In 2010, when my then teenage daughter Emma was a camper at URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), I went into a local bookstore to find an appropriate book to add to a care package we were sending her. I told the salesperson that I wanted something for a strong, self confident, feminist Jewish young woman. I was expecting a new book but she took me over to the magazine rack instead, explaining that she had the perfect magazine for her. She pulled out Lilith and said why its mission and purpose fit exactly with my objectives, giving it to me to look at.
The cover story of that issue featured a lesbian rabbi from Philadelphia who had raised this amazingly diverse family of 5 kids as a single mom. Three of her kids were her own biological children from 2 different donors, and the other two were adopted from Guatemala. It was an inspiring story of love, commitment, Jewish life, family solidarity and diversity, and the importance of cultivating strong individuals.
As I looked at the front cover I recognized the people and the story of Rabbi Julie Greenberg immediately: Julie is my sister-in-law (my wife’s sister), and the children are my nieces and nephews—Emma’s aunt and cousins.
The salesperson asked, “Do you think this would interest Emma?”
I smiled and said, “Yeah, I think she might be interested!”
Andrew Rehfeld is the President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. This recollection is from his welcoming remarks at a launch party for Lilith’s summer 2019 issue held at HUC’s Dr. Bernard Heller Museum in Manhattan on August 14, 2019.