Ayin’s columns offer a platform for contributing editors to curate work inspired by and engaging with a particular theme or form. Our first column, Speaking from Experience, is an exploration of the fringes and potential futures of Jewish spirituality, curated by journalist Madison Margolin. Our second column, Teiku, is a space for bold and creative engagements with Jewish texts and practices, edited by Shaul Magid.
Speaking from Experience
Speaking from Experience, edited by Madison Margolin, features in-depth conversations with artists, scientists, mystics, healers, activists, and fringe thought leaders who engage with a wide range of paradigm-shifting encounters. From psychedelics to somatics to cybernetics, these experiences speak to and beyond the growing edges of Jewish life and culture, revealing ancient and emergent connections between self, community, earth, and cosmos.
What would Judaism be without a communal narrative of trauma? Who would we be without the hardships that have shaped us—for the better? And how are all of us expressions of everything our ancestors went through? In this conversation, Rabbi Dr. Tirzah Firestone discusses these questions, exploring the effects of both lived and inherited trauma, and our inherent capacity for healing and growth.
Jericho Vincent—teacher, writer, and spiritual leader–—calls themself a "post-ultra-Orthodox Jew." Their work seeks to engage and surface a living Judaism that draws on lost ancestral practices and celebrates ecological consciousness, nonbinary gender expression, and the divine feminine.
A Grammy-nominated vocalist, Krishna Das is famous for his practice of kirtan, an Indian tradition of devotional chanting. As he puts it—echoing the words of those like Lama Surya Das and Ram Dass, also Jewish-born devotees of Indian spirituality—he's "Jewish on [his] parents' side."
A dilemma was raised before the Sages: Whose approach is preferable—Rabbi Zeira’s or Rabbah bar Rav Mattana’s? Rabbi Zeira is sharp and raises questions, Rabba bar Rav Mattana is balanced and offers solutions. What was the Sages’ conclusion? Teiku! The dilemma shall stand unresolved. In Talmudic Aramaic, teiku means, simply, “let it stand.” It is the word the Sages used to indicate an unresolved question or point of debate. Some also suggest that the word is an acronym for the phrase, “Tishbi (or Elijah the prophet) will resolve all difficulties and questions.” That is, Elijah—who, according to tradition, will return to announce the Moshiach—is the only one who can adjudicate the issue. Teiku signals humility in the midst of dispute—inviting us to zoom out, to acknowledge the limitations of our perspectives, and to hold space for opposing viewpoints. Teiku also reminds us that sometimes we need to let certain questions stand unanswered—at least for the time being. It is this openness to intellectual uncertainty and exegetical polyphony that offers us the space to respectfully disagree and collaboratively imagine a more expansive resolution. It is in this spirit that we decided to name this column Teiku—a space for bold and creative explorations of Jewish texts and practices. Teiku is curated by Ayin contributing editor, rabbi, and scholar Shaul Magid.
In the first installment of Teiku, scholar Shaul Magid explores Zalman Shachter-Shalomi’s Paradigm Shift Judaism as a kind of avera lishma—a sin for the sake of heaven.