Lilith Magazine Independent, Jewish & Frankly Feminist Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:09:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Desperately Seeking Yeast Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:01:16 +0000 Michelle Brafman Continue reading]]> On day nine of Governor Hogan’s quarantine, I embarked upon a journey to find yeast. My daughter, uprooted from her college life, had decided that she wanted to make challah for Shabbat before Passover began. What a way to connect with her faith! What a perfect project for a quarantine! What a life skill! 

My weekly trip to Whole Foods coincided with this particular Friday morning, so I armed myself with a packet of my precious stash of anti-bacterial wipes and hit the crowded store. With some clever maneuvering of my cart, I made my way to the baking aisle. No yeast to be found. 

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Fran Is Just Fine Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:53:15 +0000 Yona Zeldis McDonough This was a story that had particular resonance for me.  I grew up in Brooklyn, in a lower-middle-class neighborhood amidst many Jews. We kids all went to the local public school; the Catholics in our ‘hood, Italian and Irish mostly, went to the parochial school. There was no particular animosity there but there wasn’t that much interaction either.  

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Fran Drescher is once again having a moment. And she should be: in this dark, uncertain moment, her brand of humor is exactly the flavor we need.

As one of the stars in the new NBC sitcom, Indebted, the 62-year-old comic actress is trading on the fame she gained during the run of The Nanny, which aired from 1993-1999. I started watching that show because of my daughter Kate, who chortled her way through the reruns that aired every weeknight just after dinner time.  

]]> 0 Migraines in Quarantine: A Comic Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:20:51 +0000 Rebecca Katz Outside was a surreal new reality where I could be endangering the people around me with a stray touch. Maybe there was something inside. 

Continue reading]]> I’ve never tried to draw my migraines before. Then again, I’ve never lived during a pandemic before, so there are so many new things happening in my life. I found my couple of weeks working from home busier and more stressful than before the crisis, but without my normal valves to control my anxiety. It all erupted in a fantastic migraine that kept me company for many days.



]]> 0 I Attended a Jews for Jesus Seder in France: Here’s How It Went Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:13:20 +0000 admin I hadn’t contemplated what Jewish life abroad might look like or the compromises I might make. The landscape was that of Cezanne and Van Gogh, cobblestone streets, the ubiquitous skinny baguettes tucked under the arm. The seder, however, had an agenda.

Continue reading]]> Before embarking on my French sojourn I hadn’t contemplated what Jewish life abroad might look like or the compromises I might make.  Living in France throughout my 20’s, was more accidental than planned – I was never a refugee fleeing persecution, but a student, an aspiring artist who fell in love with a landscape;  the light, the sounds and smells of Aix-en-Provence. Eventually, an intended summer stay stretched into a decade. 

The landscape was that of Cezanne and Van Gogh, the scent, wafts of lavender and thyme, mingling with the aroma of freshly baked bread that permeated the 18th century town. 

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A Memoirist on Making Tragedy Meaningful Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:23:19 +0000 Yona Zeldis McDonough The book has helped the author and her family heal from shock and tragedy in many ways.

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When Eilene Zimmerman’s teen-aged children told her about their father—and her ex’s—increasingly erratic behavior, she made a spontaneous trip to his house to find out what was going on. Once inside, she found him dead and even more shocking, learned he’d been a serious drug addict.
She talks to fiction editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about her new memoir, Smacked: A Story of White Collar Ambition, Addiction and Tragedy (Random House) and what compelled her to write it. 

]]> 0 Bubbah’s Bat Mitzvah Sun, 29 Mar 2020 14:19:23 +0000 admin Reflecting on my family's moment of joy

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IMG_0967We call her by many things: Bubbah, Mom, Meryl. Earlier this year, at 71 years old, she gained a new identity: Bat Mitzvah girl. Recently called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah in front of her husband, her kids, her grandkids, and friends, she took this meaningful step after two years of study, and an entire lifetime of deep religious observance. My mother has, for most of my life, been our family’s religious beacon. Growing up, most Jewish kids I knew held on to their Jewish traditions through their grandparents. For our family, my mother, upon the death of her own beloved grandmother when I was five years old, dove more deeply into her faith and became more religious than anyone else I knew, including her own parents. Her energy and enthusiasm for Jewish life, history, culture, food, art, and music never waned. And she always embraced feminist and progressive values through a Jewish lens. 

]]> 1 The Light After the War: Jews in Caracas Sat, 28 Mar 2020 16:14:30 +0000 Yona Zeldis McDonough Two best friends jump off a train heading for Auschwitz, leaving their mothers still on board.  

Continue reading]]> Two best friends jump off a train heading for Auschwitz, leaving their mothers still on board.  They survive the rest of the war in hiding, and when peace is finally declared, make their way to Naples, then Ellis Island and finally Caracas, trying to rebuild their shattered lives. This actually happened to Anita Abriel’s mother, and she used it as the basis for her newest novel, The Light After the War (Atria Books, $27). She talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about how and why she transformed fact into fiction. 

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Between Purim and Passover, a Plague Fri, 27 Mar 2020 16:28:52 +0000 admin What if wee find we are more resilient than we knew?

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Where anxiety and fear keep us unsettled, it is important to try to keep our emotional and spiritual equanimity.

It has not escaped my attention that the pandemic is happening between Purim and Passover. Purim, like Yom Kippur, is when we read a story about chance. The tables get turned for the better —that the Jews are saved not destroyed
We acknowledge that fate can change at any given moment and we pray for it turns in our favor… 

We are also headed into Passover where it took ten plagues to get us out of Egypt. Yes, people died with each plague and we learn that we don’t sing Hallel because the Egyptians drowned in the Red sea and their lives also belong to the Holy One. Yet that story of liberation has fueled many a tradition and given many hope.

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In Italy, Our Lockdown Continues Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:38:14 +0000 admin Life under lockdown in Italy.

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thumb_IMG_3392_1024MILAN, March 2020—Today the news announced that the Carabinieri, the Italian military police, would be patrolling the streets and giving fines to anyone who didn’t have an essential reason to be out.

They also announced that grocery stores, the only businesses still open besides pharmacies, would be limiting their hours, so I decided that I should go out and get more food while I still could. Since we don’t have a car, I asked my teenage daughter to come so that she could help me carry everything back. She gladly accepted, since the three weeks of lockdown in a 390 square-foot apartment have proven to be quite a strain on our family dynamics. With our masks in hand, we left our apartment and walked onto the eerily empty street. It was a glorious spring day in Milan, trees full of colorful blossoms, a gentle breeze, birds chirping, and – just for a moment – everything felt normal.

]]> 1 Feeding People in Virus-Stricken New York Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:19:14 +0000 Eleanor J. Bader New York City’s only kosher food pantry and feeding program is gearing up for an exceptionally busy week.

Continue reading]]> It’s Monday morning, the start of the second week of New York City’s attempt to contain the coronavirus, and Alexander Rapaport, founder and Executive Director of MASBIA, ( New York City’s only kosher food pantry and feeding program, is gearing up for an exceptionally busy week.

“Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, City Councilmember Brad Lander said—and I’m paraphrasing—that in times of crisis some people will fall apart while others will be brave and help out,” Rapaport begins. “We are trying to be the helpers in this time of COVID-19. In the face of all odds, we are plowing ahead. But it’s not easy.”

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