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.”