Hold It All

There is Nothing Jewish That Is Alien to Me

Gershom Scholem, On Jews and Judaism in Crisis: Selected Essays
Schocken, 1976

Recently I’ve read works that deal with Jews and Judaism in crisis—those in the Yiddish-speaking world in the first half of the twentieth century. Scholem’s journey was from Germany to Palestine some time before the khurbn. I find the interview and essays in this volume thoroughly stimulating, provocative, and moving. To wit—-

What interested me then was to find a way to the Jewish primary sources. I was not content with reading about things. This has characterized my whole life.
There was not a single observant Jew in my family circle.

Judaism interested me very much, but not the practice of observances.

After four or five years of intensive study I found that it was possible to master Hebrew.

As you know, it isn’t popular to say that Zionism has fascists, too. But I think it does, even in Israel.

A direct nondialectical return to traditional Judaism, is impossible, historically speaking, and even I myself have not accomplished it.

It is noteworthy that the only great Hebrew writer with whom Agnon felt perfectly at ease was the poet Haim Nahman Bialik, who in this respect had the same inclination for creative anthologizing. Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer and Mark Chmiel: Making Use of Wikileaks

According to Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, “[Wikileaks] functions almost like a group of historians of the present. Its institutional mission is to reveal the secret activities of political leaders and, in the process, show the public how states actually function and what they actually do.”

In this Share the Wealth, we will examine one example of what the U.S. government wanted to remain secret but which Wikileaks made available. In so doing, we will consider the nature of civic responsibility and its costs.

Join us
Sunday 24 November
Potluck begins at 6:00
Andrew and I begin sharing at 6:45
At the home of Andrew 4400 Arco Avenue
Forest Park Southeast
Point your GPS to 1077 S. Newstead, 63110
Park on Newstead
House is on SW corner of Newstead and Arco
Enter front door at 4400 Arco

This Weekend in Saint Louis: Colin McLaughlin’s “Jailbird”!

My friend Colin wrote the play! Spread the word.

The Missouri History Museum and Bread and Roses Missouri
presents the premiere of Jailbird, a new play.

In 1920, Eugene Victor Debs ran a campaign for the US presidency- from a federal prison cell. He was imprisoned for his outspoken objection to the violence and chaos of WWI. Debs ended up receiving a million votes, and 100 years later, his revelations on our society, economy, prison system, and the nature of war, are strikingly relevant.

November 15th and 16th at 7pm, and November 17th at 3 pm.

The Sunday performance will be followed by a talk back, “Then and Now,” featuring representatives from The Eugene Debs Foundation and Missouri Jobs With Justice.

Directed by Kathryn Bentley and written by St Louis playwright Colin McLaughlin.

Part of the Bread and Roses Missouri Workers’ Theater Project.

Featuring Shaun Sheley, Hassie Davis, Noah Laster, Summer Baer, Thomasina Clarke, Michael Paplanus, Kenya Hitchens, and Ryan Lawson-Maeske.

This play is presented with support from The Regional Arts Commission, The Missouri Humanities Council, The Missouri History Museum, The Puffin Foundation, and The Eugene Debs Foundation.

Coming December 14th

Share the Wealth with Ale Vazquez.

 

If Obama Apologized for 1 Civilian Drone Victim Every Day, It Would Take Him 3 Years

Thanks to Liz Burkemper, for passing this along.

 

Hard to Believe It’s Been Thirty Years…

And glad to know the Mev Puleo Program is an agent of remembrance.

Three Working Epigraphs for Forthcoming Book

Everybody too intransigent. Everybody too mean.
—Allen Ginsberg

Appreciation is the sacrament.
—Allen Ginsberg

You have to write your own history, nobody’s going to do it for you.
—Allen Ginsberg

 

 

Hedy Epstein

What To Do

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live everyday, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Things Come and Go

From Lionel Trilling‘s library to mine.

What a Joy to Run the World!

When corporate-endowed foundations first made their appearance in the United States, there was a fierce debate about their provenance, legality, and lack of accountability. People suggested that if companies had so much surplus money, they should raise the wages of their workers. (People made these outrageous suggestions in those days, even in America.) The idea of these foundations, so ordinary now, was in fact a leap of the business imagination. Non-tax-paying legal entities with massive resources and an almost unlimited brief—wholly unaccountable, wholly nontransparent— what better way to parlay economic wealth into political, social, and cultural capital, to turn money into power? What better way for usurers to use a minuscule percentage of their profits to run the world? How else would Bill Gates, who admittedly knows a thing or two about computers, find himself designing education, health, and agriculture policies, not just for the US government but for governments all over the world?

Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story

Mumbai