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Summer 2016

Stepmothers

Stepmothers, from sinister stereotype to contemporary counter-narratives. Campus anti-Semitism in North Carolina. Is boredom in shul a vital career booster? Summer fiction to keep you suitably distracted. Gender, power and holding the door.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Summer Fiction

To keep you suitably distracted.

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Take Your Tears Back Now

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When she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my mother was 50. The cancer was advanced. Stage IV. The doctors gave her two years.  “You can’t tell me how long I have to live,” she told them. “I’ll decide.” And so she did. For 14 years, she went in and out of remission. She had... Read more »

The Art of Tending African Violets

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When my mother would call me, she’d tell me about the things that filled her days: watching the sun rise over Montreal, carefully watering her African violets. Liquid had to be placed in a saucer under the pot so that the fragile roots could sip up sustenance. When my mother could call me — when familiar numbers... Read more »

Sh’ma T’filateinu*

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David Cohen loves Allison Feldman. Please pray for Ruth Geller who drank the wine for Elijah in front of the children. Russell Weiss loves a goy named Israel. Judith Leit loves Judah Maccabee from the Hanukkah story. Please pray for the young girl Nancy who cannot tell her father she supports the two-state solution. Michael... Read more »

Tenement on Hester Street

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Tenement on Hester Street,Scarcely food enough to eat. Scraps of coal her only heat. “We fear God,” the old men said. “And keep a cover on our head.” Moil and sweat on Hester Street. Fall asleep while on her feet. “Married women: Wear a wig! “No one ever eat a pig.”  Coughing blood on Hester... Read more »

Jerusalem Dust

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We are tired of defending the land. In thick black stockings or cut-off jeans, we walk for miles past smoke clouding pockets of sky, letting Old City dust enter our sandals, our teeth. We have stopped arguing with tourists who take photographs of our children on the Sabbath. We begin to understand everyone’s need for... Read more »

Max’s Mom Goes to Camp

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“Tsimtsum—contraction—ushers in the cosmic drama…for it is God’s withdrawal that first creates space.”—Gershom G. Scholem, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism Every mile of the drive from West 22nd Street to Hancock had felt right. How good it was to say the words to anyone who crossed her path that morning, “I’m going to visit... Read more »

Sandstorm

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How do you find your bearings in such an illogical place, Rae wonders. Lookalike white stucco houses with terracotta roofs follow one another on grid-like streets until a wall stops them dead in their tracks. Behind each house, an emerald golf course, which shouldn’t exist in the desert, twists its way through the whole community.... Read more »

In Vegas That Year

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After the Flamingo lost $300,000 in its first two weeks, Meyer Lansky forced Ben to close and retool. Mr. Lansky sent some of his men from the El Cortez to poke through everything in the hotel before he himself flew out in March to review the account books, to check the cameras in the counting... Read more »

Bored in Shul

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I’ve been coming to shul on the high holidays my whole life. I think back to my earliest days in synagogue, when I was really little, and I remember exactly what it was like: terrifically boring. In fact, it seemed to me like some sort of senseless test of my patience. How long could I... Read more »

A Jewish Co-ed in North Carolina, 1941

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One September day in 1941, Esther Braun, a tiny 19-year-old with a shock of curly black hair, daughter of Jewish immigrants, got off a train in Chapel Hill. This was her first time away from home — a shabby New York neighborhood of small brick two-family houses and bungalows on Queens’ Rockaway Peninsula. After two years studying... Read more »

Stepmothers: From Sinister Stereotype to Contemporary Counter-Narratives

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My Stepdaughters Want to Know My Stories This is our nightly ritual: Book reading. Lights out. Massages for one while their father wrestles with the other. Bed switch. Finger-stories traced on their backs. Tuck in. Good night. Love you. See you mañana, iguanas. We’ve been on Harry Potter, a few pages a night, for several years. Before Harry Potter,... Read more »

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