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Happening

Lilith's indispensable resource listings compiled by Naomi Danis

Women’s prison activism is the first online exhibit of material from the Barnard College Center for Research on Women, inspired by their recent conference Engendering… Change. The Center also plans exhibits curated by students on related themes. Barnard. edu/bcrw/archive

Jewish + Female = Athlete.

A 16-month wall calendar, September 2006-December 2007 features the often surprising accomplishments of Jewish women in sports. Bet you’ve never heard of Lee Korzis, the first Israeli female world champion of an Olympic sailing team. And you’ll meet other remarkable athletes on each page. Brandeis.edu/hbi

Turn to Me: Faces and Phases of Bikur Cholim.This annual conference on how to visit the sick—New York City, November 12—is an opportunity to be inspired and to learn realistic, efficient and respectful ways to take on this responsiblity that so many women (and men) find themselves carrying out. Rabbi Harlan Wechlsler will keynote; Rosa Roberts will teach dos and don’ts of visiting the sick; Maxine Skurka will train those working with people at the end of life. Sheva Tauby, who works with college volunteers who visit Holocaust survivors, will speak about organizing teens for this mitzvah. bikurcholim.org

Want a woman to be nominated as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations? Equality Now works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure on issues such as domestic violence, rape, reproductive rights, trafficking, female genital mutilation, political participation and gender discrimination. Equalitynow.org

The Sydney Taylor Annual Manuscript Competition is named for the author of the he\ovtA All-of-A-Kind Family books. The contest—now in its 22nd year—sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries, offers a $1000 award for the best fiction manuscript for readers ages 8-11 written by an as-yet-unpublished author. They’re looking for stories with universal appeal that deepen understanding of Judaism. Deadline December 31, 2006. jeivishlibraries. org

No More Tears Sister chronicles the life of Sri Lankan human-rights activist Rajani Thiranagama, mother, anatomy professor, author—and symbol of hope—who was assassinated at the age of 35 in 1989. “In making No More Tears Sister I wanted to understand how ethnic conflict and nationalist struggles impact women, be they victims, fighters or peacemakers,” says filmmaker Helene Klodawsky. “As a daughter of Holocaust and concentration camp survivors, I am drawn to individuals who, in spite of their very personal encounters with brutality, are committed to bringing light into our world.” pbs. org/nomoretears ©vorda

Jewish multiracial books such as Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Jalepeno Bagels by Natasha Wing, King Solomon & The Queen of Sheba by Blu Greenberg, Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron, and What I Like About Passover by Varda Livney are highlighted on the Jewish Multiracial Network’s website. Young people’s intercultural books such as Patricia Polaccco’s Mrs. Katz and Tush are also listed. Several of these terrific books have been featured in Lilith’s pages, isabellafreedman. org/jmn/onlineres-kidsbooks.shtml

Preventing cervical cancer- saving a life at bat mitzvah time.

A federal vaccine advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control voted unanimously on June 29 to recommend that all girls and women ages 11 to 26 receive a new vaccine that prevents most cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine, Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, protects against cancer and some genital warts by preventing infection from four strains of the human papilloma virus, the most common sexually transmitted disease. (“Pap smears” detect whether Papilloma virus is present.) Rabbis Phyllis O. Herman and Arthur O. Waskow suggest that synagogues require that bat mitzvah preparation include a focused discussion and decision by the girl and her family of whether to be vaccinated. Merck has set up Tellsomeone- hpv.com; See also shalonictr.org

Mamorial is an exhibit of resin casts of breasts—all different shapes and sizes, some with scars of stitches—of women affected by breast cancer. Mary Ellen Scherl, sculptor and creator of the exhibit, knows that the disease is of particular concern to Ashkenazi Jewish women—her mother and sister- in-law are long term breast cancer survivors. To create “a permanent, large-scale traveling art installation that juxtaposes the inner strength and utter vulnerability of breast cancer patients,” Scherl sends out mold-making kits to women across the country who send the molds back along with their personal reflections, mamorial.org

The Feminist Art Project. Hurrah! 2006 marks the launch of events celebrating anniversaries in the women’s art movement. And in March 2007, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum will open as the permanent home of the germinal Judy Chicago work “The Dinner Party.” It has been a stellar year for women artists, with the recent Eva Hesse exhibit at The Jewish Museum featured widely, including on feministartproject.rutgers.edu

As a girl, I was not trained to read Hebrew, did not have to be prepared for the bar mitzvah. Having no brother, I did not even observe the coming of the rabbi to our home to teach and prepare him for the celebration. I did not hover over his shoulder to learn surreptitiously what he might have learnt…” writes Lucette Valensi, who grew up in Tunis. Berkeley resident Naomi Seidman writes of her girlhood in “the teeming heart” of Boro Park: “Our backyard shared a fence with the main synagogue of the Bobover hasidim, where once, in pursuit of a stray ball that had bounced down the concrete stairs of the basement of the shul, I stumbled into a steamy room filled with naked men, their shaved heads bare, shouting ‘a maydl, a maydl’. This fleeting and confused vision confirmed my suspicion that there was a hell that lurked just underneath the surface of our lives.” Both essays, and others, appear in Contemplate: The International Journal of Cultural Jewish Thought, Issue 3. culturaljudaism.org

Crutches, wheelchairs and more.

Yad Sarah is best known for lending medical and rehabilitative equipment on a short-term basis free of charge to anyone who needs it—from crutches to oxygen concentrators and electronic monitors. It’s the largest voluntary organization in Israel, with 103 branches run by more than 6,000 volunteers. It helps keep the ill and the elderly in their homes and out of institutions as long as possible, offering transportation, day care centers for the disabled, drop-in centers and minimum-charge dental clinics for the elderly, personal computerized emergency alarms monitored 24 hours a day, equipment and services for new mothers, and more. Over 380,000 Israelis use its services yearly. Overseas volunteers must make a commitment for three months, have elementary Hebrew skills and arrange their own accommodations. The Jerusalem headquarters offers tours, and has a cafeteria open to the public, where you can even purchase prepared food to take home for shabbat. yadsarah.org

Identity, immigration and culture

all via Jewish food! In the exhibition Forshpeis (Yiddish for appetizer) you’ll see evocative images like a classic deli counter surrounded by menus, pickle crocks and invoices; a Kosher Zion salami pillow; a paper deli worker’s hat encouraging you to “Ask for Mrs. Weinberg’s Kosher Chopped Liver” along with iconic advertisements, for example, announcing “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.” It’s part of the Peter H. Schweitzer collection of Jewish Americana at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, nmajh.org

Holocaust compensation payments.

Perhaps you, your parents, or your grandparents can benefit from the Victims of Nazi Persecution Act of 1994, which creates a special right for survivors of the Holocaust. When applying for federally funded benefits or services that are based on financial need, any payments received from having been a victim of Nazi persecution are not counted in determining financial eligibility, a compassionate exception. claimscon.org/forms/selfhelp_claimscon.pdf