Lilith FeatureJewish Daughters and Fathers
From Silence to Speech
Launching our new column on the latest feminist academic advances are quick takes on what "gay" means to Israeli life, the gender of literature and other juicy items from the hallowed halls.
SEND YOUR WORK HERE Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal is a refereed forum for critical analysis of gender inqualities within Jewish religion, history, society and culture—to be published exclusively on the Internet. Submit material by October 30 for the Winter issue to: Dina Eylon do Near mid Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, 4 Bancroft Ave.,... Read more »
The Rescue of Memoryby Cheryl Pearl Sucher Scribner, $23 In her father’s bedroom closet, Rachel, the narrator of this striking but uneven first novel, hunts through boxes of old photos and films. Hers is a family decimated by the Holocaust, her parents among the survivors. Unable to escape this past, her own life, her lovers,... Read more »
Distant Sisters: The Women I Left Behindby Juditli Rotem, Foreword by Nessa Rapoport Jewish Publication Society $34.95 Implicit in Judith Rotem’s exploration of women in the ultra-Orthodox haredi world is a critique, for she herself lived in that world for a decade, raised a family, supported her husband while he went to study every day... Read more »
Lost Love: The Untold Story of Henrietta Szoldby Baila Round Shargel Jewish Publication Society, $34.95 One almost feels guilty reading Lost Love: The Untold Story of Hennrietta Szold. Szold’s journal entries are so personal in the intensity of their grief, so pitiful in their dazed heartache, that the reader wishes to apologize for trespassing and... Read more »
Tomorrow, God Willing: Self-Made Destinies in CairoBy Unni Wikan University of Chicago, $50, $17.95 paper What began as a thesis topic in the late 1960s has now spanned a career: Unni Wikan is a Norwegian anthropologist who has spent the last 25 years observing (and becoming friendly with) a poor Egyptian family in Cairo. Wikan... Read more »
Three Mothers, Three Daughters: Palestinian Women’s StoriesMichael Gorkin and Rafiqa Othman University of California Press, $25 Michael Gorkin (a Jewish anthropologist) met Rafiqa Othman (an unmanied Palestinian woman) while looking for Arabic classes in Jerusalem. From the unlikely friendship that arose came the idea for this book: an attempt to illuminate the lived experience of... Read more »
Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists Edited by Joanna Kadi South End Press, $16 In a deeply personal compilation of essays and poetry, these (primarily) American and Canadian authors recount stories of lifetimes in exile and address their complex presence in the West. Most are children or grandchildren of immigrants from... Read more »
In the years between college and careers, childhood and childbearing, 20-something Jews are slipping through the cracks—-and no one seems to care. Here’s how to help them hang on.
We asked child-reviewers what they thought about this year’s crop of “girl books” and others; then we asked their parents to explain.
Why Jewish families are so desperate to hide it, and why women may be more at risk.
There was nothingbut hills of sand and stoneour wilderness we climbedthe Midwestern landscapeuntil mother screamed “Get down now,”reminding us of the long scar on Daddy’s thigh.He’d been King of the Hillsliding down the dirt in Brooklynuntil a rusty wirecaught him by the muscleand slit him open. Those kind of wiresrun in a family; we were... Read more »
I can hear my grandfathersinging night songsthrough the open door where he sleeps.His voice,stronger than it ever was in waking,cuts through the tapestry,the wooden floors.My grandmother sayshe started singing in his sleepsometime sincehis eighty fifth birthday passed,with no sign of heart failure,or cancer returning.First it was Yiddish nursery rhymes,then love songs,now holy prayers.She says it’s... Read more »
When a man is drunkit generally doesn’t get up,so this too is absurd:that we seduced himafter drowning him in wine.The truthhurts in one’s tissueswhen one pisses and squatsand hurts in the headknowing that this manfed us bread,fashioned us dolls out of wheat stalks,smiled, joked, bouncedballs for usand representedthe gender, the speciesthat we would have loved... Read more »
Faye Kellerstein on how, despite sexist strictures, an Orthodox daughter becomes her father’s voice.
Sarah Cooper moves past a dad’s nastiness to understand that she can honor him and still be true to herself.
I’ve said the prayer you taught mesilently at bed time,the house feathered quiet.I’ve said it in crisis mornings,during the wail of baby’s toothacheand betweenthe mismatched socks of children.I thought it would helpkeep me daddy-connected.Once, when I was seven,you opened the back doorand said, “there’s nothing to see,yet we know it’s there,”then in your rumble voice,... Read more »
Gail Todd reconstructs her father’s lost world, cracking the silence a pogrom begat.
A feminist? A Jew? A mother? A professional? We asked our former interns (aged 23 to 40) to talk about Life after LILITH, what happens to the identity puzzle when “none of the edges match.”
Whose Last Name ? I was dismayed by your listing of donors in the Summer 1997 edition of LILITH. I find it not only mystifying but also downright wrong that couples with separate last names are alphabetized by the last name of the male. The cover of LILITH reads, “The Independent Jewish Women’s Magazine.” If a... Read more »
“It’s a whole phenomenon now, the way women are dominating music,” says influential New York DJ Vin Scelsa. Young Jewish feminists are seizing the opportunity to rock, doing it their way. All wield pens as well as guitars, writing their own songs, leading bands, and attracting male and female fans. Playing to different niches of... Read more »
Where’s Rosa Parks when we need her? This summer Egged, Israel’s primary bus company, acceded to demands by the ultra-Orthodox of Bnai Brak that, at least on the line that serves their town, women be sent to the back of the bus. Following that ruling, made to accomodate the community’s strict sex-segregation, a vehement conversation about... Read more »
Rabbi Julia Neuberger, ordained as Britain’s second woman rabbi two decades ago, was tins May appointed head of The King’s Fund, Britain’s leading health policy think tank, which was established more than 100 years ago by Edward VII. As head of The King’s Fund, Neuberger plans to reduce health inequalities, reform links between the National... Read more »
For years the Jews at San Francisco State University had wrangled with “rival” groups— sizeable, outspoken and often hostile Palestinian and African-American populations. So when Laurie Zoloth-Dorfman arrived this year as the second head of the school’s Jewish studies department, her predecessor virtually ousted by the Jewish establishment, she had more than just academic questions to... Read more »
On May 11, the Nozyk synagogue in Warsaw was abuzz. More than 40 Jewish men huddled in groups, voicing animated opinions, struggling to maintain a whisper. Two authoritative figures guarded a back room, with lists in hand to admit only specified individuals. Moving quietly amongst those congregated for a meeting of Poland’s umbrella Jewish group... Read more »
Beth Corning—dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the Coming Dances & Company— has recently found herself addressing issues of Jewish identity. She’s unsure if the motivation is a sudden need for roots after a lifetime of traveling, entering her 40s, finally having a Jewish partner, or living in the Midwest. Yet for the first time, she’s... Read more »
Time to take the horticultural view. As with shaping an ornamental tree, sometimes we’re lucky enough to see people slowly grow and change over time. But the change isn’t always predictable; here’s where the garden analogy breaks down. The lyrics from The Fantastiks might be wrong. “Plant a radish, get a radish; not a sauerkraut.” With... Read more »