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An interview with Lilith magazine’s Editor in Chief

Cross-posted with Kosher Salt.

Anyone who read Freakonomics remembers the chapter on how a person’s name can pre-determine their future. If that frightening piece of incredible parental pressure got you thinking about the name game, Susan Weidman Schneider, editor of Lilith magazine, has plenty more to say on what’s in a name and the latest issue of the mag.

KS: What’s the greatest perk/biggest obstacle in working as editor of an independent, Jewish and frankly feminist magazine?

SWS: Editing Lilith magazine, now celebrating its 35th year, is a treat. The writers are wonderful, the ideas new and stimulating, and the end product is, I hope, insightful and always a good read—whether it’s in print, on the web via our soon-to-appear digital edition, or on the lively Lilith blog.

KS: What do you think is the most impactful topic that Lilith has covered?

SWS: That’s a tough one. The major issues Lilith has opened up have been topics like violence in Jewish families; Jewish women’s philanthropy and our relationship to money; Jewish hair—a sellout issue by the way; rabbinic sexual misconduct; new rituals and celebrations for the Jewish calendar and for the landmarks of our lives.

The last couple of Lilith salons at Sixth & I were really dynamite, and they dealt with cover stories that, like the what-we-call-ourselves story in Lilith’s current issue, resonate in our lives. One salon had to do with an article on breaking up over food. We spent about three hours in spirited discussion about what we eat, why it can sometimes be schismatic, what food represents in a relationship, and more. The second salon focused on what we wear. You can imagine! The talk ranged from our favorite garments to how we want to present ourselves to the world as feminists, as Jews, as professionals. Clothing is a powerful signifier, and we really mined that territory in our conversation.