Author Mirna Funk about feminism, anti-Semitism and the war in Israel

The new book by author Mirna Funk calls for “learning from Jews.” But what does that mean?

A Jew is stranded on a deserted island and builds two synagogues. This is how a joke begins that the author Mirna Funk likes to tell. Why two synagogues? One for me, says the Jew. And one I would never go to.

Funk became known in 2007 with her novel “Near Winter”. Since then, she has enjoyed writing about controversial topics, from identity to anal sex. Most recently, “Who Cares!” was published, a book of essays in which she complains about victim feminism. So Mirna Funk feels like arguing. She’s just missing it Germany the culture of debate.

She writes against a worldview in which there are good guys and bad guys. In her new book, she brings theories from the history of Jewish ideas into the present day.

Woman Funk, you started writing a book over a year ago. Then came the Hamas attack on October 7th. What have you thrown off?
Nothing. I actually wrote the book so that Jews wouldn’t always be the conflict. So that they are not always defined only by anti-Semitism, the war or the Holocaust, this Triangle of Sadness. So I didn’t rewrite anything – but added it.

What for example?
Added to this are my thoughts about the strength of Israeli civil society: people drove to the south on the day of the massacre to save their family members, they set up call centers and converted restaurants into commercial kitchens. This is tikkun olam, the responsibility of each individual to improve the world. This activist potential is part of Jewish culture. This is a resilience that can be found in religion, culture and in our relationship with God. And a building block of why Jews have survived more than 2,000 years of persecution.

What can we “learn from Jews” right now?

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