Edited by Cindy Milstein
“On nights like these when the moon’s face is obscured by darkness, much is illuminated: the stars dance a dance over six thousand years old, and spin tales, new and old, of our collective and individual futures. Shadows come alive.” (From the zine Tohuvabohu)
This is a call for stories—crafted by trans-inclusive radical feminist, queer, and/or feministic Jewish anarchists—to be woven together into the fabric of an edited anthology in book form, to be published on AK Press. It emerges from my own broken heart, and my constant quest to build up resilient scar tissue for the next ache. It also arises out of an increasingly full heart, strengthened over the past two years by crossing diasporic paths with other feministic and queer Jewish anarchists. And it lives in the “shadow space” of those of us who’ve too often been made invisible within or left out of Jewish traditions and histories, teachings and rituals, cultures and politics. As the quotation above begins to point to, though, we are coming alive, perhaps thanks to those shadows—rebels in a world that needs so much repairing.
Through stories, at once poetic and poignant, There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart aims to highlight that the convergence of radical feminism, queerness, anarchism, and Judaism is no accident. There is something—indeed, many things—about these parts that make for a greater whole, and a more ethical one at that. As such, this anthology aspires to illustrate that a queered anarcha-Judaism offers a powerful elixir to help us better critique and make sense of the present as well as envision and prefigure a future in ways that are deeply humanizing, egalitarian, and ecological. It also hopes to show how a queered anarcha-Judaism has much to contribute to contemporary questions related to structural forms of hierarchy and violence, such as colonialism, capitalism, statism, fascism, and heteropatriarchy, to name but a few, and equally crucial, forms of collective freedom that point beyond them.
So what tale would you want to tell—through lenses that can be personal and/or collective, magical and/or based on myriad lived experiences, philosophical and/or political, and much more—about what a queered anarcha-Judaism means to you and this world? How have we gotten here, based on ancestral trauma (such as enslavement, displacement, white supremacy, and genocide) as well as ancestral resistence, strength, and imagination, and what does or could that say to others who experience persistent historical pain and sustain their communities nonetheless, especially outside states? What do we do with the wholeness of our particular heartbroken self-understandings and liberatory values, in ways that stress our brave vulnerability and honest yet humble reflections, not to mention Jewish humor? How do you interpret or live out the imperative that “we are the grandchildren of the Jews they could not burn”? Or how do we draw from various cultural and religious teachings and practices to bring what could be seen as disparate identities—radical feminist, queer, anarchist, and Jew—into a fullness that holds out much promise?
I’m looking for stories by Jewish anarchists—those anarchists who are trans-inclusive radical feminists and/or queers, and as expansively understood, Jews from across the diaspora and globe—who can also tie that into the content of their writing. That is, all the contributions need to look through the lens, whether explicitly or implicitly, of, toward, or beyond a world without hierarchy and domination. I’m desirous of stories that are as beautiful in their wordsmithing as in their thinking—meaning, pieces that dig into the messy, nuanced, emotion-filled wholeness of what it means to strive to be a good person striving for a good society with others. I’m seeking storytelling the reflects the way that we Jews/anarchists question, debate, and continually rethink our ideas and practices. The tales should have a compelling arc, but not wrap up with tidy or “happy” ending. As Jewish political philosopher Theodor Adorno observed, “Open thinking points beyond itself”—and I’d add, open hearts do too. So I’m hoping for stories that allow people to see themselves in your words, in radically tender and insightful ways, and stories that challenge as well as touch people, allowing folx to co-learn and co-feel together. (For a sense of what I’m looking for in terms of “feel,” versus precise content or form, see my edited anthology Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, published by AK Press.)
You can submit stories of all genres ranging from about 500 to approximately 4,000 words, or black-and-white/grayscale images, or get in touch with questions or ideas, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send submissions as a Word file, in .doc format, Times Roman, 12 point, double spaced.
Deadline: September 15, 2019