Lori Lefkovitz

These New Jewish Holidays Brought to You By Feminism

Meeting Our Needs for Celebration and Mourning

I AM IN THE BUSINESS of narratives, and I teach how foundation stories (like those in the Bible) establish patterns that wear ruts in the cultural psyche, such as the pattern of the barren mother, whose desperation, longing, and sense of loss evolved from her biblical origins into the powerfully influential stereotypes of Jewish motherhood; or that of the youngest Jewish son, beloved of the favorite mother, foppish like Joseph, or controlled by his mother, like Jacob, which shaped the characterization of Jewish masculinity in the West, with dire consequences, for centuries. Or the many Bible stories in which the bedroom is the battlefield where men always lose, no matter how strong the hero, a myth of fatal female sexuality (think Yael, Delilah, or Judith) that has long justified its containment.

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