Summer 2011

Brothers use a lot of family oxygen. The Jewish female swimmers who boycotted Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics. Conservative seminary ordains its first openly lesbian rabbi. Sexy while pregnant?

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Out and Ordained

New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary graduates its first openly lesbian rabbi.

Lilith Feature

Our Brothers/Ourselves

Four sisterly takes.

More Articles

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So Like Helen


Desire lurking behind a grandmother's frailty.

Sometimes the Dead


Winner of Lilith’s 2011 Charlotte A. Newberger Poetry Prize

The A-Train to Scotland


Lizzie noticed her shoes first. Dr. Karen Brown, fiftyish, wiry gray hair cut into a pageboy, no-nonsense dark shirt and trousers, greeted her at the door of her tiny office, offering a hand and a seat. Her open-toed heels were surprisingly stylish, a bright canary yellow peeking out beneath those sensible trousers. Lizzie immediately fell... Read more »

My Brother’s Demons


I lost my brother decades ago. I don’t mean that in any conventional sense; he’s alive, if not well, inhabiting the same 350-square-foot studio apartment he has called home for the past 30 years. But he’s been lost to me for a long time, as lost as if he disappeared into a deep forest, one... Read more »

Marrying My Brother


A few weeks ago I went to Wesleyan University’s graduation and reunion weekend. A man visiting for his 60th reunion (class of 1951) said to me, “You know, I don’t really remember my own graduation.” “Good grief, of course not,” I thought, doing the math in my head. Then he continued, “I remember every detail... Read more »

The Firstborn and the Princess


1953. America is in a boom economy — people buying everything, discovering shopping as a hobby. My mother, my two brothers and I move into public housing. There is no car, the closets have no doors, we buy our clothes at John’s Bargain Basement. My mother works two jobs: by day she’s a comptometer operator,... Read more »

My Brother, Missing


My brother doesn’t age. He stares back at me from a stamp-sized photo on the poster I have spent the last 10 years avoiding. To his right is a teenage girl lost to an explosion on a seafront promenade, to his left an army reservist whose jeep took a deadly wrong turn. The sixth victim... Read more »

Swimmers Against the Tide


Feisty modern girls who, in the 1930s, broke the boundaries, broke the records, and broke free.

The Difference Between Them


Moshav B’nei Gilad, February 1966 It was common knowledge among the Jews of Sadjan that Mazal, the youngest daughter of the Zandani Silversmiths, had sharp eyes. Not sharp like old Shama’s, which could discern fortunes by squinting into coffee grounds splayed across the sides of her chipped cups, but eyes that could look at a... Read more »

What They Expect When You’re Expecting


Sexy while pregnant. Do those hot new maternity clothes really empower women?



“My dear beloved,” Iris began the letter to her husband, who would tomorrow be a year deceased. “Today in shul I sat between my parents. I lay the blame at your feet. The feet I would entangle with my smaller, colder ones, when you were considerate enough to be yet living. I sat between them,... Read more »

Rachel Isaacs: What a Quiet Revolutionary Looks Like


Rachel Isaacs knew by the age of 13 she wanted to be a rabbi. Awareness of her sexuality came later.

That First Aliyah


Self-proclaimed “Jewish lite” and new to town, a woman fights her bimah anxiety.

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