Winter 2002-2003

Jewish daughters and their African-American nannies tell stories of love, and complexity. The matronymic metamorphosis: what to name your child.  Being a Catholic mother in a Jewish family.

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Lilith Feature

Matronymic Metamorphosis

Lilith Feature

Winter Fiction

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The Outsider


Being a Catholic in temple.

Readers Respond


PRAYER-NEUTRAL LANGUAGE BACKFIRES I am writing to add my two cents’ worth to Rabbi Schnur’s discussion about names for God [“What’s this about God being female?” Fall 2002]. There is a felicitous phrase used in our liturgy which captures the androgynous nature of God, and which slips by unnoticed, for the most part: av ha-rakhamim, usually... Read more »



What Israel's feminist journal thinks about "Sex and the City"

Polar Region


All the articles and handbooks agree. BY NO MEANS SHOULD YOUR HOME BE PRISTINE. A child adds clutter to any environment, they explain. Far better to show the social worker coming over for the home study that the mess won’t bother you. But today has been a day of Ajax and Fantastik and fluffy, fresh-from-the-dryer bathroom towels... Read more »

Malka in the Promised Land


Malka, bored in class while her teacher drones on about kashering pots and pans. She’s vaguely aware that Rebbetzin Kraemer has written a blessing on the chalkboard, but her hand feels too heavy to drag pen across notebook. The air in the room is stiff. Later, at lunch, she’s off-sorts. It’s Chicken Pattie day; the cafeteria-smell... Read more »

A Paradox of Jewish Inheritance


Before DNA testing, there was no way to prove paternity, so it was understandable that Judaism would be passed on through the maternal line. So why doesn’t the transmission of status—whether you are one of the three “castes” of Judaism: Kohen, Levi or Yisrael—require the same certainty as the transmission of religion? A kohen (one... Read more »

Maverick Matronymics


As a little girl, I heard a lot about the Schottensteins. Now known for their go-figure underwriting of both a Talmud and the Ohio State football stadium, they’d made their fortune with an eponymous department store. My grandmother was a Schottenstein and, growing up, I would shamelessly drop the name in a knowing crowd and enjoy... Read more »



In Jewish family names there are some phenomena that do not exist—or exist to only a very limited degree—in the family names of other peoples. One of these phenomena is specific to East European Jewish family names— or, to be even more precise, to family names in those parts of Eastern Europe that were under the... Read more »



In the 12th century, Maimonides decreed that the mother would determine whether or not the child was halakhically Jewish. Before this point, the father was the determinant of Jewish identity; the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were Jewish meant that their offspring were Jewish also. Maimonides made his ruling about matrilineal descent for two very... Read more »

Jewish Girls and African American Nannies


Lilith asked readers to dig deep, for the first time, into these experiences. The results are stories of love and complexity. In these pages grown-up Jewish daughters begin to think through the lessons, the gratitude and the guilt of these intensely intimate dyads. We also listen to three nannies on the other side of these relationships.

Praying for Protection


Spurred by Catholic boys’ charges, Sue William Silverman remembers sexual abuse by her powerful politician father and what it meant to her identity as a Jew.

Fighting Anti-Semitism in Switzerland


Brigitte Sion on facing down anti-Semitism and misogyny in thie "neutral" country.

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