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Lines of Communication

JEW-BY-CHOICE RAPS “JAP”-BAITING

To the Editor:

I want to thank you for LILITH and especially for the issue on “JAP”-baiting [Fall 1987].

I’m a fairly new (two-and-a-half years) Jew-by-choice. I’ve had to put up with “JAP” jokes and veiled anti-Semitism from the time I made my choice public. One “friend” even gifted me with a “JAP” tape — the life of little Judy-Ann Perlman, whose first words were “Goo-goo-ga-ga-Master Card.” Need I further elaborate?

This magazine has been a true blessing in my life. [It has] given me the confidence to do things that I would not have dared do on my own. For example, I wear a kippah and a tallit. The tallit was a Chanukah gift, both from my husband and my rabbi — two very enlightened and supportive men.

Shalom and Aloha!

by Michal R. Grotstein, Honolulu, Hawaii

U. OF MIAMI MUEL OBJECTS

To the Editor:

We found your articles on “JAP”-baiting to be of particular interest. It is an issue of major importance; your articles dealt with the subject in a non-inflammatory and constructive manner.

There is, however, one issue which did arise from the article by Sherry Chayat that is of concern to us at the University of Miami’s Hillel. According to the article, UM is considered, “one of the East Coast Colleges referred to as the Oy Vey League” where “young women are teased, mocked and baited for looking and acting a certain way.”

Those of us who work daily with the students and staff at the university found nothing to warrant such a designation. Although “JAP”-baiting occurs on campus, we have not found it happening anywhere near the extent that it occurs at Syracuse University and other campuses.

We are concerned that this unsubstantiated designation has only served to inflame the University of Miami.

by Rabbi Louis Feldstein Linda Lazere Levin Hillel, University of Miami Coral Gables, Florida

Sherry Chayat responds: During my interviews with young people at many different colleges, the description of “Oy Vey League” was used to refer to schools where the proportion of Jewish students is large enough so that they will not encounter prejudice against minorities often associated with the Ivy League schools.

I’m glad to know that young women at the University of Miami are not teased and baited “to a sufficient degree.” But that “JAP”-baiting occurs to any degree is troubling enough.

FEMALE RABBIS IN ISRAEL

To the Editor:

I was surprised to read in Alice Shalvi’s article [Summer 1988] that “Israel has no women rabbis.” I serve as rabbi of Kehillat Ramat Aviv and have been living here since 1983!

In addition to myself, Rabbi Gail Schuster Bouskila has been here since 1978; Rabbi Karyn Kedar serves as associate rabbi of Congregation Har El in Jerusalem since 1987, and Rabbi Sue Shifron just arrived as a new immigrant. There are also two female rabbinical students studying at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem.

by Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon, Tel Aviv, Israel

Editor’s Note: Alice Shalvi was referring to the fact that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate does not recognize women as rabbis.

CHANGING SEXIST LANGUAGE

To the Editor:

Not long ago, I sent you an excerpt from the United Synagogue of America [USA] Yearbook wherein references to rabbis and executive directors were all in the male gender. I also included a letter I wrote to the USA, asking that it change this practice since women are now ordained as Conservative rabbis, and there are many fine female executive directors of synagogues.

Well, the USA’s Committee on Congregational Standard unanimously passed my suggestion of removing all sexist language in its publications!

by Sherrill Kushner, Santa Monica, California

Thank – You

LILITH thanks the following for their technical assistance: Laura A. Cohen, Susan Guttman, Doreen Hermelin, Sharon Lieber-man, Allison Lowenstein, Rebecca Marcus, Betty Miller, Steven E Pares, Natalie Pelavin, Seth Sal-peter, Yael Schneider, Susan Sherr, Emily Taitz, Diane Wiener

CORRECTIONS

Due to an editing error in the Fall 1988 [#21] issue of LILITH, Debbie Friedman’s spiritual moment was not printed in its entirety. It should have read:

To me spirituality is ever present. It is not an isolated moment or experience, rather a conscious awareness that in everything we see or do or feel there is a presence, there is a holiness. The challenge, as I experience it, is to move beyond the distractions of everyday life, to peel them away so as to be able to arrive at the essence and fully allow ourselves to know what we have programmed ourselves not to know: That not only is all of experience filled with holiness but that we, by the very fact of our existence, are also filled with holiness. The idea of a spiritual “moment” is not something I relate to. The confrontation with death and the acceptance of our aloneness are two factors which have freed me to incorporate my spiritual consciousness into my life. For me there is no separation between spirituality and living. Spirituality is at the core of all that is.

The caption on the photograph on page 4 of the Fall 1988 [#21] issue of LILITH should have read “Barbara Fedderman.”