The Lilith Blog

The Lilith Blog

March 22, 2019 by

Disability Rights Activist Emily Ladau on How to Make Feminism Include Everyone

While sipping tea in a funky, independently owned café in Babylon, New York, disability justice activist-writer Emily Ladau suddenly makes an unexpected confession: “I have a fraught relationship with feminism,” she says.

It’s not ideological. 

Ladau is pro-choice, pro-ERA, pro-LGBTQ equality, and supports equal pay for work of equal value. But as someone who uses a wheelchair, she has frequently felt excluded. “I don’t think feminists who are not disabled identify with me, even though I identify with them,” she explains. “Feminist groups often ignore the fact that disability intersects with every other marginalized identity.”

Changing this—not just within the women’s movement but in the world at large—is Ladau’s passion and, as editor of Rooted in Rights (rootedinrights.org), she and other writers work tirelessly to expose—and push back against—the many ways in which the disabled are belittled, condescended to and all too often completely ignored.

Ladau and Lilith’s Eleanor J. Bader met in late February to discuss how she became an outspoken advocate and educator.

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The Lilith Blog

March 22, 2019 by

A Breathtaking Novel Set on the Eve of World War I

downloadSet in the years before and just leading into World War I, House of Gold is a vast, enthralling tapestry of a novel. The story moves seamlessly from character to character and place to place, all the while picking up speed and momentum as the war looms ever closer.

Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough chats with author Natasha Solomons to ask her about what drew her to the subject and what she learned along the way. 

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The Lilith Blog

March 19, 2019 by

The Chelsea Clinton Uproar and the Public Perception of Pregnancy

It’s not a great look to berate pregnant folks. It’s especially not a good look when the person you’ve chosen to yell at has only the most tangential connection to what you’re upset about. We can argue with Chelsea Clinton’s ill-considered phrasing in her Twitter criticism of Ilhan Omar, but to accuse her of being the primary agent “stoking hatred” for Muslims on social media and inciting the Christchurch massacre is…well, the kind of thing a grieving undergraduate student activist might do in the heat of the moment after 50 people have been slaughtered by a white nationalist while they pray. It’s understandable. 

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The Lilith Blog

March 19, 2019 by

The Jewish Doctor Writing About Medieval Christian Spirituality

 

I met Melodie Winawer in a Brooklyn synagogue; so when I learned that she had written a novel steeped in Christian imagery and ritual, I just had to know why!  

Equally interesting was Winawer’s background—she holds degrees in biological psychology, medicine and epidemiology. Below, Winawer talks to Lilith about her fascinating dual life as doctor/novelist, her attraction to history and so much more.

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The Lilith Blog

March 14, 2019 by

Women of the Wall Turns 30: Stunning Photos from the Scene

Last week, Women of the Wall celebrated its 30th anniversary of standing up in favor of egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, facing physical intimidation from ultra-religious protesters.

Lilith’s Joan Roth was on the scene, documenting vivid Torah readings, massive crowds, and even the paratroopers who helped capture the wall for Israel in 1967 who showed up to support the women.L1660946

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The Lilith Blog

March 8, 2019 by

Luke Perry and the Mishna: A Love Story

Close to two decades ago, I sat with my cousin on the concrete structure separating Rockaway Beach from the street our grandparents lived on. It was September and we were waiting for Rosh Hashanah to begin. Now that I’m a parent, I can’t imagine letting a nine-year-old hang out at a deserted Rockaway Beach entry without adult supervision but the 90s were special—and I’m sure the adults were glad to have us out of their hair while they prepared for the holiday. Meanwhile, we were doing the essential work of engaging in the great debate of our time: Dylan vs. Brandon.

Neither of us can remember who took which side but looking back, I understand that this was my first time actively participating in pop culture, having the same conversation as many other people, at the same time. That participation was hard-fought and delicately-brokered. My modern Orthodox parents weren’t enthused by the idea of a show about teenagers and sex, so we made a deal. I, a nine-year-old child, would be allowed to watch this show featuring adults playing teenagers, as long as I attended the children’s Mishna class at our shul on Shabbat afternoons. 

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The Lilith Blog

March 8, 2019 by

When Women Make Holocaust Movies—And Take On God, Moses & Exodus

Just when you thought no unexplored nook or cranny remains for any more Holocaust films, along come two challenging documentaries by women directors and two good tries, also by women filmmakers.

All four – three documentaries and one docudrama — were screened at the 2019 New York Jewish Film Festival, presented in January by the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which had far better representation of female filmmakers than in previous years,

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The Lilith Blog

March 6, 2019 by

Abortion is Good for Children. You Heard Right.

As you inevitably consume the news cycle (and try not to get consumed by it), keep this in mind: Nearly 60% of people who have abortions are already parents. This statistic challenges anti-choice portrayals about who has abortions, and it also prompts the question: what do we know about the children of women who have had abortions? And conversely, what about the kids born to women who weren’t able to access abortion?

In 2016, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) released the results of the Turnaway Study. All of the 1,000 women who participated in the study were seeking abortion, but only some were able to access them. Those who were denied abortion care indicated decreased states of mental health, including the presence of anxiety and depression. The women who were able to get the abortion care they sought had positive mental health outcomes. In short, getting an abortion didn’t negatively impact subjects’ mental health, but if a woman couldn’t get the abortion she wanted, her mental health did suffer. (If you’re keeping track, that’s a direct refutation of the anti-choice claim that abortion causes harm to women’s mental health).

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The Lilith Blog

March 5, 2019 by

Don’t Assume Anything About That Kid on the Bus

I see where the mistake came from. Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many Jews of color in our community. But still: don’t assume that that the black boy on the Jewish day school bus is the bus driver’s kid.

Yeah. That happened. I don’t think I need to tell you how it made the kid’s mom feel.  I don’t think I need to tell you what that says about our school community’s assumptions, commitment to inclusivity, and default gatekeeping. But to be crystal clear: it was devastating. 

There’s some context, to be fair. Our bus had been a mess the first couple of weeks of the school year. The driver was late (hours late), partly, it emerged, because of childcare challenges. (Insert full rant about the need for much better and more comprehensive and more affordable childcare in the US.) So yes— there was a day when the driver’s kids, an older girl and an infant boy, were on the bus. Once. Neither of them was five years old.  Neither had been riding the bus every day since the beginning of the year.

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The Lilith Blog

March 5, 2019 by

Honoring Monica Lewinsky

We are proud to host Monica Lewinsky as the featured speaker at the annual benefit of Project Kesher, an organization founded to bring Jewish and feminist connections to women in the Former Soviet Union and beyond. On April 9 in New York City, Project Kesher will celebrate 30 years of sisterhood and honor former board chair and global women’s health activist Barbara Glickstein. Monica Lewinsky will receive Project Kesher’s Kol Isha award for her activism against cyberbullying, and we think we are the first Jewish women’s organization to honor her powerful work.

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