Why mothers now? Have you ever looked at the grumpy funnybook How to Be a Jewish Mother by Dan Greenburg? The one that sprang forth in bookstores and synagogue gift shops circa 1975? Jewish sons got their mothers out of their systems decades ago, but just in case, a 30th anniversary edition reissued Greenburg’s advice on guilt, food, sex and the endless elasticity of the umbilical cord. For daughters it’s different.
For daughters, there’s no parallel stereotype to the mother forcing galoshes on resistant boys, or lavishing too much attention on them. For daughters, there seems to be a more complicated legacy of individuation, separation, adoration.
The feature section in this issue — daughters on their mothers — resonates for me; I’m still trying hard to sort out, eight years after my own mother’s death, what her influence on me was and is, where she ends and I begin. (And you can bet that none of us who are the mothers of daughters will escape unscathed from the lasered scrutiny of our own offspring, either.) How do a mother’s choices, or lack thereof, determine a daughter’s path? A generation ago, in a kind of ancestor-worship, Jewish women focused on the revered Bubbe. Now, maybe stronger in a sense of ourselves, we’re looking, closer to home, at Mother — not with eye-rolling skepticism but with precise frankness. And, as you’ll read here, the inspection can bring as much confusion as pleasure.
How did we become aware of this shift in focus from Bubbe to Mom? In part, by flipping back through Lilith’s pages, an amazing treasure-trove of published articles. This comprises a precious archive we are now digitizing so that you, too, will have easy access to all of Lilith’s historic content.
YES—FREE ARCHIVES! SOON!
Coming soon to a computer near you, we hope, will be digital access to all previous content in Lilith since the launch of this unique magazine in 1976! This is our gift to you, Lilith readers, and to the girls and women in generations of feminists to come. All our covers and Table of Contents pages are already available at Lilith.org, and soon they’ll be joined by full-text articles and art from back issues, some of them gathered in anthology format.
See the movie “Milk” and want to know more? Soon you’ll be able to access all of Lilith’s writings on gender-rights laws and on Jewish gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. Thinking about in-vitro fertilization? Soon you can read online all that Lilith published in the past by women who have experienced such new reproductive technologies. Someone call you or your student a JAP? Find out in Lilith’s back issues why this prejudice persists, why the slur hasn’t gone the way of some other forbidden ethnic epithets. Obama’s mixed-race heritage in the news again? Check out Lilith’s first-person narratives by Black-Jewish young adults.
Right now — today — you can buy actual back issues with these stories, and more, on our website. Look at the inside back cover of this issue for some samples of the content which gives rich context for our lives today.
Here’s what else you can do right now. We need your help to bring to digital life all this extraordinary content — more than 30 years of smart reading from Lilith. Searchable! Because we want to make these investigative reports, memoirs, fiction, poetry, essays and all the rest available free of charge to every student, academic, and curious feminist, please make a tax-deductible contribution to Lilith today. You can do this securely at Lilith.org. and I’ll send you an email as soon as the archives are ready for your reading pleasure. And you can even tell us what kinds of articles you’d like to see gathered together. As always, we promise to listen.
Thank you for joining Lilith in this task.