Writing My Religion


People who make the best CD mixes are really good at weaving disparate things together. The songs can be dissimilar, different genres, singers that sound nothing alike. On a good mix, however, the songs work together, creating a mood, telling a story.

The best magazines are like that, too–and Mima’amakim, a magazine of “creative expression on the Jewish religious experience,” does just that. Its new issue, released this week, reads like a journey taken between many different points. There are writers and artists who are just starting to be religious, those who’ve stopped being religious, and those who are playing with the idea of what exactly being religious means.

Ilene Pusher contributes the story “Iris and Rav,” in which an outcast from an ultra-Orthodox family returns to her childhood neighborhood, hunting down her old rabbi to help solve a murder. Artist Yonah Lavery adapts two pages from the Talmud into comic form. Aaron Roller, one of the magazine’s editors, writes “The Letters of Gershom Scholem,” a rhymed poem reminiscent of “The Raven” which recreates the conversations between the Kabbalah scholar and critic Walter Benjamin. The issue’s cover was designed by Yitzchok Moully, who was previously featured on Jewniverse.

Other poems in the magazine take the form of a geniza fragment and a page of Talmud. There are translations from Yiddish, Hebrew, and Spanish. The 90-page volume is like a little case of secret treasures, different stories and poems and drawings of religious life and theological ideas.

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