This week, Graywolf Press is releasing All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen, the man once known as Hasidic Rebel who went on to become the founder/editor of the website Unpious: Voices on the Hasidic Fringe.
All Who Go Do Not Return is an extraordinary memoir. The writing is beautiful. The journey it chronicles is poignant, relatable — and also unlike anything most readers will ever have experienced. As a young man, Shulem Deen chose to join the Skverers, one of the world’s most intense and insular Hasidic communities. He married, and became a father to five beloved children. And then his natural inclination to learn and to question drove a wedge between him and the Skverer world.
The world needs awake, alive, engaged people whose work to mend the world is grounded in and inspired by love. The world needs people who somehow keep their hearts open and pliable while they look unflinchingly at our broken systems and work to change them.
Sounds nice, I know. Actually doing it for any length of time, though, is damn hard.
Lashon hara,” Seattle-based artist Robin Atlas tells me, “is a universal issue that goes way beyond the personal level, even the laws of Judaism. The whole world could be changed for the better if people would be mindful of their speech.”
Working in mixed media, mainly textile art, Atlas elevates lashon hara into the broader context of intolerance, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism and discrimination.
Atlas invites viewers to join her in expanding the conversation in her interactive exhibit “Lashon Hara: On the Consequences of Hate Speech,” at the Anne Frank Center in New York. Read More.
Thanks to Amani Hayes-Messinger, a thoughtful dialogue is taking root around how people approach conversations about race and identity. In her new video,”How do you ask someone about their race?” she says that race itself isn’t taboo, but that far too many people reinforce stereotypes when they ask about identity/identities, instead of opening up a meaningful conversation. She’s young, straightforward, and is absolutely worth watching. She talks here with ZEEK’s editor about creating an inclusive, diverse Jewish community, her family’s activist legacy, and what it means to have moral courage.
For volunteering to have a substantive impact on a community or issue area, writes Repair the World:NYC’s Cindy Greenberg, it has to be rooted in partnership, done with — not for — the community. Volunteering that is the byproduct of respectful partnership where everyone involved learns from the experiences of the other, builds authentic bridges between communities and ensures that the service work is actually needed.
This Purim, I’m reminded of the power of coming out and speaking out, despite the consequences. In the story of Purim, the Jewish people are redeemed only after Esther finds the courage to stand up for herself and her community.
Editor’s Note: This article originally ran as part of ZEEK’s 2014 series about the Jewish push for LGBT rights.
In this installment of Rosebud Ben-Oni’s original ZEEK series of poet-poet conversations, poets Erika Meitner, Eduardo Gabrieloff, Hila Ratzabi, Jason Schneiderman and Emily Jaeger talk about their relationship with Jewish humor.
As he leaned on the banister, breathing unevenly, shifting his weight to his forearms, marveling that he had walked sixty blocks, the tree exploded into flames.
Hellish light distorted the faces of the ice skaters and the tourists, carving jack-o-lanterns of them. Jay told himself to keep calm even as a low frightened moan slipped out of him and he knew he could never keep calm; howling fire stripped the word calm of meaning.
To make a measurable impact on major societal issues, writes AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corp’s acting executive director, service simply isn’t enough. To really address the root causes of these issues, we need to focus our efforts on the broken systems in our society that lead to these challenges — we need to repair our world (tikkun olam) by repairing the system (tikkun ma’arechet). Read more.
In the aftermath of the brutal attacks in Paris last week, not to mention the horrific slaughter in Nigeria, we’re hearing the same sound bytes from the same sources. Conservatives questioning where Muslim condemnation of violent, extreme Islam can be found. The answer is here, here, here and lots of other places. Moderate Muslims in anguish, using the hashtag #NotInMyName to distance themselves from and denounce the terror. Jews, afraid. Again.
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