March 2, 2023

Talmud Paumanuki

By Ariel Abrahams

The Talmud Paumanuki was created as a poetic response to a lifetime of contradictory experiences: an upbringing in an exclusivist Orthodox Jewish enclave on the land once called Paumanok, which is one of several Indigenous names for what is now Long Island, in an era that many claim to have a grasp of but, like all eras, is ultimately ungraspable. Where do the Gods of this land fit into my diasporic Jewish experience? We live on their land, but we pretend that they never existed.

The Talmud Paumanuki was pieced together as a collage, with bits and pieces pulled from here and there. It was created as an imagined artifact, a long-lost tractate of Turtle Island Talmud, whose cosmology is not limited to a single strange God called Hashem. Its commentaries come from the Bubbel of Zitmah, whom you have no doubt already heard a great deal about. In fact, you may have already found this volume in your local Kosher pizza shop, or under the windshield wiper of your car parked on Eastern Parkway, or under the talaysim in the kiddush club at your local shtiebel.

—Ariel Abrahams

The Talmud Paumanuki was written by Ariel Abrahams and edited by Michael Fedder.

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“In the Vedic tradition it is humorously noted by the sages: There are one thousand gods and each one is the boss. This is true too for the Jewish tradition, but in the realm of matriarchy: There are one thousand Jewish mothers and each one is the boss. The difference lies in practice. In Judaism we function under a strong and strange fallacy: That there is one male God. A brief glance at the Veda will show you otherwise: Krishna, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Kali coexist with the regional gods and goddesses. And so I ask you again: what has Yahweh done with the others?”
Talmud Paumanuki

Ariel Abrahams is an Aquarius and a constant experimenter. He creates artworks as medicine that take form in group gatherings, long walks through the night, writing, drawing, sculpture, and sound. He has been a resident at Greeceworks and Flux Factory. He currently spends his time learning from his one-year-old Zoey.