Golem v. Golem, cre­at­ed by Julie Weitz (Dir. D.S. Chun and Co-Dir. Julie Weitz), 2021, (Pho­to Cred­it Alex the Brown)

THE CAST: the Sim­ple Child, the Wicked Child, the Wise Child, the Child Who Does Not Know How to Ask


The wait­ing room of the Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion Cen­ter of Greater Levittsonville. On the wall is a poster of two joy­ful chil­dren plant­i­ng a tree in the Negev desert. Three peo­ple are sit­ting as far away from each oth­er as pos­si­ble. One, MATTHEW, wears a tweed jack­et, and a shirt tucked into kha­ki slacks. His hair is neat­ly combed, save for a few strands pok­ing out on either side. He is hold­ing a copy of The Jerusalem Report, dat­ed 1994, but seems unable to focus on read­ing. He is bounc­ing his left leg rapid­ly. The sec­ond, MARKY, slouch­es on the oppo­site side of the room, his legs splayed open. He is also wear­ing a suit jack­et, and an untucked polo shirt under­neath. He has an ear­piece in one ear, and a heavy beat can be heard ema­nat­ing from it. He is grip­ping a Frap­puc­ci­no in one hand, and is scrolling rhyth­mi­cal­ly on his iPhone 9 or 10 with the oth­er. The third, near­est the door, M., is dressed in all black, and is writ­ing in a note­book bal­anced on one leg; a book by C. L. R. James, open and face­down, is bal­anced on the oth­er. M. stops writ­ing, takes a pack­et out of black can­vas bag, and begins to roll a cigarette.

On the door, there is a hand­writ­ten sign: Wel­come: Com­mu­ni­ty infor­ma­tion-gath­er­ing ses­sion about the Golem!!”

The door opens. A JCFC staff mem­ber in a gray suit walks out, hold­ing a clipboard.

JCFC STAFF MEM­BER: Matthew Cohn, M. Pin­sky-Appel­baum, and, um, Mar­cus-Aure­lius Mil­lor? Come on in, we’re ready to see you.

This piece is a com­pan­ion lit­er­ary respons­e to Julie Weitz’s Golem V. Golempro­duced by Asy­lum Arts for Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, made pos­si­ble with the gen­er­ous sup­port of CAN­VAS. In 2017, in response to the Char­lottesville protests, Artist Julie Weitz cre­at­ed her per­for­ma­tive project My Golem, which cen­ters on her embod­i­ment of the myth­i­cal crea­ture drawn from Jew­ish folk­lore. A futur­is­tic high­­­­­ly-styl­ized fig­ure cov­ered with white mud, she was brought to life to respond to con­tem­po­rary chal­lenges includ­ing cli­mate cat­a­stro­phe, white suprema­cy, antisemi­­tism and xenophobia.

The project is pre­sent­ed at the Vil­na Shul, Boston’s Cen­ter for Jew­ish Cul­ture in part­ner­ship with the Jew­ish Arts Col­lab­o­ra­tive. Addi­tion­al dig­i­tal part­ners include the Con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish Muse­um in San Fran­cis­co, Jew­ish Muse­um Mil­wau­kee and the Jew­ish Muse­um of Flori­­­da-FIU. The work is part of a North Amer­i­can project – Dwelling in a Time of Plagues – a coast-to-coast Jew­ish artis­tic response to con­tem­po­rary plagues. To see the oth­er works on dis­play, vis­it plagued​welling​.com.

A Passover sup­ple­ment pro­duced for Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, includ­ing ten authors and ten artists respond­ing to ten mod­ern plagues, can be down­loaded here. Con­tribut­ing authors include Sarah Blake, Mar­ra B. Gad, Ayelet Gun­­­­dar-Goshen, Let­ty Cot­tin Pogre­bin, Rebec­ca Sof­fer, Rab­bi Abby Stein, Darin Strauss, Michael Twit­ty, Rab­bi Dr. Shmu­ly Yan­klowitz, and Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Moriel Roth­man-Zech­er is the author of the nov­el Sad­ness Is a White Bird (Atria Books, 2018), which was a final­ist for the Day­ton Lit­er­ary Peace Prize and the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, among oth­er hon­ors. His sec­ond nov­el, which fol­lows two Yid­dish speak­ing immi­grants from a fic­tion­al shtetl to Philadel­phia of the 1930s, is forth­com­ing from Far­rar, Straus and Giroux. Moriel’s work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, the Paris Review’s Dai­ly, Zyzzy­va Mag­a­zine, and else­where, and he is the recip­i­ent of the Nation­al Book Foun­da­tion’s 5 Under 35’ Hon­or, two Mac­Dow­ell Colony Fel­low­ships for Lit­er­a­ture (2017 & 2020), and a Wal­lis Annen­berg Helix Project Fel­low­ship for Yid­dish Cul­tur­al Stud­ies (20182019). Moriel lives in Yel­low Springs, Ohio, with his family.

Moriel is the cre­ator of the fic­tion­al char­ac­ters Math­ew L. Cohn, Marky Miller, and M. Pin­sky-Appel­baum as part of the series, What We Talk About When We Talk About the Golem.