Lilith FeatureHair and Desire
A gleaning of poems by Yehuda Amichai, Nancy Botter, Siv Cedaring Fox, Sharon Olds, Layle Silber and Maxine Silverman
Lilith's back page presents a sampling of current statistics. Crunch on these numbers and decide whether to use them as weapons or as tools for change.
Good Deeds, Craftily Yad Lakashish Lifeline for the Old provides Jerusalem’s needy elderly and disabled population with a place to spend their days productively and in good company, in craft workshops, for which they receive a small payment. Contributions may be sent directly to Yad Lakashish, P.O. Box 28, Jerusalem 91000, Israel, or for tax deductions, $25... Read more »
We’ve been wanting to call your attention to a new book on the interface between Judaism and Buddhism—Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India (HarperSanFrancisco, 1994). The book documents a trek to the Dalai Lama by Jews who wanted to share with him clues about how... Read more »
The Story of “Hannah’s Gift” is taken from the new children’s book (for 3 to 7 year olds) Eve and Her Sisters by the mother/daughter, illustrator/writer team Malcah Zeldis and Yona Zeld is McDonough [Greenwillow Books, 1994]. Each page features a biblical woman — 14 in all. Though the narratives could certainly be more feminist, the... Read more »
This pre-Passover, while browning farfel and peeling yams, LILITH suggests the mood-setting company of storyteller Judith Black. Her two new audiotapes. Waiting for Elijah and Adult Children of . . . Parents, stir us into warm holiday anticipation. Both tapes, appropriate for adults and children, are very funny, and sometimes quite moving. In one selection... Read more »
IGNORANT ARMIESby Karen Alkalay-Gut. [Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, NY., 1994], $5.00 The title of Karen Alkalay-Gut’s earthy and poignant book of poems comes from Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” and the poet’s plea is “Ah, love, let us be true/ to one another” in a world where “ignorant armies clash by night.” It is an appropriate motto for a... Read more »
Since our own sex lives are great, of course, we at LILITH weren’t feeling terribly motivated to plow through the new, fat and monumentally boring findings of the National Health and Social Life Survey concerning sex (boiled down into a mere 700+ pages, including pie charts and dotted graphs, called The Social Organization of Sexuality, by Laumann, Gagnon,... Read more »
WAR IN THE HEBREW BIBLE: A STUDY IN THE ETHICS OF VIOLENCEby Susan Niditch [Oxford University Press, 1993], $32.00 War, in Hebrew Scriptures, is a complicated affair. The stereotype of it, however, is fairly predictably oversimplified. “Old Testament” war means, stereotypically, the “extirpation ideal” [herem]—that is, the total annihilation of one’s enemy regardless of age, gender or military... Read more »
A rediscovery of two of our "pink collar" foremothers
In this story--one of Lilith's occasional features one role models--a pair of biblical sisters yearn for each other. Here's what the Book of Genesis leaves out!
Day 1: Here I am at Yiddish music camp (KlezKamp)—five days with 450 other people, extraordinary programs, so much Jewish talent, brains, attitude. Despite this atmosphere of abundance, however, everyone’s fixated on this one thing: this gender-ambiguous person. Is it a male or female? This person is on and off stage all evening (as a microphone... Read more »
Scholar Haviva Krasner-Davidson helps us tease apart the tangled strands of Jewish law concerning women's hair. Hair and the Rabbis.
Mother, I’m letting it grow,enjoying letting it grow—the thick brown hairson my thighsyou made me shavefor beaches and parades.I’m letting it grow. Ma,dark and curling as creeping ivyto see if there’s a man alivewho’ll have the gutsto walk with me in shortsdown streets, in public places.And if there’s not—I’ll dye it blackand grow it thick... Read more »
returnto brushtheir hair.They use our combs,careful riot to breakthe teeth.They borrow our brushes,leaving a trace of hairin the bristles.They enter our bedsto feel the warmth of a manthey have almost forgotten,but not forgotten.They try on our gloves and softscarves.They try on our nightgownsand turn slowlyin front of the mirror.In the morning we wake,smooth out the... Read more »
Brushing out my daughter’s dark silken hair before the mirror I see the gray gleaming on my head, the silver-haired servant behind her. Why is it just as we begin to go they being to arrive, the fold in my neck clarifying as the fine bones of her hips sharpen? As my skin shows its... Read more »
The stones on the mountain are alwaysawake and white.In the dark town, angels on dutyare changing shifts.A girl who has washed her hairasks the hard world, as if it were Samson,where is it weak, what is its secret.A girl who has washed her hairputs new clouds on her head.The scent of her drying hair isprophesying... Read more »
Ardently down the backs of cousins in Poland until it brushed their ribs the silkworm cousins grew the hair Sarah Fish off Silverman peddled in Missouri. In Sedalia meager enterprising waves swelled over coils and switches off Polish Jews, hair grown to drape on Sarah’s forearm. She walked the town selling hair of those who... Read more »
Friday morningI braid my hairin front of the mirrorcannot see behind my headthink of braidsI might have madeon a Friday morningkneading doughseparating it into strands& braiding theminto a crownround as a roseas only our village didfor Sabbath breadthe whole world would knowhere is a challah from Telstaste it
Susan Josephs, as a 17-year old, considers and rejects ultra-Orthodoxy because of—hair! Hair and self-definition.
Having her hair cut off as she enters the concentration camp has a curious effect—-the burden of individuality is lifted. Hair, shaved.
Randy Milden, an adopted daughter, struggles with hair that "couldn’t possibly be Jewish." Hair and difference.
Upsherin, a traditional haircutting ceremony for ultra-religious little boys, provokes feminist questions. Hair and ritual.
In which the author’s mother contemplates casting off her traditional wig. Hair and subjugation.
Why is Sarah’s voice absent from the story of the binding of Isaac? What don’t we yet know about the role of women in the ancient synagogue? Can a feminist perspective help uncover hidden facets of Jewish social history? These questions will be among those explored in a new master’s degree program in Jewish Women’s... Read more »
Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau has announced that the Chief Rabbinate will approve the practice of surrogate motherhood, but only under rigorous restrictions, according to the newspaper Ha’aretz. Some of the conditions spelled out by Rabbi Lau are that the mother carrying the child not be married, careful records of the biological and... Read more »
Before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, there were 15,000 Jews in Cuba. They were mostly of Eastern European descent and had come to Cuba to circumvent the restrictions which kept them out of the United States. Today there are 1200 Jews left in Cuba. Many live in small cities where they are tightly... Read more »
When the boys in Alice Miller’s high school class in Hod Hasharon, Israel, were summoned to qualification exams for the Israeli Air Force, Miller was not even considered, despite holding a civilian pilot license, because Israel bars women from combat. Miller took the army to the Israeli Supreme Court in November of 1994, charging sex discrimination... Read more »
The 10,000 students of Ontario’s 25 Jewish day schools returned to school this year knowing that five Toronto parents are leading a three decade struggle to win public funding for private denominational schools. The five, in conjunction with the Ontario Jewish Association for Equity in Education, are asking that the province fund the secular curriculum in... Read more »
Many waves of Jewish emigrants from the Former Soviet Union have landed on American coasts. Their educational backgrounds, intentions and destinations differed, but they all hoped to obtain the valuable right to be themselves, professing what they believed in, doing what they were good at, and living the life they chose by themselves. I myself... Read more »
Holocaust Memoir I am pleased that LILITH shared my “Simple Story” with readers [Women’s Holocaust Memoirs, Winter ’94], however Susan Schnur’s editing altered the meaning of two sentences. “My father and I never grew close” is not an accurate description. It’s true, we didn’t have as open a communication as I would have liked. For example,... Read more »
LILITH is made possible by the generosity of supporters who make tax-deductible contributions to the work of the magazine; To the names of recent donors appearing on this page we are proud to add the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, which has just made a grant to help underwrite our internship and fellowship programs, providing work and... Read more »