Issue 3 - Summer 2006 - The Magic Issue
JOSHUA DAVID STEIN
Joshua David Stein performs a bit of Q&A on Liran Zeligman, the official magician of the Israel Defense Forces (“Paranormal Trooper”), a position Zeligman thought up, which the Israeli army, oddly, agreed was worth a try. Stein is a contributing editor at Topic magazine and Flavorpill.net and writes regularly for Gridskipper.com and Boldtype.com.
"My Father, The Golem"
In “My Father, The Golem,” Nathaniel Deutsch explores the history of one of the most legendary creatures in Jewish mythology, and its effect on his family. Deutsch has published several books, including The Maiden of Ludmir, which was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award in 2003. His next book, supported by a Guggenheim fellowship, is tentatively titled The People’s Torah: Ansky and the Invention of Jewish Ethnography. Deutsch is an associate professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
“Everybody Dance Now”
Micha Odenheimer gets on the bus with Israel’s bounciest messianic sect, the Na Nachers, and then reports from the transcendental front lines in “Everybody Dance Now.” Odenheimer is a rabbi and a journalist who lives in Jerusalem. He has reported from the Third World and Asia for publications including The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Guardian and Foreign Policy magazine.
Shalom Auslander’s short story “Plagued” tells the tale of an iconoclastic Jew who stayed behind when Moses carried the rest of his people out of Egypt. Auslander is the author of Beware of God: Stories (Simon & Schuster), which was a finalist for the 2005 Koret Foundation Jewish Book Award for young writers on Jewish themes. His writing has appeared in Esquire and on Nerve.com, and he is a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s “This American Life.” Foreskin’s Lament, a memoir, will be published next year by Riverhead Books.
"Hitler's Jewish Psychic"
Mel Gordon documents the final years of Hitler’s Jewish psychic, Erik Jan Hanussen, in “Hitler's Jewish Psychic.” A professor of theatre arts at University of California, Berkeley, he is also the author of twelve books, including Erik Jan Hanussen: Hitler’s Jewish Clairvoyant, and Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, which has just been published in an expanded edition by Feral House.
“I Swear on the Mezuzah That I Am a Brahmin!”
“When you awake, you will know that Eddy Portnoy is a yachtsman, a billionaire, and a champion dart player. You will not think that he teaches Jewish history at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary …” In this issue of G&P, our notoriously wealthy seafaring Yiddishist, Captain Bucksalot Portnoy, surveys some of Jewish history’s most notorious psychics (“I Swear on the Mezuzah That I Am a Brahmin!”).
LISA CRYSTAL CARVER
"The 31st Jew of Dover"
In her memoir “The 31st Jew of Dover,” Lisa Crystal Carver writes about the year in which she cared for both her dying mother and her ailing infant son, and its spiritual, and supernatural, side effects. Carver and her performance art troupe Suckdog toured the world six times in the 1990s, putting out three albums, including the acclaimed Drugs Are Nice. She was the founder and editor of the zine Rollerderby, has written for Playboy, Nerve.com, and Details, and is the author of Dancing Queen (Henry Holt). She lives in Dover, New Hampshire, with her son, Wolfgang, now nine, and his two-year-old sister, Mercedes.
A Life in Chickens
Gregor Ehrlich’s essay on the chickens that have filled his life (“A Life in Chickens”) has little to do with magic and lots to do with fowl. Ehrlich has written for publications including New York and Interview, and is the co-author of a book of interviews with hip-hop musicians, Move the Crowd (MTV). He is a frequent contributor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio program WireTap, and has been an animator for MTV. He currently works in advertising in San Francisco.
Lauren Slater examines the place of deception in medical treatment in a short story about tricky tablets, “Radical Therapy.” Slater is a psychologist and the author of several books of non-fiction and memoir, including Opening Skinner’s Box, Prozac Diary, Welcome to My Country, and Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
In a scene from his play in progress, The Cenotaph, playwright and screenwriter David Auburn imagines a conversation that might have taken place in 1922 between .Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. Auburn’s plays include The Journals of Mihail Sebastian and Proof, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2001.
"The Sorcerer's Stockist"
Jody Rosen put together this issue’s Archive feature after making a few pilgrim-like visits to the legendary New York magic shop Tannen’s (“The Sorcerer’s Stockist”). Rosen is the music critic for Slate.com and the author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song (Scribner). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and The Nation.
"Are There Witches in the Bible?"
A reader wanted to know, “Are There Jewish Witches in the Bible?” and Rachel Havrelock answers with a resonant “yes.” Havrelock is a Hebrew Bible scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is a founding member of the Jewish-Muslim Initiative. Her books include Women on the Biblical Road: Ruth, Naomi and the Female Journey (University Press of America). She is currently researching the religious context and history of Middle Eastern borders. She is also a playwright. Her most recent play is From Tel Aviv to Ramallah.
VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN and MIKE ALBO
"Hey, Soggy! It's Me! The Underminer!"
Virginia Heffernan and Mike Albo summon the spirit of insult king The Underminer, who encounters famed illusionist David Blaine in “Hey, Soggy! It’s Me! The Underminer!” Heffernan is a television critic at The New York Times. Albo’s first novel, Hornito: My Lie Life, was published by HarperCollins Perennial. Together they co-authored the novel The Underminer: The Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life (Bloomsbury), and have collaborated on numerous stage shows in New York City, including My Price Point.