I am an Arab-Jew born and raised in Haifa Israel. I am a writer, poet, activist, author and editor now based in Berlin Germany.
My personal and artistic mission is to shine a light on injustice and discrimination and disrupt the status quo by using Syncretism in my writing and the events I produce. I look to the past and to the future in order to find fresh new solutions for the present and work to bridge existing cultural divides. Whether it's Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews in Israel, Israelis and Palestinians or Middle Eastern refugees and Europe. Syncretic art involves the merging or assimilation of several originally discrete traditions thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other cultures. I believe in the power of words and their ability to bring about lasting change and I hope that mine make a difference in some way.
My writing is diverse and eclectic. It includes poetry, plays, newspaper and articles, art exhibition content, short stories and more.
My works have been translated to several languages, including a recent bi-lingual [German-Hebrew] collection of poems (2019): “Baghdad - Haifa - Berlin: 40 ausgewählte Gedichte - Hebräisch-deutsche Ausgabe, mit einem Gedicht in arabischer Übersetzung”. My first book of articles “An eruption from the east: Re visiting the emergence of the Mizrahi artistic explosion and it's imprint on the Israeli cultural narrative 2006-2019“ published “Iton 77” publishers in Israel (2020).
I am honored to have my works receive significant recognition, wining several prizes including “Best poetry book debut of the year” (National art trust of the Israel lottery 2001); Selected appearance of “What has become of Independence day” play in the Small-Bama festival of the University of Tel Aviv; Best poetry book of the year (Haifa Cultural Foundation 2006); Honorable mention in “Haaretz” Annual short story contest (2011); Winner of the Acum grant for advocating literature in Israel (2013) among others.
I have written for journalism In Israel, both online and in print. I was a contributing writer for “Israel Hayom”, one of the largest newspapers in the country, from its early days until moving to Berlin (2007-2014), writing both weekly columns and book reviews. I also wrote a blog on Mako’s site (Channel 2). After moving to Berlin I became a contributing writer for Haaretz newspaper, writing a column titled “Israeli in Berlin” for the culture section edited by Benny Ziffer. I currently write for Plus61J magazine. In addition I have written many articles for art exhibitions and catalogs, most notably at the Museum of Tel Aviv where my text on the artistic work of Avi Ganor has been exhibited. I also completed an article about the artistic work of the Amsterdam based artist Joseph Sassoon Semah participated in a conference discussing his work. Another interview with Semach was published on the Berliner Zeitung (2021).
Over the last ten years I’ve been part of the ongoing activism to raise the voice and rights and heritage of the Mizrahi people (Arab-Jews) in Israel and all over the world. I was active in the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow (2004-2007) and part of “Ruh Jadida” (2011) and other initiatives. I coined the category of Third Mizrahi Generation in Israel. Lately I signed the Mizrahi petition against the nation law.
In Israel I was one of the founders of “Guerrilla Culture” (2007-2013), a movement that connected between social change advocacy and poetic creativity. This movement changed the face of the Israeli poetic sphere. It politicized it and published many anthologies and books. It gave a voice to writers like the famous poet Adi Keissar who published her first successful book with us, we also published the first anthologies of Ars Poetica events, Eyal Ben Moshe’s first novel, Meital Nissim’s poetry book, the viral play “Good Energies”, and more. I was also one of the founders of the Poets Union that strives to fulfill and protect poets rights.
After moving to Berlin I founded “Poetic Hafla” a group that has created literary, music & art performance events featuring a diverse collection of artists from all over the world. I am now working on a new literary project “Anu אנו نحن: Jews and Arabs writing in Berlin”.
Throughout the years I’ve taught, lectured and performed on many different stages. I was a lecturer in Minshar College in Israel. I also taught creative wiring at the Ron Vardi Center in Rishon LeZion in Israel. Now I am teaching creative Hebrew writing in Berlin and throughout Europe.
On 2021 my novel "The Prize" was published in Israel. It is my tenth book that got published. Now i am working its translation to German. In an interview with 'Der Tagesspiegel', i talked about my latest publications including "Bleiben oder widersteheh: Wem gehört die deutsche Kultur und andere Texte und Gedichte".
My Artistic Site: https://mati-s.com
Was hat Sie nach Berlin verschlagen? Die Liebe? Der Zufall? Die Weltpolitik?
Die Lyrik brachte mich nach Berlin. Im Jahr 2012 wurde ich zu einem Übersetzerworkshop eingeladen. Zufällig habe ich mich in Berlin verliebt, wir haben geheiratet und erwarten gerade unser erstes Kind. Poesie und Liebe sind hier also zufällig aufeinandergestoßen.
An Berlin liebe ich:
Der Frieden. Hier gibt es keinen Krieg mit einer anderen Nation und Deutschland besetzt auch kein anderes Land. Abgesehen davon genieße ich den entspannten Lebenstil.
In Berlin vermisse ich:
Ich vermisse, was alle Immigranten vermissen. Ihre Liebsten: Familie und Freunde; ihr Heimatland, das Klima des Nahen Ostens, das Essen und so viel mehr.
Ein Lieblingsort in Berlin:
Das Tempelhofer Feld. Es ist eine lebendiges Wesen.
Sind Sie in Berlin ein anderer Mensch, eine andere Autorin, ein anderer Autor als im Land Ihrer Herkunft? Inwiefern?
Ja. Berlin hat mich sehr verändert. Ich werde offener mit meiner Homosexualität, in fortwährenden Translationen mit den Menschen, denen ich begegne.
Ein literarisches Werk, das ich gern geschrieben hätten:
„2666“ von Roberto Bolanio
2019, I participated in the “Deutsche-Israelite Literaturetage". Boell Foundation and Goethe Institute.
2019, I participated in the “Poetry in the Desert” festival. Sde Boker. Israel.
2018, My first Hörspiel “Das künftige Ufer” was aired at WDR. It was a special project about the future of the Middle East.
2018, National Lottery Art Trust. “Iton 77” publishers secured a grant to publish my article book.
2017, Radical Jewish Festival – Maxim Gorki Theater. I was invited to participate as part of “Ars Poetica” and “Poetic Hafla” poetry groups.
2017, Musrara Mix festival. Jerusalem. A special performance that I created for the festival “Mizrahi in Berlin”
2017, LCB Berlin Sommerfest. Poetry reading with non German writers.
2016, Helicon International Literary Festival. Israel. I was invited to an immigration workshop with other international writers like Efe Duyan and more.
2016, Basel International Literary Festival. Switzerland. I was invited with the poets Adi Keissar and Max Czollek to read my poems.
2015, Best Book of Year Prize, Yekum Tarbut. Israel. My first collection of short stories won as a best book of 2015.
2014, Arab Jewish Texts Conference, Chicago University. USA. I was invited to read my poems in a very special conference.
2014, Rabinovich Foundation Prize. Israel. My book of articles “An eruption from the east: Re visiting the emergence of the Mizrahi artistic explosion and it's imprint on the Israeli cultural narrative 2006-2019” won a grant.
2013, Acum Grant. Israel. My book of articles “An eruption from the east: Re visiting the emergence of the Mizrahi artistic explosion and it's imprint on the Israeli cultural narrative 2006-2019” won a grant.
2012, Translation Workshop, Literaturwerkstatt. Berlin. I was invited to read my poems and to translate them. The German writer Mirko Bonné translated my poems into German. They were also recorded Lyrikline.
2011, Honorable Mention, Haaretz Annual Short Story Contest. Israel.
2011, Honorable Mention, Einat Annual Science Fiction Short Story Contest.
2010, Rabinovich Foundation Prize. Israel.
2009–2010, Living Stipends, The Department of Hebrew Literature, The Hebrew University. Israel.
2008–2010, Full Graduate Grant, ISEF, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Israel.
2008–2010, Herzel Scholarship, The Cherrick Center for the study of Zionism. Israel.
2007–2008, Scholarship of Excellence, The Mandel Institute in Jerusalem.
2006, Best Poetry Book of the Year, Haifa Cultural Foundation. Israel.
2003–2006, Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, The Department of General History, University of Haifa. Israel.
2006, Research Grant, CSUS, University of Haifa. Israel.
2006, Iraqi Jews Foundation Grant for my Second Poetry Book “Poetry between Hazaz and Shemoelofname here”. Israel.
2006, Haifa Cultural Foundation Grant for my second Poetry Book “Poetry between Hazaz and Shemoelofname here” . Israel.
2006, Scholarship of Excellence, University of Haifa. Israel.
2003-2006, Full Graduate Grant, ISEF, University of Haifa. Israel.
2001, Best Debut Poetry Book of the Year, National Lottery Art Trust. Israel. “Scar Minimizer”