IKAR LA. "Change Your Rhythm, Change the World," a still from IKAR's "All We Are Saying" Video

Why the Jewish Now (and Future) Can’t Be Confined to the Paradigms of the Past

November 20, 2014

“Give me ten emesdike yiddin and I will change the world.”: A response to Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen’s “The Shrinking Jewish Middle.”

Any middle only exists in relation to the margins that frame it. When we contemplate counting numbers to define the health of the Jewish community, the time has come to consider new criteria.

Call for Submissions! Write about Resistance!

November 20, 2014

This Chanukah, ZEEK will run an intergenerational series celebrating resistance and the future of the Jewish left in the United States.

Send original pitches, personal essays, reported articles, chatty opinion pieces, feature stories, and creative nonfiction to zeek@zeek.net, with “RESISTANCE” in the subject line. Deadline for pitches is November 26.

Here’s Why Compromise IS the Wrong Strategy

November 17, 2014

One of the sound bites we’ve suddenly started hearing a lot since Election Day is about how politicians will start working together to address our nation’s problems.

The word mentioned the most? Compromise.

Leave compromising to the politicians. Social justice advocates must stand firm when it comes to positions on social justice issues and Jewish values.

Poet Q, Poet A: Six Poets Talk Topography & Landscape in Their Poetry

November 14, 2014

This is the first installment of Rosebud Ben-Oni’s series of poet-poet conversations in ZEEK about Jewish identity, poetry, and more, featuring poets Erika Meitner, Eduardo Gabrieloff, Hila Ratzabi, Jason Schneiderman and Emily Jaeger. Future installments include discussions about mapping rituals, authenticity, whiteness, and privilege, shifting Jewish identity and humor. We start, here, with this roundtable on location and topography.

The Other Great American Divide: Pushing Economic Justice Forward

November 5, 2014

Midway through the day of the Morning After, it’s sinking in that next year in the United States of America, there will much more red from sea to shining sea.

Instead of focusing on how the current divide between right and left (or right and middle, etc.), it’s worth appreciating how the Other Great Divide played out in the polls: the economic divide. And, just as important, to recalibrate and re-energize. With the gulf between rich and poor greater than it has been since 1929, the most basic of economic justice measures found its way onto ballots in the form of the minimum wage.

A Personal Reflection: After Election Day, Moving On

November 5, 2014

No matter what the pundits and polls say, there is often a moment early on during marathon Election Night coverage when those of us glued to the TV and Twitter decide it may not be so bad after all –- that surge of protective optimism that keeps you up way too late. For me, that optimism came from reports of higher-than-usual-midterm-election turnout.

Urgent: Voters Needed. More Urgent: Overturning Laws that Disenfranchise Millions

October 31, 2014

Midterm elections are just days away. And like many in my community, I’m doing my part to get out the vote. We’re making calls, knocking on doors, and — because Minnesotans can register to vote on Election Day — we’ll keep going until the polls close.

In the 10 years I’ve worked in Jewish social justice, I’ve knocked on a lot of doors. I’ve had people yell at me, hug me, offer me a snack, and slam the door in my face.

The hardest response to take, though, is usually, “I can’t vote.”

Grazing the Object: In the Studio with Rachel Klinghoffer

October 30, 2014

In this new ZEEK series, Tamara Mann talks to working artists about how Judaism, faith, religious ideas, or even a kind of religious antagonism relates to their studio practice.

Afterthoughts: Making Memory Matter after the Ferguson Weekend of Resistance & Sukkot

October 22, 2014

As I chanted along with the leaders, “We young, we strong, we marching all night long,” I remembered that remembering is holy, but only if the remembering leads us to a better reality….. And in that moment I knew that the fight will take a long time, but that it is built on love, and that is why it will win.

The Slingshot Guide Turns 10: Questions for Will Schneider

October 22, 2014

Earlier this week, the Slingshot Fund released its annual Slingshot Guide, a “resource for Jewish innovation.” We reached out to Will Schneider, executive director of Slingshot, to talk about how the Jewish innovation arena has evolved in the 10 years since Slingshot began creating its guides — and where we still need to see change, especially when it comes to philanthropy and engaging Jews in social justice.

DC DISPATCH Hold Your Breath: Upcoming Supreme Court Cases Worth Watching

October 19, 2014

You could be forgiven if you perused the docket for the 2014-15 US Supreme Court term and yawned. To be sure, there are important cases, but the lineup so far lacks the hot-button attention-grabbers, with issues like marriage equality, abortion rights, health care, and voting rights largely absent from the list. Even so, it’s worth paying attention this term. Here’s why.

Inside the Looking Glass: Writing My Way Through Two Very Different Jewish Journeys

October 9, 2014

A Catholic woman’s ancient Jewish blood calls to her. Her spiritual story, so different than my own, calls to me, forcing me to think more deeply about my own Jewish journey. My path may never lead to temple or God, but it’s definitely Jewish and definitely leading somewhere.

What Is Mine? Finding Humbleness, Not Entitlement, in Shmita

October 2, 2014

The Moroccan-born 18th-century biblical commentator Or HaHayim (Hayim ben Attar) insightfully observed that the reality of war in the world causes fear and pain, even to those who do not reside in the war zone but who live lives of material comfort and safety.

This insight mirrors my experience and emotional state as we begin 5775: While deeply grateful for the abundance of blessings in my life, I don’t feel at peace given current events and the suffering that persists in our world.

And so I’ve kept Or HaHayim’s words in mind, with the hope that we may all be able to approach this season next year with a greater sense of security, calm and blessing in our own lives and throughout the world.

Morning Jew: High Holidays & the HinJew Connection with Samhita Mukhopadhyay

October 2, 2014

Special guest Samhita Mukhopadhyay – former Feministing executive director –- joins Morning Jew comic duo Katie Halper and Heather Gold.

Engaging With the Days of Awe: A Personal Writing Ritual in Five Questions

September 30, 2014

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the whole repentance thing over the years, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it. The enormity of the ideas behind Yom Kippur is tough for me. If you look at the language of the prayers themselves, they’re more than a little scary.

The Internet Confessional Goes to the Goats

September 30, 2014

How sharing our sins, one Tweet at a time, can remind us that we are all human, flawed, and susceptible to daily corruptions. In the age of (public) guilt, a Jewish season to revisit our bad decisions, and make better choices in the days and months ahead.

Morning Jew: Genetics, Intermarriage, and Guest “Screaming Latke” Lisa Brown

September 24, 2014

Special guest author-illustrator Lisa BrownThe Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming and Baby, Make Me a Drink — rejoins Morning Jew comic duo Katie Halper and Heather Gold.

Morning Jew: Brands Behaving Badly, “Shtetl Booty” & More, with Guest Lisa Brown

September 23, 2014

This week, special guest illustrator-author Lisa Brown joins Morning Jew comic duo Katie Halper and Heather Gold on brands behaving badly, embracing zaftig, and more.

How Is This Rosh Hashanah Different from All Other Rosh Hashanahs?

September 18, 2014

At the religious and spiritual level, 5775 will be a seventh year according to the ancient counting, a Sabbatical Year of Shmita (“release” or “non-attachment”). In such a year, Torah (Leviticus 25) commands that the earth be allowed to rest. This will be the first Sabbatical/Shmita Year since the dispersion and exile of Jews from the land of Israel about 2,000 years ago.

At the political and activist level, we are entering Rosh Hashanah with a major leap in involvement of the American Jewish community in addressing the climate crisis that is bringing global scorching upon the world — unprecedented droughts, floods, famines, with worse to come.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of ZEEK’s series on Jews and climate justice.

Poetry: Facing the Mark

September 16, 2014

Original, new poetry from Alissa Romanow.

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