(Aversion & Affection) Reading for Gender in Rosenzweig


Thank you and kudos to Willi Goetschel and Susan Shapiro for organizing this long awaited special edition of Bamidbar on gender and Rosenzweig. Here is the web address.  Shapiro introduces the edition followed by critical readings by Mara Benjamin, Gesine Palmer, and myself. Claire Katz and Martin Kavka respond to the primary contributors who respond in turn.

Reading Rosenzweig and reading Jewish philosophy for gender entail at this particular moment in the early 21st century the operation of new theoretical frames and the recognition of the critical distance between us and him lent by the passage of historical time; and new conversation partners, represented here by Marjorie Garber, Susan Sontag, Sara Ruddick, Audre Lorde, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Diana Fuss, Judith Butler, Adrienne Rich, and Rachel Adler, and Susan Shapiro.

Where a feminist reading splits off from Rosenzweig is away from the sensationalistic sexual eros and the patriarchal structure of The Star of Redemption towards a different form of framing, towards the experience of maternality and friendship, from high seriousness to camp. The philosophical takeaway shifts Jewish philosophy and the philosophy of religion deep into the coils of the imagination to pick up things like nature and artificiality, identity and identification, and all those inversions determined in relational webs that are dyadic, affective, performative, and asymmetrical.

For Rosenzweig, the contributing authors are caught between aversion and affection. As Claire Katz concludes, The Star of Redemption and Jewish philosophy were, indeed, never a country fit for old women. But what then, following Martin Kavka, do we, today, owe the past? Not a new question about the past and the present, the answer is nothing and everything. These things, The Star of Redemption and the history of thought, either they have or the do not have the the power of a fascinating object, the power to flare up now.  Read in religious terms, this fascination may have less to do with God and more to do with the abiding power of “holiness” looked upon as a liminal site.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

(No Country for Old Women) Gender & Rosenzweig & Jewish Philosophy (Special Edition Bamidbar)


Gender and Jewish Philosophy

Edited by Susan Shapiro

Bamidbar 4: 2 (2014) (appeared in print, summer 2019)


Susan Shapiro


Mara Benjamin: What Do We Owe Rosenzweig?

Gesine Palmer: The True, the Real, and the Constructed: Response to Claire Katz and Martin Kavka

Zachary Braiterman: Response to Claire Katz and Martin Kavka


For a link to Bamidbar, click here.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

(Shas) Religion & State (Israel Elections II 2019)

This election video (h/t Menachem Butler). Say what you want, but there is something genuine and warm in its appeal to the spiritual culture of a community of voters.


Posted in uncategorized | Leave a comment

(Human) Nationality, Ethnicity, Religion (Elections in Israel 2019)

arab vote

What happens is probably a crap shot, but anyone who wants to know something about the matrix of things in Israel (nationality, ethnicity, and religion) should drop everything and read Yehouda Shenhav’s The Arab Jews. In the meantime, three curious things that seem almost certain about tomorrow’s election in Israel: [1] the future of Israeli democracy depends upon Arab/Palestinian Israelis, [2] the future of the center-left and left depends upon Mizrachi Jews, [3] the wild card is religion and what it means to be human.

Election ads for the extremist Otzma Yehudit party and Labor-Gesher in Dimona, September 12, 2019.

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

(Triptych) From Dark Floor to Bright Light (Tall Trees Tinker Falls)


I put this little triptych together to get a sense how, with no time to waste to get light, the trees shoot up fast and skinny up the steep canyon walls at Tinker Falls, NY.

Posted in uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deer Coming Down The Hill & Crossing the Street (Syracuse)


Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Syracuse Backyard Green Hill


(for Adam Black)

Posted in uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment