The Book of Weinstein

Genesis on an egg in the Israel Museum

Genesis on an egg in the Israel Museum

In the beginning, the two Jews created another Jew.  She was a female child, and the first child of these two Jews, and it was as if they had created the heavens and the earth, but in an apartment in Flushing.  These Jews were neither pious nor devout, because their ancestors had been pious and devout but also cruel and abusive, and piety and devotion, in their eyes, did not lead down the path of righteousness.  The father of the female child had burned all of his sacred texts in the family barbecue the day after his own bar mitzvah and refused to attend synagogue ever again, and it became solemn vow and family law that he would not set foot in the house of the Lord and his children after him would not set foot in the house of the Lord.  And so when the father of the female child met the future mother of the female child at Queens College, it was decided that none of the children of this union would ever set foot in the house of the Lord.

The mother of the female child was one of eight grandchildren of Julius, the cruel and abusive but pious and devoted man, and Esther, his wife, who was canonized by her children as loving and kind but who appears dour and morose in family slides.  The mother of the female child was the only female grandchild of Esther and Julius, who had been joined in arranged marriage and whose marriage was marked by strife and hurled home appliances, some of them heat-producing and in use at the time.

So before the beginning there was another beginning, also in Queens, and before that another in Brooklyn and another in the Bronx, and before that, still another on the Lower East Side, and before that, in Eastern Europe, and before that, in Israel, and before that, in Africa, and before that, in a primordially soupy sea that lapped at Pangaean shores, and before that in the compressed matter of the universe that formed a cosmic egg that existed in a void paradoxically empty of space itself, a void that the female child would one day see in her mind’s eye as she traveled backward through her own existence, sometimes assisted by powerful naturally occurring chemicals and sometimes not, much like the people in the Bible that she never read in the Hebrew schools that she never attended did, too.

The progeny of the two Jews did not set foot in the house of the Lord, and they learned to find their Lord outside His house.  But their name was Weinstein, and so it was known to all that they were Jews.  And they worried, and they yelled, and they returned items without shame and always got a second opinion, and so despite their atheism it was known to all that they were Jews.  And they were short, and their hair was curly.  In the summer, when they tanned, they were mistaken by racist landlords for Puerto Ricans, and in all seasons they would be correctly identified by Anti-Semites as Jews, if they were ever to leave New York City or the East Coast of the United States or places frequented by inhabitants of these places (like Cape Cod or Club Med) which usually they did not.

It was prophesized by her mother that the female child, bereft of any God to worship and sustained only by love and vitamin supplements, would one day become a Buddhist, a Jew Bu.  One year on the holiest of holy days, which the family did not observe, as having unchosen the religion of the chosen people they defied all its commandments, the mother prophesized this.  And the female child attended many yoga classes, and read the mystic poets of several Eastern religions, and in time, it was so.

Emily Meg Weinstein writes the web site and lives in Oakland, CA. She doesn't need to rent retreat cabins anymore since she put a bed in the back of her car, SubyRuby the Devastation Wagon.