I’ve often begun my talks to women’s groups saying that “Jewish women are emerging as a distinctive group — different both from Jewish men and from non-Jewish women.” Several stories in this issue ask, “Are they really?”
First, our cover story. The struggle to harmonize the often dissonant claims of work, family, self, community seems to be more severe for Jewish women. The recent study by Dr. Rela Geffen Monson, “Jewish Women On the Way Up,” jointly commissioned by LILITH and the American Jewish Committee, grew out of our suspicion that Jewish women — because of the powerful dual message we’ve gotten as Jews both to achieve and to marry and have children — may have different struggles and different ways of coping with conflict than our non-Jewish cohorts.
On the poignant issue of what author Shirley Frank calls “the new infertility,” Jewish women tend to stay in school longer than other women, and so we’re likelier to delay marriage and/or childbearing.
Both these articles suggest programs and policies that make our problems less acute.
Speaking of things improving—the cover story in LILITH #17 on the stereotyping of Jewish women as “JAPs” has received nationwide coverage in the media, most recently in Glamour and on The Phil Donahue Show (see photo), and has inspired several national agencies to put this denigration of Jewish women on their agendas as an issue of anti-Semitism.
LILITH is on a regular quarterly schedule. With our improved frequency, more bookstores and newsstands now carry the magazine; we’d be grateful if you’d let us know which stores should be stocking LILITH.
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