“Here We Are”–– Personal Stories of Gender Injustice in Jewish Spaces

Ready to share your story?

Have you experienced gender-based harassment, bias or violence in a Jewish space (workplace, social, camp, congregation, school, youth group or elsewhere)? Are you ready to write your experience for publication?

If yes, you may be among the ideal participants in a new and important project at Lilith.

“Here We Are” is a one-year writing experience to support and enable diverse survivors of gender abuse to recount their experiences. The goals are to explore writing your story in a cohort in order to build community and work towards enacting long-lasting change where gender, ability, race, class, sexuality and culture intersect in the Jewish world. You will receive writing coaching, mentoring and editorial support, and learn from Lilith staff and guest facilitators–all in virtual sessions. Lilith anticipates publishing the cohort’s edited first-person narratives in print or digitally, amplifying them to tens of thousands of activist readers.

This project is for Jewish feminists to write about personal experiences of gender injustice in Jewish spaces––including your anger, grief, and ideas for (or dreams of) repair––to help shape more equitable Jewish institutions and communities. All application materials will be held in confidence.

Forty-five years of publishing first-person feminist narratives at Lilith have shown us the transformational nature of storytelling for those who tell their stories and for readers. Amplifying powerful personal experiences can be a driver of needed social change. 

Please note: While Lilith believes in the healing power of storytelling, this process is in no way intended as a clinical intervention, nor is it a substitute for therapeutic support. If you are looking for those resources and more, please refer to Ta’amod’s Resource Bank

What To Expect

  • 8-10 diverse “emerging” writers committed to writing and sharing  their stories of gender injustice, harassment, and trauma in its many forms. We invite all, including Jewish women of color, immigrants, those who are living with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, rural women, and anyone who has experienced gender injustice, harassment or abuse in Jewish spaces AND wants to receive support and coaching in writing of this experience for a wide audience.
  • Ongoing coaching in writing of challenging personal experiences, including one-on-one mentoring by Lilith editorial staff and other mentors, access to editorial discussions, assignments, publishing platforms and  peer connections. Personalized editing will help shape the arc of your narrative and help pave the way to correcting injustices on an institutional scale.
  • Six virtual workshops over the course of about 10 months will provide opportunities for learning, sharing and writing.
  • Thoughtful, careful editing by Lilith staff of any writing submitted for publication on the Lilith blog or in print in Lilith’s flagship quarterly magazine.
  •  Maintain strict confidentiality about the participants, events, and information shared within the cohort. This includes not discussing with anyone outside the cohort and Lilith staff any details, including what subjects are discussed in writing sessions, unless you have received explicit permission from the other cohort member or staffer. 

Important Dates

DEADLINE EXTENDEDApplication Due: March 25, 2022
Applicants Notified: April 25, 2022
Program Begins: May 2022
Program Concludes: February 2023

Email submissions@lilith.org with any questions.

Find the simple application via Google Forms

Publication Process: 

Publication is the goal of this writing cohort, but there are many routes to take. In fact, for the first half of the cohort, we will just be focusing on creating a writing practice and starting to approach telling one’s story.  When you submit your writing for publication, you can write about your subjective emotions without explicitly identifying the circumstances. 

However, it’s important to know that if we do go forward with pursuing publication, any stories that contain allegations implicating [OR pointing to] to easily identifiable individuals, institutions or programs will have to be rigorously fact-checked in keeping with general journalistic standards. This often involves reaching out to entities or people who have been alleged to have committed gender-based oppression for their comment on the story, and/or getting corroboration from others who witnessed specific incidents or spoke to you (the survivor) in the aftermath. We may also need to do a legal read on the story. We will also need to use language like “she says she saw” rather than “she saw” or “according to XX, this happened” rather than “this happened.”

We want to note the ongoing tensions between these responsible journalistic practices and the systemic erasure and undermining of survivors when they come forward with their stories. We plan to explore this further in the cohort.

For examples of Lilith and Lilith’s staff investigative reporting on gender-based oppression and first-person reflections, please read: 

About Lilith and our legacy of expanding opportunities: 

Lilith has a track record of providing the ongoing support necessary to expand women’s leadership skills in our very challenging era. Over its publishing history, Lilith has nurtured more than 200 interns, including people with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, and people of colorLilith has been the launching pad for more than 1,000 feminist writers and thinkers in its big-tent, intergenerational approach to Jewish feminism. Some of these writers have gone on to The New Republic, Time, Inc., The New York Times, Associated Press, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and a range of Jewish publications; many have won book contracts in part because of their Lilith writing. Others are now leaders in the rabbinate, the arts, academia, Jewish and secular social-justice organizations, women’s advocacy groups and more.

Lilith Outreach: 

Lilith’s outreach is broad, spanning different age cohorts and backgrounds, and the unique content created via this project will be shared and highlighted on Lilith’s several robust platforms:

  • Lilith magazine in print (5,000 copies of each issue, reaching 12,500 readers; an estimated 2.5 readers see each copy).
  • Online readership reaches 25,000.
  • Blog posts with original content published daily at www.Lilith.org.
  • Lilith’s social media reach tens of thousands of engaged readers via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as via a proactive Constant Contact email list of 12,000 readers with whom Lilith communicates weekly.
  • Newly redesigned Lilith website (www.Lilith.org) is highly accessible on all devices.
  • Online public events/programs, many registering 200+ intergenerational participants each. Online programs feature closed captioning for the hearing-challenged, and some also offer ASL interpretation. Podcasts bring audio presentations of some Lilith content to those with limited vision.
  • Facilitated discussions on highlighted topics at 100+ Lilith Salons, meeting in person or onscreen every three months in the U.S. and Canada (most co-sponsored by Women of Reform Judaism) with thousands participating.

 This program is made possible with support from the SRE Network.