Vision Category

whenever i start to get bored with the idea of staying vocal as one of the surprisingly few non-closeted secularists in most of the electronic jewish spaces i frequent, something like this comes up. ruth messinger, former manhattan borough president, american jewish world service president, and makher-in-chief of the current (and problematic as well as […]

From the introduction:

Two Jews, a crumbling empire, and a struggling resistance movement walk into a bar…

For people who have committed themselves to fundamental social change, the situation we’re stuck in with antisemitism is like a bad joke.

From one side, progressive and radical activists and scholars are being attacked by organized campaigns to brand us antisemites. In particular, it’s virtually impossible to speak out critically about Israel without being charged with antisemitism.

At the same time, we face real currents of unchallenged anti-Jewish oppression in our movements and the world. This endangers Jews, corrupts our political integrity, and sabotages our ability to create the effective resistance our times demand. …

Among the contents:

-Antisemitism is still a world problem
-How could Jews be oppressed?
-But Arabs are Semites!
-Meet the amazing, disappearing oppression
-Let’s look at an example of how antisemitism works.
-If you liked COINTELPRO, you’ll LOVE the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
-The Revolution, the Jews and the “Generous Offer”
-Time Out! (A Word to Jews)
-Innoculate your Palestine work against antisemitism
-Tips for every activist

…and more.

for poetry month (why april, by the way? ‘the cruelest month’? ‘with his shoures soote’? please.), here’s the text of a talk by irena klepfisz – a fantastic poet in yiddish, english, and both at once, as well as an insightful essayist and deeply committed radical – from a 2006 conference at barnard college called “Jewish Women Changing America: Cross-Generational Conversations”. at the bottom is a poem from one of klepfisz’s books. a complete transcript of the “Changing Culture” panel that klepfisz spoke on (and the rest of the conference) is available online here.

Introduction In this brief essay, I’d like to read and think through three verses of Genesis, in order to start to establish a foundation for transgender Jewish thought. In particular, to consider hierarchy and binary opposition in the Biblical pattern of creation. (Heaven opposed and superior to Earth; Sun to Moon; Adam to Eve, etc.) […]

i had almost finished the essay below on radical history, martyrology, hagiography, and the ‘reconviction process’ last friday. that night, i heard that one of the people killed that afternoon in oaxaca by mexican government paramilitaries was someone i knew. as i thought about these most recent murders in the attack on the Popular Assembly […]

Ephraim Oakes is an oysterlisher* yid, proud golesnik, and aspiring writer of Yiddish punk songs. He’s still recovering from the culture shock of moving from a commune in rural Virginia to the small New England city where he currently resides. He used to make cheese and hammocks for a living, though at the moment, his […]

crossposted from jspot With marriage, particularly same-sex marriage, all the spectacle in today’s media and political landscape (oh yay we can add to the wedding-industrial-complex–that’s an industry I want to see boom), I was reminded that I hadn’t yet posted a statement, “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships” […]

Revisioning Unetaneh Tokef

In: Ideas, Rosh Hashanah, Spirituality, Vision, Yom Kippur

One of the reasons I love going to CBST is that there is always another perspective, if not from congregants or clergy leaders, than in the various texts that are offered on the holidays. One that I have enjoyed, and that my sister upon visiting for Rosh Hashanah immediately turned to copy, is an interpretive […]

the calendar has come around again to the time of one of the many proud jewish traditions that has gone out of practice in recent years, though not one that gets mentioned very often.

in ashkenazi communities from nyu-york and buenos (aires) to varshe and london (and i assume to durban and sydney), each fall, on the 10th of tishrey, radical jews – mainly anarchists, though also bundists, communists, and other socialists – held a celebration. the community would turn out in full force, dressed in their best clothes, and pack the hall, sometimes spilling out into the street. they would generally begin by sitting down to a banquet, followed by a musical program that would lead into dancing until the late hours of the night. the event would be held in a hall as close as possible to the official center of the jewish community, the synagogue.

the yom kippur ball drifted out of common practice as the first half of the twentieth century waned. radical jews’ inclination to confront the religious authorities declined as those authorities wielded less and less practical power; their impulse to acknowledge the date of atonement for halakhic transgressions declined as the secular jewish culture they created grew stronger. so why, every year at about this time, do i – three generations of secular radical jewish life past that era – have an urge to throw a really rowdy party?


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