Her new, revealing memoir.
For Lilith’s 100th issue, 100 of the best Jewish feminist ideas. Women employed in Jewish nonprofits tell what they love, and why they leave. Navigating through conversion.Table of contents Get the issue
Her new, revealing memoir.
“Mother Economy” This film by Tel Aviv artist Maya Zack, born in 1976, is a meditation on Holocaust remembrance and an homage to resourceful women during violent periods of political upheaval. The protagonist might be a dedicated non-Jewish housekeeper who remained in the home long after the family’s deportation and continued to perform rituals in... Read more »
Hanna Heath, the heroine of People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Viking Press, $25.95), is an Australian conservator who has a strained relationship with her mother and an appreciation, bordering on obsession, for the finer details of historic texts. An expert in ancient Hebrew and Arabic, Hanna is called to Sarajevo, towards the end... Read more »
An old man and woman rediscover a love they were denied in their youth. A daughter nurses her father to the very end. A bitter woman cares, barely, for abandoned bastard children. What makes these scenarios and other plot lines so surprising in Arguing with the Storm: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers (The Feminist Press,... Read more »
What draws us to poetry? One answer may be poetry’s ability to help us make sense of the relationship between identity and history, a theme central to Today: 101 Ghazals (Sheep Meadow Press, $13.95) by Suzanne Gardinier. The ghazal is an Arabic poetic form on which Gardinier’s poems are loosely based, an unusual boundary-crossing choice... Read more »
Judith Katzir’s Dearest Anne: A Tale of Impossible Love, translated by Dalya Bilu (Feminist Press, $15.99) is not your average teen romance, nor is it an average tale of a writer coming of age. Katzir’s work very nearly succeeds in transcending the conventional strictures of these genres. While boldly reinvigorating a standard journal-entry format, Katzir... Read more »
Sadia Shepard, author of the memoir Girl From Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Lost Loves, and Forgotten Histories (The Penguin Press, $25.95), was raised near Boston by a white Protestant American father, a Pakistani Muslim mother, and her maternal grandmother, Nana. She grew up comfortable with her complex identity until, at the age of... Read more »
Massekhet Ta’anit (Mohr Siebeck, €89.00), is the inaugural volume in a new series of scholarly feminist analyses of each of the tractates of the Babylonian Talmud. Ta’anit, the tractate that is the subject of this volume by Tal Ilan, deals with ritual fasting, usually in a case when rain fails to fall. Ta’anit, which literally... Read more »
Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten Year Nap (Riverhead Books, $24.95), though presented as a novel, is more of an ensemble piece, where the voice of each of her female characters works best in juxtaposition with the others. It’s less plot than plotting: these are the stories of women who’ve each chosen, one way or another, to... Read more »
The proceedings of a volatile 2005 conference on sex, sexuality and Modern Orthodoxy are collected in Gender Relationships in Marriage and Out, edited by Rivkah Blau (Yeshiva University Press). Jennie Rosenfeld explains the impetus for the volume in her introduction: “The conflict between living as an Orthodox Jew and simultaneously living in the modern world... Read more »
“To cut off my breasts, or not to cut off my breasts.” This is the existential question facing 34-year-old television writer Jessica Queller, who has tested positive for a genetic mutation that gives her up to an 85% chance of getting breast cancer and puts her at high risk for ovarian cancer. In her memoir... Read more »
Daughters of Sarah: Anthology of Jewish Women Writing in French (Holmes and Meier, $20) broadens the scope of mainstream French literary studies. The editors, Eva Martin Sartori and Madeleine Cottenet-Hage, delve into an eclectic collection of material, some of which they translate into English for the first time. Excerpts from essays, letters, plays, novels, poetry,... Read more »
“Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife.” So begins Rivka Galchen’s strange and enthralling first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24), a whirlwind musing on doppelgangers, sanity and meteorological currents. With deadpan wit and surrealist narration, Galchen’s narrator, the psychiatrist Leo Liebenstein, takes the reader on a... Read more »
The new short story collection from Cynthia Ozick, Dictation: A Quartet (Houghton Mifflin, $24.00), is a cerebral look at lives in the thrall of devotion to God, art and self. The four long stories here exemplify her well-honed writerly strengths — lean and lucid prose, astute observational distance, intellectual rigor and emotional curiosity — in... Read more »
Sometimes, you have to grapple with a “starting over” ritual until it does its job.
When her father dies, Wall’s surprised by what she’s willing to do, both to honor him and her own conflicted feelings.
Some converts come to Judaism missing one thing: a Jewish family.
Eight women in their 20s and 30s dish about their jobs in the Jewish nonprofit world. Turns out they were totally primed to tell the truth about why they might not stay, and what they want in the rest of their lives. Plus seven steps to making things better, from Shifra Bronznick and Didi Goldenhar.
Mostly, Esther felt confused. How many, how many? Were twenty forks enough or should she polish more? With exhaustion and only the greatest discipline she surveyed the buffet to insure the olive tray was filled with both greens and blacks, the brisket sliced thin — “Lady, what are you trying to do to me? On... Read more »
Newberger Poetry Prize winner.
Wisenberg’s known for her fiction. Here, reality, with frank journal entries on hair, her mother, her mastectomy camisole, and the secret behind nervous laughter.
Celebrating Lilith’s 100th issue, readers helped us brainstorm some necessary and life-changing concepts. Here are more than 100 of our favorites.
“Ima, Lo Haragti Et Ha-Bat Shelach” (“Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter”) is a documentary on a topic not often approached: transgender identity in an Israeli context. The film poignantly maneuvers its way through the challenges in a gender-role-laden society for Lior, the person born female who will soon transition to male, and his already... Read more »
When Carole Zabar created last year’s Other Israel film festival, she says her brother-in-law worried that customers of Zabar’s, the renowned family food business on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, might complain about the festival’s focus on Israeli Arabs. Hardly. The festival, under the auspices of the JCC of Manhattan, was so successful that a second... Read more »
If any artist can embody the essence of a globalized world, it is surely Siona Benjamin, originally from the Bene Israel community of Mumbai (Bombay), whose work was included in a show July 2008 at Manhattan’s A.I.R. gallery. Having grown up in a Hindu and Muslim society, and educated at Catholic and Zoroastrian schools, Benjamin... Read more »
The news of two new developments in Modern Orthodox sex education raised my interest, but also my skepticism. Since halakha—Jewish law—is quite restrictive on sexual behavior before marriage, I wondered what these educators would say besides “Don’t try this at home”? Apparently, a lot. Until very recently, discussions of sexuality were virtually absent from even... Read more »
The last time I wrote for Lilith, I had recently celebrated my commitment ceremony, a day of unparalleled joy for me and my wife. (See cover below.) However, as we sanctified our union before our community, a part of us still mourned the fact that we were considered unfit for legal marriage. Three years later... Read more »
Would the words of William Shakespeare sound different if authored by a playwright with another name? Specifically, what if a dark-complexioned woman of Italian-Moroccan Jewish heritage composed his plays? What if such familiar works as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It were in fact dreamed up by Amelia Bassano Lanye—a little known... Read more »
“What’s important is for the artists to feel that this is really feeding them.” Eve Grubin isn’t talking about food—she’s talking about the Jewish learning that goes on at an unusual new program for artists. The Drisha Arts Fellowship, which aims to “revitalize the Jewish community by producing Jewishly knowledgeable artists,” is growing exponentially as... Read more »
In honor of Lilith’s 100th issue, Editor-in-Chief Susan Weidman Schneider is grilled by Senior Editor Susan Schnur. Schnur: Egad, Schneider, did you ever think you’d see 100 issues of Lilith?Schneider: A life sentence. It’s hard to believe. I’m so focused on the day-to-day running of the magazine that I rarely stop to take the measure... Read more »