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Winter 1996-1997

Being sick and being Jewish: a special section on healing. What’s your name? Birth name? Married name? Yiddish name? Creating a feminist pantheon of Jewish feminist scholars.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Who Are We?

Each of us has a name 

Lilith Feature

Is Our Suffering Transformative?

Healing: A special section 

More Articles

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“It Was No Fun”

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It turns out that Woody Allen didn’t invent anhedonia. For Jewish immigrants in America, happiness was just not seen as a legitimate goal in life. Lilith's back page on women’s history—"The Way We Were"—asks what happened when the American ideal of romantic love and matinee idols clashed with the realities of sour tenement lives.

The Genesis List

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Genesis is in. Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and yes, even Lilith, are popping up in every new book. Everyone and her mother wants to reexamine the compelling story of Genesis. PBS has even launched a series of televised group discussions entitled “Genesis: A Living Conversation.” But’ these new hooks are not only appropriate for the solitary... Read more »

Constructing (Not Deconstructing) the Jewish Feminist Pantheon

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Who are the pillars of present-day Jewish feminist scholarship? And what do these women-and the "pioneer scholars" of the 1970s and 1980s say about Jewish women’s studies )and about each other) as we approach the year 2000. A LILITH 20th anniversary review.

Sacrifice

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Healing : A survivor' s guilt becomes peace 

How Did They Get Into Her Womb?

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Judith Helfand lost her reproductive system at 25 thanks to the "wonder drug" her mother took while pregnant. As "A Healthy Baby Girl"—Helfand’s startling film about being a DES daughter—heads to the Sundance Festival, Helfand talks about her mom, her politics and the community of filmmakers who’ve helped her heal.

Bathing Pearl

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Eldercare: A granddaughter moves from hostility to love.

Broken Tablets/ Scattered Light

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"Everywhere I read that we are created in God’s image. What about me? Does God also walk with crutches, have difficulty breathing? Why did God do such a lousy job with my body?" One professor asks the questions; Rachel Naomi Remen and Rabbi Shoni Labovitz offer partial answers.

“Shinui Shem” Change Your Name, Change Your Luck

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AVERTING DEATH When I was 15 years old, my mother died. She was 46. At that time, my aunt told me, “your grandmother and great grandmother also died at age 46, so you’d better watch out when you’re 46.” I always lived in fear of being 46. My panic started when I turned 45. It... Read more »

Each of Us Has a Name

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Each of us has a name,given to us by God,and given to us by our fatherand mother.Each of us has a name,given to us by our statureand our way of smiling,and given to us by our clothes.Each of us has a name,given to us by the mountains,and given to us by our walls.Each of us... Read more »

Wave of Emotion

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When my partner and I decided to have our commitment ceremony, we were thinking of how to create a family unit. Traditionally in Judaism, when a couple marries they choose a new name. We wanted to find something that reflected something intrinsic about our relationship. One of the words that really meant a lot to... Read more »

A Dad’s Choice

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My name is SEENA CANDY SWEET No, really, seriously, that’s my name. It’s on my birth certificate. It’s not made up. No, I’m not a stripper, either. It” not Tina, Deena, Sheena, or Zeena. It’s Seena. S-E-E-N-A. My parents saw a film back in the 40s with an actress by the name of Seena King... Read more »

One Woman, 2 Marriages, 3 Cultures, 4 Names

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Karen Hillary Rosenstein. A child writes out her name when she first begins to label her work in school and examines that name for what it is: a newly formed public identity. My name was foreign to me. In the first place it was not the name I should have been given. It was not... Read more »

Out of the Flames

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“Your name is Phyllis,” Miss K greeted me that September morning, my first day at school. Mama had reassured me that this was the public school’s kindergarten, so as far as I could make out, I was in the right place, but Miss K was awfully wrong. I am Lifsa, darling Lifseleh, named for Bubba... Read more »

The Power of Name

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My legal first name is Esther, but the actual name on my birth certificate was Estera. An anonymous immigration officer Anglicized my name when I arrived in the United States at the age of five months. I was born in Stuttgart, Germany on October 27, 1946, to Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors. My mother chose to... Read more »

Feminist Son, Angry Mom

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When my son told me that he wanted to take on his bride’s last name, I heard myself say, “No!” How, I asked, could he simply renounce who he was, who he had been for the past 26 years? He responded by asking why Becky should. “It is not the same thing,” I said, understanding... Read more »

A Name in the Closet

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My father’s name is Kantrowitz. He changed it to Kaye in 1942. At the dyke bar in Portland I tell my best Jewish friend that I’m thinking about taking back my mother’s maiden name. “Kaye is a made up name,” I say, “It has no history.” Amy, historian, tells me, “Just because a history isn’t... Read more »

The Pronunciation of My Name

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I am living in Rabat, Morocco, a place where I allow myself to be Rachelle instead of Rachel. It has a musical ring to it when my boyfriend and his friends speak of me: “Rachelle, the American.” This name enables me to be another person: one who spends days at the Prince’s swim club and... Read more »

The Wisdom of Change

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I was the seventh child in my family. My parents were all out of names. Everyone who needed someone named after them had been appeased. The story goes that it was my great uncle Bill who solved the problem by suggesting that my Hebrew name be Batsheva (meaning seventh daughter) and that I be called... Read more »

Wacky Macky

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My whole life—as a poet, and even before I knew that I would be a poet—I have been fascinated with names. I grew up in a small Missouri town and knew no one else with the name Maxine except a friend of my mother’s who had a nervous tic and a chiropractor who owned a... Read more »

A Bitter Blow

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My name usually evokes comment. “Mara? How is that spelled?” often I am asked what my name means or what language it is. “In Tibetan Buddhism, ‘Mara’ is an evil Goddess. In Arabic it means ‘women’ and is a derogatory term used by Berbers. In Hebrew it comes from the root for bitter and means... Read more »

I Love My Name

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My name is Troim, a Yiddish word that means a dream of hope, an ideal. The word is often used in Yiddish poetry. My father frequently introduced me this way: “This is my daughter Troim; she never changed her name.” He thought I would. I have never met another Troim. My father, Menke Katz, was... Read more »

Sylvia Meister, Sylvia Roth, Sylvia Shopira and I, Sylvia Rosner

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I was named Sureh Henya for my mother’s sister who died of cancer just before I was born, but was called Sureh Henya only when teased. Henya rhymes with zshmmya (hand) and there were many nasty little jingles that could be made of the two. The worst was, ”Sureh Henya macht in di zshmenya” (Sureh... Read more »

Jew by Choice, Name by Choice

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As I studied Judaism in preparation for conversion, the name I’d always loved began to itch and not fit very well. Kristin, you see, is sometimes pronounced “Christian.” Even when pronounced correctly, it no longer felt right. I combed Hebrew name books in vain for the right name. At last, it came to me while... Read more »

Making up our Shared Name

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When I married, neither my spouse to be nor I wanted to take the other person’s last name as our own, nor did we want to hyphenate, and yet we wanted a shared name. So we decided to take a new last name, and proceeded with the surprisingly difficult task of choosing our name. Eventually... Read more »

Letters

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RACISM OBSCURED I felt your article on children of black and Jewish parents was very important, and that is why I was grateful to be interviewed by you for this work (“Are You Black or Are You Jewish?” Fall 1996). You raise many issues of personal, cultural and political identity I believe we must all... Read more »

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