Winter 2011-2012

Passover celebrations from five unusual perspectives, including a new ritual for an adopted daughter.  Naming ourselves, including appreciating our hyphens. The challenges in getting an abortion in Israel today.

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Passover, Kaleidoscopically

Let's Take Five

Lilith Feature

Naming the Matriarchy

More Articles

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A young woman becomes her grandmother’s teacher. Though the old woman, now near 90, has lived in Canada for over 60 years, she still speaks with a heavy Hungarian accent and an inverted arrangement of words in which her granddaughter delights. “What for do I need that?” Grandma will ask about a new skirt. “I... Read more »

Que(e)rying the Matrilineal Principle


I remember clearly the day that my religious studies teacher, Rabbi Meyerovitch, explained to us — a group of seventh-grade girls at the private Jewish elementary school I attended in Vancouver, British Columbia — the rabbinic law that determined who got to be “born Jewish.” He was about as direct as one might expect a... Read more »

So, Baby Schultz, What Will You Call Me?


Thank goodness you haven’t arrived yet so I can still figure it out. You’ve got four choices: Grandma, Nana, Bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother) or Savta (Hebrew for grandmother). Am I making this too complicated? Impossible! Whatever you may be — boy or girl — you will be a chacham, a wise person, a genius! “What... Read more »

My Hyphen


I like it. Family friends recently hyphenated their baby daughter, too. One day we were standing around their kitchen when a gaiety struck me and I burst out: “I can’t wait until Leah grows up and learns about her hyphen!” That was when I realized that I love and am proud of my hyphen. Leah’s... Read more »

Miriam’s Cup: A Ritual for Adoptive Mothers of Chinese Daughters


Only you—adoptive moms and adopted daughters—know what ritual feels right for your circumstances, but here’s one possibility for mothers. After the parsley (symbol of rebirth) is dipped in salty water (symbol of tears), raise Miriam’s Cup and recite the following: Miriam’s Cup, brimming with water, reminds us that Moses has two mothers: Yocheved, his birth... Read more »

Counting in Seders


“Next year in Jerusalem,” we call out together, as usual, at the end of our family seder in Chicago, while I silently wonder who among us will see another year. “If I die tonight, that would be good,” my cousin’s 98-year-old mother-in-law, housebound and blind, tells me before dinner. My aunt confides that the rent... Read more »

My Daughter’s Exodus… from Kunming, China


It is late January and we are celebrating Tu b’Shvat, Jewish Arbor Day, with its tiny whispers of Texan spring. It’s also the time when I actually begin to think about Passover. Though the holiday is still two months away, the age-old ritual of cleaning every corner takes time. I will be enthusiastically assisted in... Read more »

Skyping the Seder


For so many years it seemed like nothing was different at our seders. My sisters looked the same, my mother made a beautiful meal that she was too exhausted to enjoy, my dad couldn’t pronounce the words, and my uncle came to our house after work to make the matzah balls. After a very long... Read more »

Redemption, 1955


After a long drive, my parents and I arrive at Tenth and South Streets in downtown Philadelphia. We’re right on time so we won’t upset Poppop. My stomach’s already tight as a fist. I check my mother: no lipstick, of course, and no one’s wearing red. We don’t want Nana to get whipped with Poppop’s... Read more »

The Joy of Chametz


I’m cleaning for Pesach and here’s what I’ve found in the bottom of my freezer so far: five small ice packs in various shapes used for “owies,” a half-eaten popsicle, a fish stick that escaped its box, pureed pumpkin from the fall harvest, and two glow-in-the-dark light sticks. I’m almost surprised that I didn’t find... Read more »

The Radical Camera


From the 1930s to the 1950s, a New York camera club unlike any other welcomed women photojournalists who challenged and changed an artform. (Available only in print.)



Nine candle holders made of soda-bottle caps glued on a piece of plywood. Paint and glitter and industrial scraps, bolts, nuts, pebbles, a whole mess of extra trimmings if you wanted. I did not. I only swamped the thing with glue, hoping it wouldn’t dry. When school let out the substitute sneaked up on me... Read more »

Father and Sons


For David, Daniel, and Jonah Akiba There is a space between them,in that space they hold cameras.The father with his old-fashioned lens,the son with a modern video camera.The third man, the other son,is the one who is the subjectof both their viewfinders.That is the way it has always been.There are those who plunge in,searching and... Read more »

Abortion in Israel


Lilith reporters demonstrate how a society’s pro-natalist assumptions undercut women’s control over their own bodies. They spotlight the ways anti-abortion forces akin to those in America are trying to win hearts and minds in the Holy Land.

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