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Letters

I was enjoying reading Guarding The Garden: An Eco-Feminist Play [Spring 1992] until I got to the part where Lilith says: “Men are pigs!” This statement nullifies any claim to eco-feminist analysis. Eco-feminism views all beings as intrinsically worthy and deserving of respect. Calling men pigs presupposes the unworthiness of pigs.

by BATYA BAUMAN, New York, NY (The writer is President of Feminists for Animal Rights, Inc.)

After I read the wise feminist interpretation of the Eve Story [Guarding the Garden], I wrote a poem as part of a speech to graduating seniors at our Temple. I drew upon the riches of your Spring 92 issue for further inspiration, referring to two other articles, The Magical Property of Worrying and Ethical Wills.

I want you to know that as Head of the English Department at Great Neck South High School, I often use articles and references from LILITH to motivate and brighten my teaching.

Thank you for the inspiration you provide for me and, therefore, my colleagues and students.

by SHELA PERL, Great Neck, NY

Thank you for printing the article [Spring 1992] on the 1991 conference on child Abuse held in Jerusalem, Child Protection — A Challenge for Society: American/Israeli International Symposium on the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.

A second conference will take place in the fall of 1993; it will also serve as an arena for the exchange of research, skills and techniques and for the comingling of child advocates. Prospective participants can contact me for further information.

by ELAINE KAHANER, MS Manchester Memorial Hospital, 71 Haynes Street, Manchester CT, 06040-4188 Telephone (203) 646-1222

My two sons, age 2 1/2 and 7, are not circumcised. I view circumcision [The Power of the Tribe by David Kotzen- Riech, Spring 1992] as a barbaric mutilation; a medical intervention that has no basis in medical/hygienic technology. (The American Pediatric Association continues to assert, as it has done since 1975, that there is no evident medical advantage or need for routine circumcision.) I also see its historical. Judaic significance nullified by virtue of how many non-Jewish males are circumcised, thereby diffusing the “identifying mark” of a Jew.

The idea of an 8th day ceremony to welcome children (why not daughters too) into the tribe is worth preserving. Many articles have been written outlining the logistics of a “bloodless” bris. I view this as a positive enlightened change in Jewish practice.

Of all the parental and Judaic observance questions that I wrestle with, the one to keep my boys uncircumcised has caused me the least concern. My sons are raised within a Jewish home and community. As I see it, that is what adheres them to Judaism— not the look of their penises. When I see their uncircumcised bodies, I feel serene in my decision to leave them intact as nature, if not God, intended.

by JANET TATZ, Missoula, MT

The Power of Women’s Folk Judaism by Jane Litman [Fall 1991] has an error. The reference to “a custom of biting. not cutting, thread (in order not to ‘sew up our brains’)” does not make sense. What she is probably referring to is the custom of a person being fitted for a garment being given a piece of thread to chew. This is to show that the person is alive, for shrouds are sewn on a corpse. My late mother always made me chew on a piece of thread when she was fixing my hem, “men zol dir nit farneyen clem sekhel. “

by IDA COHEN SELAVAN, Cincinnati, OH

I write this letter from a prison cell on a cold Sunday afternoon trying to make sense of a very confusing world. My life became one of addictions to drugs, to relationships, and to dangerous excitement. I am extremely lucky to have survived; at age thirty-eight I am starting over. I have faith in myself, my brain, and my body, and I am confident that I have many fulfilling years ahead of me.

My friends aren’t as fortunate. Alfonso was a stellar dancer who seemed to have a promising career on Broadway. He had no way of knowing his sexuality would ultimately lead to an AIDS related paralysis that leaves him in a wheelchair, unable to walk, his leotard long gone.

Joan got married recently and in the course of trying to conceive, she and her husband discovered that he tested positive for the HIV virus. His past became their nightmare. Death and disease remain far more than mere statistics in my life. I have a tremendously difficult time rejoicing in my good health while so many of my peers are ill.

Just recently I received a letter from the father of my eleven-year-old son. Ours was a drug-involved relationship centered around abuse, pain, and prison. The drug use that cemented us to each other also infected him with the HIV virus. He wants to know why I am healthy and not dying as well. I have no answers. All I can do is turn my rage at what is unfair into action. So I write letters, I make movies, I talk to women, and I laugh and I cry.

My hope is that those of us already committed to health advocacy will continue to reach out, and that those of you who are running scared, at risk and hopeless, might contact a neighborhood clinic, call an AIDS hotline or find an outreach worker, if only to talk.

In the meantime, if you are using drugs intravenously, bleach your needles. If you are turning tricks, use condoms. If you have time to spare, volunteer at an AIDS clinic or hotline. You may help someone along the way.

by CAROL GOLDBLATT, 317 Mast Road, Goffstown, NH 03045

Thanks for printing the notice about my Judeo-Spanish song project [Tsena Rena, Spring 1992]. I just wanted to point out that I am neither Gerineldo’s “founder” (p. 27) nor its “lead performer.” Dr. Oro Anahory Librowicz founded and directs the ensemble and we have no “lead” performer. The other group members are Solly Levy and Kelly Sultan Amar; all are Moroccan Judeo-Spanish speaking Sephardim, and I am Ashkenazi.

by JUDITH COHEN, Toronto, Canada

Corrections: In “Why I Love/Hate the German Language” in our Spring 1992 issue we mistakenly omitted the final line of a Gertrud Kolinar poem: “Goldne Kringelhorner deckt“. Also, the complete address for Judith Brin higher’s performance group, ‘Voices of Sepharad, is 4209 Basswood Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416.