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Lilith Magazine by Noa Kattler Kupetz - 2h ago

 As my mother drove a car full of kids to elementary school, I sat in the backseat, creating dough. The blue mixing bowl on my lap didn’t protect my clothes and the vehicle from a light layer of flour, and the practice was probably not the most sanitary, but the Friday was busy, and 7:30am was the only time for dough prep.

Challah, a staple of Shabbat, holiday tradition and Jewish cuisine, plays many roles: a rushed ritual in the back of a moving vehicle; the perfect bookends for a deli meat sandwich; a piece tossed across the family table; the loaf the dog can’t seem to get enough of. For Vanessa Harper, challah has become a space for shaping and sharing Torah.

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Arriving in Córdoba last month with my study-abroad cohort, I felt like I’d landed in a medieval fairy tale. As my classmates and I walked across the bridge separating the main road from the town, we passed a castle, a swamp, and a bustling market full of people dressed in full Renaissance garb. After years of studying the literature and philosophy of the Jews of Córdoba, I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing the city in real life. Walking down the streets, I snapped photo after photo of the white-painted buildings, getting increasingly excited as we moved through the judería towards the old synagogue, noticing landmarks that until then I’d only been able to imagine. It felt like the books I’d studied had come to life in front of me. Soon, we found ourselves in front of a small gate, blocked by a guard who waved our tour group into the synagogue area. 

But when I walked into the small chapel, seeing the partially destroyed verses from the Psalms on the walls and the tiny gold menorah in the entrance, my giddy excitement turned to anger. Anger that this small room was almost all that was left of a massive and influential Jewish community. Anger at our tour guide for glossing over the history of the Inquisition and Expulsion, and for not mentioning why one wall of the synagogue had a giant cross painted over it. And anger that, in the minds of the countless tourists who passed through Córdoba each day, the Jewish community would be reduced to a destroyed synagogue and a single statue of Maimonides. As we exited the building into the blazing sun, Córdoba seemed more like a place of disillusionment than the culmination of my studies I’d hoped for.

 

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When Hillary J. Exter retired in February 2018, after nearly 40 years as a public-interest lawyer, she knew that she wanted to spend at least some of her time working on immigration issues. This led her to the New Sanctuary Coalition.  As a volunteer, Exter has accompanied people to ICE check-ins and court dates, including bond hearings for those in detention, and for about six months has participated in the Coalition’s weekly pro se immigration clinic where she has provided information to those women and men who are not represented by counsel.

In early January she traveled to the Tijuana-San Diego border and worked with other volunteers to give information and solace to the thousands of asylum-seekers who are hoping to enter the US.

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Lilith Magazine by Yona Zeldis Mcdonough - 1w ago

Mother India is a novel that offers a rich, kaleidoscopic view of both the titular country and its multi-faceted culture. The religious Jews who populate the novel add yet another layer of complexity. Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough talks to author Tova Reich about how the India-Jewish connection has shaped her thinking and her work. 

YZM: Tell us something about your own relationship to India.

TR: One of my major preoccupations, I’ve always felt, is religion (and not only Judaism), its ultimately tragic human quest for meaning, and what seems to be its inevitable apocalyptic thrust toward extremism and zealotry. I’ve written about seekers in Israel in my novel Master of the Return, about political fanaticism in my novel The Jewish War, and what might perhaps be called social extremism played out in the marginalization/suppression of women in my novel One Hundred Philistine Foreskins

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Lilith Magazine by Susan Weidman Schneider - 1w ago

Lilith magazine mourns the death of our longtime friend and contributing editor Rela Geffen. A respected sociologist, former president of Baltimore Hebrew University and fearless examiner of gender issues in Jewish life, Rela was also known for her warmth, humor and resilience.

As a result of her doctoral research, she became convinced that for women, birth order was extremely important in predicting career success and accomplishment. Several years ago, before giving a talk to a meeting of high-powered executive women, she came to the podium and asked, “How many of you are first-borns or onlies? Or come from all-girl families?” Almost every hand in the room went up.

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German teenager Sophie Scholl went from student to resistance martyr after the Nazis took over her country. As member of the White Rose resistance group, Sophie and two other students distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets. They were arrested, and less than a year later, all three were condemned to beheading by guillotine. 

Scholl is the subject of a new historical novel, told in verse— White Rose, by Kip Wilson. Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough spoke with Wilson about her quest to find out what made the exceptional young woman tick and fictionalize her life.

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And’ is the most important word in the English language. It’s the linguistic equivalent of coalition building. It can build on an existing sentence, and more importantly, it can glue opposing truths together in one sentence, allowing messy realities to coexist. I’m Jewish and bisexual and feminist and Zionist, and I support Palestinian human rights, and I believe Black Lives Matter. All of these identities are central to who I am, and no single one undermines the other. 

It makes sense, then, that over the course of my high school career, I fell in love with the concept of intersectionality. I attended Seeds of Peace International Camp where I engaged in raw and emotional dialogue with Palestinian and Israeli teens, and thought critically about my community’s role in oppressing Palestinians. I learned about Zionism with nuance in my “Dual-Narratives of the Middle East” history class. I attend a high school named after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, which celebrates his commitment to Civil Rights and his work alongside Dr. King. I learned and wrote about Jewish Feminist history with the Jewish Women’s Archive. I used my 11th grade research project to explore the role of Black women in the Feminist and Civil Rights Movements.  These combined influences forced me to see the necessity of a theory for social organizing that embraces the plurality, the “and-ness” of an identity.

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I have had a deep connection to last week’s Torah portion (Yitro, Exodus 18:1–20:23) for the past 14 years because it’s my older son’s bar mitzvah portion. Well, it is the Ten Commandments, so that connection truly began a lot longer ago. 
 
But one night, the year before his special day, we started to really delve into what these Big Ten were — and couldn’t. We were out to dinner and could rattle off five, maybe six rules, off the tops of our heads. That’s all. 
 
Since we couldn’t resort to the internet to fill in the gaps, our attention turned to other realms appealing to three guys — two of whom were preteen — that might require a set of rules, like… the Planet of the Apes. And so, the Monkey Commandments were born.
 
And, no, I don’t remember any of them…I just remember that, for a time, they were a symbolic stand-in suited to a particular group. So I thought that I would do the same for women.
 
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Lilith Magazine by Marlena Maduro Baraf - 3w ago

“The end of life has its own nature, also worth our attention. I don’t say this without reckoning in the sorrow, the worry, the many diminishments. But surely it is then that a person’s character shines or glooms.”  Mary Oliver in “Our World.”

My tía Adelaide, 102, was holding herself with such poise that I almost didn’t notice the clear, oxygen tubes draped around her ears and into her nostrils. Her voice was faint, but she looked resplendent in a turquoise Mumu with coral flowers that reminded me of the watercolors she painted not so long ago.

“I’m on my seventh Jeffrey Archer book,” she had said on that rainy day. We sat at her balcony overlooking a sea of buildings in Panama City, where I was born. The attendant had placed my tía’s wheelchair next to the caged periquitos; and, as we talked, tía Adelaide’s freckled fingers would reach into the wire cage for one seed and then another that she placed expertly into the birds’ tiny beaks. I noticed a large, mean-looking bruise on her calf from a recent fall.

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Anne E. Parsons was a teenager when her mother told her that her grandmother had had a sister named Ruth who’d spent 40 years at the Delaware Colony for the Feeble-Minded at Stockley, an enormous residential hospital in Georgetown, Delaware.

“Aunt Ruth was not a secret, but, at the same time, the family did not speak openly about her,” Parsons told Eleanor J. Bader in a recent telephone interview. “It wasn’t until I was an that I understood the weight of what it must have been like for both Ruth and for my family.”

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