A Pledge of sweet partnering
A 26-year-old rabbinical student faces the facts. She's young. She's inexperienced. She can't figure out how to dress the part. But she's gotta be the Rabbi (that's with a capital "R") anyway.
RESPONSES TO VIOLENCE The Awareness Center addresses sexual abuse in Jewish communities around the world. It provides the Jewish community, rabbis and other authority figures, and the news media with information relating to sexual abuse, offenders, healing and treatment issues. They also have created an online Jewish survivors group. www.TheAwarenessCenter.org Violence against women is a form... Read more »
Arthur Hertzberg’s memories are a fascinating read. During his 80 years in America he grows from a very poor son of immigrants in Baltimore to become a Conservative rabbi, a teacher and lecturer, a fighter for decency and for Israel. We meet people we’ve all heard of, seen through his eyes. And we go with... Read more »
For Balfour Brickner, gardening is a serious avocation. His gardening provides the metaphoric trellis work on which to develop his convictions on philosophical and social issues. Particularly in the garden, he “finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones.” He credits his busy mother, Rebecca, with inspiring his love of gardens,... Read more »
Grace Brookman is in trouble. Her husband, Laz, has disappeared. This behavior is not without precedent; there have been other times that Laz has vanished. But never for this long. Instead of confiding her problem—in friends, in family—Grace goes through the elaborate charade of pretending Laz is still there. She leaves clues for the housekeeper,... Read more »
That the 21st century has brought increased disdain for things Jewish is a disturbing fact, and Chesler’s latest book systematically catalogs a nauseating array of hate crimes throughout the world. Chesler presents concrete evidence, from cemetery desecrations to attacks on synagogues, from the outright murder of individual Jews to Holocaust deniers who believe the Shoah deserves... Read more »
Most Jewish women in the United States have come a long way from the screened-off balconies that were standard features of traditional synagogues. Chronicling the growing participation of women in American synagogue life from Colonial times through the turn of the twentieth century, Goldman traces the evolution of more “open” women’s galleries, “family” pews, mixed gender choirs,... Read more »
What makes this book about eating disorders fascinating and different is Rabinor’s chronicle of how, when a therapist enters the dynamic with the patient, both lives become enriched. Creating an empathetic relationship with people isolated by eating disorders, Rabinor writes of helping them “unravel the threads of their unfulfilled hungers that have become twisted into an obsession... Read more »
In a spate of recent novels, Jewish women writing from all around the Diaspora present points of view their North American Jewish sisters will find exotic, yet familiar. In The Walled City, Esther David writes about her own tight-knit Bene Israel community in India. Her heroine’s family name, Dandekar, recalls tales of ancestors ship were kingdom the... Read more »
Senior rabbi of Temple Emanuel, the Beverly Hills Reform congregation, the first woman rabbi to hold such a position in a major metropolitan city. Rabbi Laura Geller did not ascend to the position step by step, moving up the ladder from smaller congregations. In 1994, she shattered the “stained-glass ceiling”—the de facto barrier to a woman serving a... Read more »
I’m a nice Jewish girl who grew up to be a Witch,” says Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance and other books. “My father was a Communist who died when I was five, and although my mother’s real religion was psychology, she never lost her Jewish identity and her attachment to Judaism. We lived in Los Angeles,... Read more »
Musician, songwriter and performer Debbie Friedman’s music has become part of the canon in a tradition that takes music seriously. Her music teaches the Hebrew alphabet, introduces overlooked women in the Bible, and gives fresh meaning to old holidays. “The level of women’s sensitivity and the way we relate to each other has affected the world. For... Read more »
In the mid-1970s, Sylvia Boorstein, author of That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and Passionate Buddhist, was a practicing psychotherapist, wife, and mother of four children. Her life was excellent, and yet she wasn’t at peace. In fact, the more abundant her blessings, the more frightened she became that something, sooner or... Read more »
Self-help instructions to stifle rage, terror and sadness deny us the chance to survive these feelings robustly. A psychotherapist hints at what we can garner from the gloom.
When we recite the Yizkor memorial service, we’re really paying attention to our own tiny, ephemeral moment in history.
On Friday nights Bubby drags three over-stuffed chairslike they were sacks of grain or sandacross the balding green carpet;she serves supper on Deputy Dawgand Yogi Bear folding tray tables. This strange family, an elderly man and woman,tiny as sparrows, and an oversized girlwatch Star Trek reruns followed by Dance Fever.For once Bubby sits while they... Read more »
If there’s a sound she remembers, it’s the creaking of the rope as she walked across the ramp of the ship floorboards of the entire floating slum the groaning of a dozen sick men leaning precarious over the rails their vomit flicking the sides of the portholes the women, too busy— with crying children or... Read more »
Winner of Lilith's fiction contest.
Five Dramatically Divergent Directions
We were girls, said my grandmother We went to the river with our laundry we beat it on the stones, washing it clean, and then we spread it on the wide grey boulders to dry. We were laughing, said my grandmother all of us girls together unmarried and mostly unafraid, although of course as Jews... Read more »
Hook and eye, a girl is cut from a shirtwaist, sewn up at the lids and temples, pulled like thread through muslin through the workweek. The earliest children are caught at her feet in knots and dismissed without pay, or piled under halves of woolen coats while the inspectors look the crime scene the other... Read more »
Roth’s peripatetic camera invited us to share the fun of the seventy-, eighty-, and ninety-something women gathering in Miami for the last days of the Lido spa.
Scientist Esther Braun Sparberg on sexism in science, 50 years after Rosalind Franklin helped discover DNA.
7 AM at the Wall the men eddy and swirl,wearing their prayers on their sleeves.Angry old men with long beardsshout against the wallas if it were a donkeyblocking the road. 7 AM at the Wall the womenrock and sway in heavy black shoesmoving their lips to silent music.Tired old women kiss the wallas if it... Read more »
Our friendships with other women not only make us feel good, but actually help us live longer, according to a UCLA study undertaken by six women scientists. Other findings: women typically respond to stress by nurturing their friends and children, whereas men either fight or isolate themselves. Noting this study, US/Israel Women to Women honored... Read more »
Margo Bloom has been appointed director of the New 14th Street (Sol Goldman) YM-YWHA In New York. The “Y” is part of the Educational Alliance, the Jewish communal institution that has served the Lower Manhattan population, both Jewish and non-) Jewish, for 114 years. In May the Alliance honored architect Daniel Libeskind, who has been... Read more »
Women of the Wall has suffered a setback. The Jerusalem-based feminist prayer group has been fighting Israel’s religious establishment for 14 years to earn their right to pray at the Western Wall in the women’s section in any way they choose. In early April, the Israeli Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, reversed a year 2000... Read more »
They call themselves Shebrews, and it’s the first group of its kind at the University of Pennsylvania: an unabashedly feminist organization for Jewish women. Penn has a few activities geared specifically towards Jewish women, including a Rosh Hodesh group and a Jewish women’s book club, but She brews is aiming for a broader constituency. “We started... Read more »
A year ago, singer Elizabeth Schwartz was booked with her klezmer band. Hot Pstromi, for a gig at the Eldridge Street Synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Then organizers realized that she wasn’t allowed to sing. The synagogue observes kol ishah, a practice which, among some groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews, prohibits men from listening to women sing, for... Read more »
On March 1, 2003, Amber Reid became the first woman in her family to be called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah. Her journey to the bimah began in 1972, before she was born, when her stepfather, John Price, began embracing Judaism. Although those around him questioned the wisdom of an African-American man taking on the... Read more »
You’ve got to feel a certain affectionate respect for Vanessa Hidary when she pours out her “Hebrew Mamita” at Russell Simon’s Def’ Poetry, I am on HBO. She’s out there, a multicultural Jewish girl from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, demanding the largely black and Latino audience, “What does Jewish look like to you? Should I fiddle on a... Read more »
Five years of intensive Torah study left Diane Bloomfield craving quiet space and movement. One night, she dreamed of three women dancing. “In the dream, I knew they were praying,” she says. “I realized I had to learn to pray with my body, to not just say the prayers three times a day.” Bloomfield left her Jerusalem yeshiva,... Read more »
A chessboard is a surprisingly feminist terrain. The queen reigns supreme, leading the battle to protect a relatively feeble king. But look to either side of the board, and men are much more likely to be poring over it than women. That imbalance, however, has started to change. Jennifer Shahade, 22, is an example of the growing... Read more »
It has been a season of powerful images. A human skull on the floor of an Iraqi prison. An American soldier kissed by a child in Baghdad. Women, faces and bodies burqa-draped, striving to be seen. Suicide bombers and the carnage they create. For weeks, I’ve had the strong feeling that we need some visuals of... Read more »