I have lately pondered the values of Jewrotica, and they are several fold. We stand for the need for respect in all relationships, the importance of direct communication, and the prioritization of sexual education and safe sex. Beyond these universal values, we are a catalyst for the creation of Jewish erotic literature, a forum for the exploration of Jewish text and tradition in a novel way, and an incubator for a global Jewish community that embodies a positive approach to sexuality.
Jewrotica was created as a platform for conversation and literary expression, a hub for many – sometimes contradicting – viewpoints. We try our best to publish as many submissions as possible, even if it means mentoring writers and going back and forth with edits until a piece is fine-tuned. I would like for Jewrotica to be an open-minded publication that is pluralistic whenever possible – a site for everyone. That is why our pieces have run the gamut representing interfaith, Orthodox, gay, straight, serious, playful, vanilla, kink, poetry, prose, educational, Judaic, fantasy and scores of other flavors and communities.
We, as the Jewrotica team, have collectively decided not to include certain pieces. We rejected a piece that felt hateful toward Jews and Jewish people (and also happened to have little redeeming literary value). However, there is a different category of (equally distasteful) writing that we have allowed ourselves to publish: stories involving deceit, cheating and extramarital affairs.
As a self-proclaimed inclusive publication, it would get tricky for us to start taking ethical stands. Nevertheless, all religions and modern ethical frameworks, including Judaism, frown on deceit, lies and cheating – each of which shatters trust, betrays relationships and diminishes one’s sense of worth. Modern media tends to glamorize, glorify and even eroticize the cheating moment and the “art of the affair” without giving due voice and discourse to the real wounds that are inflicted through these behaviors. There is one type of person who deserves to behave selfishly and demand instant gratification on a regular basis: a toddler. One would hope that we outgrow these behaviors and learn consideration of others as we mature.
Folks can have their own positive or negative opinions about Orthodox frameworks of marital intimacy, BDSM and the kink community, polyamory, same sex relationships and so forth. However, all of these frameworks include a fundamental level of communication, respect and honesty, which is not present with cheating and extramarital affairs.
This musing brings us to my main question. Though the Jewrotica team is fairly non-hierarchical, the publication of all stories and articles are ultimately subject to my discretion. So I wonder: Would opting not to include stories that promote disrespectful or deceitful behavior be a “brave stand” that speaks to the values of Jewrotica, or would it simply be an unrealistic and prudish attempt at censorship?
Your opinions are requested and conversation is invited!
Light and Love,