There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart

From Cindy Milstein

There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart: Mending the World as Queered Anarcha-Jews
Call for Submissions to an Anthology Edited by Cindy Milstein

There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart: Mending the World as Queered Anarcha-Jews

Call for Submissions to an Anthology Edited by Cindy Milstein

“On nights like these when the moon’s face is obscured by darkness, much is illuminated: the stars dance a dance over six thousand years old, and spin tales, new and old, of our collective and individual futures. Shadows come alive.” (From the zine Tohuvabohu)

This is a call for stories crafted by trans-inclusive radical feminist and/or queer Jewish anarchists to be woven together into the fabric of an edited anthology in book form. It emerges from my own broken heart, and my constant quest to build up resilient scar tissue for the next ache. It also arises out of an increasingly full heart, strengthened over the past two years by crossing diasporic paths with other feministic and queer Jewish anarchists. And it lives in the “shadow space” of those of us who’ve too often been made invisible within or left out of Jewish traditions and histories, teachings and rituals, cultures and politics. As the quotation above begins to point to, though, we are coming alive, perhaps thanks to those shadows—rebels in a world that needs so much repairing.

Through stories, at once poetic and poignant, There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart aims to highlight that the convergence of radical feminism, queerness, anarchism, and Judaism is no accident. There is something—indeed, many things—about these parts that make for a greater whole, and a more ethical one at that. As such, this anthology aspires to illustrate that a queered anarcha-Judaism offers a powerful elixir to help us better critique and make sense of the present as well as envision and prefigure a future in ways that are deeply humanizing, egalitarian, and ecological. It also hopes to show how a queered anarcha-Judaism has much to contribute to contemporary questions related to structural forms of hierarchy and violence, such as colonialism, capitalism, statism, fascism, and heteropatriarchy, to name but a few, and equally crucial, forms of collective freedom that point beyond them.

So what tale would you want to tell—through lenses that can be personal and/or collective, magical and/or based on myriad lived experiences, philosophical and/or political, and much more—about what a queered anarcha-Judaism means to you and this world? How have we gotten here, based on ancestral trauma (such as enslavement, displacement, white supremacy, and genocide) as well as ancestral resistence, strength, and imagination, and what does or could that say to others who experience persistent historical pain and sustain their communities nonetheless, especially outside states? What do we do with the wholeness of our particular heartbroken self-understandings and liberatory values, in ways that stress our brave vulnerability and honest yet humble reflections, not to mention Jewish humor? How do you interpret or live out the imperative that “we are the grandchildren of the Jews they could not burn”? Or how do we draw from various cultural and religious teachings and practices to bring what could be seen as disparate identities—radical feminist, queer, anarchist, and Jew—into a fullness that holds out much promise?

I’m looking for fiction, nonfiction, and dreamy in-between stories by queered anarcha-Jews—those anarchists who are rad feminists and/or queers, and as expansively understood, Jews from across the diaspora and globe—who can also tie that into the content of their writing. I’m desirous of stories that are as beautiful in their wordsmithing as in their thinking—meaning, pieces that dig into the messy, nuanced, emotion-filled wholeness of what it means to strive to be a good person striving for a good society with others. I’m seeking storytelling the reflects the way that we Jews/anarchists question, debate, and continually rethink our ideas and practices. The tales should have a compelling arc, but not wrap up with tidy or “happy” ending. As Jewish political philosopher Theodor Adorno observed, “Open thinking points beyond itself”—and I’d add, open hearts do too. So I’m hoping for stories that allow people to see themselves in your words, in radically tender and insightful ways, and stories that challenge as well as touch people, allowing folx to co-learn and co-feel together. (For a sense of what I’m looking for in terms of “feel,” see my edited anthology Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, published by AK Press.)

You can submit stories ranging from about 500 to approximately 4,000 words, or get in touch with questions or ideas, at Please send submissions as a Word file, in .doc format, Times Roman, 12 point, double spaced.

Deadline: September 1, 2019

There are 12 Comments

Great, just what we need: another book of liberalism masquerading as anarchism. Milstein? More like millstone...

I know! What’s the deal with the passive voice? Whatever happened to active agency? So if I’m Jewish but not queer, but others have labeled me as queer, does that mean I’ve been “queered” and therefore something I write can be submitted for this anthology?


I feel the same- being queer isn’t- and will never be- something that was done to me or became a thing upon, over or around me. It’s from within and it has nothing to do with other people.

All of the original post made me want to run far away.

Couldn’t have said it better than you did!

(I’m the prior anon, for clarity)

yeah why the FUCK not!? Reportbacks on fucking are totally okay.

I was going to post something here, but the first two posters said it all quite well...

Aren’t we effectively queered rather than queer though? Sure we have active agency to live our truths,but the fact that those truths are considered queer aren’t decided by us. They are decided by a brutally cis-hetero-amato-normative social order.

You're Calabrese or what?

I'm fond of those pre-zoomer days when everyone was saying "macho" and knew what it meant. But now seems like we're all forced to use these godawful pseudo-sociological categories that don't mean much shit outside of some academic turf (and TERF) wars, coming from ultra-liberals that support pretty revolting shit like genetic editing and dual power.

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