From the Editor

by Susan Weidman Schneider

“Why is LILITH so late? Why doesn’t she come out regularly?”

You may be one of the many subscribers who ask us this—on the phone, in letters, at our lectures.

The answer is: no, it does not take “that long” to acquire and edit articles and do the design and production.

It does take us “that long” to raise the money to keep publishing. In addition, the lack of secretarial back-up, our inability to pay authors’ fees and decent editorial salaries are major factors in the delays between issues.

We have been discussing among ourselves this question of authors’ honoraria and editors’ salaries and want to share some thoughts with you. We have always been committed in principle to paying authors. However, there has simply been no money for fees.

Not being able to pay authors, in addition to being against our policy, also means that some of the best and most talented women cannot afford to write for LILITH or are forced to delay their articles. This, too, contributes to LILITH’s scheduling problems.

The editors of LILITH did not get paid anything (even expenses were only partly reimbursed) until about a year ago. At that time, we decided to pay editors who had worked gratis for the past four to six years a small part-time hourly wage. However, the payment or non-payment of this “salary” depends on the amount of funds in the till. The fact that editors are unable to work at LILITH full-time and work at other jobs, including cross-country lecturing, complicates the logistics of the editorial process. (If you’ve sent in a manuscript and have not received a decision yet, that is the reason for the delay.)

While this modus operandi was possible when LILITH was in its infancy, the magazine has now reached the point where its voice is important on the American scene and people want to hear that voice regularly. We have come to realize that the magazine simply cannot continue to function without factoring editorial and art staff salaries and authors’ and artists’ fees into the budget.

It would seem, then, that the major problem we face is money. We have estimated that the real costs of producing each copy of LILITH are three times what we charge for the magazine—about $6 a copy!

But the essential problem goes beyond money to the question of whether women will begin to support efforts that are necessary to them, to stop the schnorring from individuals and institutions that have no stake or interest in the success of such feminist efforts.

We are, as it were, “between models” for publications. We are professional but not commercial. We are cause-oriented but have no movement behind us. Much of our time is donated, but we cannot afford—economically or politically— to be full-time volunteers.

Between the two extremes of a commercial magazine such as Time or Newsweek (produced for the owners’ and stockholders’ profit) and a volunteer magazine such as Hadassah (produced for the volunteers’ benefit) lies our closest model: a non-profit “movement” publication. We publish to advance a cause that affects both our lives and the lives of our readers. Unlike standard movement publications, however, LILITH has no apparatus or organization supporting it.

The magazine’s future, therefore, lies with the closest we come to such a support system—the LILITH circle of readers.

If the magazine has an impact on your thinking or your life—as your letters and phone calls indicate it does—please remember that without your support LILITH cannot continue to provide the reporting and analysis (and ammunition for your struggle) that you aren’t able to find anywhere else.

On this page in the past we have asked for your financial support-above and beyond the low subscription price. We sound that call again now, because the need for your participation is more urgent than ever. LILITH has been offered a challenge grant from the Emet Foundation—$5000, which we need to match with $10,000 in other gifts.

Furthermore, each reader can help guarantee the future of the magazine by increasing the number of subscribers. With a base of 25,000 subscribers, we could begin to attract advertising, which would help underwrite some of LILITH’s costs.

You will be part of LILITH’s composite portrait of readers, and you’ll also have a chance to express your views of articles in this issue. Please take the time to fill out and return the questionnaire knowing that we urgently need the information only you can provide.

This issue presents new data on anti-Semitism, putting the matter into focus for us as women and as Jews. Rochelle Saidel Wolk’s overview of anti-Semitism includes material on how the right wing is using anti-Semitism as a weapon with which to attack women’s rights. Judith Plaskow and Annette Daum point out how anti-Semitic perceptions have colored certain feminist writings on Christianity and on goddess worship—some writers have apparently used an unconscious anti-Jewish bias to enhance the “feminist” content of Christian theology, and others to construct a scenario of how early matriarchal religions were squelched by Jewish patriarchy. How do we respond to these problems as Jewish feminists? The articles lay out the phenomena for our examination, and make certain connections that will help us to understand the complex nature of our identities and allegiances as Jewish women.