fake [submission]

I feel like a fake

I don’t feel jewish enough

I feel like I want to hurt the people that made my great grandma and great grandpa and great great uncle feel so ashamed and scared

That they forced their children to stop practicing. And they stopped.

And they left behind G-d because they said She had turned Her eyes from them

And I want to cry because when my grandma tried to be jewish her husbands

One after the other

Every failed marriage

They beat her down over and over and over

And when my mom taught me about Passover

Passover

Not Pesach

Passover

Because my goyische father

And his goyische family

And all of the goyim in my life

Made it bad to do anything that wasn’t christianized

And when I wanted to be jewish and I wanted to learn my great grandma took that internalized HATRED and called me

Shiksa Goddess

and she hit me

(a small eight year old with big watery blue eyes and the longest tangle of blonde hair to be found for miles)

(no one on my mothers side has hair like mine)

until I cried the bitter tears that she could never let herself cry

Because she had to be Strong.

And I want to scream and cry and hurt them like they’ve hurt me

And I want to hate my great grandma but

Sarah just did what she had to do

So aptly named

She took life in stride and looked for other solutions and I want to be Sarah but I am not that strong

And I am not strong

I am not strong

And I just want to cry.

  • damnatians.tumblr.com

mi ani? ma ani?

like my people, my

thoughts
poems
head
love
history

all are scattered.

and now that my matriarch is dead,

what
where
who

am i?

why did you leave me like this?
i don’t feel ready.

nu, what is it like?

being Jewish is having the breath suddenly ripped from your chest upon remembering the pain and suffering of your people’s past, a memory that rips open the barely-healed scabs of the pain of your people’s present.

being Jewish is to live with wounds our tormentors will not allow to heal.

ahava

from now on, whenever a hebrew or yiddish word bubbles up into my heart, I will not allow myself to suppress it like I shamefully do my tears

I will let my lost languages, mame loshn, the tongues that put me in the skin of my ancestors, I will let those words burst out of my chest like fire

I will let them burn the skin of anyone who shames me for speaking a language i hold on to

languages too heavy for me to carry, the diaspora has made my arms weak but I will not let go.

i want to talk to g-d

i want to talk to g-d but loshn kodesh – the language that g-d speaks – hits my heart without passing through my ears.

i want to talk to my ancestors but mame loshn draws more laughs in this place than smiles of recognition.

i ache to speak the languages of my people, languages that taste like the desert and ghettoes, sand and glass, fire and resilience, but instead i speak common tongues like english and french and latin – i feel like crying because they are familiar in a way that my own languages may never be.

what does diasporic sorrow feel like?

what does diasporic sorrow feel like?

it feels like my chest tightening with tears i’m not sure i’ll shed. my throat hurts, a lump is trying to escape from it.

it feels like my body tensing up in wait. i still don’t know what i’m waiting for.

it feels like a constant buzz of anxiety. like the kind i get when i don’t know if i’ve locked my front door, except there’s no home to go to at the end of the day to check.

it feels like the desert. hot. dry. my eyes sting like when sand gets in them.

it feels like confusion. like in the cartoons i used to watch, with a question mark flitting around my head. i can’t even express what i’m confused about, half the time.

it feels like the burst of sadness when i realize that the language my mother spoke to me as a child isn’t a made-up language after all. it’s the language of my people. it’s a language we all used to speak.

it feels like the frustration when my siblings and friends and i share pieces of our histories with each other, trying to make pieces of different puzzles fit together as one. none of us were born complete.

it feels like i am constantly justifying why i am, where i am, who i am, what i am. to the point where i question my own truth.

it feels like it will never get better. i will never know anything.

it feels like i will feel this way forever.

most of us always have, anyway.

self-hating jew?

while the term “Jewish antisemite” is usually only uttered by whiney Zionists pissed off that not all Jews ignore or justify the horrors of the Israeli occupation, there is certainly a legitimacy to the idea of a self-hating Jew who endorses or participates in antisemitic behaviour.

internalized antisemitism is fucking devastating. self-hatred is bad enough in general, but when that self hatred comes from indoctrination into a society that hates u and uses ur identity for its own political agenda, its easy to buy into that propaganda and throw ur own under the bus…

but its not worth it.

they will either accept u or they won’t, they will care about u or they won’t, they will hate u or they won’t – but hating urself won’t change it. it’ll only change u.

passover [submission]

passover (poem) [submission from hamletrash.tumblr.com]

remember when your skin first felt like a

disease, like every pore if you squeezed it

would spit cold cyanide

remember when you were a slave in the house of bondage

remember the blood on your thighs. remember

the plague of boils, the plague of blood,

the plague of cattle disease

(you used to have a toy a

cow with a button on its foot

push the button and its joints buckled

and collapsed)

pretending as you

scrubbed your sheets

that this was the blood of a man you’d killed

remember that spring when god peeled your skin off and ate it like bread

the terror of how your zipped coat

looked when you sat down

the waves and bubbles the zipper made.

like eve under trees

the sudden alien weight of her body

this is the bread of affliction

god spits blood in the river, god

whispers into your bed

kisses your neck full of boils

god in a breath of lice that squirm through

your firstborn’s hair

god bound between your eyes and

upon the doorposts of your houses

god’s blood in the nile

lamb’s blood on the door

cows’ blood in the fields

your blood in the sink

stick your smallest finger in the wine

she said to find my element…

my element is smoke.

dirty, captivating, floating, dissolving… choking.

my punishment is ephemerality, impermanence.

i am fascinated by the macabre

and also terrified.

my penance is letting go –

i self-sabotage and end up in purgatory.

there’s a smoke machine manned by spirits smoking cigarettes that smell unfamiliar – that one: a cigar.

my job, they say, is to clean the air by breathing:

it gives me anxiety and

the spirits shape-shift into various things they know unsettle me

so i name them Puck 6, Puck 2, Puck 5/

my least favourite small numbers.

when i get out of here, i will take up smoking again.

i will blow smoke in the face of everyone i see

and end up back where i came from –

unless i decide to change.

which i might.

intersexuality in the mishnah

“In the Mishnah, Rabbi Yosi makes the radical statement: “androgynos bria bifnei atzma hu / the androgynos he is a created being of her own.” This Hebrew phrase blends male and female pronouns to poetically express the complexity of the androgynos’ identity. The term bri’a b’ifnei atzmah is a classical Jewish legal term for exceptionality. This term is an acknowledgement that not all of creation can be understood within binary categories. It recognizes the possibility that uniqueness can burst through the walls that demarcate our society. The Hebrew word bria (created being) explicitly refers to divine formation; hence this term also reminds us that all bodies are created in the image of God. People can’t always be easily defined; they can only be seen and respected, and their lives made holy. This Jewish approach allows for genders beyond male and female. It opens up space in society for every body. And it protects those who live in the places in between.”

– “Created by the Hand of Heaven: A Jewish Approach to Intersexuality” by Rabbi Elliot Rose Kukla and Reuben Zellman

antisemitism: the “acceptable” discrimination

The problem is that we don’t like to think of oppression of Jewish people to be a huge problem because we like to think of Jews as doing economically well compared to other ethnic minorities in the United States. From this idea emerges the common stereotype of the rich, greedy Jew. From there, the stereotype grows and the fear of Jew spreads. Jews are disloyal and only out for themselves. Jews control the media, so Jews are to blame for everything that’s wrong with society. In fact, they are responsible for the destruction of society, because they control the government and all businesses! Jews are an inferior race. Jews are responsible for disease, like the Black Plague. Jews are vulgar and will rape your children. All Jews have horns on their head because they are the Devil. Jews are responsible for 9/11. Jews only create trouble wherever they go, and Hitler may have had the right idea. (That was an anonymous message I actually received.) Actually, the Holocaust didn’t really happen; Jews are just exaggerating to gain world sympathy. The world would be better off if Jews didn’t exist. Jews are evil — they killed Jesus!

Are you starting to see where the problem is? These stereotypes separate Jews from the rest of society. Jews effectively become The Other. We are not necessarily perceived as white (or black or brown or whatever skin color we are): we are Jews. Evil. Subhuman. And it grows violent quickly. Think about it: if you believe these things and were working alongside a Jewish person, would you trust them? Would you feel justified in anything negative said or done against a Jewish person?

Until antisemitism stops existing completely, it is always something that we should be concerned about. The history of the Jewish people has shown us how quickly simple dislike can turn violent.

—Jackie Klein, Feminspire.com

Zion doesn’t love you

http://glintglimmergleam.tumblr.com/post/79714858244

title credit

Esther assimilates because Uncle Mordecai tells her to.

Esther assimilates because it is safer.

Esther assimilates because the courtesans are sweet.

Esther assimilates because suddenly she’s rich.

Esther assimilates because her parents are a distant memory.

Esther assimilates because the girls back home were nasty.

Esther assimilates because the prayers took too long.

Esther assimilates because non-kosher wine tastes better.

Esther assimilates because the forefathers are a fairy tale.

Esther assimilates because her Hebrew sounds awful.

Esther assimilates because she is stunning with straight hair.

Esther assimilates because she wants to.

It is not Hadassah who saves the Jews.  It is Esther, who hasn’t seen them in years.   Esther, who doesn’t know them any more. Esther, who never knew them.   Esther, who didn’t try.

(Hadassah stayed home and married poor and lived next door and raised poor sons who chanted ancient verses and died with her family by the Persian sword.)

Esther is a Queen, and Esther is a heroine, and Esther’s hair frizzes at night without the oils, and Esther hides her tears beneath scented silks.  Esther lifts her chin higher than the harem whispers.  Esther sees Haman pale and shivering in her dreams.

Esther sinks back into her canopy of spices and jewels and waits once more for her husband’s outstretched scepter.

Waits, and aches for what it means to be Chosen.”

take heart

In times of sorrow, take heart, even

though you stand at deaths door: the

candle flares up before it dies,

and wounded lions roar.

  • Samuel Ibn Naghrila/ Samuel haNagid

anonymous submission

“diaspora poem?” [anonymous submission]

some nights when i’m alone, my thoughts run strange:

that my heart is a homeland,

pumping culture and language and identity

through rivers, over mountains.

nearer to my heart are the organs that are strong:

my lungs are my ancestors, receiving the most blood,

next my digestive system is my parents—

not as rich, yet not as poor as me—

because i am housed within my hands and feet.

i am choked by the circulation problems i’ve had since i was born,

and my hands and feet are cold and weak

like my sense of identity

like my connection with eretz yisrael

like my understanding of those other jews.

at which point can the dysfunctional body flourish,

when the heart is a homeland that cannot reach over distances,

when there are far more important places

for that blood to reach?

i want to reach out in the dark for answers,

but my feeble hands clutch at nothing

nothing but the drowning call of diaspora.

Rav Arnold Jacob Wolf quote

I try to walk the road of Judaism. Embedded in that road there are many jewels. One is marked ‘Sabbath’ and one ‘Civil Rights’ and one ‘Kashruth’ and one ‘Honor Your Parents’ and one ‘You Shall Be Holy.’ There are at least 613 of them and they are different shapes and sizes and weights. Some are light and easy for me to pick up, and I pick them up. Some are too deeply embedded for me, so far at least, though I get a little stronger by trying to extricate the jewels as I walk the street. Some, perhaps, I shall never be able to pick up. I believe that God expects me to keep on walking Judaism Street and to carry away whatever I can of its commandments. I do not believe that God expects me to lift what I cannot, nor may I condemn my fellow Jew who may not be able to pick up even as much as I can.

  • Rav Arnold Jacob Wolf

what the world has stolen from us

i honestly don’t know if i will get over the fact that i know nothing, and most likely will never know anything, about my history past the last 3 generations.

where did they live? where did they come from? who were they? what did they do? what were their names? how many of them were there?

i will never be able to answer any of those questions

u murdered my history and u expect me to be complacent when u further try to degrade me and force me to give up the only thing i have left of my ancestry?

Notable Indian Jews:

http://westsemiteblues.tumblr.com/post/106774655051/stupidjewishwhiteboy-proposed-indian-jews-for-the

“Carmit Delman, author

Solomon Sopher, community leader

Eli Ben-Menachem, Israeli politician

Liutenant-General JFR Jacob, Indian general

Liel Kolet, singer

Esther David, author and artist

Nissim Ezekiel, poet, critic

Gerry Judah, artist

Ruby Daniel…what didn’t this woman do? She was the first Jewish woman in the Indian armed forces, wrote a book, was an ethnographer, made aliyah in 1951 and was a kibbutznik.”

“Six recognized genders in Old Israel”

Zachar: Usually translated as “male” in English.
Nekevah: Usually translated as “female” in English.
Androgynos: A person who has both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics. [Source: 149 references in Mishna and Talmud (1st-8th Centuries CE); 350 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes (2nd -16th Centuries CE).]
Tumtum: A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. [Source: 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.]
Ay’lonit: A person who is identified as “female” at birth but develops “male” characteristics at puberty and is infertile. [Source: 80 references in Mishna and Talmud; 40 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.]
Saris: A person who is identified as “male” at birth but develops “female” characteristics as puberty and/or is lacking a penis. A saris can be “naturally” a saris (saris hamah), or become one through human intervention (saris adam).  [Source: 156 references in mishna and Talmud; 379 in
classical midrash and Jewish law codes.]

Source:  Classical Jewish Terms for Gender Diversity by Rabbi Elliot Kukla, 2006

Our Sages non-judgmentally explore the role of intersex people in regards to many facets of ritual and civil law such as circumcision, redemption, oath-taking and menstruation.

The midrash, in Bereshit Rabah, posits that Adam, the first human being, was actually an androgynos. While in the Babylonian Talmud (Yevamot 64a-64b) the radical claim is made that Abraham and Sarah were tumtumim, gender non-conforming people. According to our tradition the first human being and the first Jews were gender outlaws. This teaches us that it is those that transgress the apparently rigid lines of Judaism that have caused the tradition to grow.

Rabbi Elliot Kukla, Parashat Vayechi: Beyond Stick Figures

nativepeopleproblems.tumblr.com: “Like look, the first man was intersex. The first Jews were intersex. Fuck people who say religions are transphobic and intersexist when they really mean that western christianity is transphobic and intersexist.”