Joining Tempo for the eighth installment of In the Valle: Prejudice and Reconciliation in Taos is author and longtime resident Iris Keltz.
Born and raised in New York City, Iris Keltz is an award-winning author of two historical memoirs, including "Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie: Tribal Tales from the Heart of a Cultural Revolution" (Cinco Puntos Press, 2000). Through vignettes, oral histories, photographs and cultural artifacts, the book documents the heroic efforts of young urban dropouts to create a utopian society.
Keltz came to Taos at the height of the "long-haired invasion," as it's become known. Taos wasn't always so welcoming to such things, as Keltz makes clear in her book. Keltz credits Taos Pueblo's Christmas procession as part of her calling to Taos.
"Christmas Eve, I felt so welcome to go to the pueblo, love it! That became part of my Hanukkah/Christmas/solstice forever and I'm so grateful for that," said Keltz.
Keltz's coming to Taos is no less an adventure than that of the original inhabitants. Escaping persecution and ending up a Palestinian bride, only to inevitably fall in love with the village lifestyle, is what makes Keltz a part of Taos. "Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel" (Nighthawk Press, 2018) is the winner of four awards. Keltz might be the only American Jew to have found sanctuary with Palestinians during the Six-Day War of 1967, a war that changed the face of the Middle East.
It was fitting that our conversation took place during another Jewish ceremony, Rosh Hashanah - this "special time," as Keltz puts it during the interview. A connection was made that furthers the multicultural bond we share in Taos.
A retired educator, Keltz is now a freelance journalist, speaker, activist and grandmother. Keltz is an elder, and Taoseños look to elders for guidance.
• Support In the Valle: Prejudice and reconciliation series
• Part 1: Interview with John Nichols
• Part 2: Interview with Larry Torres
• Part 3: Two Taos Natives have one crazy conversation in the Couse House
• Part 4: Anita Rodriguez talks systemic racism in Taos
• Part 5: Writer Bill Whaley goes full disclosure
• Part 6: Interview with Nikesha Breeze
• Part 7: Anne MacNaughton gives a thorough schooling
• Part 8: Iris Keltz expounds on our multicultural bonds
• Part 9: David Fernandez de Taos speaks of blending faith ways