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Summer 2013

New models for how to manage the expectations (and expenses) confronting Jewish mothers in the "lean in" era. The kinesthetics of feminist prayer. And three new short stories: the haiku as revenge, an angel on the balcony, and how to hate your hair.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Motherhood in the “Lean In” Era

Great expense, great expectations

Lilith Feature

Of an Honorable Antiquity

Poet Laureate Maxine Kumin celebrates her Confederate great-grandfather

Lilith Feature

Charlotte A. Newberger Poetry Prize

Lilith Feature

2013 Fiction Prize Winners

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Away from Babi Yar


Of the Holocaust poems submitted, this was the most haunting to me, as it evoked, simultaneously, a family about to be massacred, and a daughter who, by abandoning her family, will escape. Do we judge her? — Alicia Ostriker They will never come for citizens like us, Zahar would say, while most of Kiev fled... Read more »

And These Are Different Days


An extraordinarily beautiful modernization of an ancient psalm, and of unyielding faith in a time of trouble, this poem brought tears to my eyes. — Alicia Ostriker Adaptation of Psalm 22 You are so far away, God.I try to call you but my words are tinny, tiny.Why have you gone?I cry at my desk all... Read more »

Rose Has a New Walker


A poem with a pitch-perfect ear for the tones and rhythms of dialogue, and a pitch-perfect heart for the art of preserving a feisty elder’s dignity—with a deft surprise ending. Three generations of caring, tactful family love and humor are captured here, and “the gravity of home” is the poem’s perfect close. — Alicia Ostriker... Read more »

Not Your Zayde’s Shokl


A new way a woman can move when she’s moved—the kinesthetics of feminist prayer.

The Jewish Costs of Jewish Education


My husband and I long ago decided that a Jewish day school education was a top priority for us. I attended Jewish day school from pre-school through high school, and that daily immersion in Jewish texts and a Jewish environment continues to enrich me spiritually and intellectually. My husband attended Hebrew school through his bar... Read more »

On Being Asked to Write a Poem for the Centenary of the Civil War


Good friend, from my province what is there to say? My mother’s grandfather left me here rooted in grateful guilt, who came, an escaped conscript blasted out of Europe in 1848; came, mourned by all his kin who put on praying hats and sat a week on footstools there; plowed forty days by schooner and... Read more »

For My Great-Grandfather: A Message Long Overdue


You with the beard as red as Barbarossa’s uncut from its first sprouting to the hour they tucked it in your belt and closed your eyes, you with the bright brass water pipe, a surefire plaything under the neighbor’s children’s noses for you to puff and them to idolize   —the pipe you’d packed up... Read more »

Flesh and Blood


The author inherited her father’s meat grinder, a reminder, literally, of flesh and blood. Now it sits on its side, an unused object of beauty, in her own kitchen, where she realizes that Jews think about meat more than most people.

Jewsies, Jewosity & Identity


From Vienna to Appalachia, why did her forebears keep secrets and make such strange choices? The remarkably suppressed identity of her concert-star grandmother, and how Zazi Pope found it out.



The woman had not intended to meet an angel. She had planned to finish grading the statistics exams before Shai woke up and started demanding his bottle. She might even have enough time to make a few phone calls. Angels were definitely not on the agenda. If she gave any thought to it at all, angels... Read more »



  Esther watched Tennis Boy amble across the hotel lobby, racket slung across his back, and decided on the spot he’d be her first boyfriend. He wasn’t noticeably handsome, but he was noticeably normal, and to Esther’s twelve-year-old eyes, that was everything. The mirrors on the wall created four of him, no, six, each more... Read more »

On discovering a man I was secretly in love with wrote a poem portraying me in an unflattering light


    At least poetry is nearly dead in the United States, thus limiting the number of people who have access to my humiliation. It appeared on page 17 of the Fall issue of Ploughshares, a triumph for him, to have cracked into the literary elite. It would have been bearable for me alone to know... Read more »

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