Before we begin: I rely on twitter for finding and embedding content in this newsletter, and that service is--to put it politely--undergoing some upheavals due to new ownership. I am writing this newsletter as if everything is fine, and since the embeds work for now I am sending it with them as is. If they break some time between when i send this and when you read it, I apologize in advance, and will send a better one next time.
Twitter only had enough engineers remaining to keep it on for one more night, but it miraculously kept working for eight.— Joel S. (@jh_swanson) November 18, 2022
Content notes include: antisemitism, transphobia, racism, genocide (shoah), war in Ukraine
Before the next issue of Weird Jewish Digest goes out on December 16th, we'll go through the following parts of the weekly torah reading cycle:
Sigd is at the end of the current month (Cheshvan), or 11/23 in the secular calendar; it is a holiday celebrated in Israel and traditionally in Ethiopian Jewish communities. The very next day we begin to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Kislev.
Chanukah is at the very end of Kislev, so it will actually be after I send the next newsletter, much like Sigd is in Cheshvan but occurring after this goes out; but I will have some chanukah related links in both as I see them.
Finally Someone Made a Hanukkah Sweater for Reptiles. Or maybe you want a d20 dreidel, or some lovely judaica from Sarah Day Arts' winter drop.
Antisemitism and other bigotries
Dave Chapelle, noted transphobe, pulled some antisemitic shit on SNL. Both transphobia and antisemitism, as they show up these days, rely on a small sneaky traitorous portion of the population having undue power to manipulate others, so it's pretty unsurprising that people likely to fall for one are likely to fall for the other.
It’s been a weird couple of weeks. pic.twitter.com/eDbmlB9jKd— Jesse Zook Mann (@zookmann) October 24, 2022
That being said, there were some inappropriate responses on social media from white jewish people that i'm not going to repeat or otherwise platform, only to say: don't be racist, okay? okay. glad we're on the same page. Also, Black and Jewish is not a binary, with anyone being (at most) one or the other--Black Jews exist!
If you need some help on wrangling your brain into antiracism, JOCI recently released a document (which, full disclosure, i have not read all of yet) about racial equity informed philanthropy, and the non philanthropy specific parts of it are worth a read whether or not you are involved with philanthropy in particular.
Don’t respond to antisemitism with anti-blackness and don’t respond to anti-blackness with antisemitism.— Elisheva Black Jewish Mermaid Princess🧜🏾♀️👸🏾✡ (@Eli7ChicnSweet) November 16, 2022
It’s also literally exactly what white supremacy needs in order to succeed in America.
Your response should be communication with each other’s community instead
Meanwhile, the shonde that is the tikvah fund hosted Abigail Shrier. happy trans awareness week! love to be jewish and trans! Do not take the tikvah fund's money or pay attention to their programs! Don't be transphobic!
Yeshiva University's LGBTQ club saga also continues, with the university announcing in late October their own lgbtq club called Kol Yisrael Areivim. YU Pride Alliance has responded to the Kol Yisrael Areivim move, pointing out that, while this is a positive move from YU in terms of queer acceptance, it is not a student club seeing as it doesn't seem to have any student members. Fred Macdowell wins best joke about this as far as I'm concerned by doing a quote tweet about the fracas with the word "Birobidzan".
Books and Language
Twitter user Josh Raclaw posted a lovely Sesame Street clip, including characters conversing in english, ASL, and yiddish!
Vanessa Paloma Elbaz reviewed Eastern Mediterranean Judeo-Spanish Songs from the EMI Archive Trust (1907-1912). It's a relatively dry academic review but does come with links to the online content associated with the release, including online streaming music, a concert recording, and a PDF of the booklet.
The Golden Peacock and the Green Owl: Analyzing Yiddish Language Learners’ Experiences with Duolingo
This is fantastic: Mesilat ha-limud was published by Ben Zeʼev in Vienna in 1811. But the copyist of this ms, Moshe Abraham, was in Ioannina, so instead of translating the Hebrew words to Italian, he used Greek and Turkish (in Arabic characters).— Michelle Margolis (@hchesner) November 18, 2022
X893 Ab85https://t.co/iOsGDcTyFM pic.twitter.com/LPTlVmG7kv
Tal Levin's excellent newsletter, The Sword and the Sandwich, will be starting a book club of Emma Goldman's memoir.
You had me at queer jewish sci-fi shakespeare retelling: Learn more about The Stars Undying, which seems to be Emery Robin's version of Cleopatra-but-in-space-and-jewish, in an essay from the author on John Scalzi's blog.
Rebooting Jewish Life will be starting a new podcast soon called The Jewish Bizarre with Tony Michels, Eddy Portnoy, and Jessica Chaffin!
Theatre Dybbuk has just begun season 3 with an episode about Chaya Rochel, who moved to Dallas from Poland and was an active member in the Arbeter Ring / Workers Circle.
What Magic Is This podcast featured Jewish angel expert Mika Ahuvia on their podcast!
While this drone photography and mapping project dedicated to cemetery preservation looks very cool, it does make me feel a little like we're living in a cyberpunk dystopic parody universe. The money--again, being used to document cemeteries--comes from a fund dedicated to fostering jewish life! The UAV-related news site I read details on opens their article with a reference to the drone bombings in Ukraine! You know, that same war that resulted in finding a previously unknown mass grave of Jews killed from the 1917-1930 in Moldova! Drones drop bombs outside the university, but inside, they're being used to checks notes foster jewish life by taking pictures of cemeteries in areas jews used to live in but no longer do. It's weird, right? It feels weird.
Can we please bring back this spelling? pic.twitter.com/sYaHyvDx2l— Sam Glauber-Zimra (@SamZimra) November 9, 2022
Mazel tov to the Jews of Color Initiative's latest grantee cohort: Achim Sheli, Kulanu@Senesh, Sephardi Mizrachi Q Network, and Moorish Jewish Confluences!
I loved this article about new documentary film Queen of the Deuce, focusing on the life and times of Chelly Wilson, a holocaust survivor, greek jewish lesbian, and porn theater owner from Thessaloniki. So far as I can tell, it is only viewable via DOC NYC, but I hope it gets a wider release.
How did the vikings end up with golems? Learn in a twitter thread from Jess Nevins. TLDR: some vikings probably learned in France, specifically in an area where there were jews and large potential for inter-religious learning; but really, read the thread.
overheard in yeshiva— tal ✡︎ דוד (@poetrychavruta) November 8, 2022
student 1: “so this rabbi—wait are they a man or a woman?”
student 2: “bro they’re a rabbi”
student 3: “i don’t think that’s a gender?”
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg has some notes on anger for us this week.
I loved Dr. Tamar Ron Marvin's introduction to Ibn Ezra this week, which built on a few threads she's made on twitter and really contextualize Ibn Ezra as a person rather than as the body of work he left us.
I cannot even tell you how excited i am to track down Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond, especially the episode where Miriam Margoyles and Alan Cumming go to the Pink Peacock (!!!).
it was an absolute delight to meet miriam and alan and talk about gender, jewishness, food, and anarchism 🖤 pic.twitter.com/tFFyCI5VKq— די ראָזעווע פּאַװע pink peacock (@dirozevepave) November 15, 2022
There's some cool classes and/or lecture series coming up too:
Judaism Unbound mini-courses, including Spirit-Guides and Past Lives: Reincarnation in the Kabbalistic Imagination
11/20 Jewish Traditions & Futures of Mutual Aid: A Conversation with Dean Spade and Dori Midnight — free, but make sure to donate to Matir Asurim if you can!
11/21 Avodat Lev with Simcha Halpert-Hanson
11/24 TransHallel Kislev!
12/13 "Fear and Other Stories," with Anita Norich, translator of the collected stories of Chana Blankshteyn
Jewish Pet of the Month
The jewish pet of the
week month this Kislev is Chroma, a black cat who looks lovely amongst the houseplants!
PS. don't forget: it's almost shabbat!