Winter 2015-2016

Sex in the Promised Land

The making of a Viking Jewess. Kaddish for bad parents. Sex in the Promised Land. Greeting Syrian refugees in Vienna. Can “No Body Talk” diminish girls’ self-hatred? In the Ethiopian orphanage.

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Lilith Feature

When “Doing Jewish” Works

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No Body Talk


When Rachel Steinig first heard about the “No Body Talk” guidelines at Eden Village Camp, she found them “a little strange.” “I’d never encountered anything like this,” the 16-year-old says of that day five summers ago. When staffers performed silly skits on opening day to illustrate how life works at the Jewish overnight program, they... Read more »

In the Ethiopian Orphanage


In Addis Ababa to adopt a brother for her two daughters, Aliza and Hallel, Rabbi Susan Silverman describes meeting for the first time the boy — birth name Daniel — she and her husband, Yosef Abramowitz, are calling Adar. My sister Jodyne and I got to our room after five in the morning, and fell into deep sleep, facing... Read more »

The Making of a Viking Jewess


“So, are you going to stay Jewish?” the woman in Starbucks asks. Holy crap, is it possible she thinks I divorced my identity? A wave of indignation mixed with frustration flushes through me. I am in my late forties, and I have been Jewish since, at the age of 23, I immersed in a mikvah... Read more »

Saying Kaddish for Bad Parents


I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about observing my parents’ yahrzeits. For one thing, neither Mom nor Dad had the temperament for traditional ritual observance — and they were skeptical, even scornful, of those who did. Once in a while, Dad would light a yahrzeit candle for his parents during Hanukkah, because both of their birthdays had fallen at that... Read more »

In Vienna with Syrian Refugees


Hineni: Day 1, Vienna Each person who is here in Vienna helping the Syrian refugees transit through Austria has his or her own story. Karin, a fourth-grade teacher, lives in the neighborhood of the Westbahnhof, the West Train Station, where the Catholic refugee service Caritas has set up a major assistance operation. She tells me... Read more »

Sex in the Promised Land


Dana Kaplan is doing her doctorate on sex. She has discovered, in her research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, that the women of Tel Aviv — the (other) city that never sleeps — are spending more time in bed these days. And having more fun. But in Jerusalem, where the high birth rate testifies that women are certainly... Read more »

Standing Again at Sinai, Again


When we think about the achievements of feminism in the US, we usually think about how feminist political activity has changed, and continues to change, the status of women. But in demanding that American Jewish communities and institutions reconsider women’s place and status in them, Jewish feminists have also laid the groundwork for inclusion of... Read more »

La Poussette


Sylvie Beauchard has been cooking since dawn. Her in-laws will be here shortly, so despite her fatigue, she is brisk in the dining room, snapping down the linens and cutlery. The wine glasses she places carefully by the plates. The green stems make her think of tulips and she wishes she had some for a... Read more »

Rose Gold


When Hannah, my mother, got dressed on the morning of August 31, 2002, and put on a rose gold ring and earrings, both decorated with ruby and diamond chips, I imagine she thought of her own mother, the original owner of the set. It was festive jewelry for a festive day, each piece shaped like... Read more »

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