Jewish spirituality in the last several decades has undergone multiple revolutions. The liberation movements of the 1960s, encounters with non-Western religious traditions and the cosmopolitanism of the Internet have all left their mark, and have created new forms of Jewishness. Today there are feminist Jews and queer Jews; Jufis, BuJus, and HinJus; meditating Jews and psychedelic shamanic Jews; and even a few traditional Jews scratching their skullcapped heads and wondering what it all means.
Thank God for AshÃ©, because within the established Jewish community, many of the voices represented here would be considered threatening or foreign. I edit a progressive Jewish magazine, which features cultural and spiritual writing, but we’re still sometimes expected to conform to expectations of what “Jewish” is supposed to mean. It’s been truly liberating to curate an issue of AshÃ©, where the boundaries are more permeable. Here are pot-smoking Hasidim, Jewish priestesses, horny tourists and political poets. A former dean of a rabbinical school, now praising the Golden Calf. A Poet Laureate… of Queens. And, on the cover, Allen Ginsberg meeting Kabbalah: the Hebrew means “Serpent / Messiah,” and plays off the antinomian Kabbalistic observations that the two words share the same numeric value; the drawing personally inscribed in a book for AshÃ©’s founder, Sven Davisson.
These are the words and images of a Jewish culture beginning to emerge, a new spirituality that, born from the creators of boundary, now seeks the Boundless.
The issue includes the work of Tom Bland, Mordecai Drache, Susan H. Case, Jill Hammer, Rahel Chalfi, Rabbi Ohad Ezrachi, Jacob Staub, Jay Michaelson, Ruth Knafo Setton, Yoseph Leib, Hal Sirowitz and Sven Davisson; and artwork by Darryl Zudeck, Stan Goldberg, Ken Vollario, Orly Cogan, Joyce Ellen Weinstein, Rebecca Jay, Bara Sapir and Allen Ginsberg.