Our Time of Women’s Interdependence

Forty years of casting light on all the tender and jagged places Judaism and feminism intersect! Lilith’s Founding Mothers didn’t imagine (well, at least I didn’t imagine) what this magazine’s trajectory would be. Few feminist organizations have taken as long a journey.

As we mark this celebratory milestone with our readers—you— I’ve been thinking about what you expect when you ally yourself with a social-change organization. You do so anticipating that you’ll meet people of like mind. That’s both true and not true with Lilith. Here’s one subscriber: “In Lilith I meet women like me, and women totally different.” The differences may be on Israel, for instance. On what constitutes sex. Or on whether organizing via protest marches and phone banks is superior to mobilizing via twitter. And then there’s the divisive matter of tattoos….

Despite the potential for alienation between and among generations, it feels to me that we’re in an almost unprecedented time of women’s interdependence and collaboration. The writers you read here braid together separate and even, perhaps, contradictory narratives, as you might do in your own life. When readers gather in intergenerational Lilith salons to talk about each new issue of the magazine, or give subscriptions to a mother, or a niece, one of the recurring comments is about the pleasures of sharing Lilith’s ideas across the age spectrum, cheering women younger or older who are leading Jewish organizations, creating feminist seder rituals or pooling resources in a giving circle.

One reader, an ardent giver of magazine gift subscriptions, told us recently that when she gives Lilith the recipients contact her not simply to mention an article and thank her. “Instead, they say, ‘I love this magazine’.”

This magazine offers up, consistently, a kind of intimacy. You, Lilith’s readers and writers, span a vast range of ages, from teenagers to nonagenarians. You don’t live in silos of decade or denomination. You identify yourselves all across the Jewish/secular spectrum, with varying gender perspectives and ethnic roots. Lilith’s intent is to mirror some of that back. My editorial in that first issue in the fall of 1976 laid it out: “We don’t intend to construct rigid dogma.” And the carefully curated reading in each issue of the magazine, and each day’s update to the Lilith blog, carries the mission forward: to explore and shape the multiform interfaces between feminism and Jewish life.

The 40th anniversary issue is here today thanks to the donors who make Lilith’s sustained ideaphoria possible. We salute Lilith’s board and all the devoted readers whose generous tax-deductible contributions help Lilith Publications thrive.

To you—to them—to us—Dear Readers, Dear Writers, Dear Supporters all, Shehechiyanu. We’re grateful to have reached this season in your company. This is what 40 looks like!

Susan Weidman Schneider Editor in Chief