Fall 2005

"Our Body Ourselves" at 35, and its unsettling changes. Fiction by Dara Horn. Passionate Paintings from Joan Snyder. A new Hanukah heroine: Judith.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Readers Respond

Lilith Feature

How Do We Become Grown-Up Jewish Women?

Lilith's 10th annual look at Jewish books for young readers

More Articles

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The Envelope

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A sister and brother in a Buenos Aires family, in the wake of their parents' divorce.

Motherhood Galore!

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1.  Overcoming Infertility: A Guide for Jewish Couples by Richard V. Grazi (Toby Press, $29.95) looks at advances in both medical techniques and Jewish law. It’s a reference book aiming to provide hope and guidance to observant Jewish couples in need of medical intervention to become parents. 2. The Middle of Everything: Memoirs of Motherhood, by Michelle Herman (University of Nebraska Press,... Read more »

The JGirl’s Guide

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I was born in 1946, in Amsterdam, and moved to the United States before I was a year old. In the next two years, I moved to Israel, and then back to the United States. I remember none of this. But in 1958, when I was 12, I visited Israel again for an entire summer... Read more »

Room in the Heart

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I was eight years old, surrounded by friends on the dusty playground in what I now know was a lower class neighborhood of Los Angeles. My friends—one Japanese, another Negro, one a proud Comanche and a couple of blond, perky Protestants—gazed at me in astonishment that could, any moment, develop into hostility. “You mean, you don’t... Read more »

The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt

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When I was 15 I spent my junior year or high school in a small, cold city in the north of Israel. Desperate to flee the cows and orange groves, I would ascend to Jerusalem on weekends to hang out on Ben Yehuda. In the maze of alleyways that branched out from it, which I clung... Read more »

Yentl’s Revenge

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If there was one specific experience through which I came of age as a Jewish woman, it was my mother’s death my junior year of college. It happened much later than, perhaps, most of the other rites of passage described on these pages, but adulthood certainly hadn’t happened by means of my bat mitzvah—a fundamentally... Read more »

When I Was a Soldier

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I remember always having been a little Jewish girl, covering her eyes before the Shabbat candles on Friday night, and knowing her Ma Nishtana by heart at the age of three. I remember, more or less, the day I became a woman, but I will not share the details on this subject, and anyway it is not... Read more »

Closing the Sea

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Since my childhood I have been proud of the deep-rooted Israeliness of my family-eight generations in the land, the family patriarch having arrived from Lithuania to Jerusalem in 1811. Growing up in a secular home, my identity as a Jewish female didn’t concern me very much. The holidays at my parents’ home were mainly occasions... Read more »

House on the River: A Summer Journey

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To be grown up implies a state of arrival, but i am a work in progress, humbled daily by what i cannot accept, or even grasp. Here, my children have been my teachers. They frequently hear the words “I don’t know” and, alas, “I’m sorry.” And they understand—I hope—that although I have many unwavering principles,... Read more »

Confessions of a Closet Catholic

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It figures that the moment I felt fully realized as a Jewish woman involved food. What was it that marked my transformation from confused Jewish girl to equally confused (but for different reasons) Jewish woman? A seder. The first seder I hosted for my parents in my home. Come to think of it, there was... Read more »

The J.A.P. Chronicles

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I’m eight years old and I’m sitting on hillside overlooking a picture perfect lake that shimmers in the pinkish light  of a maine dusk. I am nestled amongst 399 other girls, aged eight through 15, and no one makes a peep except the birds above us in the elm branches, as the head of camp blesses... Read more »

The Last Days of Dogtown

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When I was a moody, misunderstood high school freshman in Denver, one of the juniors I knew from my public school chorus talked me into going to a MoVFTY event in exotic Omaha. MoVFTY, the Missouri Valley Federation of Temple Youth, was the Midwest branch of the Reform Movement’s youth program. Ralph told me not... Read more »

Lost in America

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If I had to pick one person who helped me define what a Jewish woman was, or should be, it was my grandmother. As a child, I was ashamed of her—she didn’t look anything like the grandmother in Heidi, she had an accent, bargained fiercely with the kosher butcher, and was the powerful matriarch in... Read more »

My Sister’s Wedding

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I had just finished my first year of teaching and was seated next to my principal in her office, part of my first-year evaluation. She leaned over the paper work—so close that I smelled her Chanel perfume, heard the jingle of her large gold earrings, and saw several fine grey hairs that didn’t get bathed... Read more »

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah*

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She was the kind of girl with no patience. She ate the gingerbread house while it was under construction. She wondered if there were guns in heaven. And, if so, could you die there all over again? She wanted to trade all the cars in for horses, but what she really wanted was a pet... Read more »

Shema

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Hear oh Israel a tale of Oneness One of us right One of us wrong Here in this land bought and sold traded won stolen here my mothers are buried here Mohammed stepped off to paradise here your child is buried your house destroyed Here I was cast into a pit sold into slavery here... Read more »

Disputed Ruins (Ours)

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Last year, one hilltop community in Galilee was embroiled over a proposal to build new Jewish houses near an old Arab cemetery left abandoned in 1948. As some Jews fought to preserve these sacred ruins in their midst, archaeologists found ruins of a third community—an ancient Jewish village buried beneath the tombstones.  In a land that devours its... Read more »

“…And We Eat Like on Yom Kippur”

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In the Lodz ghetto under the Nazis, starvation was public policy. Historian Sinnreich finds out what women did--from refurbishing potato peels to harvesting garbage--in the heroic struggle against the savage gnaw of hunger.

Judith the Obscure

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(Preparing Ourselves to Meet Another Matriarch)

Joan Snyder

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Catch up with the artist who has led the vanguard since feminist art got its label 30 years ago.

That Night in the Museum

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You'd think that you could read the thoughts of a twentysomething guy who shows up at a Jewish Museum's singles night. But you'd be very surprised at the truth.

“The damage done has never left me.”

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While visiting my 97-year-old mother at the Jewish nursing home, I picked up a copy of your magazine. On seeing the article about relationship abuse [“Misery Beyond the Mezzuzah” by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Summer 2005], all the memories of my childhood came flooding back. My father was considered a pillar of our community despite being a... Read more »

That JAP…

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I was appalled at Alana Newhousc’s article, “The JAP: Reclaim Her or Reject Her?” and disappointed with Miriam Stone’s “The Shame of the JAP” [Summer 2005]. There is reason why feminists “waged battles again the JAP stereotype for years.” What is a JAP, anyway? A frigid “girl” who demands and expects her father to give... Read more »

Making Women Rabbis

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Amy Stone’s article “20 Years of Conservative Women Rabbis” [Summer 2005] offered a vivid critique of the new video produced by the Jewish Theological Seminary. But one crucial point wasn’t clear enough. Amy is too modest to note that her own groundbreaking 1977 article in Lilith, “Gentlemen’s Agreement in the Seminary,” was quite significant in... Read more »

Escaping Hasidism

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Your article [“Malkie: An Immigrant to a New World Adjusts Her Compass,” Winter 2004-05] about young women who left the Orthodox community spoke to me , but I noticed that all of the interview subjects left before they married and started a family. Small wonder. I became a Lubavitcher in a fit of adolescent fervor... Read more »

Our Bodies Ourselves

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Erlich, born in the same year as Our Bodies Ourselves, credits this landmark book with introducing her to sex, strong bodies and medical school. But the world-shaking classic women's health bible at 35 appears in a new edition with some unsettling changes.

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