Winter 1999-2000

A Lilith survey asks: How liberated is your home life?  The double life of Persian Jewish girls. A feminist widow and a youngest daughter speak about eldercare.  

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature


A special section

Lilith Feature

Are Our Home Lives Liberated Yet?

Lilith Feature

Southern Debuts

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Poem: Ma


Words of wisdom- and irritation- from that eternal source.

How Najeeb are You?


Iranian-American Pegah Hendizadeh Schiffman explores the double life of Persian Jewish girls in the U.S. as they balance between parental expectations of purity and their own modern passions.

Sara Shandler Speaks


Sara Shandler, author of the best-selling Ophelia Speaks, reveals the darker side of American teenhood.

And Under Your Roof


Lilith wants to know: Are the men in your life feminists? Have you ever gone to a mikveh? Would you marry a Jewish man? Tear-out questionnaire enclosed.

A Farewell to Pantyhose


For the first three years of our marriage, my husband and I had the perfect egalitarian household. We made all our financial decisions together. And we never argued over housework; we simply paid others to do it. A cleaning woman scrubbed our apartment, the laundromat down the street washed our clothes, and Manhattan’s vast array of... Read more »

“Pretend I’m Dead,” I Tell Him


Over the last three decades, women have won many legal victories in the public sphere but in our private lives, we remain miles away from gender equality. Nevertheless, if my children’s generation of thirtysomethings are representative of young, educated, middle-class, Jewish, heterosexual, cohabiting couples (what a mouthful), we are witnessing a seismic change in at least... Read more »

A Riddle for the New Millennium


My eight year old son Asher was waving his arm, bouncing up off his seat. “Please call on me. I know the answer. Pleeeeze!” It was lunchtime at his Jewish camp, and while the kids ate, they played riddles. This particular day the counselor told a feminist classic: “A boy and his father were in a... Read more »

There’s Something About Ben Stiller


I have a Yom Kippur fantasy. God has just inscribed me in the Book of Life and, as a bonus, adds, “Ophi, pick a fine Jewish man and he’s yours.” I close my eyes and whisper, “I choose Ben Stiller.” Bring me the high forehead and furry back, the rock-cut facial asymmetry. Deliver, O Lord, the... Read more »

Cooking in the E.R.


My husband Mickey and I met and courted over cooking. He and his roommates invited a bunch of us to brunch. I didn’t like just milling around, so I headed for the kitchen and cooked Julia Child scrambled eggs for the assembled hoards. I knew how to do this because I had learned to cook in... Read more »

Our Gendered Selves Wrestle


SCENE I. “Hi, honey, it’s me. Listen, I hope you can get home from work sooner rather than later. I’ve been frustrated recently that I seem to be doing most of the cleaning and cooking when we have Shabbat guests. I want to figure out how we can do this better. See you soon. Oh, don’t... Read more »

Will She Be the First Orthodox Woman Rabbi?


As the author stakes out the landmarks on her path toward the Orthodox rabbinate (a clue: wearing tefillin is one of them), she comes to terms with the trappings of male orthodox observance... Read a preview of her book, Life on the Fringes.

Helping Families Help their Elders


Why - and how - one foundation turns its attention to eldercare.

The Ways of Love & Rage


Duty and intractable sexism fuel a complex caregiving history for a Baghdadi-Indian-American-Canadian family. Here, their youngest child tells her tale. 

Taking Care


A feminist therapist cares for her ailing husband and, a decade later, evaluates how she feels silenced as an "old Jewish widow." She traces the dynamics that disempower her and issues a plea to be treated, even in infirmity, as the adult she is.

The Kiev Connection


Women West and East are bringing gender consciousness to the emerging democracies—and the Jewish communities—of the former Soviet Union. Project Kesher creates a hands-across-the-sea sisterhood.

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