Having spent most of her life as a journalist, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel's writings are too voluminous to try and compile in one place. Below, sample some selected articles, op-eds and more. If you are looking for a specific piece, please reach out on the Contact page.
Articles and Profiles
A Grand Love Affair: Theodore Bikel
My husband came into my life like a sun and showered me with a golden light I had not known before. The moment we met, we recognized each other and without wasting too many precious moments, reunited after a much-too-long hiatus. Of course, I knew when we started that our time together would be too short no matter what: Truthfully, infinity by Theo’s side would still be too short (not that I wouldn’t kvetch from time to time).
Of Love and Loss: Izzeldin Abuelaish
In the three months since his wife Nadia died suddenly of leukaemia, Izzeldin Abuelaish had been thinking more than ever about the future of his family. “I love Gaza, it is my home and always will be,” he says, “But life there is more difficult than you can imagine, and I wanted to give my children some chance to live in a peaceful place, at least for a while, where they could heal from their beloved mother’s death.” So on the morning after the holiday of Hajj, in the fall of 2008, he took them all from their house in Jabaliya city for a day out at the beach, to play in the waves, run around in the open air, and be kids.
The Nanny Who Saved Baby Moishe: Sandra Samuel
“I always, always go visit my sons on Wednesday afternoons, and come back the next day,” says Sandra Samuel from her place on the shiny tiled floor at the home of the Israeli Consulate’s head of security. Five hours have passed since her escape, and I am here with her and the security head’s wife, who also works at the consulate.
Sandra is glued to the TV, scolding it with pointed anger for not delivering the news she is waiting for. She tells her story slowly, over the course of several hours. Moishe Baby (as she calls him), two days shy of his second birthday, is glued to her, his golden curls bounce and gleam, but his tiny mouth says nothing.
Women of India express their burning anger and grief over the rape of Damini — but they also voice their hope.
I'm sitting with the maestro in the gleaming lobby of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, home for a week to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the greatest in the world, with which Mehta has shared a long and special relationship. A few kilometres away, at Cuffe Parade, is his childhood home, where as a five-year-old boy he used to conduct imaginary orchestras, standing on an old vegetable crate.
Mind Your Mushrooms: Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets, the planet’s leading mycologist, was in India recently, a guest of the company Organic India. His purpose, besides introducing us to the Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World (‘the world’ including India of course), was to meet several top players involved in attempts to clean up the holy Ganga river.
The Sum Of His Many Parts: Lieutenant Gen. Jack Jacob
A decorated war hero on love, bachelorhood and being Jewish while Indian
You are pacing the veranda of the military HQ in a city behind enemy lines. You are alone, unarmed. Minutes earlier you have issued an ultimatum—‘surrender or suffer the consequences’—to the highest commander in the land. The other officers present voiced their extreme displeasure at your bold demand but you were unfazed. (for an obituary of Lt Gen Jacobs by Aimee in The Forward)
And She Wore Iron: Cheryl D'souza
Cheryl D’Souza, unlikely green warrior, takes on south Goa’s mining mafia
We are in Cheryl D’Souza’s Gypsy and she’s driving like the devil’s on her tail. D’Souza’s long brown hair blows in the wind while she talks with one hand, expertly shifting gears with the other. We fly past the paradisiacal landscape: fields of dazzling emerald, lush beckoning jungle, craggy, sacred mountains and ancient shiv lingams crowned with mogra. Interspersed with— and jarring to the core (are we really in Goa?)— red, open wounds, shorn naked earth, haphazard devastation
Memories of another day: Life in a Space Bubble
"My first assignment as a foreign correspondent was the heartbreaking death of Kalpana Chawla in the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia. A long-time columnist, I had made it clear I wanted no part of the newsroom, but I had recently lost my father and the coincidence was too intense to ignore. I said yes. I said yes again when the newsroom called one night last week, as the space shuttle Atlantis was preparing to make its last-ever touchdown. “Give us 700 words? In an hour? Make it personal,” they added, “make it about your father.”
Fealing Fear in the Now Now Now
In times of anytime, anywhere blasts, even the free-floating nonchalance of nirvana-diggers rings slightly untrue
Thirteen years ago, on my 35th birthday, after a lifetime of pining, I landed in India for the first time. One of my closest friends, a famous Israeli TV director and devout Osho follower, met me at the Mumbai airport and took me to Pune, where we rested awhile before going down to the famous German Bakery. I was blown away by the noise and intensity of the city, as people from abroad always are, and it was calming to be among people like myself (videshis) those first few days. The German Bakery was always full of lively people talking of universal love and self-knowledge, preaching shanti—a bit too trippy for me! I wandered on to the Himalayas.
Ahmad Kazmi, the media and a message that might have gone horribly wrong
I have recently experienced a period of great advancement in my career, courtesy of one small, not particularly powerful, remote- controlled magnetic bomb. Ah, the familiar rush of adrenaline. When was the last time I felt you? I can’t even remember, it’s been so long. Washbag into backpack (finally, a chance to use my new trial size aromatherapy shampoo and body lotion), winter coat out of its bed of mothballs, last minute tickets bought online for double their normal price, and off to Delhi we go.
Recently, I moved into a lovely little rented, cement flat. Although I have sworn I would never again live under a concrete roof, I am loving it; no raindrops falling on this head this monsoon season. After many years in a crumbling, funky stone house in the jungle, the bliss of solidity is a revelation. In my old place, every time the wind blew, or a langoor loped across the roof, a shingle would shift or shatter—not so bad in the dry season, but a true disaster in the monsoon. Perhaps I had taken my worship of Mother Nature a little too far.
I was a radio journalist and a columnist of feminist affairs (a pioneering venture at the time). I asked many women, some VIPs and celebrities among them, to share their experiences. Everyone had a story—about the guy on the bus or movie theatre; their boss, army commander, professor; their uncle, brother-in-law, father. Some did come out and speak on air, but many more stayed quiet, ashamed. For all my pioneering spunk, I was part of the latter lot.
What Happens to a Dream Gone Wrong
“I always despised the slogan ‘my country, right or wrong,’ ” Theo Bikel used to say. “It’s cheap. It’s unworthy. My country is right when it’s right, and when it’s wrong, it’s to be put right.” - Tablet Magazine
When Theo wrote his open letter to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), reprinted today in Tablet, he was 43 years old, living in New York’s Village, and shuttling between the coasts as a successful actor and bestselling recording artist. Having arrived in the United States a decade earlier, he was completely smitten with what for him truly was the goldene medinah. This was 1967, just after the Six-Day War.
Forget Iran and arms deals, Israel's real hope from India is abiding friendship
Israel is looking for the kind of love that lasts, and she is daring to hope that India might be the one. - The Economic Times
Many years ago, while waiting for the landlord of a funky old house for rent, I met a young man who had been to India. It was a frozen, grey Jerusalem day, and he was waiting for the landlord as well. We sat down together on the cold stone steps, rubbing our frozen hands, our noses red. He had just returned from his ‘after-army-trip’ to India, and while we waited, he showed me his photos, enlarged and ready for framing.
Monsoon Magic: The magic of Goa, India in the rainy season
"It's green, beautiful, pouring - and empty of everyone you don't want to meet"
I’m standing under a tin roof in a space the size of a coat closet, practicing my patient loving-kindness with 478 fellow refugees. How adorable we are, standing huddled together, our elbows in each other’s guts, noses in each other’s underarms, muddy chappals atop my own once-perfectly-pink Crocs. We are hiding from the deluge under the roof of Sanjay’s shop, a small but dignified establishment selling bidis, one-rupee toffees and, on lucky days, red masala peanuts in little plastic bags. Auspiciously, the one leak in Sanjay’s corrugated tin roof is right above my own head.
For more travel articles by Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, click here.