Chidusz 3/2022: Women Communists in the Warsaw Ghetto and a Very Inappropriate Kind of Sex


The Cover

Since Spring 2018, we have published several dozen essays by leading progressive rabbis and Jewish thinkers interpreting the Bible through a queer lense. In this issue, David Brodsky spins the fascinating tale of the rabbis’ centuries-old debate on anal sex.  

It is mentioned in Genesis 24 that Abraham made his servant swear by placing his hand under the patriarch’s thigh. Some sages thought that Abraham’s “thigh” was actually his… penis. One of the readings directly states that Abraham made the servant swear on his member.


“I Great You Like Only Someone From the Ghetto Can Great”

Historian Matylda Jonas-Kowalik talks about her book Jutro wolni? Komuniści w ruchu oporu w getcie warszawskim (Free Tomorrow? The Communists in the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Movement), published in April by the Glowbook publishing house:

When the resistance movement began building broad anti-fascist alliances, the communists – just like the Zionists and Bundists – had a real say in many decisions . The communist movement is therefore one of the many elements in the story of the Antifascist Bloc, the Jewish Combat Organization, and finally – The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.


Anal Sex in The Talmud

In this exhaustive essay, which is also a commentary on Parashat Kedoshim, author David Brodsky analyzes rabbinical discussions on verses from the Bible which are widely used to support the so-called “prohibition of gay sex”. Brodsky talks about everything: from rabbis that kiss each other and sex with animals, to debates on whether one can penetrate his own anus with an erect penis. The essay is part of a series of queer Torah commentaries published in the collection Torah Queeries.


Chaim Grade: Facts of a Life

Part II of Susanne Klingenstein and Yehudah DovBer Zirkind’s article containing hitherto unknown information about the life of the outstanding Yiddish writer Chaim Grade. The essay offers the first research in Grade’s papers. The authors talk about Grade’s education at Novardok yeshivas and becoming a successful poet.


Chaim Grade’s Di agune (Aguna) in Polish

Part IV of the Polish translation of Chaim Grade’s novel. 

The eponymous aguna Merl and her new husband get entangled in personal strife between local rabbis. 

Translated by Magdalena Wójcik.


A Queer and Pleasant Danger 

The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today 


In part VII of her memoir, Kate Bornstein talks about trying to return to normal life after leaving the Church of Scientology; yet another divorce and her third failed marriage; beginning to accept her true gender identity and the death of her father.

Translated by Jola Różyło.


In Brief

In twenty-four short articles, among other events, we write about Israeli tech using tobacco to grow lab-grown meat; plundering Jewish schools; controversies in French politics; Jewish organisations helping Ukrainian refugees; new Netflix releases and the Oscars. 

Click here to read about this issue in Polish.