Chulent: A Surreal Post-Surrealist Manifesto


This is a guest post by an LGBTQ Jewish student about Chulent, the informal weekly gathering in New York City for Orthodox Jews looking to question, celebrate and build community. 

Chulent: A Surreal Post-Surrealist Manifesto

With regard to a false interpretation of our enterprise, stupidly circulated among the public, I declare as follows to the entire braying literary, dramatic, philosophical, exegetical and even theological body of contemporary criticism:
1. An in-gathering of Diasporic bodies wandering through the urban frontier of New York City—in contradistinction to independent Jewish spaces which inevitably become co-opted by Jewish corporate sponsorship, re- assimilated back into the machine.
2. A shape-shifting organism—far too amorphous an organism to ever become institutionalized.
3. A space that cannot be located on maps, an underworld that cannot be charted onto longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates.
4. An organism in constant motion. A collective that occupies spaces only to abandon them (leaving silent breadcrumbs of disruption to mark its path if it ever decides to return).
5. A salon for Hasidim, Neo-Hasidim, ex-Hasidim, intellectuals, pseudo-intellectuals, and anti-intellectuals.
6. A Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) to which Hakim Bey would flee if he ever decided to disavow his Sufi anarchism and convert to Judaism.
7. A salon that S. An-sky would record in his ethnographic expeditions, the type of space that Warsaw yiddishists of the pre-war era.
8. An embodiment of what Sander Gilman refers to as the Jewish Frontier—a post-structural landscape that challenges the center-periphery model of Jewish historiography.
9. What the biblical Ir Miklat (City of Refuge) looks like in galus.
10. A home for the possessed and dispossessed.
11. A never-ending niggun drunk on cheap vodka.
12. A spectacle aware of its spectacularity—à la Guy Debord.
13. A primitive tribe supported by a cigarette gift-giving economy.
14. A meeting ground for Burning Man Burners and Rainbow Gathering Gatherers.
15. An opening for Hasidim fleeing from Hasidic communities.
16. A spot for ecstatic clapping, stomping, and singing—to retrieve the lost sparks hidden in Uman, Berdychiv, Medzybush, and Breslau and capture the anti-nomian traces of the Baal Shem Tov’s spirit.
17. An experimental playground—akin to sanctuaries constructed by Radical Faerie.
18. A Jewish stew and a stew of Jews.

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