Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In the age of Trump, one man reclaims the golem as a symbol of Jewish resistance

By Nathan Goldman
Illustration from the book Golem, by David Wisniewski
On November 21, 2016, The Lead with Jake Tapper on CNN hosted a discussion on the subject of whether president-elect Donald Trump should formally disavow the so-called “alt-right,” a movement of white nationalists who have vocally supported Trump and have ties to his advisers. Richard Spencer denigrates the media by alluding to the anti-Semitic trope that it is controlled by Jews. And then there’s the golem. The golem is a figure from Jewish folklore. Its earliest roots, according to Gershom Scholem’s seminal study, “The Idea of the Golem,” lie in Psalm 139, in which golmi, a form of golem, means “unformed, amorphous,” as of Adam “before the breath of God had touched him.” By the end of the 12th century, Scholem writes, the word appears in Jewish mystical texts signifying “a man created by magical art.” [link]