Lilith’s Indispensable Resource Listings

Jewish spiritual companion for medical treatments
Here’s where you’ll discover an upsherin ritual (hair-cutting ceremony) in anticipation of hair loss due to chemotherapy, created by Ann Brener, or Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin’s adaptation of the prayer for dew to use before receiving a healing intravenous drip of chemotherapy. These and other first-person stories, suggestions, rituals, prayers and interpretations — wisdom learned the hard way, through challenging personal experience — are offered here as inspiring resources for patients, their friends and family, clergy and health care professionals. This 60-page book includes contributions from Rabbis Stephanie Dickstein, Ed Feinstein, Amy Eilberg, Naomi Levy, Simkha Weintraub, along with writings by Judy Marcus, Debbie Perlman, Rachel Naomi Remen, and others. It’s a collaboration between the Twin Cities Jewish Healing Program and the National Center for Jewish Healing, a program of New York’s Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. $12.95 plus $2.75 shipping from ncjh.org

Teens and violent dates
Shalom Bayit, Bay Area Women Working to End Domestic Violence, provides information and hosts programs and hotlines. Now they also host a website about dating violence for teens, LoveShouldntHurt.org — which was started by two teen boys. It has sample stories of abusive situations to help teens recognize these problems can be happening to them, that “domestic violence is not only an adult problem.” Shalom-Bayit.org

Jewish sisters in sobriety
“You can see them at any JACS Retreat. Jewish women addicts and alcoholics. Wives, mothers and daughters of addicts and alcoholics. They are a sight to behold. An alcoholic ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman, with wig, hat, long sleeves, long sleeves and cotton stockings, joyfully embracing another Jewish woman, a recovering drug addict in a short tank top, cut-off jeans and sandals, with tattoos on her arm. All the while, a female rabbi, a prescription drug abuser wearing a yarmulke and prayer shawl, watches and smiles.…They are gay and straight, single and married, childless and mothers of large families. They are girls in their teens and grandmothers in retirement…” Sherrie Sherman-Bloch and Audrey Waxman have collected 20 candid and courageous personal stories from women like these, all participants in a grass-roots mutual support project for women who are dealing with addiction, co-dependency and recovery. This anthology is a collaborative project of Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others, (JACS), the New York Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York. $14.95 from jacsweb.org

Yiddish theater: A love story
Zypora Spaisman was the extraordinary 84-year-old actress and Holocaust survivor who kept Folksbiene, the oldest running Yiddish theater in America, alive for so long. This documentary about her was shot in real time and follows Zypora through a hectic week of Hanukkah during which she needed to raise enough funding to keep her last show going and maybe even transfer it to Broadway. Her struggle was for both an old art form to stay relevant and an old actress to find meaning and a stage in a society that worships youth. Commercial showings in NY and LA, but check here for more: http://www.yiddishtheater.net

Diversity is the theme of the autumn issue of Yedion, the Ravsak journal of the Jewish Community Day School Network. Lilith editor in chief Susan Weidman Schneider writes on “Women in Leadership: Are We Still Talking About This?” Susan Shevitz writes about “Using Diversity: The Possibilities of Pluralism in Community Day Schools,” “Color in the Jewish Community: A Matter of Perspective” comes from by Yavilah McCoy, and “The Sephardi/Ashkenazi Divide” is a piece by Chaye Kohl. ravsak.org.

Out of sight
Sara Felder is a solo theater artist, world-class juggler and comedian whose new play presents a mother, nearly blind, and her lesbian daughter, their closeness and their struggles over how they “see” each other and the world. Felder, who juggled bagels and croissants in LILITH, Fall 1990, packs in circus tricks, shadow puppets and a Jewish queer sensibility to questions of family loyalty and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this 80-minute traveling show. Sarafelder.com

Thinking about our bodies never goes away
Eating and body image problems are the subjects Aviva Braun speaks about at schools, colleges and to Jewish groups. A social worker, she became interested in helping others during the course of her own eventual recovery from binge-eating that began in high school. While eating disorders afflict all ethnic groups, and males as well as females, Brooklyn-based Braun addresses the particular vulnerabilities of young Jewish women. aviva4223@yahoo.com

Choice: True stories of birth, contraception, infertility, adoption, single parenthood and abortion
Karen E. Bender and Nina de Gramont gather frank and often haunting stories by both well-known and emerging writers whose personal essays transcend clichés of politics and illuminate the complexities involved in reproductive decision-making. A portion of the proceeds of the anthology will go to pro-choice organizations You can share your own story about reproductive choice as well on their website, choice-stories.com.

The Queer Jewish calendar for fabulous yids
It’s got everything from national conferences (such as the National Union of Jewish LGBTQQI Students, to be held at Columbia University February 8 – 10, and Neheerim West near San Francisco, March 7-9) to religious services, film screenings and parties, all over the world. Find out what’s happening or list a program at gaygevalt.com

A Purim kit
Laurel J. Robinson of Americus, Georgia, is one of the artists featured in “Repairing the World: Contemporary Ritual Art” at the Jewish Museum in New York through March 16, 2008. Reflecting the traditions of drinking and dressing in costume to celebrate how the Persian Jews were saved from the king’s wicked advisor, Haman, the objects in Robinson’s “kit” are also a witty commentary on the central role women play in the Purim story. A double-sided mask features King Ahasuerus on one side and the story’s heroine, Queen Esther, on the other. The whiskey flask, shaped like a woman’s leg and representing Vashti, King Ahasuerus’s first wife, appears to be kicking her husband in the face. A Purim Mask by Gilda Pervin, in mixed media, shows the particular significance of Purim 1991, which fell the day a cease-fire ended the first Gulf War when Tel Aviv was shelled by Iraqi Scud missiles. The artist’s juxtaposition of a gas mask with a Purim mask expresses both the fear and joy Israelis felt and captures the continuing resonance of the Purim story. jewishmuseum.org

Aliyah to New Orleans?
Do you have a pioneering spirit? More than a quarter of New Orleans’ Jewish community didn’t return after Hurricane Katrina, and leaders in New Orleans have launched a campaign to attract Jews from around the country to settle there instead, so that none of their treasured Jewish institutions will have to close. They’re offering incentives: a basket of “absorption” benefits and a chance to join an inspirational rebuilding effort aim to lure 1000 newcomers over the next five years. Jewishnola.com