We’ve met her as the creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls (2012–2017), for which she received numerous Emmy nominations and two Golden Globes. At some point, Lena Dunham’s work was becoming more and more intimate and revelatory, to the point of too much information. She is clearly very gifted, but her tendency to let her readers and viewers into rooms that should clearly be clearly marked as private has been a growing turnoff to many.
Now, the daughter of a Protestant painter father and a Jewish artist and photographer mother has revealed (on Instagram, where all artistic discussion seems to have migrated) that her discovery of her Jewish roots was helped by her discovery of the poetry of the late Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000), who was considered a trailblazer who revolutionized modern Hebrew poetry, and was one of the leading figures in international poetry in the 20th century.
“This past year a special person helped me connect to my Judaism in a new way, beyond bagels and sample sales and crushing guilt,” wrote Dunham. “After my grandmother Dorothy died, I suddenly felt a desire to understand what the religion that meant so much to her had to offer her granddaughter, even if my world view is far less cleanly structured than hers (I hope you’re at the country club in the sky, Dottie, enjoying those white picket fences you dreamed of in a super cute but post-war normative way!)”
We could digress here and say a thing or two about the way religious people’s lives appear so free of inner conflict and complications, but this is a more benign report, where the subject receives huge benefit-of-the-doubt servings of kugel and brisket.
“While I’ve learned a lot, I haven’t started going to temple,” Dunham notes – which we applaud, because we’d much rather see her give the ol’ Orthodox shul a try.
“I haven’t married a lawyer,” she continues (because Jewish girls marry lawyers or doctors – everyone else becomes a bachelor accountant), “But I have fallen in love with the poetry of Yehuda Amichai and I am sorry to anyone I wronged this year (except for some people on Twitter.)”
The picture that accompanies her Instagram note is of an Amichai poem we’d rather not reproduce here, because—for mysterious reasons—the English translator turned one of the Hebrew terms from clinical to needlessly raunchy. Pity. But if Lena Dunham ends up eating kosher and marrying a nice Jewish boy after all this, we’ll forgive this brutal indecency.