about copyright; the images I use on this website are either my own (taken or designed by me), public domain, screenshots (permitted under fair use), or licensed under Creative Commons. If it’s the latter, I attribute the owner and link to the license in the caption of the image. If there’s no attribution, feel free to use the image as you please; if it’s obvious that it was taken or designed by me, attributing and linking back to this site would be nice, but not mandatory.

Can I use any of the text on this site?

Please be in touch with me if you’d like to use more than a paragraph or two; I’m very responsive and chances are I’ll say yes, but I’d just want to know about it first. In any case, please attribute the quote to me and link back to the original post where possible.

Any other questions? Feel free to contact me.

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