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essays kaddish in two-part harmony

killing you loudly—a kaddish

This is the sound of me wailing. Again. Kaddish project’s over, but death does not just up and disappear. So. Here we are again. Only this time it’s a bit different. They’re killing you as we speak. They’re cutting you and hacking you. Albeit gently and with reverence. But still. Limb by limb. Loudly with […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony

anything, anything but a mystical experience

So. It’s the end of the semester. Students are giving presentations of the projects they’ve been working on all semester long. Or were supposed to be. I know that some of them had struggled mightily with this. Figuring out what to focus on. Figuring out sources, but not necessarily vigorously. Changing their minds. Procrastinating. I’ve […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony

a mourning mourning morning

At a certain point, I suppose, I just got sick of the whole damned enterprise. And that was the time to step back and write a paper about our process. Which we did. And presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association in Montréal. We just got back. The presentation went really well. […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony Seymour Fromer z"l tzaddik stories

like an addiction, it’s hard to stop—

I can’t quite take the pictures down. Can’t quite stop staring at them. Can’t call it an altar exactly, but I know others do. Others have. And others will.  How do we stop mourning and put the pictures away? And the candles. And the little mementos and ritual objects that surround those photos that remind […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony

a kaddish for qaddafi. of sorts.

I feel like I’m supposed to write a kaddish for Qaddafi.  And I’m having a lot of trouble doing so. What I want to do is defend him somehow.  Say that he’s been maligned for decades. Tell you about the jokes Tunisians (Libya’s neighbors to the west) used to tell about Qaddafi, all the way […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony the rebbe's queer daughters

sephardi pride, ashkenazi arrogance 1.1.9

“Peasants!” the rebbe would mutter under his breath, when his wife Sarah’s customs went too far for his Ashkenazi sensibilities. But of course, her people were not peasants. They were proud of a long and sanctified lineage.  Proud of the language they had retained since the 15th century.  Proud of those they claimed as their […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony the rebbe's queer daughters

avram and the not so barren sarah — 1.1.8

It was not that Sarah was barren—it was more, perhaps, that she had had enormous difficulty holding a child to term.  And those she had lost had all been girls and were not counted by the fathers of her lineage, nor troubled over by the master of her house.  The rebbe retreated to manuscripts and […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony the rebbe's queer daughters

orah, the androgyne — 1.1.7

Malkah, too, however, was not the queerest of them all. There was a fifth daughter that the rebbe had, although that should not be, especially after the fuss of Vavah. Especially after the birth of perfect Malkah. And yet there was one more. And she, needs be, was the mysterious light of the rebbe’s eye, […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony the rebbe's queer daughters

enter Malkah upon the broken stage — 1.1.6

The rebbe’s fourth daughter, as I’m sure you must have guessed, was our Malkah, for what other name could this sweet child possess?  Malkah was now sixteen and obedient (it would seem) albeit in an ethereal sort of way.  She mostly tended the family garden and goats, or ran nimbly up and down the cliff-side […]

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essays kaddish in two-part harmony the rebbe's queer daughters

Vavah steps out into the wicked night — 1.1.5

And so Vavah went out, in day or in night, and that clunker of the rebbe’s car seemed happiest most of all when its engine was revved enthusiastically at night. And when the rebbe’s third daughter escaped her chores and tore out across the gravel drive, her wheels screeched their escape, as they headed off […]