The theme of the major features of this issue is how we as Jewish women are affected by how Jewish men and the Jewish tradition view us and treat us. The issue features an article by Cynthia Ozick that can be described by the words “landmark,” “breakthrough,” “authoritative,” and “classic.” Ozick ranges over the whole Jewish experience as it relates to women —theology, synagogue life, the Talmud, special prayers written for women, the Holocaust, the nature of Scripture — uncovering layer after layer until she penetrates to the core. Her thesis, that the highest precepts of Judaism will be realized only through full equality for women, is one that will serve as the subject of discussion and study, and the basis for further exploration of the issue by the entire Jewish community. We are delighted to welcome Ozick to the pages of LILITH Magazine.
The attitudes that Ozick uncovers are those that inform the thought and action of many in the Conservative movement around the question of the ordination of women rabbis. As Reena Sigman Friedman’s investigatory report on “The Politics of Ordination” shows, this issue must be dealt with in the context of how Conservative Jews define being a Jew. And, as we learn from Ozick, women were never considered Jews; we were just a ladies’ auxiliary, a support system that enabled men to fulfill themselves as Jews.
The ordination of Conservative women, should it come to pass, will therefore have long-range repercussions. If the country’s largest branch of Judaism ordains women, this will demonstrate a strong move away from the oppressive notion of woman as enabler for male aspirations in areas besides the spiritual sphere. It will be a major breakthrough for women in community life generally.
Prejudiced male attitudes toward women contaminate the work even of those men we would like to think of as fairly progressive. While the Nobel Prize-winner I.B. Singer says publicly that women should not be excluded from being Jews, the portraits of women in his novels are rooted in misogyny, writes Evelyn Torton Beck.
These male attitudes have, unfortunately, been internalized by many women. Golda Meir, aleha hashalom, fought feminism tooth and nail at the same time that she fought to be recognized for her work. Pnina Lahav puts forth her ideas on Golda’s legacy to Jewish feminists.
From substantive matters to tachlis, the practical matters that Jewish women have always been taught to excell at. In the few years we have been publishing LILITH, the magazine’s subscription list has expanded greatly, and outgrown the subscription system we started out with. It is for this reason that some of our subscribers have been experiencing difficulties (e.g., not receiving copies and/or not being credited with renewals etc.). We are now in the process of changing to a computerized mailing system. Hopefully, the new system will be efficient and accurate. To help get the system operational, we will need your cooperation.
It is imperative, if you have moved in the past two years or are moving in the near future, to send LILITH both your old and new addresses and zip or postal codes. Please use the change of address form on Page 39. Readers— especially those who have changed addresses since first subscribing — should be aware that the magazine is sent by third-class mail and the Post Office never forwards (or returns) third-class mail. It costs LILITH more than $3. to replace each issue mailed to someone who has moved without sending in an address change. Please be assured that for each year’s subscription to LILITH you are entitled to four issues of the magazine, even if these issues do not arrive during one calendar year.
We are planning a major subscription drive in the fall to double or even triple our subscription list. This will help attract advertising,— the key to gaining a solid financial footing —and to more issues being published more frequently. We are asking each and every reader to send us lists of potential subscribers for us to send subscription information to. Many readers have already sent such lists [see “Lottery” notice on Page 39]. Even if you have already done so, please take a few moments to make a list of friends and relatives, colleagues and members of your organization who might want to learn about LILITH.
We take the opportunity to wish you a Shana Tovah, happy new year 5740.