Our Most Read Stories of 2023

How will we remember 2023? As Irena Klepfisz wrote in her poem, “From Mame-Loshn/ Mother Tongue,” published in Lilith’s Winter/Spring 1985 Issue— “her memories/ will become monuments/ will cast shadows.” We grow cold in the shadows of this year. 

Lilith’s most-read stories of 2023 reflect this heartbreaking year of violence and loss. Two abiding themes are grief and hope. In the following stories, writers navigate the deeply personal loss of a parent or sister and the collective horror of the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians.

Perhaps inspired by the rabbinic tale of Rabbi Simcha Bunem, we need to keep a piece of paper in each pocket (providing we are wearing clothes with pockets)—one that says “I mourn” and one that says “I hope.” 

10. Poem: “From the River to the Sea” by Sarah Sasson

An Iraqi-Jewish poet on her grandmother’s perilous journey from Baghdad.

9. Jewish & Feminist in Lubbock Texas by Jessica Gross

A Long Island Jewish girl moves to Texas.

8. The Things We Give: Breastfeeding, BRCA, and the Burden of Decision-Making by Leila Baron  

Choosing between breastfeeding her daughter—or a mastectomy. 

7. My Barbehheimer Childhood by Tammy Hepps

Seeing your childhood angst in a pop culture phenomenon. 

6. Here We Are by Tehilah Eisenstadt, Alma Gartner, and Kayla T.

Abuse, trauma, injustice, misogyny—first-person stories of survival. 

5. Let’s Build a Room for Hope by Miriam Grossman 

What choice do we have except to fight for hope, even when it is out of reach?

4. Shiva by Kyla Kupferstein Torres 

How to say goodbye. 

3. “We Have a Shelter”-A Sign that Says Everything by Ruth Ebenstein

During wartime, this sign can be a lifesaver. Literally. 

2. Letter from Israel: The Definition of Insanity by Elana Sztokman

Searching for a vision of Israeli identity and humanity during war. 

1. I’m 10 and I’ve Gone Through More than Most Adults by Hana Wildman Halpern

Every day after school I would rush to see Orli, knowing I didn’t have a lot of time left.