From the Editor

by Susan Weidman Schneider

This is a season for anniversaries. LILITH’s 20th continues, with a standing-room only forum on Jewish feminism held at the 92nd Street Y in New York. And Israel’s 50th is about to begin.

The Y event (which garnered LILITH fabulous media attention in The New York Times and other periodicals, and internationally on CNN) featured LILITH authors Paula Hyman, Nessa Rapoport and Nechama Liss-Levinson on “Evaluating Two Decades of Activism: How Far Have We Come? Where Do We Want to Go?” Watch the next issue of LILITH to sample the outstanding presentations.

To help mark our 20th anniversary, LILITH has created special mini-anthologies of articles from the magazine. We are often asked to custom-make these for academic courses and informal adult-education classes; recently we’ve had so many requests from LILITH readers for copies of previous wonderful articles that we’re now giving you an opportunity to order these for yourself. Check out the two amazing collections available with the order form on page 13: one on new wedding ideas, the other on new rituals and celebrations for all the moments in your own life—and on the Jewish calendar— when you want to mark the occasion with authentically new traditions. Also back by popular demand is LILITH’s Lens on Jewish History, the timeline poster created to show the important developments in Jewish women’s lives over the two decades LILITH has been publishing (plus those that came in the five millennia before LILITH). You can have your own pristine poster by sending $20 to LILITH; call (888) 2-LILITH.

And in a look ahead—LILITH has through the years presented outstanding coverage of women’s issues in Israel—the role of women in the Israeli army, the lives of Ethiopian women in Israel today, the ongoing political struggles for women’s rights in the Jewish state, and more. To kick off our coverage for Israel’s 50th anniversary, we bring you an unusual feature on Jerusalem. We’ve asked two Jerusalemites to guide LILITH readers on an intimate walking tour of sites in the Holy City of special interest to Jewish women. The authors pledge to continue their peripatetic explorations in forthcoming issues of LILITH, knowing that there are more and more fascinating and significant women where these come from.

When we asked Muslim activist Azizah al-Hibri (whom some of you saw on the PBS Genesis series) to write about Hagar, we were taken aback by the powerful connection she describes between Sarah’s jealousy of her fertile handmaiden and the hideous phenomenon of female genital mutilation. Some Muslim texts claim that the practice originated with Sarah, who disfigured Hagar—with Abraham’s permission. Al-Hibri shares with us a Muslim woman’s outrage at how Sarah, honored in both Abrahamic religions, could be used by male commentators as the excuse for justifying this cruelty. Al Hibri’s article marks the first time a Muslim feminist has written for LILITH, and we welcome her to these pages.