An Athropological Approach to Sarkicism: The Weilstedt of New York City
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An Anthropological Approach to Sarkicism

Dr. Reuben Ophir, Department of Anthropology
Dr. Lydia Homme, Department of Applied Theology

Forward:
Our understanding of Sarkicism has changed dramatically over the last few decades. What we have learned has revealed a diverse and shifting paradigm far different from the monolithic creed that was first hypothesized. We are now able to paint a broader, more detailed picture of the Nälkä religion, its various sects and cultural traditions.

Modern sects are the product of divergent interpretations, many bearing a mere superficial resemblance to their ancient progenitor cult. Most unexpected, especially among early scholars of Sarkicism such as myself, are the seemingly benevolent intentions of its founders. The road to hell, it is often said, is paved with good intentions - an aphorism the Foundation must always keep close in mind, for despite the aeons between us, we gaze into that very same abyss.

And like the ancient Adytites, we have found it full of monsters.

Drs. Reuben Ophir and Lydia Homme have taken it upon themselves to better understand a long-time enigma of BackDoor SoHo: the Weilstedt. In the process, they hope to better understand both the means by which Sarkicism spreads, and the forces that control the black markets of the BackDoor.

- Dr. Judith Low, Senior Adviser at the Department of History - Religious GoI Threat Analysis.

CASE STUDY: The Weilstedt

Overview:

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Partial shot of a Weilstedt commune's exterior. The significance of the mark upon the garage door has not been determined.

The Weilstedt are a Sarkic1 community based primarily in the free port of BackDoor SoHo, with a scattering of "branch" families across the metropolitan area of New York City. As a term, "Weilstedt" may refer to both the ethnic enclave located in the BackDoor, or the "Weilstedt Syndicate", an extensive criminal network that operates within the metropolitan area; although the latter overlaps significantly with the former, they are not mutually inclusive.

Of particular note with regards to the enclave, the Weilstedt draw largely from Ashkenazi Jewish religious and cultural practices. Indeed, a typical Weilstedten identifies both as a Jew and as a Nälkän.

History:

Initial attempts at tracing the Weilstedt's history were conducted under the assumption that they had emigrated from a single community; while records point to a mass immigration of Jew and Sarkite alike, such reports are spread across a period of nearly 50 years and a wide range of Eastern European countries. Furthermore, there appeared to be virtually no intersection between the two prior to immigration.

Our current understanding posits that the Weilstedt Syndicate formed sometime in the 1890s, following decades of intermingling between the two groups. Its founding (and present) "boss", Karcist Hirschell2, had emigrated from Warsaw to the United States in 1882 following a series of anti-Jewish pogroms. According to Karcist Hirschell, establishment was a matter of consolidating the operation of legal and extralegal ventures operated by an emergent community of mixed Sarkic-Jewish families.3

The first documented occurrence of the phrase "Weilstedt" outside the community comes from recovered ASCI documentation4 c. 1901. Designated a "Hostile Actor"5, the Weilstedt were the subject of extensive anti-criminal policing efforts. Despite their efforts, the ASCI's actions ultimately worked against their interests: the sudden increase in active policing in a once relatively hands-off free port turned the populace against authorities, sharply decreasing civilian cooperation. Furthermore, the ASCI did little to distinguish between Syndicate and non-Syndicate Weilstedt, turning otherwise law-abiding Weilstedt against the investigation.

The Weilstedt Syndicate faced opposition both within and outside the anomalous community. In particular, the Syndicate's expansion arguably paved the way for the unification of the various BackDoor tongs6 who, weakened by decades of inter-tong warfare, were forced to unite against a common enemy.

Having spoken with the four Karcists of the Weilstedt, it is apparent that the Syndicate's activities are a point of contention even for Weilstedten civilians. Syndicate or not, a Weilstedten faces emboldened antisemitism as a result of the Syndicate's operations; at the same time, excess funds are frequently diverted into projects and programs meant to increase the average Weilstedten's quality of life (albeit often as a form of PR campaigning). Whether the actions of the Syndicate conflict with the emergent Judeo-Nälkän religion is a subject of extensive debate continuing to this day.

Culture, Tradition, and Misconceptions:

Somewhat predictably, the two of us are in disagreement as to the exact classification of the Weilstedt religion.

It is Dr. Ophir's opinion that the Weilstedt represent a unique evolution of diaspora Judaism. Unique to the Weilstedt (in comparison to fellow Sarkic communities) is reverence towards a higher power (the Jewish god) than even Ion; even so, the role of the Jewish god becomes less the paternalistic covenant-holder of the Jewish people and more that of a divine intelligence superseding the physical. It is likely that European Sarkicism's existing similarities to Kabbalism7 helped facilitate the original refugees' union.

However, it is Dr. Homme's opinion that despite their trappings, the Weilstedt have little in common with modern Judaism. Having observed their traditions, the Weilstedt's interpretation of the halacha8 is noticeably skewed so that, while following the "letter of the law", it does not impede the distinctive Nälkän elements. Their "Judaism", therefore, serves as a cover for a crypto-Sarkic foundation.

In any case, hierarchy within the Weilstedt community falls in line with traditional Jewish thoughts. The spiritual and religious leaders of the Weilstedt are the rabbis, holding positions independent of the common Sarkic hierarchy. While the positions of Karcist and Võlutaar are still respected, they are assigned primarily in service to the logical roles within the community. As a result, however, three of the four Weilstedt Karcists are also rabbis. Such "Rabbi-Karcists" are typically afforded more respect within Weilstedt hierarchies.

Unusually for a Sarkic community, surveyed attitudes towards gender roles are relatively conservative9. The Weilstedt recognize six genders, each of which is taken from the Mishnah:

  1. Zachar: Roughly analogous to "man", the Zachar are expected to provide for the family, spiritually and financially. There exists significant debate over whether the Zachar should hold monopoly over the role of Rabbi.10
  2. Nekevah: Roughly analogous to "fertile woman", the Nekevah are expected to handle domestic affairs, such as the management of households.
  3. Androgynos: Regarded as the "in-between" of the former two, the Androgynos are expected to handle affairs of the community, mediating disputes between households. A majority of the Weilstedts' real-estate dealings are conducted by Androgynos.
  4. Tumtum: The Tumtum are defined by a state of sexlessness, and traditionally fill the role of the Weilstedt's doctors and healers.
  5. Ay’lonit: Roughly analogous to "infertile woman", the Ay'lonit make up a significant portion of the Weilstedt's fleshcrafters and architects. The role of Võlutaar is traditionally reserved to the Ay’lonit.
  6. Saris: Roughly analogous to "eunuch", "unclean" tasks such as public sanitation and funerary work are reserved for the Saris.

In theory, such expectations would neatly divide the Weilstedt into a gender-demarcated social structure. In practice, however, gender identity as we know it is virtually nonexistent within the community.

Where the Weilstedt diverge from the Mishnah is the fluidity of gender. The average Weilstedten is expected (though not forced) to fulfill all six roles in their lifetime, warping their own forms as the need arises. Beyond the realm of duties, a Weilstedten may decide to change their gender on a whim, with no expectation to perform its associated work. It is even traditional that, upon the naming of an infant, six given names are provided for the child, in preparation for every role said child may fulfill.

As a possible repercussion of the unique approach to gender roles, the Weilstedt presently suffer from a dearth of professional artisans. Conversely, a majority of the Weilstedt are proficient in a wide variety of tasks. In light of such, as well as the high rates of poverty typical for most Sarkic communities, the pursuit of higher education is rare, and the Weilstedt remain relatively isolated for much of their lives.

Naturally, the Weilstedt harbor a small yet vocal minority that opposes the supposed convolution of Weilstedten gender and its expectations, most prominently Rabbi-Karcist Singer.

In accordance to Jewish law, the Weilstedt worship neither Ion nor the Klavigar. They are instead relegated to a position of a secular reverence: each is treated as an archetype to embody as the situation demands, and their supposed history is treated as both factual and useful in imparting morality.

Several sones14 have been apprended to the Tanakh employed by the Weilstedt culture. Most detail the rise and fall of the Adytite Empire; with the exception of Nadox15, Ion and the Klavigar are portrayed as righteous Gentiles who, at least initially, managed Adytum through wisdom extrapolated from the teachings of the Jewish god. A few more consist of prayers, allegories, anecdotes regarding the Klavigar, and visions of Sarkic "prophets".

Having analyzed the texts in question, it is the opinion of Dr. Homme that the Weilstedt Sones are a largely syncretic collection of folktales, propaganda, and parables, collected from various Levantine and Eastern European Sarkicists between the 11th Century BCE to the 19th Century CE. In particular, the sections regarding the Adytite Empire, if true, would have to have been written by an author party to the Empire's inner workings. Moreover, several sones appear to be retellings of select Imitian Annals16, suggesting they drew from pre-existing folklore.

The mythopoeic aspects of Weilstedt mysticism is complex, and it can be difficult for outside observers to parse between "history", "myth", "allegory", and "joke".

The Weilstedt Syndicate

Unusually for a Jewish-American community, the Weilstedt are loathe to integrate. We initially hypothesized this to be a result of its Sarkic orgins; however, our time with the Weilstedt has lead Dr. Ophir to hypothesize this is a deliberate attitude engendered by Karcist Hirschell and the Weilstedt Syndicate.

The Syndicate's early history is poorly understood. It is known to have formed shortly before the 20th Century, which Karcist Hirschell in a position of apparent leadership. Attempts at inquiry have been largely rebuffed by the current Syndicate; however, former members, such as Rabbi-Karcist Singer, have been largely forthcoming when questioned.

The Syndicate appears to have begun in earnest in the late 1890s. Karcist Hirschell founded the operation with at least four other people; of those known to have existed, three died under mysterious circumstances, while the last was killed by an unknown Tong assassin.

Between the Syndicate's founding and the passage of the Volstead Act, criminal activities were limited to the unauthorized sale of narcotics and blood22, as well as the performance of various medical services by unlicensed practitioners. Members of the Syndicate consisted primarily of working-class youth looking to supplement their family's income; as a result of both this and the unique services provided, the Weilstedt Syndicate ran largely unopposed by fellow gangs.

The onset of Prohibition saw a significant expansion of Syndicate activities, as Karcist Hirschell oversaw the mass acquisition of former public houses. It's here that the Weilstedt established a more "traditional" criminal network, operating a ring of speakeasies and brothels across (and occasionally even beyond) the BackDoor. The anomalous deaths of important figures in the Italian Mafia is also thought to have contributed to the Syndicate's expansion.

The broader Weilstedt community appears to have been vaguely aware of the Syndicate. However, despite internal disapproval of Syndicate activities, non-Syndicate Weilstedt have been largely uncooperative with law enforcement. There are a number of theories for this:

  • The rise of the Syndicate roughly coincided with increasing American antisemitism.23 Members of the Syndicate positioned themselves as defenders of BackDoor Jewry: Klan members (and later, members of the Silver Legion and the American Nazi Party) were regularly outed, beaten, and forcibly circumcised by Syndicate enforcers.
  • A portion of Syndicate profits are redirected into community projects, such as the renovation of communal apartments and local synagogues. Additionally, Syndicate administration frequently conducts hostile acquisitions of local business, tying their success directly to the Syndicate's health.
  • As noted in the History section, the ASCI's heavy-handed policing appears to have engendered an extreme distrust towards law enforcement.




Forward, concept, and structure copied from An Anthropological Approach to Sarkicism by MetaphysicianMetaphysician, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, with the structure of this particular attribution copied from MalyceGravesMalyceGraves's author post, also CC BY-SA 3.0.

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The Book of Esther, riffed on by the history section, is public domain, written by an Unknown Author.

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