What: Former Fort Wayne resident Steven Greenberg, who now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, recently released his first book, “Enfold Me,” a novel set in a Middle East where Israel has fallen and the land is controlled by the Palestinian group Hamas.
Length: 292 pages
Cost: $7.99 paperback, $4.99 Kindle ebook
Actually, author Steven Greenberg, a Snider High School graduate, has spent more years of his life in Israel than in the United States. So it makes sense that his recently released book, “Enfold Me,” is based on the experience of an Israeli scientist in Tel Aviv.
Greenberg, along with his twin daughters, age 7, and his son, almost 11, has been in Fort Wayne recently visiting his parents, Ronnie and Norman Greenberg. He took time out to talk about his life and his book.
Greenberg's first trip to Israel was in 1985, when he won a scholarship competition that awarded a six-week trip to Israel. It was quite a revelation for the young man, who was one of only two Jewish students enrolled at Snider.
And it was an exciting six weeks, in which he found it perfectly safe to wander around sightseeing, visiting Mt. Scopus, seeing incredible monuments and visiting historic places. It was “cool, very cool,” he recalled.
As a result, he spent his freshman year of college at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He found a feeling of “belonging.” He returned to the United States and graduated in 1990, after which he made Aliyah — emigration to Israel — that summer.
He found a job with the telephone company, quite a challenge because of his limited Hebrew, but he learned in a hurry, he laughingly explained. He lived in a Haifa suburb, and that was his home during the Gulf War (1991).
“It was real: A bomb fell one kilometer away from my house,” he said.
He moved to Tel Aviv and, as happens to young people, he fell in love and was married. Now he was working for a tech company.
While growing up, he had had an interest in biology; his project in high school won him the championship in the National Science Fair. It involved aspertame and frogs. And he loved music: He was a guitarist from middle school on, serving as a song leader at religious school and as a camp counselor for the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation.
But his interests began to turn to political science and history, especially of the Middle East. Now, as an adult in Israel, it was a high tech job. He went into the army, serving through basic training and combat training, and for 12 years he was an army medic in the Active Reserve.
There were no nurses, so he assisted doctors in the field. His duty was served on the Syrian border, and when he hit the age of 40, he was out! But he continued to be an avid guitar player. In Tel Aviv, he plays with the Folk Music Club, and he sings — both folk and blues.
Then a career change: Greenberg now is a professional writer, doing freelance work with organizations and companies. And he has written the book, “Enfold Me.” It takes place in an Israel that suffered tremendously from a major earthquake and then was invaded — and no longer continues to exist as a free state. It is now Hamas-controlled.
Greenberg had the idea for the book for about six years, thinking about it and doing research as he ran his own company. He worked with a biologist to ensure he was being biologically correct as he steered his protagonist into a trap.
He had long had a love affair with the English language. His dad, he said, drilled him on his use of language when he took speech here at Memorial Park Middle School and participated in speech meets.
“I like similes,” he added, and the reader of his novel becomes aware of that and the other richness of the language.
Greenberg is already working on his second book. This one will be placed in Prague in 1942, and Israel after the fall of the Iron Curtain. He is presently engaged in research and much reading, including Madeleine Albright's book, “Prague Winter,” which he praised highly. His office is at home.
“I see the kids for lunch, and I do the cooking, cleaning, laundry — but my wife does the shopping.” She is an economist. But Wednesdays are reserved for his writing fiction!
There is a different feeling about personal security for Israelis, he explained, but he doesn't believe there will be an attack by Iran.
“I don't believe it will ever happen; it doesn't make any sense,” he said. “And the polls show over half the government is against an invasion.”