Lilith FeatureA 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)
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.
Study in Israel Dialogue and understanding between religious and secular Jews in Israel is the challenge being met by Elul, a unique learning center in Jerusalem devoted to Talmud Torah (Jewish studies). This is the only setting in Israel bridging the wide chasm between believers and secularists. In its core program —the Beit Midrash—40 women... Read more »
THE JEWS OF MEDIEVAL FRANCE: THE COMMUNITY OF CHAMPAGNE by Emily Taitz [Greenwood Press] $59.95 Extraordinary rabbinic literary talents— that continue to impact upon Jewish lives today—blossomed in the Jewish community of Champagne in the 11th and 12th centuries. Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes, or Rashi, is best known for his exhaustive commentary reinterpreting the... Read more »
WHEN A GRANDPARENT DIES: A KID’S OWN REMEMBERING WORKBOOK FOR DEALING WITH SHIVA AND THE YEAR BEYOND by Nechama Liss-Levinson [Jewish Lights Publishing], $14.95 hardcover An intelligent, realistic, therapeutic book that can keep a child (age 4-12) filling in blank spaces for a whole year after Grandma or Grandpa dies: Who was Grandpa named for?... Read more »
COMMON SENSE AND A LITTLE FIRE: WOMEN AND WORKING CLASSS POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1900-1965, by Annalise Orleck [University of North Carolina Press], $39.95 hardcover, $15.95 paper The four pre-eminent, long-lived Jewish women of the “vintage of 1909” who led the first “uprising” of women workers are profiled in this collective biography. Immigrants Fania... Read more »
AUSCHWITZ AND AFTER by Charlotte Delbo [Yale University Press], $25.00 In this memoir. Charlotte Delbo, French novelist and playwright, delivers an insightful, non-Jewish perspective of the Holocaust experience. Through scores of poetry, short stories, and vignettes— perhaps too many—Delbo shares with the reader the intimate and powerful lessons she learned as an inmate at Auschwitz.... Read more »
GENESIS: THE BEGINNING OF DESIRE by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg [Jewish Publication Society], $34.95 Avivah Zornberg—doyenne of Jerusalem Torah study—is perhaps the only scholar in the world equally at home with the difficult American poetry of Wallace Stevens and the medieval homiletics of Ephraim Solomon ben Hayyim of Luntshitz. In this beautiful, but dense and demanding,... Read more »
GENDER AND THE ISRAELI PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: THE POLITICS OF WOMEN’S RESISTANCE by Simona Sharoni [Syracuse University Press], $29.95 hardcover; $14.95 paper When author Simona Sharoni was asked for her opinion on the Oslo Accord, she commented that it was ironic that “high ranking Israeli generals, who spent a good portion of their lives waging war,... Read more »
JEWISH AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS: A BIO-BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCEBOOK by Ann Shapiro, Sara Horowitz, Ellen Schiff and Miriyam Glazer [Greenwood Press], $89.50 (yes, it’s expensive) Move over Roth, Malamud, and Bellow with your literary falsifications of the Jewish American experience. Here we have a “who’s who” of American Jewish female novelists, poets and playwrights that fails to mention:... Read more »
A BREATH OF LIFE: FEMINISM IN THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY by Sylvia Barack Fishman [Free Press], $22.95 Question: What’s been the single most revitalizing factor in the last two decades in American Judaism? Answer: Feminism. In this comprehensive, very readable piece of scholarship, Sylvia Barack Fishman, assistant professor of Contemporary American Jewish Life at Brandeis... Read more »
MAKING STORIES, MAKING SELVES: FEMINIST REFLECTIONS ON THE HOLOCAUST by R. Ruth Linden [Ohio State University Press], $39.50 hardcover; $14.95 paper This very feminist book, by a post positivist ethnographer, is only tangentially about the Holocaust. Using survivors’ stories as a springboard (Linden was a founder of the San Francisco Holocaust Oral History Project), the... Read more »
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, in her wonderful and fresh new book, She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism [HarperSanFrancisco], recalls the steps she took (so familiar to many women) on her way towards becoming a feminist. In this excerpt, Gottlieb—a modern-day Eve—feels the scales fall from her very eyes as she first... Read more »
NO WORDS TO SAY GOODBYE: A YOUNG JEWISH WOMAN’S JOURNEY FROM THE SOVIET UNION INTO AMERICA—THE EXTRAORDINARY DIARIES OF RAIMONDA KOPELNITSKY by Raimonda Kopelnitsky and Kelli Pryor [Hyperion], $22.95 It is rare that a piece of history is brought alive with the kind of immediacy evident in the diaries of Raimonda Kopelnitsky. These diaries—written by... Read more »
Two of Lilith’s editors, Faye Moskowitz (fiction) and Alicia Ostriker (poetry), have recently authored new books. Her Face In The Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters [Beacon Press], edited by Moskowitz, is a healing collection of poems, essays and stories by the likes of Linda Pastan, Myra Sklarew, Vivian Gornick and over 50 others.... Read more »
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?
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
Recalling the generations. I wrap myself in the talit. May my mind be clear. my spirit open as I envelop myself in prayer.
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.
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 »
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.
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.
Many independent bookstores— especially feminist ones—are being hit hard by the expansion of large chain stores in their area. Even a slight decrease in sales can force a small store, without the resources of a franchise behind it, to close. Feminist bookstores play a vital role in maintaining freedom and diversity of expression, and in... Read more »
Imagine that you’d never heard of Zora Neale Hurston, Rebecca Harding Davis, or Jo Sinclair. Imagine that you’d never heard of any but three or four women novelists. That’s largely what the world of English literature looked like before The Feminist Press. Founded by Florence Howe in 1970, The Feminist Press was begun as a... Read more »
Conductor Elayne Robinson Grossman recently celebrated her 18th anniversary with New York’s Rottenberg Chorale, a 45-voice choir of men and women, by presenting a program of 20 musical selections called “Music by and About Jewish Women.” Grossman, a skilled and expressive conductor, brought forth a polished and richly communicative sound. Featuring the work of 19... Read more »
Roots and Branches Theater, creatively combining the talents of Manhattan’s elderly community with that of NYU undergraduates from Tisch School of the Arts, gives old people back their voices. Based since 1985 at the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, the inter-generational theater has performed for thousands of senior citizens throughout New York. Every... Read more »
When Israel Goldstein, a 39-year-old Orthodox Jewish man from Brooklyn, interpreted a biblical passage as allowing him to betroth his 11-year-old daughter to a man whose identity he refused to disclose, he gained complicated leverage against his wife in their bitter five-year divorce battle. This archaic practice of betrothing young daughters was used during medieval... Read more »
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 »
Usually I’m a curmudgeonly person who complains that this or that aspect of every experience (or every issue of this magazine, for that matter) could have been done differently, by which I always mean better. But our daughter Yael’s bat mitzvah, which we marked in Israel this past July, met all my expectations—and hers too,... Read more »