Winter 2022

Jews and Tattoos

Jews and Tattoos, in all their complex glory • Are you ready for the new abortion landscape? • Comfort food forever • This legendary labor activist and her surprising choices • Antisemitism on Facebook • A girlhood in Eastern Europe, before the Nazis came...

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In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Jews & Tattoos

Whether it’s a full sleeve of biblical figures or a small flower on an ankle, every tattoo has a story to tell.

Lilith Feature

Harassment in the Reform Movement

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Poem: “Baby, You”

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I squeeze my eyes shut against the bright light and try to imagine sun on my face, and the padded table a chaise lounge.

Abortion Access in Your State: A Quiz

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Here’s news you’ve been fearing. It’s a matter of when, not if, Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

Reclaiming Personhood

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She placed a cutting of pansies (representing love, thoughtfulness and remembrance) on my lower back—done in public, it was another step in reclaiming my power and personhood.

On Angels and Ancestors

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My tattoos envelop me in ancestral connection.

My Body is a Scrapbook

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As a soon-to-be rabbi I’ve thought about what I might say when questioned about my tattoos. Tattoos represent the boldness of what it means to be living. They have also helped me heal.

Something that Demands Attention

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For me, my tattoos are declarations of what I love, what is important to me, and who I am.

Her Life Had Meaning

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When I decided to get my first tattoo, I knew it would be a rose in her memory to remind myself and family that her life had meaning and was a blessing.

My Best Friend Hannah

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For years, I wanted to get a tattoo in honor of my best friend, Hannah, who was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s eve, 2018. As time passed and people began to move forward, I yearned for a constant physical reminder of her presence in my life. But I was nervous that I... Read more »

Wrestling with God

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By creating a part of my body apart from the genes of my parents, I am renaming my body, and imprinting it with my own mark.

We Will Outlive Them

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The number that they inscribed on my grandfather’s arm, coincidentally or serendipitously, totaled 18. One of my favorite things he ever said was, “They tried to write our deaths, little did they know they inscribed life onto our arms.”

The Strength to Carry All This

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Some of my inks were quite painful, but as I get them I think to myself, “This is easier than it was being homeless,” or “There’s a Nazi out there who could handle this, don’t let him beat you.”

Black People in Color

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"The idea that Black people can’t is based in the institutional racism of tattoo history.” Who knew? I have an amazing technicolor Ocean cresting on my shoulder.

When I Grow Up

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Before the Holocaust loomed, Jewish teens in Europe entered an essay contest. Here’s one girl’s life we can recognize.

Most-Decorated Women

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One of the first things they did to Jewish women when they took them in Morocco, they tattooed their faces, like to say “For life, you are not a Jew anymore.”

A Bowl of  Comfort 

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A chef confirms our beliefs about why soup matters.

Fiction: Knit. Purl. Repeat.

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Fiction by Beth Kanell.

Poem: Why is This Night Different

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"my grandmother squeezed regrets and rough journeys through white muslin"

Equal Social Dignity

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Shmita is a reminder that we are all the same: temporary tenants wholly dependent on the gifts of this God-given world.

Reconstructing the Life of a Labor Radical

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Elaine Black Yoneda was a communist agitator in the 1930s who chose to be interned with her Japanese-American husband.

A Facebook Group Blew Up and Jewish Voices Were Silenced

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On social media’s antisemitism problem.

A College Activist Sees a Momentous Change

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Back in October, the Union for Reform Judaism sent out an email to their mailing list titled “An Important Update for Our URJ Community.” As I scanned the message, my eyes unexpectedly welled up with tears. In this letter, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, chair of the URJ’s North American board... Read more »

A Punk Rock Jewish Tattooer

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One of the reasons I love tattooing so much is, to me, it does feel like a reclamation of something that was done to us that we now have the power to control, take back and use for our liberation.

Tattoos, Crazy Hair and a Prosthetic Leg

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Tattoos, crazy hair, and a prosthetic leg do not take away from my badass Jewishness.

I Love My Tattoos and I Love Halakhah

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[The Torah] seems to be telling us that this too is holy, too, the moments we do not choose obedience.

Jewish Tattoo Artist Spotlight: Kit McDonough

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I am more myself now than I was without a single tattoo, and I think that is inherently God-loving. To love myself so wholly is to love God the same way.

Jewish Tattoo Artist Spotlight: Ella Sklaw

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There's a defiant spirit inherent to Judaism that I carry with my practice. My tattoos make life enjoyable for me; they helped me find my queer identity and love my body.

Outraged, but Not Surprised

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This fall’s hot-off-the-presses report that there is rampant sexual abuse in the Reform Movement that has been covered up for decades should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The #MeToo-inspired outing of former HUC professor Steven M. Cohen brought about testimonies of decades of abuse at HUC and across Reform... Read more »

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