Live from the Lilith Blog

September 24, 2008 by

Great Jewish Feminist Ideas

As part of the celebration of Lilith’s 100th issue, our fall issue has a list of 100 great feminist ideas. Check out the issue and leave your own ideas below!

Feel free to leave any other questions, comments or thoughts on the fall issue, too!


  • daniella cellucci

    I love Lilith!!!! I am Jewish, Feminist who can appreciate all that Lilith offers to its audience. I can’t wait to read the next 100 and more issues!!!!!

  • http://www.Lilith.org admin

    Dear LILITH:

    It is puzzling,depressing and shocking that nowhere in the hundreds of words of discussion by the young female professionals in Jewish non-profits, recorded in LILITH’s Fall issue, did the one word that could give them the dignity and pay they deserve appear.

    That word is UNION.

    One would think that by now feminists would understand that nobody in power gives it up willingly and that change can only be brought about by organized struggle, not by secret individual negotiations. A decision by Jewish women professionals to engage in collective action that would not only improve their own careers but would also work to transform the Jewish community for the better can be encouraged by the knowledge of two phenomena:

    One is the history of our courageous predecessors — women who put their lives on the line to build unions in late 19th and early 20th century Czarist Russia and North America. (My maternal aunt, Ruth Friedman Nickin, was an organizer for the milliners’ union in Toronto.) They braved Cossacks and cops on horses, who whipped women on the picket lines — but the women persevered and succeeded

    The second is information on the disparity of salaries of male and female employees of Jewish non-profits. The pay of the top three executives (almost always men) in a nonprofit can be easily obtained from its tax returns via the Freedom of
    Information Act. These organizations’ claims that they don’t have enough money to pay their employees the salaries that would allow them to continue working in the Jewish community will be easily disproved by a cursory glance at the luxurious compensation given to the men at the top, whose ethics match those of greedy, irresponsible Wall Street CEO’s.

    Aviva Cantor

    New York, NY

    Cantor was the Co-Founding Editor of Lilith Magazine (1976-1987).

  • http://www.Lilith.org admin

    To the Editors of LILITH:

    In your fall 2008 issue, six pages of text are devoted to the panel discussion among young women professionals working for Jewish nonprofit organizations, “An Unquiet Revolution at the Water Cooler,” and to the accompanying sidebar by Shifra Bronznick and Didi Goldenhar, “How You Can Make Change.” These valuable articles include many important insights. Unfortunately, there is a glaring omission.

    Not once in these six pages of text is there any discussion of labor unions. There is an unchallenged assumption that each woman must inevitably fight for just treatment in the workplace on her own. But it is a bitter truth that nonprofit organizations commonly underpay and exploit their employees
    in good part because these employees are not organized and never work together for better salaries and working conditions.

    Given the long and proud history of Jewish women’s activism in the labor movement of the United States–and certainly in New York–it is especially distressing that no one involved in either of these otherwise excellent articles even manages to say the word “union” out loud.

    –Bob Lamm

  • http://www.Lilith.org admin

    Letter to the Editor
    From: Lynn Hazan

    It’s Time to take Salaries and Negotiations out of the Closet.

    I read the article An Unquiet Revolution at the Water Cooler (Fall 2008) with more than passing interest. I too worked in the Jewish community at the beginning of my professional career. I was idealistic (a good thing) and eager to work on the front lines. The work was challenging and exciting. I was part of the generation who embraced liberal Judaism, feminism, equal rights etc. I was also woefully underpaid, master’s degree and all.

    For the last 24 years, I have worked as an executive recruiter and have benefited from all the outreach skills I had developed while working on the college campus. I have also learned the benefits of negotiating and how to create a climate of win/win. The not for profit world can learn from the business world how valuable it is to learn how to negotiate.

    I love to negotiate, especially on behalf of my candidates when it comes to job offers, salaries, benefits etc. It’s time to take salary information out of the closet. In the business world, salary surveys are common, as are benchmarks for different levels, experience etc. This information is easily accessible, usually through professional associations.

    The more Jewish professionals learn how to be advocates on their own behalf, the more satisfaction they will gain from the negotiation process. It can be quite fun as well! Not only that, but once Jewish professionals know how effective they can be on their own behalf, think how much more powerful they can be negotiating for projects, budgets and grant money. Women especially need to learn these skills. I have seen how women tend to cave in too early in the process. They want to “make nice”. Remember, nice girls don’t make history!
    What all job candidates need to understand that while the negotiation process can be a little tense, it’s important to note that the hiring manager will not rescind a job offer. On the contrary, the manager (more often a man) will respect the candidate that much more.

    It’s time to go out and be strong. Your success and livelihood depend on it.

    Lynn Hazan
    President
    Lynn Hazan & Associates

  • Lori Hoch Stiefel

    In regards to Lynn Hazan’s message about “It’s Time to take Salaries and Negotiations out of the Closet”, I want to thank you for putting this out there. I am going through contract negotiations right now and I happened to stumble upon your letter to the editor.

    I was worried that I was going to come off being harsh by playing hardball but your words empowered me and I realize that by playing nice, I will be taken advantage of and it will set a precedent. I hope by being firm, I will be able to win their respect.

    ~Lori Hoch Stiefel

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    Lynn Hazan
    President
    Lynn Hazan & Associates