A Jewish teen sets out to find the half-siblings who share her sperm donor. What happens next.
A Jewish teen sets out to find the half-siblings who share her sperm donor. What happens next.
The streets and slopes of the Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood of Haifa are etched into the soul of Nili Gold, whose Haifa: City of Steps (Brandeis, $29.95) is a love letter to the city where she was born and raised. In each of the five chapters of this book, Gold writes about another part of her... Read more »
Aaaah. Bat mitzvah celebrations in a consumer-driven culture. Zoe Penina Baker has created an interactive installation and storytelling project to explore just this issue. With narratives collected from young women across North America via hands-on workshops and interviews, this is a growing archive of stories and bat mitzvah dresses, party invitations, photographs, and other objects... Read more »
Never mind paring down; our objects carry deep meaning. "Death turns everything into an heirloom."
From For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors:
"Everything began in Lithuania, of course. But where to begin in Lithuania?"
I vividly recall the school-wide assembly my high school held to discuss date rape. Our friendly and peppy presenters reminded us that sex with a too-drunk-to-consent person was against the law even if both parties were inebriated, whereupon dozens of male students, in the throes of a tidal wave of shock, got up to decry... Read more »
The stories in the media have left me wondering about all the men in my life. “Am I safe with you—not just physically, but existentially? Do you see me as fully human, created in the image of God, like you?” The fact that teenage girls are sitting in class wondering the same thing breaks my... Read more »
“I’ve been harassed. It’s happened to every female rabbi I know,” Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu said. “People have an overwhelming sense of discomfort with women rabbis, because they’re women.”And female rabbis face an additional burden of harassment because they are occupying a powerful position once permitted only to men. “People have to start seeing women as... Read more »
Listen when people talk about their experiences. Believe them. Use the power of the bima. Make your dvar torah/newsletter/sermon about #MeToo, sexual harassment, supporting women. “Is it sad to me that women have to use men’s voices to promote their own? Yes, but that’s going to be effective,” said Rabbi Rachel Ain of New York’s... Read more »
How does the 19th century's exotification of Jewish women shape the stereotypes we know?
Probing the under-examined—and very unwelcome—rift between some mothers and their adult daughters.
Some examples from mother and daughter relationships.
There’s a variety of Hollywood fantasy that’s delicious to visit every so often: beautiful white people to whom success comes effortlessly, living in perfectly appointed houses in bucolic towns. Money is never an issue. Love comes to the deserving, often in abundance. That everyone is talented and worthy of living this beautiful white-people life is ... Read more »
Meg Wolitzer has long been every-thing Jonathan Franzen should be; a wry, smart, observer of The Way We Live Now, a novelist who chooses a milieu to hone in on and then draws a careful, exacting portrait. Wolitzer broke through the noise with 2013’s The Interestings, which followed a group of artsy friends who meet... Read more »
My grandmother, who was born in Jaffa, then part of Syria, in 1906, lived to be 103 years old. She outlived her younger and older siblings, her husband, and nearly all of her friends. She had a full life, but by the end she’d had enough life, thank you very much. I couldn’t help but think... Read more »
There’s a word we use to describe sprawling, epic novels that explore the limits of human suffering and the absurdities of political life: Russian. The tradition of those great 19th-century Russian novels never completely died. Even the Soviets, with their insistence on social realism and ideological purity, couldn’t destroy it. Now, Sana Krasikov, whose debut... Read more »
In 2006, women of color who experienced sexual abuse started a grassroots campaign to promote “empowerment through empathy.” This is now an international movement to break the silence that shrouds survivors of abuse. Jewish women have #MeToo stories to tell, and the Jewish Women’s Archive, in partnership with Lilith and other organizations, is documenting Jewish... Read more »
Planned Parenthood clinic escort, Hurricane Katrina re-builder, temple officer and lifelong activist Isabel “Liz” Dunst recently visited a Jewish summer camp where the songs sung by campers were all written 50 years earlier. Why, she asked, don’t the young people have new songs to sing that reflect their lives, their dreams and passions? To celebrate... Read more »
Jewish, Muslim and Christian women living together side by side, making music, and singing in harmony? This is the reality that the Rana Choir of the city of Jaffa creates each day—proof, their participants say, that music has the power to break down barriers and help build a society based on mutual respect and understanding.... Read more »
Elkabetz (1964–2016), Israeli and international icon, actress, screenwriter and director, was also a social activist for women’s rights in general and for Mizrahi (Mediterrannean) women in particular, as well as having been an artist’s muse. She was best known for her starring role in the film “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” which she also... Read more »
HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir celebrated its 25th anniversary in March in a gala concert drawing over 400 teen singers from a broad spectrum of social, religious and educational backgrounds. The singers meet throughout the year in 31 American and seven Israeli chapters, using Jewish choral music as a vehicle to foster Jewish identity,... Read more »
Women born before 1940 struggled both to enter the architectural profession and to be recognized for their work. Fifty of these women are the focus of a new project placing them squarely at the center of architectural history. Their work ranges from urban plans and institutional buildings to domestic interiors and furniture. Many of them... Read more »
“Time to Leave” gives you a quick out. “Expect Me” alerts a friend if you don’t show up. “Angel Drink” lets a bartender know you want help to exit a situation. “Students have told us they really want a discreet way to take themselves out of a situation, or help a friend,” says Sharyn Potter,... Read more »
How can your organization do it? Cre-ate a plan. Acknowledge the impact on colleagues. Cross train. Consider flexible return options. Offer a “pumping room.” Provide back-up childcare. These “best practice” suggestions for managing family leave come from from Advancing Women Professionals in the Jewish Community, one of several resources for employers creating policies to meet... Read more »
jGirls, the brainchild of Elizabeth Mandel, publishes writing by “self-identifying Jewish teenage girls ages 13–19, across all backgrounds” in order to empower them as change-agents, decision makers, and voices of authority on their own. Lilith is pleased to partner with jGirls in re-publish-ing at Lilith.org selected essays by these Jewish teens. (See also “Sperm Donor:... Read more »
Be on the lookout for Pearl Gluck’s Summer, a short film of sexual exploration set in a Hasidic sleepaway camp in the Catskills. Gluck, 45, went from growing up Hasidic in Borough Park, Brooklyn, to college at Brandeis, with a quirky feminist affection for her roots. At the film’s world premiere at the January 2018... Read more »
Three couples unable to marry in Israel celebrated their Jewish weddings at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan Sunday, December 3. Because of the stranglehold the Orthodox rabbinate has over personal status—marriage, conversion to Judaism and divorce, for example—an Israeli Jew whose conversion to Judaism was not according to Orthodox standards can’t have a Jewish ceremony in... Read more »
A teacher visiting Niger learned by chance about a shameful and widespread gynecological affliction—and took it upon herself to improve things.
WHEN WE PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY…
The assumption, for much of human history, that women would busy themselves with one source of joy [like mother-hood] and not the other [like work] meant that it took some time for women like Midge to find their voices. That those of us who actively choose the demands of family life do so with the... Read more »
Lilith’s editor in chief Susan Weidman Schneider sent out an email, subject line “and now, Neshama Carlebach weighs in.” She was writing to Managing Editor Naomi Danis and to Sarah Blustain, who reported for Lilith in 1998 about allegations of sexual harassment against famed rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and the response from his daughter—20 years later.... Read more »
2016 Israel is an equal and feminist country, or at least we like to say that it is. We have come a long way, but there are still gaps between men and women. Women often earn less than their male peers, and may suffer from chauvinism. The cartoon uses a pair of icons on two... Read more »
“We’ve never seen anything like this.” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, which recruits and trains female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, on the huge number of women—30,000—interested in running for elected office in the U.S. in 2018 and beyond. DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN in “More Than Twice As Many Women Are Running for Congress... Read more »
Kol Isha—the voice of a woman. In many Orthodox circles, it is forbidden to hear the voice of a woman singing publicly. I was not expecting concerns around kol isha to come up in the egalitarian community where I have been blessed to serve a congregation for 18 years. Yet when a community-wide event was... Read more »
RABBI SUSAN SILVERMAN organized the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary movement in January to challenge the Israeli government’s deportation of African asylum seekers.
A hand-lettered sign protesting proposed legislation to give fertilized eggs legal rights. “Embryo Bills” are now being considered in several states.
She’s a teenager in Skokie, Illinois, with a crush—on Jesus Christ, the superstar.
When reverberations of sexual trauma can carry through to the next generation.
My cousin turned to salt when Sodom fell.I taste it still, as though my lips are pressedforever to her own. I’ll spend the restof time remembering her name. To hellwith tears! I haven’t cried since Ishmaelwas born. God hears!—but not my prayers, I guess.Besides, I’m dried up now: dry eyes, dry breasts,dry womb. My husband... Read more »
"Mrs. Z. used to be more religious, back when her family was still around, but now she says offhandedly that observance is a tribal practice, and is not easily maintained on one’s own."
Jewish nonprofit organizations can feel like an extension of a family, and boundary violations in a Jewish workplace setting seem often to be overlooked or forgiven for the sake of the cause itself.
“Truth even unto its innermost parts.”—BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY MOTTO I was a student at Brandeis University when Anita Hill gave her groundbreaking testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the fall of 1991. This single courageous act sparked a national decades-long conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace, a conversation which, with allegations of abusive behavior... Read more »
When psychologist Virginia Valian wrote her 1998 study on women and leadership, Why So Slow?, she argued that women’s leadership will flourish only once women in power reach critical mass, which she defined as having at least one-third of leadership positions filled by women, no matter the context. Twenty years later, women’s powerlessness in the... Read more »