Lilith FeatureAt 30…
We asked women born the year Lilith was launched to tell us what they worry about today
Women’s prison activism is the first online exhibit of material from the Barnard College Center for Research on Women, inspired by their recent conference Engendering… Change. The Center also plans exhibits curated by students on related themes. Barnard. edu/bcrw/archive Jewish + Female = Athlete. A 16-month wall calendar, September 2006-December 2007 features the often surprising accomplishments of... Read more »
Love Burns by Edna Mazya (Europa Editions, S14.95) is simultaneously engaging and disappointing. Mazya, a professor of dramatic writing at Tel Aviv University, is one of Israel’s most lauded and popular playwrights. In this debut novel, she writes each chapter as one large paragraph, a narrative style which makes it difficult to put the book down. These long... Read more »
The different physical and emotional languages of love link the two novellas in David Grossman’s Her Body Knows (Picador, $14.00), a quiet meditation on the connection between internal life and external sensation. First published in Hebrew in 2002 as Baguf Am Mevinah and translated by Jessica Cohen, this latest from Grossman transcends its Israeli locale and moves into the realm... Read more »
The enormous new Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, smartly edited by Janet E. Kaufman and Anne F. Flerzog (University of Pittsburgh Press, $27.95), may appear daunting at first, but even a casual glance through the more than 600 pages yields a wealth of accessible gems. As Kaufman and Herzog remark in their notes, a comprehensive volume... Read more »
Some 31 years ago Nora Ephron began her book of essays on women’s issues by lamenting her too-small breasts and describing them as the “hang-up of [her] life.” In 2006, her concern has shifted up 10 inches to her neck. “Uh oh,” I thought, upon reading this first essay. And it seems I have nothing to look... Read more »
According to the Bible, when a man suspects his wife of adultery, he may initiate a ritual to test her faithfulness. The couple travels to a priest who makes the woman (the sotah) drink bitter water mixed with the dust of the floor of the holy place. The priest loosens her hair, takes a “jealousy” sacrifice... Read more »
Imagining the lives of biblical women has become a popular literary pursuit, with books like Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and Vanessa Ochs’ Sarah Laughed filling in the gaps in the male-centered narratives. Most recently, Deborah Bodin Cohen offers teenage Jewish girls a book of their own, Lilith’s Ark (Jewish Publication Society, $14.00). Each of... Read more »
The notion of a graphic novel about the Holocaust dates back at least to 1980, when Art Spiegelman first published parts of MAUS in his magazine. Raw. His vivid line drawings depicting the Nazis as cats, the Jews as mice, and the Poles as pigs introduced people to the notion that “comics” could tell the story... Read more »
Elisa Albert’s debut story collection, How This Night Is Different (Free Press, $18.00), is peopled with smart, self-aware Jewish women in their 20s and 30s. In the title story, Joanna— unmarried at 31, with a non-Jewish boyfriend to boot—returns to her family for their annual Passover seder. As the preparations build into a frenzy, Albert... Read more »
Meet five fresh novelists you'll love: Meg Rosoff, Dana Reinhardt, Brenda Ferber, Carolyn Mackler and Lisa Ann Sandell.
I remember coming home late from school that April afternoon, deliberately dawdling, as my mother would put it, somehow knowing that whatever news awaited me wasn’t good. Walking down the block, I saw my grandparents, Bernie and Birdie, before they saw me; Bernie was bending down to pick up the garbage pail that the careless city... Read more »
A slew of insights into a different kind of holiness through the bold, idiosyncratic and deeply personal prayer shawls women are creating for themselves. Additional first person stories by Ilana Kurshan, Marcia Talmage Schneider, Rena Olshansky, Anna Kolodner and Marcia Goggin.
In which the author wonders how she ended up with all those candles on her stove.
"Best Friends"—a ritual Judaism forgot to create for us.
A professor exhorts her young religious students who are mothers to put themselves first, for once.
When I hear the word “feminist” I think of women my mother’s and grandmother’s age; I shy away from the word myself. I grew up at a time when Jewish women were expected to obtain university degrees and pursue careers. My mother and grandmother are working women with master’s degrees and respectable salaries; “feminism” and... Read more »
In my early twenties, I identified strongly as a Jewish feminist, and most of my interests and concerns were closely connected to that identity. Now, at 30, I am also a rabbi, a mother, a lesbian, a life partner, and an ambitious professional. My busy life is rich and satisfying because I have tried to... Read more »
Raised listening to “Free to Be You and Me,” my generation was taught to expect it all. We’d achieve career success and come home to husbands who were equal partners, sharing fully in the childrearing and household chores. Somewhere along the way, though, we realized that “equalness” was perhaps as great a myth as the... Read more »
Several times in the past year, my 89-year-old grandmother has reminded me that a week before she turned 30, she gave birth to my father—an unbelievable milestone for this feisty Holocaust survivor who lost her first family. It is now 59 years later, a week before I—the first grandchild, of genealogical importance second only to... Read more »
In her 30s, my mother was busy defining herself against her own lovely mother who seemed too passive, deferential, and self-sacrificing…and who wore nailpolish! My mother is a passionate feminist (academic). For a time, I really rebelled. I saw feminism as the territory of the academic who speaks in semi-colons. It was not until I... Read more »
Both my mother and I were born in the former Soviet Union, but I came to America when I was three. She had just turned 31. How did she spend her thirtieth birthday? She applied for documents to leave a communist country and everything she ever knew. My thirtieth birthday I will spend partying at... Read more »
Our culture encourages us to use the milestone of “turning 30” as a time to make changes if things seem to be going awry. I don’t think that sort of introspection should end when I turn 31 next month! Growing up in the Modern Orthodox community of New Jersey, I felt isolated as a nascent... Read more »
I have read Simone de Beauvoir, I subscribe to Lilith, I believe women are fit for any professional role, and when I get married I will more than likely hyphenate my name—even if that means assuming the responsibility of a combined last name sporting 3 Zs. But I would not like to live with my... Read more »
“My mother,” one of my first t-shirts read, “is an otolaryngologist.” I was the only kid in my first grade class with that shirt. I was the only one with a NARAL shirt, too, and probably the only one whose mother read Ms. Magazine’s “Stories for Free Children” at bedtime. Today, I can still feel... Read more »
like godto his throne in the cloudschucklingbecause his rabbis have outwitted himin a debate or at least that’s howthe rabbis tell the story their wives in the kitchenknow the joke was in the knotsthey tied in the soup noodleshe swallowed 3000 years later
One October weekend in 1992, a remarkable conference took place in Seattle, Washington. More than 350 Jewish women—mental health practitioners, academics and community activists—gathered from all over North America to create a “Shelter in the Wilderness,” and to explore the intersection of Judaism, feminism and psychology. Little did we know that our little convoy from... Read more »
Are they a foot in the door to a fulfilling career? Or a lack in the gut for a student struggling to figure out what she wants from a job—and what she can afford en route to graduation? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Either way, it’s clear that the issue of paid versus... Read more »
Describing herself as a “recovering journalist,” Sarah Chayes has a new profession: she makes soap. Well, not exactly. More accurately, she runs a collective called “Arghand” in the Afghan city of Kandahar (one of the strongholds of the Taliban). And, for the month of July 2006, she relapsed into journalism, sharing her experiences and insights in a... Read more »
That’s how author Lauren Weisberger describes the Jewish trajectory of the Devil herself in her famous new book, The Devil Wears Prada. The main character, Andrea, would-be-writer and unexpected assistant to the most difficult woman in New York, has a Jewish background much like Weisberger’s. More juicily, the character referenced by the book’s title, editor-from-hell Miranda Priestly, was... Read more »
Alice Sparberg Alexiou, a Lilith contributing editor, has just published Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary, exploring the life and work of the self-taught urban theorist, whose trailblazing Death and Life of Great American Cities (Rutgers University Press, 2006) has been a classic for over four decades. Jacobs died in April, a few months before the book’s U.S. publication. Tamara... Read more »
Human trafficking—transporting of people against their will for sexual exploitation—is an evil being committed in our own backyards, as liana Kramer reported in “Modern-Day Sex Slaves,” Spring 2006. This August, in an upper-crust neighborhood in Washington, D.C., an Asian sex-slave ring was broken up. And in New York, the NYPD announced in August the arrest of 31... Read more »
Thank you for your wonderful Summer 2006 issue of Lilith, and the most beautiful, life-affirming cover photograph. Thank you, Tamar [Prager, “Coming Out in the Orthodox World”], for poignantly sharing your difficult journey, from the day you fell in love with Arielle, to the extraordinary moment of your commitment ceremony, to the day your father... Read more »
In 2004, when PETA released footage from the kill floor of AgriProcessors, the nation’s largest kosher meat packing plant, people were appalled to learn that identification with kashrut and Judaism does not necessarily imply humane treatment of animals. Now, we are learning that this fact applies to treatment of humans as well. The immigrant worker’s... Read more »
Abby Levine is obsessed with clothes—but not the way you’d think. It’s her mission in life to make sure that clothing is sweat-free—made from non-sweatshop labor. For Levine, this isn’t just a human rights issue, it’s a Jewish issue. “Not only does our moral tradition mandate respect for workers, but as Jewish women we have a... Read more »
Please take out your timbrels! This issue marks the start of Lilith’s 30th anniversary celebration. Since the magazine’s launch by a handful of Jewish women journalists and editors in 1976, it has covered everything from the victories of women wanting to be ordained as rabbis to the struggles of transgender Jews. The issue of Lilith... Read more »