Fall 1995

After mastectomy, some healing rituals. Manya: the visionary who invented the kibbutz. Marcia Falk’s alternative feminist prayer book. Erica Jong chats.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

A Foretaste of the Prayer Book to Come

Excerpts from Marcia Falk's complete alternative feminist prayer book (with prayers re-written in both English and Hebrew)

Lilith Feature

A Special Section on Mastectomy

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Free-Associating

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A college student pays a call on the novelist who practically invented guilt-free sex, and talk to her about mothers, daughters and Jewish men.

Our (forgotten) Foremother: Manya Shohat (1880-1961)

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Who was Manya Wilbusevitz Shohat, and why didn’t we know before this that she rode wild horses, smuggled arms to Russian revolutionaries, insisted on teaching Arabic to Zionists, and invented the kibbutz?

Helping a Friend through Breast Cancer: Our Experience

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When Margy, one of the women in our Rosh Hodesh group, shared with us that she had breast cancer and had decided on a bilateral mastectomy, our group gathered together to create a healing ceremony for her, and for us as well. Margy did not participate in the planning of the ceremony (she was still overwhelmed by... Read more »

Mastectomy: Twelve Months After Surgery

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As the first anniversary of my mastectomy approached, I viewed the occasion with mixed emotions. It had been a year of challenges and discoveries, sadness, fear and fortitude. It had also been, I realized, now that it was over, twelve months of mourning. I had suffered a terrible loss, grieved that loss, and had begun... Read more »

What God Takes: Bris and Mastectomy

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It is your eighth day of life and tine day of your brit milah, the covenant between every Jewish boy and his Creator. I lean against the wall like a broken fixture, propped up on either side by my best friends, Miriam and Judith. Your father holds you in a football grip and gazes into... Read more »

Humble Hour

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My clear, humble hour- when I carried a bundle of straw for the newborn calf and bent down and spread the straw beneath her quivering wetness, my trembling hand playing on the little chin as I put two fingers into her hot mouth and cried a sweet, satisfying cry in the face of the calf... Read more »

Blessing the Beloved

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One partner:How fineyour are, my love,how fine you are. The other partner:How fineare you, my love,what joy is ours. Together:Of all pleasure,how sweetis the taste of love.

Putting on the Prayer Shawl

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Recalling the generations. I wrap myself in the talit. May my mind be clear. my spirit open as I envelop myself in prayer.

Blessing before Going to Sleep

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Sleep descending, on my lids, on my limbs, I call to mind the gifts of the day— the gift of this day— and give thanks.

Sh’ma: Personal Declaration of Faith

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Hear, O Israel—The divine abounds everywhereand swells in everything;the many are One. Loving lifeand its mysterious sourcewith all my heartand all my spirit,all my senses and strength,I take upon myselfand into myselfthese promises:to care for the earthand those who live upon it,to pursue justice and peace,to love kindness and compassion.I will teach this to our... Read more »

Getting Annulled

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What happens when the Catholic Church cancels out a Jewish-Jewish marriage? Here are the travails of Jewish women whose ex-husbands have decided to remarry Catholic women.

My First Days at Kheder

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A vivid—-and rare—-autobiographical portrait of Jewish girls’ school days 165 years ago, at the dawning of the Enlightenment. Wengeroff’s story, according to scholar Shulamit Magnus, represents the first time a major epoch of Jewish history is refracted through a female lens. Plus...Susan Schnur on gendered Jewish history, telling us that loss characterized Jewish modernity for women—-but not for men.

Letters

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How Girls Eat As a Jewish college-aged woman, I too have dealt with many issues regarding food and negative images of my body [“Jewish Women and Food,” Summer ’95]. The Jewish holidays, whether Chanukah or Passover, always represent guilt for me. I remember one Yom Kippur in particular when I was 15. I fasted the... Read more »

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