Washington Post opinion piece calls ” to summon a 10-foot-tall crisis monster”. Truth is stranger than fiction.
(WaPo) Antisemitism is rising. Adam Mansbach is the author of several books, including “Go the F**k to Sleep” and the new novel “The Golem of Brooklyn.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this column referred to an incident at a University of California at Berkeley Jewish fraternity as a potential hate crime. Police investigation into the vandalism revealed multiple fraternities were targeted. Police are no longer treating the incident as a potential hate crime. This version has been updated.
These days, when I wake up to the news that neo-Nazis are marching in Florida, or Donald Trump is invoking an ancient dual-loyalty canard to chastise liberal Jews for voting against him, or “Jews” is trending on X for pretty much any reason, my first thought is always the same: We need a golem.
No, not the character from “The Lord of the Rings.” Golem with a long “o.” Yes, I know there are golems in “Minecraft.” Not those, either.
The golem I’ve been trying to understand is a figure from Jewish folklore, a giant humanoid being created of mud or clay and animated through secret incantations to defend the Jewish people in times of crisis. Stories of the golem date to the 1500s, when the Jews of Europe were in more or less constant peril — not that the same couldn’t be said of the Jews for the bulk of our history.
The final step in animating a golem involves the Hebrew word for “truth”; it is inscribed on the creature’s forehead or written on a piece of paper and inserted into his mouth. When the golem’s work is done, the letter “aleph” is erased, turning “truth” to the word “death” and returning the golem to inchoate matter.
I started writing about golems in the spring of 2022 — before Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Kyrie Irving dominated the news cycle with antisemitic screeds and Holocaust denial — and finished my project the week former president Donald Trump had dinner with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes. I’m writing this two months after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed the coronavirus had been engineered to exempt Ashkenazi Jews; a month after audio transcripts filed in a Manhattan court revealed Rudy Giuliani mocking Jews for celebrating Passover and Robert G. Bowers was sentenced for killing 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; and the day Elon Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League for costing X, formerly known as Twitter, ad revenue by calling attention to rising hate speech on the platform.