Fall 2014

Less Obvious Paths to Juadaism

Unexpected paths: Beyonce, sex, and gender transitioning can lead deep into Judaism. Outing her “Catholic” family’s secret in a standup routine. What Jewish feet reveal. Wedding dresses sans the wedding. Traveling while Jewish.

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Less-Obvious Paths into Judaism

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Tapestries, Sacred and Profane


I, a weaver since childhood, decided to use this ancient craft to take on the centuries-old tradition of making commentaries on Jewish texts — as well as on the engaging, joyous, and at times difficult aspects of Jewish living. I was born in Oslo in 1955. I moved to Chicago in 1985 and settled in... Read more »



the coffee drifts down these long bronx halls into my young waking nose Wake to coffee my mother says I am too young to drink.O, the future, so far, so aromatic, so dark and hot, like the envied coffee she takes to her lips. What more do I envy about her, my mother whose scent... Read more »

The Lives Under the Stones


Illustration by Hila Peleg To get to the Jewish cemetery, you have to go underground. This is true for the living as well as the dead, although it’s been an eternity since fresh ground was broken here. Space was always at a premium; there are only so many bodies you can pack into two acres.... Read more »

Beyoncé & Moses


A self-styled millennial finds revelation —just like at Mt. Sinai —when a new album drops.

My Jewish Feet


Her feet are flat. And what she thought was familial turns out to be tribal, at least in the minds of anti-Semites. Who knew?

Say Yes to the Dress


Two unmarried sisters (no husbands in sight) make sure their dying dad sees them in their wedding dresses. What happens next requires a hanky. 

“Never Tell Anyone”: A Comedienne Breaks Her Family Taboo


Her stand-up shtick blows her traumatized family’s “Catholic” cover. Fear and fury ensue.

Transitioning & Converting


“G-d damn it.” I was 19 and on the phone with my then-partner. They didn’t want me to be a man. They were sure that I wasn’t one. They’d asked what else I’d been hiding. My desperate professions of love were met with a sighed, “You sure?” Like a good girlfriend, I apologized for causing... Read more »

The Real Meaning Behind Audrey Flack’s Art


Audrey Flack’s intensely illusionist canvases plumb personal and feminist issues replete with complex symbolic iconography. Scholars principally address Flack’s feminist content, in both her paintings, which often probe stereotypes of womanhood, and her sculptures, frequently depicting goddesses and other female figures. Largely ignored is the influence of Flack’s Jewish background on her art, especially her... Read more »

Sex & Judaism


  A middle-aged woman dropped her pants nearby. Then everyone else joined her. We weren’t supposed to be looking at one another; we were supposed to focus on our own “nest,” a small setup where a “stroker” and a “strokee” intertwined bodies for the practice. The women lay on the ground bottomless, legs spread, while... Read more »

Find Your Fergusons


The second highest source of revenue in Ferguson is from traffic tickets. Spend some time in night court. You’ll see that the defendants are almost all black. It is no wonder that our prisons are full of people who are poor and black. Prison is big business here, as it is everywhere.

Jewish While Traveling


A travel writer used to be afraid because she’s female. Now she turns down gigs where her revealing surname and her passport stamps signal danger. 

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