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March 30, 2015 by

Food: Gender, Power and More

Food—yum!—opens us up to similarity and diversity, generosity and self-interest, gender and power. So naturally Lilith’s readers are interested.

Passover is the holiday with the most relentless attention to foods, and to the memories they conjure. But it’s also about the politics of the kitchen—about similarity and diversity, gender and power. Each choice we make can stake out a spiritual, ideological or political position. 

For me, it’s also often about phone conversations, since so many of the people I like to connect with—near and far––are cooking at the same time.

When the phone rang with a graduate student on the other end, I was surprised. Not by the call, since we get queries all the time at Lilith, but by what she wanted to know. Could she interrogate me about Lilith’s reporting on food? In her research into feminist publications, Lilith had emerged as an outlier. Why was this magazine the only one with a positive view of cooking? All others viewed food as a tool for oppressing women or as a toxic substance triggering eating disorders. 

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March 24, 2015 by

Eco-Conscious Book Destruction

New Jersey-based visual artist, Irmari Nacht, hates waste. An avid environmentalist, Nacht says her mission is to promote the recycling and re-purposing of everyday items rather than the cavalier disposal of goods deemed useless or unwanted.

Nacht’s glee is audible as she described converting old into new. In fact, her current project, turning discarded books into sculptures, is a case in point. Since 2007, Nacht has changed novels, poetry collections, prayer books, and non-fiction into statuary. The project is called Saved, and more than 30 books in the 106-piece series will be on display in Brooklyn’s majestic public library in Grand Army Plaza until April 5th. 

Her artist’s statement explains her purpose: “The artwork, using the books as a metaphor, addresses environmental concerns, change, and transformation.” But it also does more than this. The visually stunning stand-alone books suggest whimsy as well as the more serious themes of displacement, racism, anti-Semitism, and hunger.

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March 16, 2015 by

Excuse Me: How to Free Yourself

Welcome to another edition of Excuse Me, an illustrated advice column about maddening things. Installments will be posted here every other Monday. Need advice? Send your questions to liana@lilith.org.excuseme12 v 1

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March 8, 2015 by

A Look Back on International Women’s Day

internationalwomensday.com

internationalwomensday.com

Today, March 8th, people around the world observe International Women’s Day, an event that first occurred in 1911 after the second International Women’s Conference of 1910 in Copenhagen, Denmark. This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is Make it Happen to “encourag[e] effective action for advancing and recognizing women.” In honor of today, we have compiled a round-up of relevant articles from the Lilith archive.

In the Fall/Winter 77/78 issue of Lilith, we reported on the 1977 National IWY (International Women’s Year) Conference, held November 19-21 in Houston. Prior to the conference, there was a series of meetings led by the Leadership Conference of National Jewish Women’s Organizations, in which leaders of Jewish women’s organizations made the decision not to let their focus be on supporting Jewish issues and defending Israel, as male Jewish leaders wanted them to focus on, and instead signed a commitment on working towards equality for women in all aspects of society. It marked the first time “Jewish women’s organizations joined together to put themselves on record in favor of the Women’s Agenda.” [Houston, Fall/Winter 77/78]

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March 2, 2015 by

Excuse Me: How to Make Small Talk

Welcome to another edition of Excuse Me, an illustrated advice column about maddening things. Installments will be posted here every other Monday. Need advice? Send your questions to liana@lilith.org.

excuseme11


Liana Finck’s graphic novel is called A Bintel Brief. She writes and draws a monthly column for The Forward and her cartoons appear irregularly in The New Yorker. She often thinks about the age-old question: fight, or flight?

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February 18, 2015 by

Lesley Gore (1946-2015), Who Created a Feminist Anthem

Cover art for Gore's I'll Cry If I Want To. The copyright is believed to belong to the label, Mercury Records.

Cover art for Gore’s I’ll Cry If I Want To. The copyright is believed to belong to the label, Mercury Records.

On a sultry evening in July of 2011, music fans young and old took over a plaza at Lincoln Center for a concert called “She’s Got the Power.” On the bill were stars from many classic “girl group” bands—singers from The Toys, The Cookies, The Crystals, and others. Even The Ronettes’ legendary Ronnie Spector was set to perform. In this powerhouse lineup, no one generated more excitement than Lesley Gore.

And who wouldn’t love her? Gore had intelligence and humor, power and grace, and a voice that could belt with the best. On that night and many others over a decades-long career, she held the crowd in her hand. 

Born Lesley Sue Goldstein in Brooklyn, to parents Ronny and Leo (the Goldstein family changed its name to Gore soon after her birth), Lesley grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey. Her love of singing led to vocal lessons, and in 1963 a demo tape that she had made managed to reach up-and-coming producer Quincy Jones. He embraced her sound—a compelling mix of innocence and sophistication—and quickly produced Gore’s first single, “It’s My Party.” It reached No. 1 in the United States in May of 1963, when she was just 17. The sudden fame could be a shock: When DJs called Gore “the sweetie pie from Tenafly,” fans located her family’s home in the suburban town and camped out on their lawn. 

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February 16, 2015 by

Excuse Me: How to See Beauty in Things

Welcome to another edition of Excuse Me, an illustrated advice column about maddening things. Installments will be posted here every other Monday. Need advice? Send your questions to liana@lilith.org.Excuse Me #10

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February 11, 2015 by

Get Thee to “Gett”

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Sib filmmakers Ronit and Shlomo Elkabetz in New York before opening of “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.” Photo by Amy Stone.

Whether you’ve dedicated your life to the plight of the chained women (Hebrew “agunot”) whose husbands refuse to give them a Jewish religious divorce (“gett”), or you had no idea that a Jewish religious divorce is the ONLY legal divorce for Jewish couples in Israel, get thee to the Israeli feature film “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.” In Hebrew, French and Arabic with English subtitles, it opens Feb. 13 in New York City and Los Angeles. 

Under Jewish religious law (not just in Israel), a husband can simply refuse to give his wife a divorce. In this remarkable film, we see in detail the final two years of excruciating legal procedures that have already dragged on for three years in an Israeli “beit din,” court of judgment. 

Viviane Amsalem, the wife trapped in a dead marriage, is simply a non-person. She is beautiful. She is emotionally controlled. She is not religious, but dresses modestly (except for great sandals exposing her toes). How can she keep from cracking when she’s at the mercy of a husband who doesn’t even have to show up for court dates? When he does appear, all he has to do is say no. He doesn’t even bother to hire a lawyer.

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February 9, 2015 by

Excuse Me: Social Metamorphoses

Welcome to another edition of Excuse Me, a new illustrated advice column about maddening things. Installments will be posted here every other Monday. Need advice? Send your questions to liana@lilith.org.

excuseme9


Liana Finck’s graphic novel is called A Bintel Brief. She writes and draws a monthly column for The Forward and her cartoons appear irregularly in The New Yorker. She often thinks about the age-old question: fight, or flight?

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February 3, 2015 by

Losing My Anne Frank

I recently travelled to Amsterdam, and was invited by Dienke Hondius, one of the curators of the Anne Frank House, to visit the museum. I accepted with alacrity: the lines to get in always snake around the block, and I was especially curious to see it because it has come under fire recently in a piece in Haaretz.

After I toured it I wrote to Ms. Hondius. 

Dear Dienke,

Here is an attempt to answer your question as to why I found the Anne Frank House Museum personally disorienting.

The nub of the question is what are we doing when we remember (and commemorate) Anne Frank: something about the Jewish experience, or something about the human experience?

When I was a child, the Holocaust was talked about in our house, but it was not the subject of general conversation – in society, politics, and literature – that it later became. Perhaps 1945-1968 (with the publication of Arthur Morse’s When Six Million Died) was a kind of liminal or marginal period of remembrance. In my house, we talked about my parents’ German backgrounds, especially my mother’s. She remembered my grandmother trying unsuccessfully to find living German relations in the late 1930s. Most of her family had arrived in the US around 1850, as part of a general wave of German emigration to the US. Like so many other Jewish immigrants, they steadily moved west until they reached Chicago. One of them sent letters home to Ohio during the American Civil War—these were preserved and were later published as A Jewish Colonel in the Civil War

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