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Letters

DEENA’S ‘FEMINIST’ RETELLING

I was repelled by Deena Metzger’s so-called “feminist” retelling of the biblical story of Dinah, our foremother.

I thought it was sexists who turned rape stories into “love” stories — i.e., she wasn’t really raped, she wanted it!

Add to this a comparison of killing the Hivites with the (Christian) massacre at Sabra and Shatila, as well as a description of Dinah [licking] the corpse of Shechem and dancing a striptease in front of her father, and what do you get? A story that makes rabbinic sexism much more palatable by comparison, in this feminist’s eyes!

by Judith Antonelli, Brookline, MA

THANKS TO LILITH

We were so glad to receive your magazine. We are the family of two — me, Pavel Zoslovsky and my daughter Lina, who is thirteen. We are long-term refuseniks, but now there is a hope we could be free very soon. We will be happy to send you my memoir and Lina’s verses one day in the future. I hope it could be rather interesting for all the Jews.

by Pavel Zoslovsky, Moscow, USSR

HOSPITAL BIRTHS DEGRADING

Sheila Stanger’s article “Instructions for the Birthing Team” [Winter 1990] accurately describes the all too familiar rituals of hospital delivery. She misses the mark, however, when she addresses the “special needs” of Hasidic women. She doesn’t seem to realize that hospital birth is degrading to all women.

Why should any woman, Hasidic or otherwise, suffer rude remarks, multiple internal exams, skimpy hospital gowns, or the lithotomy position for delivery? These hospital practices are worse than insulting. They are unnecessary, and in some cases dangerous.

I applaud Ms. Stanger’s efforts to try to change hospitals. But I would not want to bet on her success.

by Sally Mendelsohn, Yonkers, NY

WHY APOLOGIZE FOR COOKING?

I was saddened that you felt it necessary to apologize (in what seemed to be embarrassment) for an article on “cooking ” in your Winter 1990 issue, “Food Culture: A Window Onto Women’s Lives” No apology is needed for articles on any activity once considered the sole domain of our mothers. What we insist on, must always guard zealously, is our “right to choose!’

by Penny Abrams, St. Thomas, USVI

PALESTINIAN WOMAN RESPONDS

I came across your magazine while I was in the Jewish Community Center in Houston awaiting the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem.

Let me introduce myself. I’m of Palestinian heritage, and my mother still lives in Ramallah. This summer, I spent approximately two months in Ramallah, in the middle of the intifada. And despite my American passport, I didn’t feel “safe.”

I enjoyed reading the article by Reena Bernards “How the Intifada Empowers Palestinian Women” [Winter 1989].

by May Mansoor Munn, Houston, TX

WOMAN POLITICIAN MISSED

Miriam Arond’s article, “At the Center of the Storm: Jewish Women in Politics Talk About the Issues;’ [Fall 1989] is a thoughtful treatment of Jewish women who in one way or another have informed — and have been informed by — the public political process. The article however, has at least one glaring omission. I did not come across any mention of Ilene Weinreb, the former mayor of Hayward, CA. Weinreb, a committed Jew who served two terms with distinction as a “reformer’,’ was a trail-blazer: in 1976 she was the first Jewish woman ever elected as a mayor in the United States.

On another issue: AIPAC, is the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, and does not stand for American-Israel Political Action Committee.

by Jerome A. Chanes, New York, NY

BAT MITZVAH DILEMMA

My middle child is in his bar mitzvah year and receives on a daily basis multiple ornate and ostentatious bar/bat mitzvah invitations. However, the girls seem to be doing “less and less” and there seems to be “less and less” concern about it! Why are we educating these girls in day schools if their synagogues don’t allow them to utilize their education and participate in an equal manner?

by Phyllis Goldman, Scarsdale, NY

CORRECTIONS

The third stanza, third line of Shirley Kaufman’s poem “Milk” [Spring 1990] should have read: “how the rice fields were burning.”

The cover photograph of Deena Metzger [Spring 1990] was taken by Bill Aron.