My English name is Denzelle Ferdinand Marcovicci and my Hebrew name is Kochavi m’beit Mindl.
These are both unbelievable mouthfuls, but so am I. I am a programmer, artist, developer, poet, and a Jew. These are all things I choose to participate in actively, rather than as a passive part of my identity. I don’t know any other way to stay alive.
I was lucky enough to be born to a Jewish mother and a psychedelic museum curator father in San Francisco in the early 1990s. From both of their movements and cultures I get my ethical practices: human responsibilities towards each other, an obligation to repair the broken parts of the world and the beauty of love.
From both of them I also get my creative practices: from Judaism, the rigid thousands of religious laws which in my life tie nicely into the laws of programming, and from the hippies, the desire to think outside of the box, the great value of the abstract, the beauty of the altered reality and the unreliable narrator. Much of my writing on Judaism is a little bit silly and a little bit geeky; you can expect to see discussions of the potential conversion of space aliens, how to live a Jewish life in fantasy universes, and the kosher status of Pokémon. Despite this, please be prepared for the intense seriousness of my Judaism and my values.
I was very disenchanted with Judaism as a child and saw it mostly as a cultural framework to understand the Holocaust and the other tragedies of oppression that had torn apart my mother’s side of the family. Not one of us were pleased to be Jewish – it was something we carried like Atlas carrying the Earth on his shoulders. It was only as an adult that I returned to it, out of a longing and curiosity for my greater context, and it was the community that made me stay. The diversity, resilience and power of other Jews is what keeps me happily Jewish, but the singing, dancing and challah don’t hurt either.
My Jewish practice is rooted in ancient ethics, philosophy, the study of our myriad languages, and the continuous development of my modern moral compass. My being Jewish is not always easy or popular in my other circles, just as my being a lesbian, gender-variant anti-state anarchist is not always easy or popular in my Jewish circles. Despite those inherent difficulties, these things all continue to be true simultaneously. Humans are like that.
For me, my non-Zionist life was never truly a secret – but like many other things in contemporary Judaism, we seemed to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. I have no chance of living an uncontroversial life, and for me, participating in AJV is my way of embracing that fact and putting my voice out there. There is no other way to cope with the reality that my Jewish principles of lovingkindness, freedom from bondage and peace on earth are incompatible with mainstream applications of Zionist Judaism.
Here I am.