Fall 2013

Our reproductive selves: a powerful foremother; a ritual for abortion; I.V.F. grief; Generation Midwife,  and more. Women architects on “relational creativity.” And who are those women fueling all the game-changing Jewish energy in Los Angeles?

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Revising Our Ideas about Collective Inspiration

Gender and genius

Lilith Feature

Why L.A.? Why Women? And Why Now?

Los Angeles women are changing Jewish life right now

Lilith Feature

Our Reproductive Selves

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A Ritual for Abortion

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Brucha Aht Rachamaima, sheh’ozeret lanu, livchor chayyim. Amen. Bless You, Rachamaima, Compassionate Nurturer of Life, who helps us choose life. Amen. I was on the abortion table when this prayer just came to me, addressed in the feminine — “Brucha Aht” — to “Rachamaima,” a name for God that first birthed itself, 30 years ago, among a small group... Read more »

At 40, “Fear of Flying”

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Though initially categorized as smut, the screaming, liberating voices of this body-and-soul narrative can’t be silenced. Find out why. 

Shame

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It was just a little tourist jaunt: We drove our cool cousin from America to see the seashore, the beach, and then the working girls along the coastal road pale and alone silhouetted in the sunset by the great Mediterranean shore. “As it gets dark,” I explained, “they become bold, take off their clothes to beat... Read more »

Right to Left

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That first night, the most interesting part of my Hebrew language class is learning why people are taking a Hebrew language class. “You’re too old to be forced by your parents,” our teacher — jowly, balding — says. “So what on earth are you doing here?” The seven of us stare back at him as if we speak no... Read more »

A Lady and Her Bicycle

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In which our heroine discovers an 1890s Jewish cycle star.

Marcia (Marty) Cohn Spiegel: A Trailblazer for L.A. Women

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Spiegel made her mark as one of the first to write about abuse and alcoholism in the Jewish community, when the prevailing approach to those topics was denial and silence. After going back to school 35 years ago for a social work degree at 50, Spiegel taught at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles,... Read more »

Mayim Bialik: Exposing Herself While Dressing Modestly

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Actor Mayim Bialik, currently starring in television’s #1 sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory” (and former child star of “Blossom”), is having an influence on Jewish life beyond L.A. She blogs for the Jewish parenting site Kveller, where she reveals her gravitational pull towards Modern Orthodoxy, and how that influences her life choices, including what to... Read more »

Suzanne Tracht & Racelle Rosett: The Ultimate Seder — Food and Storytelling to Understand Who We Are

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Chef Suzanne Tracht, a Fine Dining Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in Phoenix, where her family kept kosher and held their seder around the (well-dressed) family ping pong table. “I’ve always wanted to create a restaurant where there’s a sense of community and neighborhood,” says Tracht, something she has achieved with a loyal following... Read more »

Generation Midwife

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Not Generation Roe, Not Generation I.V.F.Meet the Twentysomethings of Generation Midwife  Susan Schnur: You’re 29, you went to Oberlin and Stanford for undergrad, you worked at a non-profit in China for three years, largely on H.I.V. and malaria prevention. Now you’re at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, studying to be a nurse-midwife. Help us connect... Read more »

Don’t Say “VAGINA”

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Forty years ago, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S., justifying it as a “right to privacy” under the 14th Amendment. There is no express right to privacy in the Constitution, however, so women’s right to abort remains scarily vulnerable. In the last few years, poking strategic holes in women’s access to abortion seems... Read more »

Generation I.V.F.

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At age 50, I am an official member of Generation I.V.F., having grown up after the Pill and Baby Boomer feminists revolutionized women’s reproductive choices and lives. We watched as millions of American women infiltrated formerly closed-to-females professions, and as home and office politics, the economy, and relations between the sexes radically shifted. My generation... Read more »

Ambivalence: When the Abortion on the Table Is Your Own

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At the age of 40, partnered and with two small sons, I discovered that I was unintentionally pregnant. We had recently moved cross-country, bought and renovated a house that turned out to be much more derelict than we’d thought, and learned — the hard, lawsuit way — that not everyone is a good human being when they owe you... Read more »

Abortion Foremother

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I came of age in New York City in the 1960s, and I became a child of one of the greatest social revolutions in history, at a time when it became politically possible for women to legally gain and exercise reproductive choice — the power of life and death. My career started inadvertently while I was still... Read more »

Jews, Women, Architects. At the Same Time.

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Architect Esther Sperber, the daughter of a Talmud scholar, draws on the poetics of space as well as creative problem-solving—two of architecture’s key concerns—for her work with Jewish organizations and beyond. In 2008, she won a competition to design the Kesher synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey (unbuilt). Beginning with the community’s name, meaning knot or... Read more »

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