Lilith Feature9,000 Dishes, 120 Seders, 60 Years -Hey! I Could get into this
The good years, the angry years, the anxious years, and now—the triumphal years
Read “The Power of Jewish Women’s Conversation” here.
Real estate, so cruel to so many, hands Bennett a new relationship when her engagement breaks off.
Sex Aher 05 : The words, in scrambled Hebrew and English, mean “other sex.” The event is the Fifth Gay and Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory Conference in Israel May 8-10. Look for programs on intersections of sexuality and gender, and ethnicity, class, and nationality. Since it’s the 100th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s “Three Essays on the Theory... Read more »
Orthodox feminists live with a conundrum. The revelation of Torah at Sinai, the foundation of their belief, occurred more than 3,000 years ago, when equality for women was unimaginable. AH subsequent Jewish law and literature derive their authenticity from that event, and the further we are from that time, the less significant any authority or... Read more »
The year is 1909 in Vienna. Austrian sports clubs have just outlawed Jewish athletes. In response, the Jewish community creates a Jewish sports club of its own: Hakoah (strength, in Hebrew). Its women swim team thrives; by the 1930s Jewish women are competing for spots in the Olympics. But in 1938 the Nazis shut down the club,... Read more »
Fraulein Rabbiner Jonas: The Story of the First Woman Rabbi by Elisa Klapheck has just been published in English (Jossey- Bass, 2004, $24.95) in a translation by Toby Axelrod. Here is the story of how that translation came about. I first encountered the dark-haired, robed figure of Regina Jonas in 1997, at the “New Synagogue” in former East Berlin. In a glass... Read more »
Despite the “memoir explosion” of the mid-1990s that supposedly saturated the market, the memoir continues to be one of the most popular nonfiction reading choices. Jewish readers’ attraction to memoirs, I suspect, may be more for their use of “memory against forgetting,” to borrow a notion from Milan Kundera. Perhaps this is because Jews understand... Read more »
When Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards were touring the country to promote their first book, Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future, audiences repeatedly asked what they could do to “make things better,” This book, Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14), attempts to answer that question by offering strategies and tactics to aspiring agitators. The book’s... Read more »
Female Jewish poets continue to nourish our souls with words to inspire, to relate, to tell truths, to voice pains, and, most importantly, to speak our stories. The works produced in 2004 were no exception. Here are some highlights: Striking the balance between penetrating observations and sharp wit, So Far, So Good (Sivan $12.99) by Karen Alkalay-Gut, is... Read more »
It’s odd to have a coffee-table book about agunot, women who can’t get Jewish divorces, but The Tears of the Oppressed: An Examination of the Agunah Problem: Background and Halakhic Sources by Aviad Hacohen and Blu Greenberg (Ktav, $39.50) is exactly that. With its large, glossy cover and elegant text, I am assuming the publishers wanted to distinguish this book from the... Read more »
The title of this intelligent collection of short stories by Naama Goldstein, The Place Will Comfort You (Scribner, $22), is ironic. The place referred to is the land of Israel, to which one does not merely immigrate, but to which one “ascends.” And one does not simply decide to leave, but to “descend.” Appropriately, these are also the... Read more »
Irene Nemirovsky, dead of typhus in Auschwitz in 1942, has won France’s prestigious literary Prix Renaudot this year, the first time ever that the prize was awarded posthumously. Her extraordinary multi-part novel Suite francaise was an immediate bestseller last year in France, even before it won. Born in 1903 in Kiev, Nemirovsky and her wealthy parents fled the Soviet... Read more »
Does the name Fanny Hurst mean anything to you? Between 1910 and the mid-1930’s, Hurst was one of the most popular, influential and highly paid writers in the United States. Her name on a magazine cover virtually guaranteed a sell-out of the issue. Today, she is remembered, if at all, for the 30 movies of her works,... Read more »
In a city in the Midwest, a growing cadre of Jewish moms bond. They have special-needs kids and a special Jewish community. Illustrations by Israeli artists--children and adults--with autism.
Even fearless Jewish women have trouble saying it! Surprising findings from the bestselling psychologist.
Even in her 90s, her clear eye made Sonnenfeld the photographer of record for the humble poignancies of Jewish life around the world.
We take turns: Yehudis, Miriam, Lillian and I. The mikveh is behind Miriam’s house so she gets to staff it three nights a week; the rest of us take the other three and then rotate for Shabbes. In theory, no one wants to work the mikveh on Shabbes because it’s better to be home greeting the... Read more »
For a child of Holocaust survivors, Shakespeare is a refuge
How one courageous woman saved the strikers and defied the bosses, 75 years ago.
So many doves huddledin that wall,pushing themselves in.Ancient lime stones rubbed smooth, beseechinghands find their comfort. Handwrittenand folded, what the heart inscribes, hidden graffiti crying songs of smoke.Brambles between cracked yellowingstone, in this heatlike clusters of barbed wire, hangingthe laundry of white lace flowers torn from a notebook, carries the sweatof handswrinkled upturned,shy smile of... Read more »
Passover is a journey towards wholeness, towards a metaphoric “promised land,” and if we remember that—and that alone—we will create a seder each year that is not only deeply meaningful but, de facto, different from every other year’s. For next year’s seder, start now by staying attuned to issues in your own life—and in the news—that... Read more »
The film “Hotel Rwanda” tells some of the horrors of the conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, which in 1994 exploded in a bloodbath that left nearly a million people dead, countless others raped and mutilated. Lisa Goldstein, 21, a student at Johns Hopkins studying in Uganda, visited Rwanda recently. She sent this letter... Read more »
For 18 years, I have lived with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that often runs in Jewish families. The symptoms—a chronic sense of urgency, bloody diarrhea, fever, dehydration—are not constant, but randomly come and go. During the many years when I endured severe flare-ups, I reluctantly considered a nearby hospital my second home. Since... Read more »
In an important decision for gay rights In Israel, the Supreme Court In December ruled 7-to-2 that Tal and Avital Yaros-Hakak, a lesbian couple who have lived together for 15 years and have three sons conceived through artificial insemination, can legally adopt each other’s children. Two lower courts had granted the women legal guardianship but... Read more »
Jerusalem-born film actress Natalie Portman, 23, who won hearts for her role in last year’s “Garden State” and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “Closer,” returned to Israel this winter to star in “Free Zone,” a film directed by Amos Gitai. “I think it’s an amazing time for Israeli cinema,” Portman, who studied at Hebrew University in... Read more »
When Planned Parenthood began selling t-shirts bearing the slogan “I had an abortion,” conservative journalists and bloggers were quick to publish their reactions. But missing, as usual, were the voices of women who have actually had abortions, both before and after Roe, which is exactly what the “I Had an Abortion Project” seeks to... Read more »
On December 28 2004, writer Susan Sontag, 71, died of cancer in New York City. Her edgy eloquence combined with her oversized ego made her one of the twentieth century’s most important and infuriating cultural critics. In her many books and essays she tackled a wide range of subjects, among them imperialism (“the white race… is the... Read more »
In municipal elections that took place two weeks before Palestinians elected Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority in January, women made out surprisingly well, winning 51 seats in 26 localities. Candidates had to struggle hard against the Arab world’s long-ingrained preconception that women belong at home, not in the public sphere. Teacher Maisoun Adarneh, 44, elected... Read more »
In January, the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly (RA) threatened to expel—but in the end only censured—one of its members. Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen. The reason, according to the RA, was Cohen’s violation of a procedure regarding serving synagogues not affiliated with the movement. But the real reason for the threatened expulsion, according to Cohen and some... Read more »
Beth Grossman, a San Francisco artist who integrates stories and history into her work, has launched a project on Mary, hardly a common figure in Jewish art. She explains: “During the year 2000 I lived in Italy I was surrounded by the images and ideals of the Virgin Mary which are woven into the fabric of... Read more »
Did the biblical heroine Hannah, mother of Samuel, whose story we revisit each Rosh Hashanah, suffer from anorexia nervosa? Yes, according to Lori Hope Lefkovitz, professor of gender and Judaism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and opening speaker at “Insatiable Appetites: Food, Body Image, and Judaism,” a program at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts in December. Lefkovitz... Read more »
Hannah Rosenthal, one of only three women ever to head a major Jewish organization that’s not exclusively female, has resigned as executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JGPA). Rosenthal, who since 2000 had led this national community relations organization, left to become executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women. A Democrat who... Read more »
How do you turn Jewish identity into a hip, national business? Sarah Lefton, 31-year-old founder of Jewish Fashion Conspiracy, a sassy clothing design company did it with a decidedly “pro-Semitic” message; “I was working as the marketing director for a camp,” says Lefton, “and friends from the office would jokingly pronounce ‘Yosemite’ as ‘Yo, Semite.’ I thought,... Read more »
When was the last time you accepted a compliment (about your accomplishments, not your earrings) simply by saying, undefensively, “Thank you”? And, smiling a bit, left it at that. No self-deprecating coda. Admit it—all too frequently we’re willing to undermine the work we do, or give the lie to the effort we’ve put in by... Read more »