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Live from the Lilith Blog

July 7, 2016 by

Tell Us! What Is a Jewish Feminist Object?

jewfemobjectsMaybe it’s lurking in your basement—or your subconscious. A baby carrier with tzitzit? Your IUD? Your Tia Malka’s cooking spoon? Tefillin Barbie? The pants you wore to your bat mitzvah? 

From the totally transgressive to the completely obvious, we want them all, in the full range of our identities—ethnic, racial, cultural, sexual, geographic, religious, tragical, comical.

Don’t hold back! Baby Jewish feminists need your wisdom. Send nominations to with your name and the why behind the object(s). We’re standing by to select 40 for Lilith’s fall issue—kicking off the magazine’s 40th anniversary year.

For some samples of ​Lilith writing on objects and material culture​ (stuff we’ve loved in the past)​, see these articles:

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Live from the Lilith Blog

December 24, 2015 by

Read This Before Making Another End-Of-Year Donation

Before you write another end-of-year check, here’s a selection of articles to help you think about how to give, what to give, and to whom you should give.
A ninth-grader derives tzedakah lessons as she sorts through her family’s philanthropy.
Susan Weidman Schneider on learning value from a New Orleans street performer.
Why is women’s charity undervalued in the Jewish community? Perhaps it’s because they give differently from men.
But what if you’re Jewish and you don’t have any money??
Feminist Philanthropy
Some farseeing female philanthropists are putting their tzedakah where their personal politics are. 

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Live from the Lilith Blog

September 16, 2015 by

End-of-Year/Start-of-Year Improvements

During these Days of Awe (and contemplation), here is some reading we hope will guide your introspection and prepare you for the new year.

by Leah Koenig
“Rosh Hashanah always sneaks up on me. Every year I tell myself that I’m going to engage in serious self-preparation for the holiday…But nearly every year, I find myself in synagogue on Erev Rosh Hashanah, feeling slightly bewildered and attempting a crash course in tshuvah.”
by Maya Bernstein
“Jews around the world are involved in spiritual preparation, returning to God, returning to the selves they wish to be. So, I feel, it is an especially fitting time for me to return. Except that I’m returning to work.”
by Rabbi Susan Schnur with Marcia Falk
Guided by the poems of Leah Goldberg, Malka Heifetz Tussman, and Zelda, liturgist Marcia Falk and Rabbi Susan Schnur create a new vision of spiritual turning that focuses on water…and women in conversation.
Did the biblical heroine Hannah, mother of Samuel, whose story we revisit each Rosh Hashanah, suffer from anorexia nervosa?
by Modesty Blasé
“I have been thinking about my tombstone. Every year, during these days surrounding Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur I get a little nervous.”
by Barbara Stock
“On Rosh Hashana I drove alone to Lake Michigan to perform tashlikh. But I left the lake feeling that I needed to return, so I went again the next day. Oddly, something was still missing for me. On the day before Yom Kippur, I found myself at the lake again.”


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Live from the Lilith Blog

July 1, 2015 by

Happy Canada Day!

In honor of Canada Day, here’s an assortment of Lilith articles with Canadian content. Hope you enjoy! 

Evolving from Bystander to Rescuer
by Susan Weidman Schneider
On Gail Asper and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which focuses on Jews, on women, on hunger and trafficking, and on oppressed minorities around the world.

“Never Tell Anyone”: A Comedienne Breaks Her Family Taboo 
by Frannie Sheridan
Her stand-up shtick blows her traumatized family’s “Catholic” cover. Fear and fury ensue. 

Earth Mamas
by Alisha Kaplan
The author on her mother’s Canadian farm and Jews who long for country life. 

Sorrel Summer 
by Marlene B. Samuels
Summering in the Laurentian Mountains, the author’s Holocaust survivor mother’s remembers sorrel soup in pre-War Romania.

Canada’s Parliament Fixes Jewish Divorces
by Elaine Kalman Naves
On the fight for the enactment in August 1990 of the only national law anywhere in the world reducing obstacles to Jewish divorce.

Golden Words: Q&A With Author, Editor, Activist Nora Gold
by Yona Zeldis McDonough
The Canadian author on her novel Fields of Exile, about anti-Israelism in academe.

Returning to the Garden
by Chana Widawski
Outside New York, Toronto, and Baltimore, Jews are farming in communities that merge ecology and social justice.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

June 10, 2015 by

Coming-Out Stories, the Talmud’s POV on Gender, New Rituals, and More

The Lilith archive includes first-person coming-out stories, memoirs of “crossroads” experiences, the Talmud’s surprising POV on gender identity, and new rituals, ceremonies, and liturgies. 
Dive in!

Why We’re Not Getting Married 
by Martha Ackelsberg and Judith Plaskow

Fall 2004
“We fully believe that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry, and we celebrate the fact that a significant barrier to our full citizenship has fallen. But we’re not getting married. “

Coming Out in the Orthodox World: Our Lesbian Wedding
by Tamar A. Prager

Summer 2006
Here’s how one lesbian couple—wanting the blessings both of their parents and of Jewish tradition—melded Judaism and their gay identity.

What’s a Nice Jewish Girl Like Me Doing in a Man’s Body?
by Joy Ladin

Winter 2009-2010
The complicated story of becoming a woman gives a whole new dimension to Rabbi Hillel’s famous creed, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

What to Call the Rabbi’s Lesbian Partner?
Fall 2012
by Mel Weiss
“I’d thought once that the issue of what to call myself as a grown-up would be settled once I discovered the word ‘Ms.’”

“Coming Out” in the Jewish Family
by Carla Cantor

Summer 1989
As many lesbians discover, being true to oneself has a price… Jewish families have both a harder—and an easier—time accepting gay children.

Gay Rights are a Natural Extension of Jewish Feminism
by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Spring 2005
“This is the idea that I grew up with: that Judaism should be fully accessible to all of us.”

Being Out as a Jew in Lesbian Circles
by Melanie Weiss

Summer 2006
In some settings, it’s more acceptable to be gay than to be Jewish. 

Two Lesbian Women and Their Pretty Straight Wedding 
by Susan Sapiro

Winter 1997-1998
What distinguished this ceremony from many other gay and lesbian weddings is that Michelle and Aimee are halachically committed Jews.

Transgender Jews: A Special Section
On gender in Eden, the Talmud’s 7 genders, the rituals and policies of transgender Jews, and how synagogues can become more comfortable spaces for trans people.

Gender in Genesis by Gwynn Kessler
What the Talmud Says about Gender Ambiguity by Alana Suskin
In the Image of God by Danya Ruttenberg
Shul Matters by Micah Bazant
“Today I am a Man” Takes on New Meaning by Danya Ruttenberg

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Live from the Lilith Blog

December 24, 2014 by

Know This Already?

Gloria Steinem said it well: ”Lilith offers scholarship for argument and women’s personal voices for enlightenment; and it does all of this with anger and delight, good writing and humor.”
But you knew that already.
On every page, Lilith boldly explores the lives of Jewish women and men: from Jewish feet to why Beyonce matters to how to do justice with our money to mikveh rights to what our clothes signify about us.


In Lilith you encounter the life stories of women like–and decidedly unlike–yourself. 
Lilith illuminates paths to a female-friendly Judaism:
  • One former Lilith intern says she never would have spoken at her grandmother’s funeral if not for the permission she received from Lilith’s articles.
  • A culture-shaper in her 30s writes that “Reading Lilith I knew that I didn’t have to leave the Jewish world to be a feminist.
  • A well-known painter tells Lilith, “Thank you for provocative, sensitive stories. I find inspiration for my imagery in your words.”
  • A literature professor says she can introduce her students to Israeli women writers because Lilith translates and publishes their short stories.
And Lilith does this on a bare-bones budget, with a small and devoted staff.
Be part of this exciting work. 
Make your tax-deductible contribution to Lilith online at 
or by calling (888) 2-LILITH.
Since 1976, Lilith has been sustained by people like you. You make this possible. 
We thank you deeply for you support, and so do the thousands of readers and thinkers who appreciate the magazine as you do. 

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October 20, 2014 by

Lilith Magazine Named One of North America’s Jewish Organizations Having the Greatest Impact on the Lives of Women and Girls

selected-womenandgirls-14-15New York, NY – Lilith Magazine ​was named today as one of 19 leading Jewish organizations committed to having the greatest impact on the lives of women and girls​.​​ ​Lilith is described as “Shaping the gender justice discourse of the Jewish community with fearless journalism and face-to-face salons.​” ​​​​Lilith appears in one ​of three supplements to the Slingshot Guide​ accompanying the tenth annual Slingshot Guide, Slingshot 2014-15. Being honored in this supplement, published for a second year, along with two regionally-focused ones, will help further expand Lilith’s reach and our ability to carry out our mission, as well as to draw in activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects that, through their innovative nature, will ensure the Jewish community remains relevant and thriving with input from women and girls in very arena.

Selected from among hundreds of finalists reviewed by 112 professionals with expertise in grantmaking and Jewish communal life, ​Lilith is hailed in ​the Guide ​as “a leader in in-depth feminist journalism.”

Organizations included in this year’s women and girls supplement were evaluated on their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results.​ ​”Lilith Magazine is proud to be among the 21 organizations included in the second year of this supplement,” said Susan Weidman Schneider. “The organizations included in Slingshot’s women and girls supplement demonstrate the potential impact on and by women and girls in Jewish life today. Lilith Magazine is thankful that Slingshot continues to highlight women and girls as it expands the scope of its Guide, and we are honored to be part of the community of innovative organizations that have benefited from the Slingshot Guide over the last ten years.” The supplement was supported through a generous partnership with the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York. Joy Sisisky, Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

July 2, 2014 by

Can a Non-Jewish Spouse “Step Away” From Jewish Fears?

 << I’m lucky that I could step away from it if I wanted to. It’s no secret that Jews are still subject to racial prejudices and abuse – something that will never be directed at me – only to the people I love.>>

  “Mummy…MUMMY…I’m Jewish!”  My four-year-old daughter has just returned from nursery and is prancing around the kitchen looking for something to do, expertly avoiding her younger brother, who is trying to get her to ‘read’ him a story.

  “Yes darling. You are.”

  “And my brother’s Jewish.  And Daddy’s Jewish.  And you’re Jewish.” 

  “No, I’m not Jewish.  Daddy is, but I’m not.” 


Live from the Lilith Blog

March 13, 2013 by

“Be Prepared” To Protest The Boy Scouts’ Anti-Gay Power Play

I guess I can’t really take any personal credit for this, but I’m gratified that a chorus of protest, including mine, has prompted the Boy Scouts of America to re-evaluate its policy banning participation by gays and lesbians. (The Girl Scouts have always had a policy of non-discrimination.)

After re-affirming the exclusionary policy as recently as last summer, the BSA announced in January that it may change the rule so that each local unit could decide whether to admit homosexual leaders and scouts. This proposal triggered so much heated debate — within and outside of scouting – that the organization tabled the matter until its next meeting, in May.

It will be interesting to see whether the families who left scouting in response to the BSA’s anti-gay policy would find this new approach to be acceptable. I don’t. When my husband and I enrolled our seven-year-old in Cub Scouts last year, we knew the BSA had a reputation for being homophobic, but we hadn’t realized it was actually written into the organization’s by-laws. We discovered it when the anti-gay policy was re-affirmed last summer, and we left scouting at that time. (Lilith, Winter 2012-2013)

I saw it as a social justice issue that was closely tied to my identity as a Jew. I was especially disappointed that with more than 160 Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups affiliated with Jewish organizations, there wasn’t a bigger protest from Jewish scouting leaders. I think that’s finally starting to change. According to an article in The Jewish Week, officials of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting, which serves as an advisory committee to the Boy Scouts of America, took a vote of their regional chairs and found overwhelming support for an end to the ban on homosexuals in scouting. Members of the committee will push the BSA to change its policy, the article said.


Live from the Lilith Blog

May 7, 2012 by

PAULA HYMAN (1946-2011) At the Center of Change

Paula Hyman, pictured here with her daughter Judith Rosenbaum. Photo by Amy Stone.

At the time of her death in December, Paula Hyman was the Lucy Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University. She had been the first female dean of the Albert A. List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the first woman president of the American Academy for Jewish Research, and co-founder of of the germinal Jewish feminist group of the 1970s, Ezrat Nashim. While still a graduate student, she authored what may have been the first social history of Jewish women, The Jewish Woman in America [1976], and then proceeded to transform the way that Jewish scholars think of such basic historical paradigms as assimilation and acculturation by viewing these phenomena through the lens of gender.

Most of the Jewish girls born in America today will take it for granted that women can be rabbis, count in a minyan, and read from the Torah. And Jewish historians being trained today are called to task when the do not take gender into account. Paula Hyman was at the forefront of the religious and intellectual struggles that generated these changes. Her influence extended both into the academy and far beyond it, affecting the lives of Jewish females in schools and congregations in ways of which many are still unaware.

The reflections that follow give some glimpses into her legacy, and the extraordinary ways in which she shaped the Jewish feminist world we live in today.

Read more in a free download from Lilith’s Spring 2012 issue.

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