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Letters

THANKS FOR ATTENTION

Thank you for the copies of LILITH for our young men and women of the armed forces currently serving on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.

I am sure that our women as well as at least a few of the men who will get the opportunity to read LILITH will find it useful, thought-provoking and enjoyable.
by Rabbi Mitchell S. Ackerson, Fort Bragg NC

Editors note: Books, magazines and letters may be sent to the estimated 900 Jewish soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia, care of Chaplain Mitchell, Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, NC 28307.

I write to you with very big hopes so far as I have a connection with the civilized world only through your magazine.

Very many people in the USSR love LILITH Magazine.

I would be very obliged to you if you don’t mind to inform me of my relatives’ address in your country.

I want to tell you the following: my relative is living in San Francisco for more than ten years; his name is Dagovich Abram Zelmanovich; he was born about 1926. His wife is Bella Abra-movna Dagovich; she was born about 1930. If my petition from you is very difficult, please, inform me of the address where I can apply for help. I am waiting for your information with anxiety.
by Mery Halzova, USSR
Editor’s note: This letter was forwarded to HIAS in New York City.

Thank you very much for printing the article about the Gan Shoshana Lending Library for Children [“Tsena Rena,” Fall 1990]. Hopefully with more kind people like you printing information about our library, we will be able to reach those ill children that are in the hospital and/or home-bound and provide them with those services available.

Tizku L’Mitzvos (You should be privileged to perform good deeds).
by Sheila Shmueli, Brooklyn, NY
Editor’s note: Readers wishing to donate to Gan Shoshana, can contact Shmueli at 952 E. 13th St., Brooklyn NY 11230, (718) 338-4816.

POLAND REVISITED

Yehudit Hendel’s moving article about visiting Poland [Spring 1990] clarified an uneasy feeling I’ve had about recent events in Eastern Europe. Here one group throws off its shackles, then another, and then there is the loud and terrible silence of the Jews who are no longer part of these cultures.

For 40 years I have heard nothing about Vilnius, except when I have read history or fiction about Jews who once lived there. Now everyday I hear about Vilnius. But no Jews. While the Iron Curtain stood strong, it was as-if all these cultures had been silenced along with the Jews of Eastern Europe. That seemed fair enough.

But now, these people get a chance to go on, to revive, fight back, make new choices. But the Jews of all these countries never will get this chance. This adds a painful twist to what seems to be, in other ways, a positive moment of power to the people.
by Michele Clark, Plainfield, VT

CREATING NEW RITUALS

In a letter to the editor in the Fall 1990 LILITH, Edward Fram wrote that “Hope Berger has inadvertently adopted a Christian view” when she reworded the second blessing of “Birkat Ha-Mazon” [“Bringing Feminism to Camp Ramah;’ Summer 1990]” from V’al b’ritkha she-hatamta biv’sareinu to V’al b’ritkha she-hatamta bilibeinu.

I would like to direct Mr. Fram to review our own classical JEWISH sources where “circumcision of the heart” is part of the text: Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6 and Jeremiah 4:4, and the “Musaf” service for Yom Kippur.

Edward Fram cites Rabbi Moses Isserles in the Shulhan Arukh and suggests that Ms. Berger “simply not recite this phrase” — the original version. On the contrary, Hope Berger should never allow her female voice and religious sensitivities to be quieted on this or any other occasion.
by Suzanne Sobel, Cincinnati, OH

I was particularly touched by Diane Solomon’s “A Midwife’s Kaddish” [Summer 1990]. While it is important and necessary to rediscover and reinterpret the feminine aspects of our tradition, it is even more gratifying and necessary in our times to invent ritual. What could be more fitting than Solomon’s description of the ceremony she created to heal herself from her aborted pregnancy. Such ceremonies soften the blows life hands us while putting us in touch with our Jewish roots. Solomon is to be commended for her openness and moving writing.
by Elaine Starkman, Walnut Creek, CA

I am a Conservative Jew, and have recently taken on the chiyuv (obligation) of praying three times a day.

I was moved reading “… Who has made me a woman …” by Elyse Goldstein [Spring 1990]. I too was bothered by the bracha “… who has not made me a woman;’ and also found the Conservative movement’s rewrite (for both men and women: “who has made me in His image”) a little flat. Instead, every morning I say “who has made me a woman” and think especially of my special gift as a woman — the ability, whether or not I choose to exercise it, to bear life. When I feel pains during my menstrual periods, this bracha, part of my daily routine, reminds me of the privilege that goes along with the inconvenience. In this way and others, I see that Jewish women can and do incorporate positive images of femaleness into tfilah (prayer) and Torah.
by Chana Abrams, Los Altos, CA

I would like to suggest an addition to Elyse Goldstein’s menstruation prayer. Etty Hillesum, whose memoirs have become a source of contemporary Torah for many women, and whose work was reviewed in LILITH [Spring 1989], wrote the following in 1941, just before her life was shattered by the Nazi invasion of her native Holland: “Oh God, I thank you for having created me as I am…” Her prayer continues, but the power of that first line, written without knowing the traditional prayer that she paraphrased, might be a fitting complement to Elyse’s prayer.
by Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Los Angeles, CA

ADDENDUM

Omitted inadvertently from the article, “Women in the Pulpit: Reworking the Rabbi’s Role” [Fall 1990] was Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first women to be ordained as a rabbi in the Recon-structionist Movement in 1974. Rabbi Sasso has shared the pulpit of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, equally with her husband, Rabbi Dennis Sasso, since 1977.