"As a matter of fact, observant Jews did not paint at all - in the way that I am painting. So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am a traitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.
"Well, I am none of these things. And yet, in all honesty, I confess that my accusers are not altogether wrong: I am indeed, in some way, all of these things."
"If You don't want me to use the gift, why did You give it to me?"
"An animal can't help it," my father said. "Do you understand me, Asher? The Ribbono Shel Olom gave every man a will. Every man is responsible for what he does, because he has a will and in that will he directs his life. There is no such thing as a man who can't help it."
"Everything is in the hands of heaven, except the fear of heaven," he quoted. "What can I tell you, my Asher? I do not know what the Master of the Universe has waiting for us. Certain things are given, and it is for man to use them to bring goodness into the world. The Master of the Universe gives us glimpses, and only glimpses. It is for us to open our eyes wide."
"I don't want to sit in a room painting for myself. I want to communicate what I do. And I want critics to know I can do it."
The stage adaptation of My Name Is Asher Lev
runs at Pacific Theatre January 28 to February 26