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From the Editor

by Susan Weidman Schneider

In these early autumnal days of evaluation which precede the High Holy Days—or “Days of Awe”—LILITH’s editors have been performing our customary soul-searching about the direction of the magazine, and its relation to the lives of its readers.

With “networking” the word of the hour, the LILITH office continues to be seen as the repository of all information on all subjects that might possibly interest a Jewish woman. A woman planning a marriage wants a woman rabbi. A woman in mourning wants to know about congregations in her area where she’ll be welcome to say the kaddish prayer. The editor of Kolenoe, the Dutch Jewish women’s magazine, wants to connect with Jewish feminists in cities across America. A program which brings non-Jewish women leaders to Israel wants suggestions for participants in future seminars. To fight the virulent anti-choice campaign in Canada against pioneer pro-choice gynecologist Dr. Henry Horgenaler, a woman wants to know what Jewish or interreligious groups can help them combat a right-wing religious coalition. We tell you all this because the magazine, while not a movement in itself, is probably the closest thing to being the headquarters for a wide range of Jewish feminist concerns.

LILITH continues to grow, acquiring new bookstore outlets, new advertisers and new subscribers. At the same time, LILITH’s Networking Newsletter has found many new readers.

Much of the necessary word-of-mouth that leads to this growth comes from you, our readers, who communicate not only with this office but also with your friends and colleagues. This is a call to all of you to keep talking and writing! The magazine continues to need up-to-date information on your activities, works in progress, academic papers and lectures, Jewish women’s groups, conferences and events of note. If any of you are interested in writing to friends on behalf of the magazine, we’ll be happy to supply you with LILITH flyers, sample letters, and lots of enthusiasm and gratitude. Thanks to the help of many supporters around the country who wrote to scores of women and men, introducing them to the magazine and asking them to send tax-deductible contributions, to subscribe for themselves and their mothers and daughters, the challenge grant we received from the Emet Foundation was matched last spring.

While the year here has been one of growth, for women in Israel, and for all Israelis, it has not been an easy one.

Israel marks its 35th year amid an increasingly vocal internal struggle over the direction the society should take. The status of women cannot be separated from the country’s continued war footing; it will be substantially affected by the eventual outcome of this debate, as the pieces in our special section on Israel-at-35 demonstrate.

The burgeoning of pornography in Israel, which Dr. Judith Bat-Ada’s article exposes in an exclusive to LILITH, should be read in the context of a society which glorifies manhood and “manliness,” fearing that to do less could mean losing the next war. These fears, and their effects on women, constituted the subject of the talk by Dr. Joyce Rosman Brenner, which we include. The isolation many Israeli women feel comes through in their writing, as Sharon Weinstein notes in her review of the poetry anthology, Burning Air and a Clear Mind. In the fourth piece, Raya Harnick excoriates the Israeli government and the society’s values for causing her son’s death in the war in Lebanon.

Whatever the results of the changing political realities in Israel, and of feminists’ struggles in North America, we want to wish all of our readers a Shanah Tovah Umetuklah—a good and sweet year—with success in our joint endeavor to help create an egalitarian Jewish community.