February 7, 2017 by Amelia Dornbush
I am fifth-generation Jewish Atlantan. My great-grandmother was a child when Leo Frank was lynched. My grandfather was sent to Christian school and converted to Christianity as a young child, actively working to make sure no one discovered his Jewish roots. To his then-chagrin, my father did, and began attending synagogue in the same place that past generations of Dornbushes had. The Temple, whose walls are full of old photographs of my family members who died well before I was born, was where I officially converted.
I love Atlanta. The city is in my muscle memory and in my subconscious. It’s been five years since I lived in Georgia, but I can still walk through the backroads around Emory without getting lost. I sometimes wake up craving cheese grits from Georgia Homegrown. My nightmare—a recurring dream of driving off a highway overpass—was spawned by Atlanta’s heavily congested interstates.
Atlanta builds and rebuilds, constantly reinventing itself, never quite acknowledging or healing the scars of its past. I know the city not just by its current places, but by the places it used to have. Ponce City Market I know also as City Hall East. For my Dad, it’s the Old Sears Building. He told me that the shopping center across from Ponce City Market/City Hall East/The Old Sears Building, which I know as The-Place-That-Used-to-Have-a-Borders-and-Still-Has-a-Whole-Foods was home to a minor league baseball team, called the Atlanta Crackers, when my grandfather was a child.
February 6, 2017 by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Lilith, this publication’s namesake, doesn’t seem the most likely subject for a children’s book. And yet Monette Chilson, an award-winning writer whose work “celebrates the feminine in God and God in the feminine” has chosen to examine and explain the mythological figure for a young audience. Chilson, author of Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga has also contributed to numerous anthologies as well as yoga publications. Her quest along spiritual paths led her to feature the character of Lilith in this book, where her haunting, elegant text has been paired with Arna Baartz’s lush and colorful illustrations.
February 3, 2017 by Amy Stone
Filmmaker Lilly Rivlin hit it right on this one.
“Heather Booth: Changing the World”—the final film in Rivlin’s trilogy of activist Jewish women (Grace Paley, Esther Broner) premiered in New York at the Manhattan JCC just before the Trump inauguration. The documentary of a woman whose lifelong work has been organizing for progressive change ends with the date November 9, 2016 (11/9 – the eerie reversal of 9/11) filling the screen, the date of Trump’s electoral college victory. Then Trump’s face fills the screen, and we hear Booth’s voice: “We will organize. We will stand up.”
The three-year project was a collaboration between filmmaker Rivlin (hard to believe she’s now 80) and Booth, now 71. Booth insisted that the film be a tool for organizing. And it is.
February 1, 2017 by Sheila Shotwell
“I need to pish,” she says, and hoists herself from the recliner. She grabs hold of the handle on her walker, and swivels around. Her tush plops down on the seat with a thud. Then she scoots to the bathroom, using her heels to propel forward.
Once she sits on the toilet, I make haste to tidy her room. I remove the dead flowers from the vase on the windowsill. The rotten, slimy stems are so stinky, I put them back in the vase.
I realize it’s a job that requires the sink. I hide the vase, so she won’t argue with me about the fact they’re dead. I shake the crumbs from her towel bib, smooth the wrinkles from the sheepskin on her chair, and with a tissue, pull the hairs from her comb.
I hunt for the week’s menu, so we can talk about alternative choices. For those days when pork is the entree.
February 1, 2017 by Barbara Stock
“Stay safe,” I repeated to everyone I knew traveling to The March. “Just keep yourself safe.” My caution surprised some but images of the ’60’s were haunting my sleep.
1963: I rode south with classmates as an exchange student for a few days at Hampton College, Virginia, a “Negro College.” We attended classes, slept in the women’s dorm, participated in discussions with students at the home of the college president. I rode the bus downtown with my roommate.
“Can’t we sit together?” I asked as she pointed me to a seat and then sat herself further to the back.
“No. I’m not looking to be killed. I’m buying material for my wedding dress.”
January 31, 2017 by Eleanor J. Bader
As Donald Trump moves forward with plans to build a racist barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, signs Executive Orders barring most refugees from entering the country, and temporarily halts the issuance of visas for people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, many of us are angry and ashamed.
Historian Libby Garland, a professor at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, shares these sentiments. At the same time, as a longtime researcher specializing in immigration policy, she is able to put today’s conservative momentum into a broader political context.
Her first book, After They Closed the Gates: Jewish Illegal Immigration to the United States, 1921-1965 [University of Chicago Press, 2014] looks at the impetus behind two exclusionary quota laws passed by Congress in 1921 and 1924 that were meant to limit the number of newcomers entering the United States. “The quota laws grew out of a widespread belief that some kinds of foreigners could be kept out of the nation, and out of a certainty that these groups could be recognized, counted and stopped from entering,” she writes.
January 30, 2017 by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Back in summer 2011, Lilith published Take the A Train to Scotland, from a novel-in-progress by Ellen Umansky. The novel, now called The Fortunate Ones, has undergone a sea change (Umansky says that the section that appeared in Lilith did not make it into the final version of the novel) and is poised to make its debut on February 14.
The story begins in 1939 in Vienna, and as the specter of war looms over Europe, Rose Zimmer’s parents are desperate to flee. Unable to escape themselves, they manage to secure passage for their young daughter on a kindertransport, and send her to live with strangers in England. When the war is finally over in 1946, a grief-stricken Rose attempts to build a life for herself. Alone in London, she becomes increasingly focused on trying to retrieve a bit of her lost childhood: the Chaim Soutine painting her mother had held precious.
Many years later, the painting finds its way to America. In modern-day Los Angeles, Lizzie Goldstein has returned home for her father’s funeral. Newly single and unsure of her path, she carries a burden of guilt that cannot be displaced. Years ago, as a teenager, Lizzie threw a party at her father’s house with unexpected but far-reaching consequences. The Soutine painting that she loved and had provided lasting comfort to her after her own mother had died was stolen, and has never been recovered. This painting will bring Lizzie and Rose together and ignite an unexpected friendship that excavates painful and long-held secrets. Below is an excerpt from The Fortunate Ones:
January 27, 2017 by Beth Kissileff
Sometimes, it is not hard to figure out the right thing to do. When a tyrant tells you to do something wrong, resist.
The midwives did it, refusing to kill Hebrew babies. Why? Because they feared God (Exodus 1:17). Regardless of your theological stance, one has to acknowledge that one path to bravery is the understanding that there is something larger and broader beyond whatever a human tyrant demands that commands respect for values that go beyond the mere will of a despot.
January 23, 2017 by admin
Reconnecting in D.C.—after 40 Years
In her twenties, they all lived together in a communal house in the District. Now, four decades later, they (and their landlord) are reunited in the nation’s capital.
Jewish Feminists Report Back from 18 Marches
From Anchorage to London.
A Rabbi’s Benediction from Sedona, Arizona
Sedona! Verde Valley! Hundreds turned out.
At Columbus Circle, January 19, 2017
Two nights before. A dispatch from a college student.
“Bring Your Teaspoon”
A rousing speech delivered by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso in Indianapolis, Indiana.
A Picture is Worth 1000 words
Photographs submitted by readers from Women’s Marches around the United States.