Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I have heard from many quarters that Currado Malaspina's Palimpsest notebooks are based on a perversion.

To some people it's a perversion of faith, to others a perversion of fact but all of Currado's detractors agree that les Cahiers du Palimpseste are a corrupted, premeditated, ignominious sacrilege. 

 From sources both liturgical and cabalistic, my militantly laical colleague has turned the genuinely sacred into a soup of Daedalean banality. After mastering post-biblical Hebraic orthography (a skill not commonly shared among most Diasporic Jews let alone French Roman Catholics), Currado has filled dozens of notebooks with fragments as well as extended excerpts from the medieval verse of Ibn Gabirol, the Lurianic speculations of Hayyim Vital and Shalom Sharabi as well as the more contemporary metaphysical poetry of the Toronto based Itai Hoki-Kerach. 

The reaction has been fast and fierce.

The associate chief rabbi of Kehilat Iris in
Auvers-sur-Oise called on Currado to justify his seemingly arbitrary use of apocrypha and prayer. René Maigrichon, past president of the Conseil des Institution des Juives Croyants went so far as to publish an open letter of protest in the weekly news magazine Le Vieux Typographe.

Even the legendary Belgian pop idol Isaak Guitara whose latest release featured several controversially explicit Ladino love songs called Malaspina "unjustifiably provocative."

Ironically in Israel, the religious establishment remains fairly nonplussed. "If all this gets people to take a second look at the Maharal then what's the harm?" said Jerusalem seminarian Yossele Scharf whose view seems to represent the holy land's pious mainstream.

And I suppose, on the other hand, that if it gets the haredi (ultra-orthodox) community a little closer to Art Basel, documenta and the Venice Biennale,  well, that can't be a bad thing either.

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