Spring 2012

Deaf Jewish women make themselves heard. Remembering Paula Hyman. Feminism and Judaism collide and cohabit.  An immigrant daughter reflects on being green, and a greeneh.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Deaf Jewish Women
Make Themselves Heard

Meditating on the past, future and eternal present, women open the door.

Lilith Feature

Is The Statue of Liberty Jewish?

Lilith Feature

How Being a Jew & Being a Feminist Collide, Co-Evolve, Cohabit in 7 Women’s Lives

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Resistance

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I spy on Goering as he lifts Bruegel’s “Hay Harvest” to an easel;  under a blue horizon, peasants in miniature walk over wheatturning to gold. On a wooden rack, Leger’s “Woman in Red and Green;” the woman’s head, a helmet, her body armor striped in red. My camera records the theft: Cezanne, Gauguin, Lautrec,Matisse, Renoir. Names of the owners — Kann,... Read more »

Green? or Greeneh?

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In her immigrant family, a 30-something daughter learned to love saving, salvage and celebration.

Joanna Ware, 25, Community Organizer and Educator at Keshet

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I grew up in San Diego around a lot of evangelical Christians and when I was 10 or so I was going to church a lot with my best friend. I was excited about an essay I had chosen to write for school called, “Why Abortion Is Wrong,” and I was telling my mother all... Read more »

Ronit Sherwin, 39, Executive Director, Hillel

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At 19, I started working in the Jewish community in Columbus, Ohio, and it changed my life. I just found that Jewish women were everywhere, they were the majority of the people on committees, they loved to learn, they were doing everything. Okay, maybe not in leadership roles. I come from a Conservative Jewish home... Read more »

Jane Eisner, 56, Editor of the Forward Newspaper

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My parents kept kosher when they first married, but then they stopped. So I grew up with two sets of dishes [meat and dairy] that were all mixed together, a grandmother who, when she visited, ate cottage cheese from a paper plate, and a certain amount of skepticism about this aspect of Jewish ritual. I... Read more »

Vanessa Hidary, Ageless Diva, Spoken Word Artist, Actress, Writer, Director

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Out there on stage, it’s impossible to separate out being a woman and being a Jew. One of my shows starts, “I meet a guy in a bar. ‘You don’t look Jewish.’ He says it in this tone that sounds like he’s complimenting me, and I say…nothing. Should I fiddle on a fuckin’ roof for... Read more »

Enid Schatz, 40, Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies

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I’m the V.P. of the Hillel board at the university where my husband and I teach, but besides that, there isn’t much Jewish for us in this Missouri college town. It isn’t New Jersey. And it sure isn’t my two-plus progressive Zionist years in Israel, including one year in an Arab village. We used to... Read more »

Mimi Arbeit, 26, Doctoral Student in Child Development

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I started U.S.Y. (the Conservative movement’s Jewish youth group) in ninth grade, and I loved it. We danced, sang, debated, did social action projects and built a community together. At the same time, I started teaching workshops for gender violence prevention to eighth graders and learned to analyze the world through the lens of gender.... Read more »

Diane Balser, 68, talks to Susan Schnur

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My story begins in Washington Heights, New York, in the 1940s, where being Jewish, female and political was the air I breathed; it was what my girlfriends and I aspired to. I knew that our grandmothers (and for some of us, our mothers) had been oppressed, but I also knew that they were powerful Jewish... Read more »

When Nancy Met Emma

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Amy Stone tells the back story of the new museum exhibition featuring Lazarus as a Sephardic woman of letters.

Paula Hyman (1946–2011)

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Judith Plaskow, Martha Ackelsberg, Deborah Dash Moore and Rabbi David Ellenson, among others, reflect on the ways this academic and activist introduced gender into scholarship and altered how girls and women practice Judaism today.

This Is How You Dance

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The first thing you see when you get to your best friend’s wedding is a bridesmaid in a long lilac gown distributing bottles of water, like you’re about to run a marathon. You take a bottle, even though you’re not thirsty. The label has been custom-designed for the occasion, which is something you’ve never seen... Read more »

Porn Vigilante

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A passionate reminder to think at least twice about pornography, arousal and “sex work.”

Finding a Language

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At work I think it is fairly clear that I am Jewish. A curly-haired 20-something social scientist from the Semitic suburbs of New York working on a conspicuously Jewish dissertation topic, I know I am the Jew in the room — and so do those around me. I pepper my syllabi with showings of “Yentl” and readings... Read more »

Speaking Up

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I grew up attending an all-girls yeshiva — Shulamith, in Brooklyn — and I didn’t have any experience in speaking to boys, except for my four brothers and my best friend’s brothers. A boy I grew up with told me boys in his camp bunk thought I was very weird. I was very hurt, and I thought that it... Read more »

Access to Many Worlds

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When Bernice Farr shares her family’s story, her kvelling could rival the jubilation at any book club, mah jongg game or senior center full of bubbies and savtas. Farr lights up with pride as she conveys her family’s rich identity. A third-generation Deaf Jewish woman, she expresses in American Sign Language (A.S.L.), through a video... Read more »

Deaf Daughters

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Every expectant mother totes around her own grab-bag of fears about what might go wrong with her newborn. Prospective parents of Ashkenazi descent have the added “Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel” of prenatal screening tests to contend with, and its specter of potential genetic anomalies. Though I had other worries as I entered the labor and... Read more »

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