Jewish Currents

Jewish Currents A quarterly magazine of progressive, secular Jewish thought: http://jewishcurrents.org/

Operating as usual

As Arab states normalize relations with Israel, the Palestinian leadership faces a strategic dead end. Mairav Zonszein r...
09/30/2020
Searching for a Strategy

As Arab states normalize relations with Israel, the Palestinian leadership faces a strategic dead end.

Mairav Zonszein reports on how some Palestinian intellectuals and policy analysts are trying to imagine a new way forward.

As Arab states normalize relations with Israel, Palestinians are struggling to build consensus around a new way forward.

"If the coronavirus has taught us that all health is public health—that it is absurd to think of illness or wellness as ...
09/29/2020
The Struggle Begins at Home

"If the coronavirus has taught us that all health is public health—that it is absurd to think of illness or wellness as private concerns—then similarly, all housing must be public housing."

In this Responsa—a group-written editorial—we introduce the Housing issue and call for the decommodificatios of housing.

Reimagining housing as the ground shifts under our feet

We’ve been working hard on our themed issue about Housing for the last few months, and it’s finally, FINALLY here! Subsc...
09/29/2020
Current Issue

We’ve been working hard on our themed issue about Housing for the last few months, and it’s finally, FINALLY here! Subscribe now to get the issue in your mailbox!

We began planning this issue before Covid hit, but the pandemic gave it new urgency. Unsafe housing conditions contribute to the spread of the virus, unhoused people are disproportionately affected, and millions of Americans can’t pay their rent. We hope this issue, which surveys the history of radical alternatives to the commodified housing system and highlights the housing struggles of today, can contribute to ongoing debates about what it will take to build a world where housing is understood as a human right.

In this issue:
• Britta Lokting and Sam Adler-Bell report on how the Hasidic housing crisis in Brooklyn has been pushing people into Upstate New York, and led to the greatest case of federal voter fraud in modern American history.
• Rep. Ilhan Omar lays out why we need Housing for All.
Elisheva Goldberg investigates the mechanism of Israeli land dispossession.
• Los Angeles Tenants Union organizers Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal and Rose Lenehan present the definitive guide on how to organize your building, illustrated by Matt Lubchansky.
• Urban planners Avi Garelick and Andrew Schustek consider the rise and fall of the early 20th-century Jewish communist Coops in the Bronx.
• And much more!

We’ll be gradually putting these articles online over the coming weeks, but to get it all in your mailbox ASAP, subscribe now. Check out the full table of contents here:

Our latest issue -- subscribe now!

Jewish Currents's cover photo
09/29/2020

Jewish Currents's cover photo

Jewish Currents
09/29/2020

Jewish Currents

Palestine advocates who pushed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to withdraw from an event honoring Yitzhak Rabin are helping set...
09/27/2020
The Myth of Rabin the Peacemaker

Palestine advocates who pushed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to withdraw from an event honoring Yitzhak Rabin are helping set the record straight about the Oslo Accords—and Rabin himself.

Analysis from Amjad Iraqi, originally published by +972 Magazine.

The Oslo Accords were not derailed by his death; they achieved exactly what Rabin wanted.

For the latest installment in our Exodus reading series, Isaac Brosilow examines the story of the first Yom Kippur.
09/25/2020
Exodus: Ki Tissa

For the latest installment in our Exodus reading series, Isaac Brosilow examines the story of the first Yom Kippur.

For Jews, divine forgiveness is a hard bargain.

"Earlier this week, it seemed the new year would arrive on winds smelling of picket-line coffee."Jewish Currents fellow ...
09/18/2020
A Strike Against Despair

"Earlier this week, it seemed the new year would arrive on winds smelling of picket-line coffee."

Jewish Currents fellow Miriam Saperstein, an undergrad at the University of Michigan, reflects on the sense of possibility unleashed by the Graduate Employees' Organization 3550 strike.

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a University of Michigan undergrad reflects on the sense of possibility unleashed by the grad student strike.

"I want a strike where we all walk out."A poem by Gioconda Belli, translated by Mark Eisner and introduced by Claire Sch...
09/18/2020
Strike

"I want a strike where we all walk out."

A poem by Gioconda Belli, translated by Mark Eisner and introduced by Claire Schwartz.

“I want a giant strike, / that extends even to love.”

A New Hasidism, a recent two-volume anthology edited by Arthur Green and Ariel Evan Mayse, offers a compelling alternati...
09/17/2020
Shaping the Neo-Hasidic Canon

A New Hasidism, a recent two-volume anthology edited by Arthur Green and Ariel Evan Mayse, offers a compelling alternative to mainstream Jewish spirituality, but fails to fully confront the tradition’s consequences in the world.

A review by Daniel Kraft:

A recent two-volume anthology on Neo-Hasidism offers a compelling alternative to mainstream Jewish spirituality, but fails to fully confront the tradition’s consequences in the world.

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris, who has always toed the AIPAC line on Israel/Palestine, is part of the campaign’...
09/15/2020
Restoring the Bipartisan Consensus

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris, who has always toed the AIPAC line on Israel/Palestine, is part of the campaign’s pitch that polarization can be undone.

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris, who has always toed the AIPAC line on Israel/Palestine, is part of the campaign’s pitch that polarization can be undone.

Five socialists are poised to enter the New York state legislature for the first time in one hundred years.The story of ...
09/11/2020
New York Socialists in the Legislature—and Out

Five socialists are poised to enter the New York state legislature for the first time in one hundred years.

The story of what happened to the last cohort of socialists shows how little it took for defenders of the status quo in both parties to embrace anti-democratic measures when that status quo was challenged.

Five socialists are headed to the New York state legislature. The story of the five socialists elected in 1919 provides a sobering warning.

"If you want to be rooted in any kind of historical tradition, you have to align yourself with the liberating voices wit...
09/10/2020
Depatriarchalizing Judaism

"If you want to be rooted in any kind of historical tradition, you have to align yourself with the liberating voices within the tradition while acknowledging that the horrible stuff is there."

To mark the 30th anniversary of Judith Plaskow’s breakthrough feminist manifesto, Standing Again at Sinai, Contributing Writer Susan Reimer-Torn speaks with the feminist theologian about the struggle for gender equality within normative Judaism.

On the 30th anniversary of her groundbreaking book Standing Again at Sinai, feminist theologian Judith Plaskow discusses the choice to remain within a patriarchal religious framework.

Vincent Bevins's new book, The Jakarta Method, considers the under-discussed history of American anti-communist interven...
09/09/2020
American Anti-Communism Abroad

Vincent Bevins's new book, The Jakarta Method, considers the under-discussed history of American anti-communist intervention in Brazil and Indonesia. Noah Kulwin spoke to Bevins about his research.

"But if you understand their role as just disciplining threats to a hegemonic system, all you really need is a hammer. You can be pretty imprecise if no one’s going to get you in trouble if you mess up, and this is really important to understand the CIA."

Vincent Bevins, author of The Jakarta Method, discusses the legacy of US intervention in Indonesia and Brazil.

"We went through days as if we went through wind-blown gardens. / Blossomed and ripened and practiced at playing with li...
09/04/2020
We went through days . . .

"We went through days as if we went through wind-blown gardens. / Blossomed and ripened and practiced at playing with life and with death."

A poem by Anna Margolin, translated from the Yiddish by Richard Fein and introduced by Poetry Editor Claire Schwartz.

“We went through days as if we went through wind-blown gardens.”

09/03/2020

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: We are seeking ~400 word dispatches from the Black Lives Matter uprising across the country, from cities like Minneapolis, Portland, New York, and Kenosha. The ideal submission combines a vivid description of a moment on the streets—large or small—that resulted in a clearer analysis or understanding of the broader uprising. We are interested in insights related to:

* Leadership and how it’s developing, including the interaction between “professional organizers” and others
* Emerging strategies within the protest movement, and disagreements or conflicts over strategies
* Police violence and behavior; police cooperation with white militias; the presence of guns at protests on the right and left
* Property destruction; what it looks/feels like and what it means
* Spontaneous organization and mutual aid

Selected submissions will be paid. We can publish anonymously. Please send submissions to [email protected].

"This belief that eventually we will win cannot be the reason why we fight for justice. What if we don’t? Fighting for j...
09/03/2020
Inheriting the Impossible

"This belief that eventually we will win cannot be the reason why we fight for justice. What if we don’t? Fighting for justice has to be an everyday, lived condition—because that’s the way I want to live. Passing on the impossible means passing on a willingness to fight, regardless of what the future might bring."

The inaugural Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies at Brown University, Beshara Doumani, speaks with Gabi Kirk about Palestinian social history and the meaning of Palestinian liberation in a justice-centered vision for the world.

Historian Beshara Doumani, who holds the first endowed faculty chair in Palestinian studies at an American university, discusses his work and the shifting campus climate on Palestine.

At a prison in Washington, Covid-19 testing is rare and contact tracing is haphazard, so quarantine can require extra so...
09/01/2020
When Torture is a Health Precaution

At a prison in Washington, Covid-19 testing is rare and contact tracing is haphazard, so quarantine can require extra solitary confinement. It's not supposed to be punishment, but for those locked inside, it certainly feels like it.

Christopher Blackwell tells the story of a fellow prisoner who's been in solitary three times in the last few months:

Across the country, prisons are using solitary confinement as a quarantine measure, at great cost to prisoners.

Organizers of the Not Free to Desist campaign spoke to Rebecca Pierce about their campaign to push Jewish institutions t...
08/27/2020
Beyond Good Intentions

Organizers of the Not Free to Desist campaign spoke to Rebecca Pierce about their campaign to push Jewish institutions to commit to substantive racial justice measures, like ensuring boards, staff, and leadership are filled by 20% people of color.

"Until Jewish institutional leadership reflects the breadth of identities in our population, underrepresented groups within our community will continue to be marginalized. This type of systemic change will require us to look inward and challenge our assumptions about who the Jewish community contains, and how our leadership must serve us."

Organizers of the Not Free to Desist campaign discuss their efforts to push Jewish institutions to embrace anti-racism.

Local Jewish newspapers are struggling to survive in a changing media environment. The Detroit Jewish News brought in mi...
08/25/2020
The Future of Jewish News

Local Jewish newspapers are struggling to survive in a changing media environment. The Detroit Jewish News brought in millennial editor Andrew Lapin in an attempt to revitalize the publication and reach a new generation.

Lapin spoke to Assistant Editor Mari Cohen about the challenges of expanding the paper's reach without provoking the ire of its base.

The new millennial editor of The Detroit Jewish News discusses his plans to revitalize the paper for a new era.

"this is how / the world goes / says the tide / the boat listens"A poem by Ben Purkert, introduced by Claire Schwartz.
08/21/2020
The Only Conversation

"this is how / the world goes / says the tide / the boat listens"

A poem by Ben Purkert, introduced by Claire Schwartz.

“look how the tide / lifts the boat by / consoling it”

Activists feared California would entirely cut Arab American studies from its ethnic studies curriculum after attacks fr...
08/21/2020
California Compromises on Ethnic Studies

Activists feared California would entirely cut Arab American studies from its ethnic studies curriculum after attacks from Israel advocates. Now, the state says just one Arab American studies lesson will remain—with no material on Palestine.

“The reality is that ethnic studies will make people uncomfortable. If it doesn’t make people uncomfortable, it hasn’t done its job.”

Gabi Kirk reports:

Following pressure from Israel-advocacy groups regarding a model ethnic studies curriculum, the state plans to retain some material on Arab Americans while excising references to Palestine.

Israel-advocacy groups are urging Facebook to revise its hate speech policy to accord with the IHRA definition of antise...
08/19/2020
Israel-Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook to Label Criticism of Israel as Hate Speech

Israel-advocacy groups are urging Facebook to revise its hate speech policy to accord with the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which conflates antisemitism and criticism of Israel. The letter the groups signed represents the latest front in the battle to use the IHRA definition to officially exclude criticism of Israel from the bounds of acceptable discourse.

Analysis from Contributing Writer Lara Friedman:

Pressuring social media platforms to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism is the latest strategy to silence critics of Israel.

Any sustainable peace between Israel and its immediate neighbors will still require ending the occupation and resolving ...
08/18/2020
Compassionate Politics Over Compassionate Gestures

Any sustainable peace between Israel and its immediate neighbors will still require ending the occupation and resolving the Palestinian refugee issue, Yaël Mizrahi-Arnaud writes

Any sustainable peace between Israel and its immediate neighbors will still require ending the occupation and resolving the Palestinian refugee issue.

"The temporality of Jewish messianism—and art that evokes it—offers a way to understand a span spent waiting not as wast...
08/14/2020
The Sound of Messianic Time

"The temporality of Jewish messianism—and art that evokes it—offers a way to understand a span spent waiting not as wasted time, but as itself a source of meaning."

Managing Editor Nathan Goldman on Yo La Tengo's new drone album.

Yo La Tengo’s new drone album, released into the formlessness of quarantine, evokes the unfulfilled waiting of Jewish messianism.

Bayla's back—and she's looking for love in all the wrong places.
08/13/2020
Bayla's Affair

Bayla's back—and she's looking for love in all the wrong places.

Looking for love in all the wrong places.

A Jewish Currents emergency staff conversation on "An American Pickle."
08/11/2020
A Pickle-Shaped Void

A Jewish Currents emergency staff conversation on "An American Pickle."

The Jewish Currents editorial staff falls into a vat of brine.

With help from the IDF, the Act.IL app has created a small standing army of pro-Israel trolls. Dan Lark reports:
08/10/2020
Call of Duty

With help from the IDF, the Act.IL app has created a small standing army of pro-Israel trolls. Dan Lark reports:

An app called Act.IL has adapted IDF communications strategy into a massive multiplayer online game.

"It’s high summer and I’m back in the glen / where my arms took first position // in the dance you said I danced alone."...
08/07/2020
Anniversary

"It’s high summer and I’m back in the glen / where my arms took first position // in the dance you said I danced alone."

A poem by Carina del Valle Schorske, introduced by Claire Schwartz.

“I keep quiet // but the wind still stumbles through the psalm // we wrote together.”

Cori Bush's upset victory in a St. Louis congressional primary is a sign that Democratic voters want movement leaders re...
08/05/2020
Cori Bush's Message From the Grassroots

Cori Bush's upset victory in a St. Louis congressional primary is a sign that Democratic voters want movement leaders representing them in Congress, writes Joshua Leifer.

Bush’s victory in a St. Louis congressional primary escalates an insurgency from the Democratic Party’s left wing.

In the newest installment of our Exodus reading series, Pratima Gopalakrishnan takes us from Tetzaveh to contemporary Ke...
08/04/2020
Exodus: Tetzaveh

In the newest installment of our Exodus reading series, Pratima Gopalakrishnan takes us from Tetzaveh to contemporary Kerala to ask: What are sacred objects for? Who owns them?

What are sacred objects for?

"If we want to try to heal the world, then we simultaneously have to be aware of our own grief."From the Spring issue: S...
08/03/2020
Office Hours: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

"If we want to try to heal the world, then we simultaneously have to be aware of our own grief."

From the Spring issue: Sarah Barasch speaks with Rabbi Mordechai Liebling about the relationship between trauma, grief, and activism.

“If we want to heal the world, we have to be aware of our own grief.”

"For me, the decision to draw only from life—and to be candid about the fact that I was doing so—was one formal choice a...
07/31/2020
An Act of Pure Presence

"For me, the decision to draw only from life—and to be candid about the fact that I was doing so—was one formal choice among many."

Joshua Cohen speaks with Justin Taylor about his new memoir, Riding with the Ghost.

Justin Taylor discusses his new memoir, writing about his father, and depression as a failure of narrative.

The Republican Party in the era of Trump has become the party of the Israeli settler right, and Florida Governor Ron DeS...
07/30/2020
The Settlers’ Man in Florida

The Republican Party in the era of Trump has become the party of the Israeli settler right, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis its most devoted champion. Alex Kane reports:

The Republican Party in the era of Trump has become the party of the Israeli settler right, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis its most devoted champion.

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Dear editors, contributors, and readers of Jewish Currents, Has Jewish Currents endorsed Joe Biden for the upcoming general elections? If not, why not? Surely there is no question that Donald Trump has all the qualities of and the urgent desire to be a dictator. Surely there is no question that Donald Trump welcomes violence towards towards women, people of color, immigrants, and anyone who confronts his personal interests or view. Surely there is no question that he is incompetent, impaired, and capricious, and therefore a real and present danger to the entire world given his personal control of America's nuclear arsenal. If you, the publisher and editors of Jewish Currents have not endorsed Biden and are unwilling or unable to do so, I ask that you please publish a cogent explanation and then invite responses. Best - Don Krieger Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Need more volume
Send me sub please.
JUST AS I SUSPECTED, THIS IS ALL EXPLAINED BY THE TAPES PROCURED BY GHISLAINE MAXWELL "The sovereign absolute monarchy is a federation of seven emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. " "Jeffrey Epstein allegedly bought a second private island in the Caribbean using an unaware Dubai businessman as a front man to disguise his identity, The Miami Herald has reported. Great Saint James, a 165-acre island in the United States Virgin Islands that neighbors Epstein’s “pedophile island” Small Saint James, was sold for $22.5 million to an offshore company, Great St. Jim LLC, in 2016. According to the newspaper report, the late financier secretly acquired the island after registering the company under the name of Dubai businessman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. Sultan Ahmed Bin SulayemSultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem DP WORLD Sulayem, the chairman of port operator DP World, was allegedly unaware of the purchase. The latter told the Herald that Epstein had asked to use his name in an unspecified business but that he never gave his consent. Epstein appeared to have conducted the purchase regardless." From Wikipedia: "Since the 1980s, Bin Sulayem has been one of the most prominent businessmen in Dubai, with a string of government-linked ventures. In addition to chairing Dubai World he helped found Nakheel, one of the UAE's largest property developers and Istithmar, a major investment holding company in Dubai. Both companies are Dubai World subsidiaries."
Support Jewish Currents! Excellent Progressive Journalism and Activism
Finally, a book has come out that all Jewish People must read. It explains that neither Jewish or any man had anything to do with Jesus's Death. Also explain what happened to Jesus when he went against God's wishes and went upon the mountain with Satan. DO YOU KNOW WHY? Why Did Jesus say… Pick Up the Serpent and Drink All Deadly Things? Why did Jesus tell the rich man… To see Heaven, you must obey the Ten Commandments and give to the Needy, yet preachers tell you that you are forgiven for your sins? Why did Jesus say… Don’t call me Good Master for there is none good but God. but later said I am the way and the light, and you can only get to Heaven through me? If Jesus is God why when he was on the cross, cry out God, God, why have you forsaken me? If Jesus was dying for our sins (which the Bible never said so) then why would he say God forsaken him? A God can move mountains and hold back seas, why was Jesus not able to remove a small nail from his hand. How did Mary walk right pass Jesus and not notice him? Why did his disciples go up to him and ask Stranger, have you seen Jesus? What really happened to Jesus when he went up on the mountain with Satan? There are many questions about the Bible and finally there is a book that explains all. “ I LOVE GOD by Gregory St. James Mundy”
I just read your article on how to give yourself and abortion. Kudos to you for publishing it. I also appreciate your stance on Birthright and Israel in general.
Exactly what do you have against suspicious socialists? - Jon Billet- 132 Chatsworth Ave. 2b Larchmont, NY 10538. [email protected]. Why won't you allow me to submit material?
Jesus said.. Many shall come in my name and they shall deceive you, was he talking about Christian preachers?
In which I am possibly about to have my head handed to me on a plate, and today I actually don't care: Last week, reports of Palestinians being attacked and displaced from their homes by Israeli soldiers warranted outrage from the hard left, and nothing from strong pro-Israel voices on my FB feed. Today, rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel have so far elicited outrage from the hard right and crickets from my contacts on the hard left. The only messages I'm getting from either side is that I must choose a side. In those messages, I read the idea that some people are more human, therefore more deserving, than others. If we do not see both acts of violence as equally tragic, if we are not saddened and outraged by attacks on PEOPLE of both -- ALL -- sides, then we are lost as a civilization.