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Occultism in America - May 5 at 1pm - Free Program

YIVO is offering a free lecture on May 5 at 1pm on B. Rivkin  on Occultism in America. You can register here.

“WHAT DOES YOUR DREAM TELL YOU?”: B. RIVKIN AND YIDDISH OCCULTISM IN AMERICA

The writer B. Rivkin (Borukh Avrom Weinrebe, 1883–1945) is known to scholars today as an important anarchist thinker. Less known is that Rivkin was also a firm believer in the occult who attended spiritualist séances and speculated about the possibility of telepathic communication. Over the three decades of his literary career in the United States, Rivkin published hundreds of articles on occult topics, edited a short-lived Yiddish journal devoted to the development of latent inner powers, and published a weekly psychic dream interpretation column in the newspaper Der tog in the early 1940s that analyzed dreams submitted by readers. In this talk, Sam Glauber-Zimra will uncover this forgotten side of Rivkin’s literary career. Utilizing materials preserved in Rivkin’s archive at YIVO, he will trace the significance of the occult for Rivkin and his Yiddish-speaking immigrant readers as they navigated religious change and the crisis of the Holocaust.


About the Speaker

Samuel Glauber-Zimra is a PhD candidate in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His dissertation, “Occult Modernities: Hidden Realities in East European Jewish Culture, 1880–1939,” examines the various expressions of modern occultism within the popular culture and religious thought of Eastern European Jewry and its diaspora in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His most recent article, “Writings on Spiritualism from the Archive of R. Eliyahu Mordekhai Halevy Wolkowsky” appears in the journal Kabbalah, and he is the co-editor of Hillel Zeitlin, In the Secret Place of the Soul: Three Essays (Jerusalem: Blima, 2020) [Hebrew]. He is the 2021-2022 recipient of the The Rose and Isidore Drench Memorial Fellowship and the Dora and Mayer Tendler Endowed Fellowship in American Jewish Studies.

 


Gematria

My latest discovery is Gematria which is a form of numerology in which the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are substituted with corresponding numbers. The first ten letters are given number values that increase consecutively from 1 to 10. The next eight letters are given number values that increase by a factor of ten from 20 to 90.

When using this system, it is believed by some that you can glean new, underlying meanings from words... and there can be many meanings. Using the Gematria calculator and typing in the words "I Love You", you get the following top meanings:

How much is I love you in Gematria ?

Results by Jewish Gematria
Word Jewish English Simple Searches
i love you 1434 744 124 21587
mac os x server 1434 972 162 4213
wealthy 1434 564 94 2765
holy holy holy 1434 1080 180 2635

You can see how some meanings are a little weird! Or maybe that was part of Apple's marketing plan to begin with!


Nicolas Cage's Pyramid Tomb

Another fascinating article from Atlas Obscura -


Wellness Practices - Curanderismo

Curanderismo

Centuries after the Spanish colonization of Latin America, this form of folk healing emerged as a combination of the traditional healing practices of Aztec, Maya and Inca people, and foreign Catholic rites. Called curanderismo, it derives its name from the Spanish verb curar, or “cure,” and has served as an antidote to illnesses that were often believed to be punishment meted out by displeased gods. Practitioners are referred to as curanderos and they are active even now, offering herbs, prayers and massages to followers across Central and South America, the U.S. and beyond.

This from OZY.


The Danse Macabre

There is probably nothing more fascinating or scary than the Dance Macabre which, in a time where death was all around. Wikipedia define it as  consisting of the dead or a personification of death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. It was produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now-lost mural at Holy Innocents' Cemetery in Paris dating from 1424 to 1425. 

In this Atlas Obscura podcast, Caitlin Doughty, from “Ask a Mortician,” gives us a dance lesson in the two-step we were all born to do.