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Fall 2004

Unbelievable! Teen girls who like their bodies? After having her own baby, an egg donor revisits her choice. Eighteen authors confess to being outcasts.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Writing from the Outside

Lilith's annual Jewish feminist look at books for young readers

Lilith Feature

Fresh Views of Israel

More Articles

Sort by: Features | From the Editor | Voices | Reviews | Happening | All

Why We’re not Getting Married

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These Jewish lesbian academic activists resist wedded coupledom, for very good reasons.

Why Laws Hardly Improve Women’s Status in Israel

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Ruth Halperin-Kaddari’s densely informative text Women in Israel: A State of their Own (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) is based on the author’s “Report on the State of Israel Concerning the Implementation of the U.N Convention on the Elimination of AH Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)” Halperin-Kaddari is a professor of law at Bar-... Read more »

A Cinderella-Like Boy in a New Israeli Film

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Bonjour. Monsieur!” is how the sweet-eyed, frizzy haired protagonist of this new Israeli film greets his Hebrew-speaking grandfather, entering the home that, as its inhabitants arrive, seems more like a circus than a dwelling place. In writer-director Shemi Zahrin’s “Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi,” 16-year-old Shlomi is the boy next door: unglamorous, underachieving, lovable, and lost under the maelstrom of... Read more »

“Following a Story, Like in a Dream”

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Savyon Liebrecht, the acclaimed Israeli fiction writer, recently visited Boston, where she was the quiet star of a reception given by the Israeli Consulate and, the next day, a speaker at Harvard. Although Liebrecht, 56, has been widely read in Hebrew since the publication of her first short story collection in 1986, English-language readers had to... Read more »

If My Grandmother Could Have Written a Postcard to the Sister Left Behind

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It would be written on sand, or on a hand colored photo graph of a country with nobody waiting with guns, no thatched roofs on fire, no hiding in trees after a knock on the door: Sister, it is nothing like we had or what we imagined. There are no Jews in the small rural towns... Read more »

An Adult Can Be Your Best Friend

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Many memories were woven together to tell The Dog of Knots, a story of a dog, a little girl, and her friends during the Yom Kippur War The year I lived in Haifa I met a woman whose family had lived in Jerusalem for three generations. She had just moved to Haifa and she complained... Read more »

In Favor of Outsiderhood

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An outsider’s observation: Was Egypt really so bad for us strangers? After all, it was in Egypt where a psychic Jewish slave, betrayed and abandoned by his own Jewish brothers, rose to be second only to Pharaoh in position and power. Joseph—as is statistically borne out to this day—was far more likely to be harmed... Read more »

An Israeli Foster Mother

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All my life I have felt like an outsider, and it is clearly one of the motivations that pushes me to write. A year after I got married I took 10 children from broken families into my home and became their foster mother. During that period I felt as if I was observing our common... Read more »

My Country is Judaism

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Outsider experiences? The question hits home so hard that I don’t know where to start. I am an American Jew, writing in French and living in Nice. I guess my American accent in French (and Hebrew) is as strong as was my grandmother’s; she lived a lifetime in Brooklyn and eternally spoke English as if... Read more »

Chicken?

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I’m leaving my world of motherhood and children. My busy, safe, laughter-filled, tear-stained, milk-spilling world, to have dinner at Rutgers University and meet my favorite author. Dr. Chaim Potok. My copy of his book My Name is Asher Lev is well worn. I hope I will think of something important to ask him and the... Read more »

What Would Be Sufficient?

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I wanted so many things but more than anything I wantedto write.If only I could write.Dayenu.My parents taught me words in Russian, French,German, English.I added words of my own. In a new home, new words— wordsin Hebrew.I shoveled the words like coal into bins, to keep mewarm—community words, story words, Bible words,wife words, mother words,... Read more »

At Last! I Didn’t Belong!

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When I moved to Atlanta in my mid-20s, I got a sweet surprise. Up north, I had always had plenty in common with the women around me, Jewish and otherwise. There was always another chatterbox with fuzzy black hair; another argumentative proto-feminist with activist pretensions. I perpetually reminded someone of their friend from high school.... Read more »

Uptown Jews, Downtown Jews

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I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx. Although I was hardly a “stranger in the land of Egypt,” I often felt like an outsider. At P.S. 114 our readers featured farms, pick-up trucks, and grandmothers who wore their hair in buns and had names like Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Jones. My grandmother,... Read more »

Different from Other Boys

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As a boy in the 1950s, my life had more than a passing resemblance to the Norman Rockwell covers of the Saturday Evening Post. White, middle-class, Christian, a member of the Cub Scouts and captain of the Safety Patrol, I was the epitome of small-town, white-bread, mainstream American life. Except that I wasn’t. I was... Read more »

Growing Up Weird

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So I wasn’t like the other kids. I always thought it was because we were Jewish. That was the usual excuse: we don’t eat lobster because… we’re Jewish. We don’t go to school on Sukkot because.. .we’re Jewish. I was definitely Jewish. I went to Hebrew school, and to services. But wherever I went, I... Read more »

Writing to Become Whole

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My mother died when I was in high school. I felt like an outsider because none of my friends had experienced death up close. We were carefree teenagers; death was something very far from us. I wanted to be normal—to go out and party, have fun and not feel this incredible weight within me. But... Read more »

Inventing Rashi’s Granddaughter

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I was born into a family who, during the Second World War, had indeed become “strangers” in the land of France. After the war, my family returned to France, as did many French Jews. Growing up in Paris during the fifties, attending one of the best girls’ lycees, I did not, most of the time,... Read more »

The Shame of Being Smart

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I was lucky. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and attended a small all-girls Hebrew day school, where the teachers valued their students. I never saw myself as a stranger in that land. My luck changed when I entered a large, public high school. In this world, I discovered, girls weren’t supposed to... Read more »

Politics Make Her a Stranger

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As a kid, I often felt different. I had good friends, a loving family, and a Jewish community in Allentown, Pennsylvania. But back in 1968, having parents with gray hair was enough to make a ten-year-old feel very “other.” Then, too, I had half-siblings, and there was divorce in my mother’s background. (I was always... Read more »

The Hobo Book Exchange

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One cold afternoon when I was eleven, my mother met me in our lobby—I remember the cozy heat—and showed me a newspaper. My father’s book was number one on the bestseller list. A burst of money fell from the sky. We moved to a formal, white house in Connecticut. I did poorly in my new... Read more »

A Jew Amid the Alien Corn

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Nothing in my early life could have prepared me for what it is like to be a Jew living in the Midwest, in an endless expanse of Christianity. Remember the scene in “Annie Hall” where Alvie Singer (Woody Allen) is eating dinner with Annie’s family in Chippewa Falls (not far from St. Paul, Minnesota (where... Read more »

An Indigestible Childhood

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If our theme is Writing from the Outside, I’m your poster child. My first book novelized my escape from Hitler’s Vienna and a childhood in England, living in, as the title had it. Other People’s Houses. An Austrian reader guiltily confessed to me that she had caught herself laughing at the funny parts. Most of... Read more »

Teenage Girls Who Like Their Bodies? Get Out!!

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What this Jewish summer camp offers--common showers--brings unintended lessons, including the body-equalizing revelations most women experience only in a Loehmann's dressing room. And Joan Jacobs Brumberg talks to Ilana Kramer about female appearance and anxiety.

Flora

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A short story about the inquisition and its aftermath

A Good Egg: A Donor’s Story

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She just gave birth to her own child. Now a Jewish woman who years ago donated her eggs to an infertile couple looks back on her extraordinary choice.

Readers Respond

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MORE ABOUT MOMMIES On the problems of mothers [“Mommy Wars,” Summer 2004]. I am in exactly this position—a professional woman (with a Ph.D.), unemployed because I followed my husband to where his job was (and my options were limited), mother of two young children, trying to “keep my hand in” while still being mom. Yes,... Read more »

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