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Spring 1998

Shlomo Carlebach’s shadow side. Women reclaim Purim: You will never see a hamantasch the same way again. Two pre-war novels in Germany by Gertrud Kolmar reflect her life.  

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Our [Meaning Women’s] Book-of-Esther Problem

A 12-Page Lilith Feature By Rabbi Susan Schnur

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Who Will Be Her Kaddish’l?


The Way We Are

Surviving Love


“Excuse me, doctor, you have a call.” My secretary, Janis, pokes her head into the room where I am trying to console a couple whose 14-year-old cocker spaniel has just died. The woman, Mrs. Arnold, is sobbing uncontrollably; her husband, a bald man with a wispy gray mustache, glares at me. “I don’t understand,” he... Read more »

Retrieving Gertrud Kolmar


Published in English for the first time, two novels of pre-war Germany reflect their author’s tormented life of anti-Semitism, troubled motherhood, and a brooding sexuality.

The Once and Future Womantasch


What is a hamantasch? A sacred vulva filled with black seeds. A food, source of nourishment, which we make with our hands reflecting our (women’s) felt sense of self-containment, of creativity and generativity. Ancient images of goddesses reveal that certain parts of the body—breasts, vulva, belly, buttocks— were believed to be holy, combining biological functions... Read more »

The Womantasch Triangle


"The figures of Vashti and Esther, clearly in origin full-moon prespring relatives of the ancient mythological life cycle goddesses, come down to us, in the Book of Esther and in rabbinic midrash, so disfigured and devalued that it is hard to know how to begin resurrecting them.

But let's start with Harvard psychologist Carol Gilligan, whose research shows us that females' self-esteem is highest before puberty, but then we turn into women, males enter our consciousness, and it all goes to hell."

From Prehistoric Cave Art to Your Cookie Pan


Tracing the hamantasch her story



Deftly she scraped the silver scales and forcedone fish into the other; the soft feetof the calf she boiled into jelly; she stuffed riceinto the plump hen and boundits wings and legs; she poured hot fatover the leg of the lamb. Spicessizzled and baked as she stirredthe bones bubbling in the pot. They sat round... Read more »

Husband And Wife


ISAAC They put my first born in my arms. His eyesopened milky as any other lamb’s, and Iremembered my father watching my face I prayed he would believe I was asleep. I tell you it was not the knifethat was unforgivable, as he raised itabove me, it was what he said: He loved me. So... Read more »

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s Shadow Side


He preached the lessons of unconditional love, and his music was adored world-wide. But what was his legacy to women?



Orthodoxy’s Open Door I am a modern Orthodox Jewish woman of American Indian and African-American descent. As an active member of New York’s Orthodox community, I am incredulous that “a Jewish mother who is raising the son she conceived with a black man to be a traditionally observant Jew” (“Are You Black or Are You... Read more »

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