The National Jewish Family Center of the American Jewish Committee addresses family-related concerns within the American Jewish community. The Center publishes a newsletter (available for $2.50/year), as well as other resource materials.
In addition, the Center co-sponsored, along with Queens College of the City University of New York, a Conference on “The Evolving Jewish Family: Cultural, Historical and Sociological Perspectives.” The Conference dealt with a wide range of topics, including “Images of the Jewish Family in Literature and Popular Culture,” “Sex Roles within the Jewish Family,” and “The Jewish Family Within the Contemporary Jewish Community.”
“I never go to a party anymore where the chief topic of conversation isn’t our parents,” says one middle-aged Jewish woman. The middle generation—feeling the crunch from children’s and parent’s needs—is addressed in a booklet which also points out that these problems are felt most acutely by women, who have been both the traditional caregivers for the elderly and are the majority of the elderly.
The booklet, THE AGING PARENT, is $1.50
Judith Weinstein Klein has put into popular form the results of her doctoral research into Jewish identity and self-esteem. Klein, a therapist in Berkeley, has explored with groups of Jewish women and men their positive and negative images of being Jewish in a non-Jewish culture.
One interesting finding: the negative feeling Jewish men and women project onto each other. Another is one particular aspect of Jewish women’s self-esteem;: namely, that when men identified positively as Jews their self-esteem increased, whereas women who scored high on various items of Jewish cultural and religious significance had lower self-esteem and higher self-denigration than women who identified themselves as “less” Jewish. It seems that for the women in Klein’s sample, at least, the more they identified as Jews the worse they felt about themselves! Klein postulates that “As religiosity increase, the second-class messages for women increase.”
JEWISH IDENTITY AND SELF-ESTEEM: HEALING WOUNDS THROUGH ETHNO-THERAPY by Judith Weinstein Klein, Ph.D. is $2.75
A recent pilot study, conducted by the National Jewish Family Center assesses the difficulties encountered by well-educated Jewish women struggling to balance challenging professional careers with raising families of three or more children. The study, entitled WORKING AND MOTHERING, written by Linda Gordon Kuzmack and George Salamon, is based on the experiences of Jewish working mothers in the Washington, D.C. area.
Many of these women said they felt the organized Jewish community penalizes large families and has failed to provide them with the support services that would help them juggle their career and family responsibilities. In particular, they urged that day schools and summer camps reduce multiple tuition rates, that additional day care facilities be provided and that Jewish organizations plan family-oriented programs rather than divide these into separate groups of men, women and young people.
All of the above are available from:
American Jewish Committee, 165 East 56 Street, New York, NY 10022
At long last, Israeli feminists have a voice of their own—NOGA (meaning “brightness”), the new Hebrew-language Israeli women’s quarterly that addresses a wide range of feminist issues. The attractive 31-page magazine includes feature articles on such subjects as the work of women artists, birth control, exploitation of women in Israeli advertising, as well as editorial, news and book review sections.
Noga, PO Box 21376, Tel Aviv, Israel
A recent pamphlet put out by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith entitled, “Why Are These People in Argentine Jails?” presents case histories of several individuals, most of them Jews, kidnapped by the Argentine government since 1976, among the many thousands who have “disappeared,” i.e. been seized without cause as political prisoners, in recent years. The pamphlet surveys the problem and includes addresses to which you can send letters protesting the Argentine government’s gross violations of human rights. Order from:
Lynne Ianniello, Director, Communications Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
The NEWSLETTER of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America is a valuable source of information on new methods and materials in the field of Jewish education, designed for use by both professionals and laypeople. A recent issue focused on changes within the Jewish family. You may be placed on the Newsletter mailing list free of charge. Write:
The Melton Research Center, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
The World Zionist Organization has issued its 1981 GUIDE TO ISRAEL PROGRAMS, a directory listing more than 200 programs for Americans interested in visiting, studying, or working in Israel. The booklet is available, at $1.00 per copy, from:
World Zionist Organization— American Section, 515 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
STUDIES IN AMERICAN JEWISH LTERATURE, a new journal edited by David Walden, Professor at Penn State University, will be published annually by the State University of New York Press. The premiere issue, which appeared in the spring 1981, features the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer and includes pieces by several Jewish women scholars including LILITH author Evelyn Torton Beck. Rates are: 1 year, individuals $12.95, institutions $25.00 and can be ordered from:
State University of New York Press, State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246
GENESIS 2, an independent Jewish newspaper based in Boston, devoted its entire March 1981 issue to Jewish women, including articles dealing with the 1909 New York City shirtwaist-makers’ strike, Sephardic women, the Israeli feminist movement, the concerns of Jewish lesbians, “Jewish feminist spirituality,” and an interview with LILITH Publisher and Editor Susan Weidman Schneider. Subscriptions may be ordered at $8 per year from:
Genesis 2, 233 Bay State Road, Boston, Mass. 02215
At long last, the issue of Jewish wife battering and other forms of domestic violence is being addressed by the organized American Jewish community. Following is a selected listing of recent resources on the subject:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: AN NCJW RESPONSE, recently published by the National Council of Jewish Women, surveys the problem of wife abuse in the United States. The manual provides information on the incidence of wife-beating in both the Jewish and general communities, as well as guidelines for the establishment of NCJW Section or community outreach programs to help reduce crimes of domestic violence. Among its alarming findings is the fact that, “While there are no hard data to act as’ proof there is persuasive evidence that domestic violence in Jewish homes is, indeed, a reality.” To obtain a copy of the NCJW manual, send $3.50 to:
Order Department, National Council of Jewish Women, 15 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010
“Violence in the Modern Home,” by Jane Biberman, in Inside (the quarterly magazine of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent), Spring, 1981.
“Battered Women: A Problem for the Jewish Community,” by Melanie Shimoff, in the Long Island Jewish World. Reprinted in Women’s American ORT Reporter,, March/April 1981.
“Battered Jewish Women: A Descriptive Study,” by Mimi Scarf. Summaries of her thesis are available from:
HUC-JIR, 3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Many readers of LILITH who have followed our coverage on Jewish women in prison have responded by giving prison subscriptions or by volunteering their time visiting prisoners in local facilities. For these readers and others who may now want to become involved with Jewish women behind bars, there is a new booklet describing some “do’s and don’ts” of prison visitation, needs of prisoners, and suggestions for Jewish programs in prisons.
Freedom Through Dignity: A Guide for Volunteers Working With Prisoners, B’nai B’rith Commission on Community Volunteer Services, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036
The National Council of Jewish Women has recently announced publication of a guide for those interested in establishing a post-mastectomy program in their communities, modeled after the highly successful program launched by the NCJW’s Teaneck, New Jersey section, in association with the local Y.W.C.A. The 32-page booklet, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, is $2.50, from:
Women’s Issues Task Force, National Council of Jewish Women, 15 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010
The 1981 INDEX DIRECTORY OF WOMEN’S MEDIA, published by the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, incorporates a wealth of information regarding women’s periodicals, presses, publishers, bookstores, theater, film and music groups, library collections, radio and television programs, speakers’ bureaus, public relations, editorial services and other media organizations in the U.S. and around the world. The index has been published annually by the Women’s Institute since 1975 to facilitate networking and communication among women. To order a copy, send $8 to:
Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, 3066 Ross Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
The Womyn’s Braille Press provides feminist and lesbian books and periodicals (in braille and on cassette tapes) to blind women on both a loan and purchase basis. WBP also publishes a quarterly newsletter available in print, Braille and on tape. Subscriptions are on a sliding fee scale. For a sample newsletter or further information, write:
Womyn’s Braille Press, PO Box 8475, Minneapolis, MN 55408
The National Center for Jewish Film, a film archive and study center designed to preserve motion picture materials relevant to the 20th century Jewish experience, has been established by the American Jewish Historical Society.
The Center will serve as a safe, permanent repository for all film materials, both fictional and documentary, dealing with Jewish life, provide scholars with access to such a collection, and facilitate their use by educational and cultural institutions, community groups, filmmakers and broadcasters.
The Center seeks additional film and still photographic materials, including home footage, dealing with Jewish topics. For further information write or call:
The National Center for Jewish Film, Lown Building/102, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02244, (617) 899 7044
LEAVING HOME: A JEWISH FAMILY IN TRANSITION is a warm, well-perceived documentary on a California family in the process of change. Seen through the camera eye of producer and director liana Bar-Din, the oldest of four daughters, we are given an intimate insight into the life and feelings of her three younger siblings: Dorit, who is now leaving home for the first time to attend medical school in the East; Leora, who has dropped out of college to travel in the Northwest with her boyfriend; and Rona, a high school student who remains at home, but who observes carefully the decisions of her three older sisters.
Interwoven with direct camera interviews of the three protagonists and cinema-ve’rite” footage of animated family dinners, arguments over packing the car and tense goodbyes, are comments by liana’s father and mother. As an Israeli immigrant to the United States, Avigdor Bar-Din maintains set ideas about his daughters’ needs for autonomy. In contrast, Marion Bar-Din evidences more traditional notions about close ties and reveals a sense of loss at her children’s separation.
Because of the intimacy of the production procedure, Leaving Home offers telling insights into the emotional interplay which occurs in many upper-middle-class Jewish homes and serves as a barometer for the value systems operant in the contemporary family. The film highlights the changing priorities which have led to generational gaps, but also, and more importantly, which have fostered a sense of tradition, continuity and unity—here exemplified by the using scene of a Passover Seder.
The film touches upon the most dominant themes of contemporary women’s literature and film—the need for women to define their own lives, the alternatives to traditional roles as wives and mothers and the transition from dependency to self-sufficiency. As such, Leaving Home is a fine addition to the growing body of documents on contemporary women’s history.
Reviewed by Patricia Erens, editor of SEXUAL STRATAGEMS: THE WORLD OF WOMEN IN FILM
1980, color, 25 minutes.
For rentals contact:
Direct Cinema Ltd. Library, PO Box 315, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 (201) 891 8240
For other information contact:
Direct Cinema Limited, PO Box 69589, Los Angeles, CA 90069 (213) 656 4700
The Martin Steinberg Center of the American Jewish Congress, the nation’s first center for Jewish artists in the performing, visual and literary arts (including media) promotes the work of many Jewish women artists. The Center’s programs include coffeehouses, holiday celebrations, arts festivals, workshops and a Jewish Arts newsletter. For information contact:
Chava Miller, Martin Steinberg Center, 15 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028 (212) 879 4500 ext. 248
Carol Freeman, an artist associated with the Martin Steinberg Center, sings traditional unaccompanied Yiddish folk songs. Ms. Freeman, who has had a wide range of concert and teaching experience, is available for concerts, lecture-demonstrations, workshops and classes. For more information contact the Martin Steinberg Center (see above) or:
Carol Freeman, 53 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 255 7890
“Sabenka,” a one woman performance by Carol Sage, is the true story of the artist’s cousin, a young virtuoso pianist who, at the age of 19, was shot to death by the Nazis in a Polish forest. Ms. Sage, who has appeared throughout the U.S., Canada and Israel, learned her cousin’s tragic story from the first-hand accounts of survivors who knew her. For further information contact:
The Jewish Welfare Board Lecture Bureau, 15 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010 (212) 532 4949
GROUPS & PROJECTS
Mishkan-a-shul is a recently formed New York group devoted to prayer, study and the celebration of Jewish holidays. It is open to women, men and children interested in, as one observer put it, “learning, singing, telling stories and asking and answering questions together.” For more information call:
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, (212) 684 7536
WOMEN USA, founded and directed by former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, is a national communications network for women that sponsors a Hotline number featuring reports on national news affecting women. The toll free number, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in every state except Alaska and Hawaii, is: (800) 221 4945. New York State has its own number: (212) 344 2531.
WOMEN USA is presently collecting signatures on a nation-wide People’s Petition for Reproductive Freedom. For more information contact:
Mim Kelber, WOMEN USA, 76 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10005 (212) 422 1492
POSITIONS & CALLS FOR WRITERS
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum, has announced the forthcoming opening of a museum of Holocaust art, devoted to the display of work relating to the 1933-1945 period. They are seeking contributions of:
• Art work (sculpture, drawings, paintings)
• Photographs of ghettos, deportations, death camps, the liberation forces, partisan groups, “illegal” immigration into Palestine, etc.
• Eye-witness testimonies from the period of 1944-1946 relating to the liberation of concentration camps and other operations of the Allied armies in Europe.
If you have access to such materials, please contact:
Mrs. Y. Keshet, Foreign Relations Section, Yad Vashem, POB 3477 Jerusalem, Israel
The Jewish Student Press Service (JSPS), which puts out a monthly packet providing student and community publications with materials on current issues and the global Jewish community, provides valuable internship opportunities for those interested in Jewish journalism. Application deadlines are as follows:
Summer, 1982—April 15, 1982.
Interested individuals should write for an application and/or more information to:
Jewish Student Press Service 15 East 26th Street, Suite 1350 New York, NY 10010 (212) 679 1411