eumelia: (Default)
I am thinking of Passover. What it means to be passed over. I don’t want to go biblical or theological, because that isn’t what matters to me. That isn’t what I want to talk about.

I will not be talking politics at the Seder tonight, I will be passing over the opportunity to make this Holiday about the present and the future, and our collusion with the persecution of the Strangers among us, as opposed to trudging our history of persecution and being Strangers in strange lands.

I will not be talking social justice at the Seder tonight. America loves its oranges and olives on the Seder plate, but I am the orange on the Seder plate, my life is passed over for I am single and have a cat for company; we are surrounded by olive groves, pulled out and burnt by those who are supposed to be members of my tribe, but who are so far removed from me and my sense of humanity I can barely consider them members of my species.

I will not be inserting any speech or letter at the Seder tonight, it will be straight forward and on until morning, I will eat the bitter herbs and sip the salty water and drink the sweet wine, keeping my mouth occupied, occupied against talking about the fact that we are not free.

I am not at liberty to speak.

Cross-post: Tumblr
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
It's Erev Pesach (Passover Eve, for you my most beloved gentile readers) and with it come all my feelings of self doubt, waning self worth and over all loneliness.

I thought I'd be used to it by now. But alas, it is the same with every major Holiday that includes a long meal and adherence to a thousand year old tradition. Tradition that has changed many times over, but for this queer lady feels as suffocating as the dust storms that come with the season.

In America there's a cute tradition that is kind of mocked here. Adding an orange to the Seder plate to be inclusive of the LGBT people of the Jewish tribe. As you can read from the column it's been misinterpreted regarding the inclusion of women.

Which in Israel should be a thing when you consider the fact that Jewish women cannot practice freedom of religion.

But I digress, as it had not been my intention to talk about the broader politics of the holiday also known as the holiday of freedom and liberation.

I have to practice the age old tradition foisted on Jewish women known as Shalom Bayit, meaning "Peace in the Home". It is usually talked about married life and the onus of the wife to make sure the marriage is sustained and kept stable, no matter what.

Don't rock of the boat.

I've come to despise the word peace. It is of no value and meaning to me. There's a phenomenon that happens when you read or hear a word repeated over and over again in different contexts and it reaches a degree of saturation that makes you sick of it.

It's called semantic satiation. I am sick of peace.

I recently read Sarah Schulman's book Israel/Palestine and the Queer International, which I whole heartedly recommend, as I would anything by Sarah. None of the material is new to me, but the framing is fascinating and poignant and shows the degrees of separation between the facts on the ground when it comes to the Occupation and the way the average Israeli (and those who hear only Israeli facts) perceives the "situation".

Israelis for years have been calling the systemic oppression and annexation of land the "Situation". As though it is temporary. As though it is something outside our control.

As I read the chronicle of Sarah's journey from ignorant American Jew to Palestine solidarity activist my heart felt heavier and heavier.

One of the feminist and lesbian activists that Sarah quotes in the book is asked by an Israeli man, "But how will there be peace?"

She replied rather poignantly, "I don't want peace, I want freedom and justice."

I can safely that I don't want peace either and feel as light as a feather.

Tumblr crossover
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
Trigger Warnings: Genocide, sexualised violence, and rape.


It being International Woman's Day, I figured I'd talk about the Holocaust.

In case you didn't know, it's more shocking that ever thought. You'd think it was impossible for the Holocaust to be an even more terrible moment in history than it already is perceived and conceived to be.

The New York Times story states:
Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
[...]
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

Emphasis mine.

I have to say when I read this, I felt sick. I was honestly shocked. The Holocaust is a piece of history I've taken the time to learn about - entire branches of my family tree were eradicated during the second world war - and much of my knowledge came from what I'd been spoon fed by the education system of my country.

You're probably asking yourselves why I'm talking about this on International Woman's Day.

If you continue reading you'll reach this little factoid:
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Emphasis mine.

Why is The New York Times disinclined to call rape, what it is? I think the idea of rape as a war crime is still something that mainstream media is reluctant to talk about, because rape is sadly ubiquitous in "times of peace".

More to the point, the way rape is perpetrated during war and upon an occupied population is very often misrepresented and downplayed, often because rape, during war, is "expected". It is a risk of war, much like bullets and bombs. If you are a woman in a war zone, you should prepare for the enemy to use their weapons upon you.

"This is my weapon, this is my gun."

My point is that that little titbit is all that was said about the "special treatment" of women during the Holocaust. There is a great deal we do not know about the difference women and men experience war and how acts of war are perpetrated on their bodies.

More often than not, women are not counted as people, but as spoils. Hence the creation of special brothel camps.

Women Under Siege's report to the new findings gives a good overview when it comes to how much more needs to be done in order for justice to really be done.

Rape and genocide go hand in hand. Rape and war go hand in hand. But for some reason, they're not always counted as crimes against humanity.

Tumblr crosspost
eumelia: (Default)
I’m listening to the soundtrack of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, and the track of Misty Mountains reminds me of the dirges sung on Yom Kippur in synagogue.

All the voices merging together in grief and memory.



Tumblr Crosspost
eumelia: (Default)
Brilliant movie, it was like coming home after a decade, especially seeing as I went to see it with my brother who forced me to read the books back in the day.

I saw the "Lord of the Rings" back in the day and loved them too.

Though unlike LotR, the Hobbit was like watching a Viking mash-up of the book of Exodus and the Seder Hadaga (as I mentioned on tumblr), the Jewish metaphor was strong.

I'll be seeing it again in a few weeks.

I highly recommend it.

Yeah, I know, usually I have more to say about this sort of thing, but I feel like a proper review will have to wait for next year, because then I'll see how it ends.
eumelia: (a face)
Still home sick, so before I lose myself in tumblr and twitter and everything else "Hawaii Five-0" here is my meta reaction!

Spoilers!!! )
eumelia: (flog it)
How is it Friday already? Time rushed by this week, but also not, it felt very very long and I don't really know why.

It was kind of a crummy week at work, I felt my boss' disappointment in me, but I hope I made up for it by working extra hard yesterday.

Still, I don't really want to care all that much about work, it's not the thing that gives me meaning in life, though I do spend the majority of my life in that office, and it helps when you do enjoy it.

Which I am. A lot. I also like the majority of my co-workers, but argh... it was a crummy week.

Unaided, maybe, by the fact that I really did my best to do as much editing as I could on the fic for [community profile] fannish_advent/[livejournal.com profile] fannish_advent tomorrow and only finished it, like, minutes ago.

It's now with the beta again. My stories still need another once over before I feel confident to let the public see them.

It's really all about you, people.

As usual, on weeks where work consumes me as well as writing projects (of which I don't have that many much to the dismay of ideas banging at my brain) time seems to slip though fingers.

Add to that that tomorrow I've got a family Hanukkah gathering, because you know, it's a holiday and we love the holidays that includes scarfing on fried food, lighting fires (candles, but same-same) and getting chocolate money. I don't begrudge the fact that I've got my family around this week, but it's like I never have time to myself.

Except today where I spent all my time drinking coffee, eating chocolate and cheese, and flailing at my fic.

That was my day. And my week. Same all when you think about it.

I'm so glad it's been boring for me (don't ask me about local politics).

Tumblr crosspost
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
So the last time I wrote something here was last Friday.

Well, damn, I'm losing sight of this blogging thing! I used to be prolific, I used to be interesting, I used to be able to strong words and shove them out into the universe with little to no thought.

Glad those days are over!

That was only sarcastic to a certain extent. I'm way behind on my metas for H50, because I totally over estimated my ability to watch and then write cohesively about things. I'm still going to try and churn them out before September 24th, but it's gonna be hard work.

Add to that my general procrastination when it comes writing, not only because that is how I roll, but also because I'm so tired all the time. I'm happy with my job, especially because I'm getting better all the time, but well, it's time consuming and I don't actually have time to write on my breaks.

I'm lucky to have time to read on my breaks. Generally, I'm too sociable during work, so I end up having lunch with co-worker.

Goddamn fucking normality.

Especially when one of my co-workers pissed me off like you wouldn't believe. I'm honestly not sure why I even bother to take this shit to heart any more. There's only so much rage you can have towards people who are racist, but think they're not.

I get the appeal of the majority, believe me, I do. I have a whole lot of privilege in my life, I'd still rather not live in a country that's crumbling and hates every single one of us that doesn't align itself the paranoid schizoid behaviour of the neo-liberal war warmongering government.

There's also the issue that when you try and talk about social justice in the context of Palestinians, terror will always be brought up, because they're all terrorists and they're all out to kill the Jews, which... augh... I don't even know how to tackle that - because okay, I know people who died during the time that there were huge amounts of suicide bombing, my father was nearly shot in his store and my ex-girlfriend was in the range of missiles back in 2009.

That still doesn't mean we're on equal ground, or that we have any right to occupy their land, or that their human rights are forfeit, and I'm just sick of trying to keep humanising the situation to people who don't consider other people human.

The thing that my co-worker (with whom I had the political argument over lunch) is that she kept saying that things were bad "for the Jews" in other countries. Well, that's nice, what does that have to do with the fact that "the Jews" in Israel are racist and treat non-Jews (and Jews that look like African asylum seekers) like shit?

Not to mention about this crap of feeling a connection to the land? What? What is they metaphysical brain washing people have about "the land"? The land doesn't belong to us because it "feels" like it does!

Manifest Destiny Hebrew Style.

Er, yes, I think I'll go watch another episode of H50 and write that meta, shall I?
eumelia: (diese religione)
I was going through tags today, specifically the "spiritual" and "that religion thing" ones.

Because I've been thinking about religion a lot lately.

I was surprised to discover I was still writing about belief in 2010 and actively searching for a an active way of believing in 2008.

I had almost forgotten why I was doing that.

But I remember and I know why, because I am nothing if not overly critical of myself when I think I've been stupid.

Feeling small and insignificant is not a good feeling. Nobody likes it when your life in filled with circumstances and events over which you have little to no control.

Until I was in about 20 years old, I played around with neo-paganism and witchcraft, you all can blame Willow Rosenberg (of Buffy) for that one. My own journey into adulthood was a little too similar to Willow's, but that's a post for another day.

And for a time, looking back at my teenaged years, it was a small rebellion, I think, because I grew up in a secular household and through paganism I could get in touch with the gods and goddesses I preferred.

I think I could qualify the years between 15 and 20, the years I took mythology a little bit too seriously. I learned a lot, but there was a lot of unlearning as well, which is why I don't really regret that phase.

When I was 21 that changed, because I was traumatised and I wasn't getting the support I needed from the people I thought I would be getting it. This is a group of people I was performing magic with, or at least, I allowed myself to think I was - looking back, I had a great need for approval and camaraderie.

During the second Lebanon war I attended an evening with a bunch of New Agers, and we raised energy in the name of something or other in order to keep everyone safe and to make sure that the world wouldn't be scarred by the violence.

Bullshit, of course. I honestly can't remember if the man I helped blow up on the screens happened before or after than evening, but it was probably around that time that it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.

That was the summer of 2006. By the time I had started Uni in 2007, I had a lost a lot of friends over the fact that I was no longer who I used to be.

I honestly can't remember what my thoughts were with regards to divinity or deity, or anything like that, I'm pretty sure that I was clinging to the last vestiges that there might be something bigger, that there might be a scheme to all the crap.

But there isn't and like many others who turn to god, I was looking for comfort.

I'm a little too practical now a days, to turn to fairy tales for that.

There is something sad and poignant in letting go of the old thought processes, that's probably why it took almost four years for me to reach the real conclusion that I have no soul and that there is no god.

That the god in the book of my people as real as the gods in the Odyssey. The ethical bankruptcy that comes from all these fairy tales, once I realised it, made me reject the whole damn thing.

You can't cherry pick the good, any more than you can cherry pick the bad.

I was raised with religion, but not religious. I fully acknowledge that I was raised without a belief in god, but with a huge indoctrination of Jewish identity and sense of persecution for that identity.

It's really easy for me to be a Jewish atheist, but that's just me, because I've gone through a process of letting go. Being Jewish is belonging to a tribe, the way other religions aren't really about, I think that makes the difference.

The Religion Bundle #1

Old News

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:08 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Despite focusing lately on things not relating to the occupation in a direct manner, I still access the media and am as big a News junkie as ever.

As some of you may or may not know, today is Land Day, which is a commemorative day marking the strikes and protests Palestinians held in 1967 after the state (Israel) appropriated privately held Palestinian land. Thousands of dunams were basically stolen from under the owners feet.

This appropriation is still happening today, obviously.

But Land Day is a big event and such there are more demonstrators and many more wounded.

It's been a while since I've been involved in anti-occupation politics as I am focusing on more organised LGBT activism and, well, my life, but I don't think one can really separate the issues, as they colour every fraction of my life one way or another.

For instance, what does it mean that Israel cut ties with the UN Human Rights Commission, because they dared open up a probe regarding the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Apropos land appropriation. If I cared one whit about Israel's image I'd say we shoot ourselves in the foot, but seriously, we commit flagrant human rights violations every day, all the time. I can't say I'm surprised the foreign ministry started talking about Al-Qaeda (your guess is as good as mine as to why) and about how it's the Palestinian Authority committing - wait for it - diplomatic terrorism on Israel.

Because the state terrorism Israel commits on a regular basis is really not a part of the discourse.

Speaking of state sanctioned terror, and another reason why the IDF is a hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution of the worst kind?

(Trigger Warning: Rape Culture, Encouragement Of Rape, Overt Racism): IDF Colonel-Rabbi implies Rape is Permitted in War.

If you read the body of the text (heed the trigger warnings, my god!) you will see that when they write "imply", they actually mean "clearly states" that raping female prisoners is not only permitted, but actually encouraged!

...even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge...


As the author of the article writes, this is the face of the IDF of 2012.

The fact that this kind of religious doctrine is actually published by the IDF is telling. Mainly, they they really can't see anything beyond their weeping national erection.

Despite the above, or possibly because of the above, I must mention Adrienne Rich's passing.

Her writing has been an inspiration to me for many years, both her poetry and essays - all of which have been a great aid to me when it came to my own feminism, even if I didn't agree with everything she had to say (her gender essentialism was and is notorious, despite the way she leveraged it so beautifully in the political and theoretical spheres).

She was also a Jewish woman who spoke out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of BDS, which, you know, is special.

She also spoke of the role and the responsibility of the poet, the writer, the artist to be political and proactive and not shy away from social justice in their work.

Someone is Writing a Poem
...But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an “I” can become a “we” without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers...


May her memory be blessed.
eumelia: (cahoots)
As [livejournal.com profile] etrangere said in someone else's post about this subject: "ironic icon is ironic" with regards to the icon adorning this post.

Making the rounds in the X-Men:First Class fandom is a fanart with the captions:
Charles as a British Airborne Medic
Erik as a German SS Officer [...]


Uh, yeah.

You can view the fanart and the artist's explanation as to their motivation in drawing it here.
ETA: Unsurprisingly, the artist has locked their post. Screenshot, because this shit should not be covered up.

ETA: Reading this person's replies to some of the critical comments on their work makes it clear that they have no idea that what they did was problematic. So, if you're going to read the comments, be prepared for more fail.

In the post the artist goes on to say that when they posted the fanart on tumblr they were butchered in the comments, and that if anyone hates the idea of Erik in an SS Officer uniform we should assume that he's undercover.
(Emphasis mine)

Well, thanks for clearing that up! That makes the entire thing absolutely okay and not questionable at all!

Ahem.

Look, the whole thing is in bad taste, for a variety of reasons. For me, the idea of putting a Jewish man in a Nazi uniform and telling anyone who may be offended by it to pretend he's a not actually a Nazi, is grossly insensitive.

There is a history, it's dark and fucked up, it has an aftermath that is hardly spoken outside of Europe and outside of specific communities that may or may not have remained in Europe after the second world war.

What the artist does in their post is an attempt to cover their own ass. They knew, very well, that they were posting a contentious piece of work, which, once posted is open to criticism and the aforementioned contention.

I don't want to pretend that Erik is in an SS Officer's uniform for "good reason". There is, in fact, no "good" reason. No matter how you construe the scenario, Erik in a Nazi uniform is a fucked up notion. No matter what "AU" you imagine that creates a sequence of events which leads to the logical conclusion of Erik wearing a Nazi uniform, it is still a reflection of a history and a reality that happened.

The fetishising of Nazism is a kink which can (ETA: with a great many disclaims and qualifications, if you ask me) be filed under "your kink is not my kink and that's okay". There is still a social and historical context which is open for discussion when fanworks start dabbling in this history which still affects me as a gay Jewish person to a degree that is at times hard to describe.

Not to mention that this dabbling shows how much disregard they have for the subject, the history and the people who are still affected by the fact that the second world war's ramifications are still felt throughout the world.
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's probably significant that I'm writing a navel gazing religion thing post-Days of Awe and Yom Kippur, which this year failed to move me as in previous cycles.

It may have to do with the fact that my outside world stress exacerbated my inner world stress. I'll (very very probably, but nothing is signed yet and until then I'm not willing to say live or die) move out by the end of the month. It's going to be the first time living outside of my parents house other then those six months in the US where I lived with my sisters (and had zero expenses).

I don't have a job lined up yet and university is starting... about the same time I'm setting up shop with my room mate (thank god for her, I don't think I would have managed to do anything if it wasn't for her holding my hand throughout this whole thing).

Add to that a "mild" brain meltdown and it's been fucking peachy.

What's all that got to do with religion? Nothing, really, but it seems a good opportunity to talk about things.

Those of you who read me on a regular basis know that I'm atheist, but I also that being Jewish is an important part of my identity. It's a cultural thing, a history thing... a people thing.

Due to the aforementioned life changes I can't say I felt the liturgy flow over me like it usually does. Not even the best Cantor on earth (the only reason I emerge once a year for Yom Kippur to go to shul - Bar/Bat Mitvahs and baby namings don't count) got me feeling that sense of belonging and history I usually feel on Yom Kippur when I stand with the rest of my family and listen to the whole congregation sing the dirge about removing the promises and vows we made the previous year.

Maybe it was due to being stressed about the fact that I'm a sleep away from sighing a binding contract, or that I'm going heading on an entirely new path, one I was not utterly convinced I was going to be on this year.

I've mentioned the brain meltdown, yes?

Not to mention the fact that politically speaking being Jewish puts me squarely in the bad guy's shoes this time around, what with Muslim and Christian graves desecrated over the holy day weekend.

I'm sure "G-d" approved of that bullshit.

So yeah, my "people".

Not feeling the connection that much lately.

Then again, in a new development The courts approve the registration of "no religion" for author Yoram Kaniuk, which would be grand, if religion was actually stated on our ID cards as "religion". It's not, it is stated under nationality - oh, didn't you know that there's no such thing as an "Israeli" nationality. I think if there was, or if there had been, it would have solved a whole lot of things.

But you know, Jewish demographic panic and all that.

I'm bothered that this is what my Judaism is reduced to, and that it's controlled by a Rabbinical court that, well, hates the idea of me.

Ironically, my Jewishness if far more diaspora like than ever, and me? I was born here and I don't really want to leave - despite the fact that some of my closest friends are telling me to join them when they leave.

*clings*
eumelia: (diese religione)


I am Jewish today!

I was Jewish yesterday too, and I'll continue to be Jewish... forever, I guess.

I'm going to leave the Jewish navel gazing for the Days of Awe, when that's supposed to happen.

For now, to all who celebrate have a good evening and a happy new year, to all those who don't, a good Wednesday to you!

If you find a nice Jewish family that will take you in and feed you, do so! We make awesome food. Also, there's wine, honey and apple crumble/pie most of the time.

Enjoy a video, different from years past:


A big thank you to my BFF for introdusing me to these videos, they are amazing and moving. Check the rest out over at Symphony of Science.
eumelia: (Default)
That's what I see when I encounter a 100x100 icon of Erik's tattoo.

What tattoo?

The tattoo on his forearm, that was stamped (with needles and ink) on him when he and his family were sent to a concentration camp from a ghetto.

I know screen caps create the illusion of having no context. But the movie uses its first twenty minutes to ensure that we know that Erik has not forgiven the Nazis (human and not) for what they did to him and his family.

I mention this, because I feel it needs to be said that the Nazis marked people entering the camp (Jewish and not) as a way to keep them demoralised, without control and, I'll say it again, dehumanised.

An icon of that number, is a fetish of the aforementioned dehumanisation. What we are seeing on screen happened, in history, in real life, to millions of people.

Erik is fictional, what happened to him is not.

The number tattoo, being reduced to a number, actually happened.

People who went through and survived are still alive.

It is inappropriate to use that number on an icon as a way to present the character is an objectified manner and yes, that is what icons do and that is what they are for.

When we see Erik's tattoo, which is exactly twice, it is in the context of bringing down Nazis, because it is evidence to what was done to him, to Jews, to Gypsies, to homosexual men and women, to anyone the Nazis deemed subhuman and sent to die in a camp designed to kill.

That is what that number means.
eumelia: (diese religione)
My dear New York siblings, congratulations, it's about fucking time.

My own misgivings about using marriage as a strategy, we shouldn't be treated as second class citizens, the ability to marry is one way to assert humanity on paper.

Big hugs!

Tangential to this, I was driving with my father this afternoon. He's buying a laptop for himself and he took me along as the most tech-savvy person living at home at the moment.

Which is saying something. But hey, I can read commercial laptop specs and make sure no one's pulling the wool over the eyes of an older man who's command of Hebrew frustrates him.

On the way, we started talking about Amy Winehouse and he mentioned that she was Jewish, I said "yep, I know."

And he said, "Not that it's in any way relevant."

I replied saying that I think it is important to have that sort of thing known, because Judaism is more than just a religion and he asked if I'd want to have "Jewish" mentioned as part of my biography.

I said that it should be mentioned somewhere, but not like "Melody [Pond], Jewish". I'd much rather have "Feminist" or "Queer".

I asked him, "Isn't being Jewish important to you? You immigrated here because of that."

To which he grimaced and said: "I hate what the religious have done to this country, it makes me resent the religion."

It made me think, that I must have really freaked my parents out when I was going through my exploration of Neopaganism, which came and went quite a bit for the better part of a decade, but which was laid to rest at some point a couple of years ago, and during my emotional break down after the Second Lebanon War, during which I thought I should get closer to... well... something, G-d seemed like a good choice.

I replied to him, regarding his resentment, that being Jewish is more than religion, it's a history and a sense of connection and the whole spiel.

Regardless, he said unfortunately religion was the reason Israel existed, which I refuted in a way he found both amusing and horrifying, most likely. But that's what happens when Godwin is invoked.

He said religion was one of the biggest disaster to ever happen to humanity.

And I said, "At least I come by my atheism honestly."

And he asked, out of nowhere, "And your heterosexuality?"

I gave him a side-eye, "I come by my non-heterosexuality honestly, too,"

To which he laughed and said I should start dating again, because he wants me to be happy and that he and my Mom reacted badly to my relationship at the time (no shit, Sherlock).

It was gratifying to hear him say, though the timing was slightly bizarre.

Then again, the car is the time to have a heart to heart. No one can escape.

How was your Sunday?!
eumelia: (bollocks)
You know something, coming from a country in which the vast majority of men are circumcised, the whole debate seems a bit incongruous, but I understand and am personally in the opinion that male circumcision is an unnecessary procedure and would encourage parents to really think about whether this something they want to inflict on their male child.

I still don't think that people who do end up circumcising their male child are morally reprehensible, or that the baby is in real danger from such a procedure - any more than any other complication that can happen from a modern medical procedure.

It is a tradition I think is passée, but I understand why Jewish people feel it is a necessary one.

However, when intactivists chose to vilify a religious tradition be resorting to Antisemitic rhetoric and imagery I can't say I feel too compelled to root for your cause.

Because seriously, what is this shit?

An evilly grinning Jewish man in "traditional" Jewish markers of a Talit and a Shtreimel? A mohel (the guy who does the cutting) covered in blood? And an Aryan looking man defending the poor defenceless mother and baby from the Evil Jews out to main the baby?

California activists, this is a summary fuck you from a Jewish grrl who finds your tactics more than nauseating. I don't usually side with the Anti-Defamation League, but in this case they are not wrong.

And if anyone tries to compare male circumcision to female genital mutilation, know that you are only showing your ass and that comment will be frozen and you yourself may be banned from commenting on this journal.
eumelia: (bamf)
Image heavy post ahead!

I'm going to be away this weekend, due to going on vacation with a few friends.

My brother took pictures of the Seder that took place at my Aunt and Uncle (we were about 30 people) and it went much better than expected. Despite the songs my sister and I felt were completely unnecessary considering all the children in the house understand Hebrew and it just made things longer.

As mentioned in a previous post, our Passover is quite traditional, however this year my cousin decided to make it an interactive (hence the unnecessary songs, some of which were okay, I admit) and very nearly skipped over parts of the Haggadah that were specifically asked to be read (which annoyed me).

The real reason I'm making this post was to show you pictures!

First, The Seder Plate )

As you can see, the extra additions of Orange and Olive were added, I was actually a bit moved to see the additions, but the story of the Orange wasn't told to completion and only the story of women taking active part in Jewish religious life, rather than inclusion of Queers in Jewish culture (seeing as we're huge). And the Olive was spoken about in general terms of peace among the people, rather than, you know, an end to the Occupation.

Hopefully, by the time I can MC a Seder, the Olive will be symbolic of peace, rather than freedom from oppression.

Here's a pic of almost The Entire Table )

30 people, no joke!

And now, the moment some of you have been waiting for! Pictures of ME )
That's what I looked like Seder evening. That's the dress I bought a few weeks ago if you peeps recall (DW post) and it was its first time out in public.
Hells yes!

This is Me Reading Emma Goldman )
My cousin asked us to provide thoughts and other things to add to the Seder and I decided I would read (a heavily edited, alas) an essay by Emma Goldman about Suffrage. You can read the original from 1917 here.

And one more of Me looking Pretty )

That's all folks!
eumelia: (bamf)
Passover/Pesach is, as most "holy"days are to me, a time of reflection. Being as this "holy"day is about liberty and freedom from bondage and remembering those who came before us to tell the tale of that exodus from slavery to freedom, I thought it would be an opportune time to write about the oppression I place on myself, how conscientious I am regarding this oppression and how more often than not, trying to break free of it, makes it that much more visible and stark.

However, that which you can see, you can fight against.

As regular readers know, I have been growing out my body hair.

For the first time ever, I have hair under my arms, even before I had proper growth at around 13 or so, I was taught to shave it off. I have trouble recalling whether I asked my mother to teach me or if she told me it was time, but I remember standing naked in the shower really freaking out at the notion of putting a blade to my skin.

(I have never shaved any other body part, the razors really scare me and I scar easily, so I avoided it when it came to body hair removal)

The other day I wore a tank top for the first time this year (it is freakishly hot!) and I did my best not to raise my arms past a certain level so as not to attract attention. When I was with a bunch of friends I did my best to not think about the fact that I have OMG!hair under my arms and what would you know, not a one said anything.

Whew.

Today, I'm wearing shorts for the first time this year (did I mention it's hot! It's no wonder we're all mad here) and my mother exclaimed:
"Oh my god, your legs!"
I tried to be as nonchalant as possible and said "What about them?"
"Have you seen what they look like?"
No Mum, I hadn't noticed I hadn't been removing the hair from there on a regular basis. *eye roll*, sheesh, no credit what-so-ever.
She asked me if I'm planning on going "that way" all the time now. I said it was an experiment, which it is, when I have to make a concious decision about doing something my body does when one doesn't interfere with it, then yeah, I'm experimenting with the way I am presenting my body to the world.

I would not be lying when I said my heart hammered in my chest. More than anyone my mother, she who taught me all the rules of hair maintenance, removal and societal approval, is the one I can rely on trying to explicitly shame me into getting "back in line", out of love.

Because it is out of love, I forgive her for it and feel I can try and have a rational discussion about the issue.

So I mentioned the fact that one of my classes is about the politics of the Beauty Myth and I want to be able have the "choice" (whatever that means) of removing the hair from my body.
She said it was part of basic hygiene.
"Nonsense," I said, "if it were part of basic hygiene, men would have been shaving their hair along with us for years".
Then we had a short discussion regarding hairlessness in women and art in history.

So that was all right, and she said she known she's criticising and I said "thanks, I appreciate it, but now you've said it, so move on".

All this is to say that I have issues with hair. The hair on my head, the hair on my body and even with all this conscientious growing of hair, I still shaped my eye brows and plucked the barely there moustache.

I think I'm taking steps in the right direction. But summer here is brutal and taking advantage of the privilege of being able to remove hair and wear short dresses may be something I'll take advantage of.

Having a choice is part of being free. And this may be small potatoes compared to being under siege and curfew, being forced to stay in the closet and being treated as a lesser person due to the colour of your skin or the ideas in your head.
But it's something.

And I'm happy to be hairy around the Seder table.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I love Passover/Pesach.

I was practising reading a portion of the Haggadah with my father this afternoon and I commented, as I've done for years now, how skewed it is when it comes to gender (as in women are not mentioned even once in it) and the new finagled traditions that my American siblings of the feminist and queer variety have tried to instil (the Orange and Miriam's Cup) just do not fit in the Israeli culture, not even alternative culture (Fruit isn't a pun in Hebrew and water isn't an alcoholic beverage and thus has no significance).

I'm going to try and read something extra during the evening, to show that we aren't all free as of yet and just as we remember our bondage of past, we have to remember the bondage of present.

This is especially pertinent, because there are two things we say during the Seder that really cut through me.
"Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not" and Next year in Jerusalem, both recited at the end of the Hagadah.

I was chatting to a friend and mentioned that as an Israeli I'm conditioned to *SMASH* things I don't like. As an individual I mainly shout and judge things without apology.

It is, however, a symptom my locale.

An interpretation of "Next year in Jerusalem" for me, is protection from persecution and antisemitism. Knowing that my family are immigrants to a country designed and designated as a the Jewish Homeland. The historical and political issues and realities aside for the moment, one the things this has always meant in my understanding, that Jews in Israel are safe from persecution on account of our Judaism.

Well, if you're not the right kind of Jewish (i.e. Orthodox of a certain kind) your persecution is guaranteed.
It's one thing not to be completely understood (why I as an atheist goes to shul once a year and light Shabbat candles with my mom every Friday night), it's quite another to have your synagogue vandalised.
There is no doubt, that the Reform shul was vandalised by other Jews, seeing as it was spray painted with Hebrew words saying: "It's Begun" and was signed with a Star of David.
This is the third time this specific shul was targeted. Earlier this year, the shul my family attends, which is Conservative, was also vandalised and spray painted with "Live the People" which is fucking creepy.

But hey, we're the Jewish homeland.

The land of freedom.

If you're Jewish enough. God forbid, you're not a Jew, second class citizens doesn't even begin to cut it.

Making the whole "Wrath Unto the Nations" even more disturbing.

I love Passover. Sometimes (most of the time) I feel the majority of Israeli Jews are just too blinkered to get what it's all about.

As I said, I'm going to try and read something outside the Haggadah, because change only comes if you drag the tradition kicking and screaming.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I'm uninspired.

Hence my sporadic updates, I really should get back to writing more often, I always find myself in a better state well being wise once I've unloaded something.

But I don't want to write about the politics in my locale, it's far too depressing and rage-inducing and I don't want to linkspam because I don't think I do it very well and so I read a lot of News but don't share a lot lately.

Not to mention things are crazy in MENA, due to the crumbling of status quo, nothing can be predicted and I find that heartening. Always expect the unexpected.

On a different note, for the first time in my life I read an article on Playboy (I know the horror) because it was the interview with Helen Thomas (Yeah, it's a link to Playboy... sue me) and oh my god, she's way more antisemitic than I gave her credit.

While at times during the interview she manages to make a case for the Palestinians, she does so by creating a Jewish/Zionist conspiracy, asks is an article was written by "a Jew" and erases the existence of Jewish people who came from East Africa, North Africa, the various Arab nations and the Persian gulf.

The pertinent quote I read first on The Atlantic because Thomas refers in the interview to a piece written by Jefferey Goldberg who wrote a post in retaliation to her remarks about the Jews getting "the hell out of Palestine".

The whole interview is filled with Antisemitic myths and conspiracies.

It's important to note that I do agree that Israel being a taboo topic for criticism in American politics is a problem, a big one, especially concerning our alleged nuclear capability, the way the American war machine enables the Occupation and how the Occupation is kept economically viable through US and EU financial and cultural support.

However, to be called on her Antisemitism wasn't a bad thing, because man, is that cat out of the bag (a quote from the interview):
PLAYBOY: Do you have a personal antipathy toward Jews themselves?

THOMAS: No. I think they're wonderful people. They had to have the most depth. They were leaders in civil rights. They've always had the heart for others but not for Arabs, for some reason. I'm not anti-Jewish; I'm anti-Zionist. I am anti Israel taking what doesn't belong to it. If you have a home and you're kicked out of that home, you don't come and kick someone else out. Anti-Semite? The Israelis are not even Semites! They're Europeans, and they've come from somewhere else. But even if they were Semites, they would still have no right to usurp other people's land. There are some Israelis with a conscience and a big heart, but unfortunately they are too few.

Let me rest on that a moment.
The sentence I emphasised is one I see quite a lot in discussing Jewish identity by those who aren't Jewish and are trying to emphasise the privilege of whiteness awarded to Jews, either in Israel or elsewhere.

Yes, many Jews have the privilege of being white, that doesn't make us not Ethnic in any way, shape, or form. That doesn't preclude us from being targets of Antisemitism.
Also, not all of us are white.
Some of us are East African, North African, Arab, Persian, East Asian, South East Asian, South American.
Some of us are a mix of these.

Some of us are like me, not only am I white, I have the privilege of having been twice removed from Europe, what with my family coming from South Africa and I myself having been born in Israel.

In the interview she says: Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist—but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home.

Not sure where us first generation born, second, third, fourth and tenth are supposed to go.

This may sound like a big whine fest, but you know, the Arab and Muslim world, prior to the dictatorships following the fall of the colonial empires had sizeable Jewish communities. Those are basically gone, most of those communities came to Israel, in which those Arab Jews chucked their Arab identity and became Mizrahi Jews - basically non-Ashkenazi (i.e. European) Jews and here they also felt (and still feel) the force of racism.

We can't escape it, this fantasy of superiority we impose on our bodies.

My point. It's not a clear cur situation. The injustice of the Occupation is, as is the racial injustice towards Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship, Bedouins and Druze and other racial, ethnic and religious minorities in Israel is also clear.

That still doesn't mean that Israeli Jews should "go back where we come from" because really, Europe is hardly a haven and from Tunisia Jews are fleeing.
So, yeah.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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