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Live from the Lilith Blog

February 12, 2018 by

Wearing the Pants, and the Dress as Well

A photo the author, Julia Clardy, took of her legs.

A photo the author, Julia Clardy, took of her legs.

When I showed a girl in my class the prom dress I was thinking about buying, the first thing she asked me was whether or not I was going to shave for prom. Her question wasn’t really that surprising. People often associate body hair with uncleanliness, and they don’t expect it to appear in formal situations. The fact is, people only question me about my body hair when I’m wearing something more traditionally feminine. When I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt people rarely look twice at my legs or armpits, but when I’m wearing a dress, people consistently double-take. When it comes to how other people see me, it seems that my casual clothes and body hair make more sense together than my more feminine clothes and body hair.

I’ve always been passionate about clothes. I’ve cycled through many fashion phases in my life. For a while in eighth grade I sported a lot of ill-advised Zooey Deschanel inspired looks, but by sophomore year of high school I cut my hair short and wore baggy jeans and fisherman sweaters. No matter what I wore, I never felt unfeminine. Femininity is something inside me, and, for me personally, it’s not tied to my choice of clothes or my decision to shave or not. Regardless of my presentation, I feel like a woman because that is how I identify.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

February 8, 2018 by

When Your Mom Doesn’t Fit the Jewish Mother Stereotype

The author, Kara Sherman, with her mother. Photo credit: Kara Sherman.

The author, Kara Sherman, with her mother. Photo credit: Kara Sherman.

Loud. Abrasive. Bossy. Great cook. These attributes all contribute to the popular caricature of the “Jewish American Mother.” I know plenty of women who fit this description. I’ve taught their kids on Sunday mornings. I love some of them. I can’t stand some of them. My mother is Jewish, and American, and pretty bossy when she needs to be; but she’s never conformed to this stereotype. 

While matzah ball soup and potato pancakes have become deli staples across America, no one can beat an authentic, homemade, kosher-style meal. I grew up on my paternal grandmother’s brisket and latkes, but those kinds of foods were always holiday treats I never expected to have at home. My mother has always hated cooking. She’s worked all my life, has a PhD from Duke University, and doesn’t have the energy to waste on activities she doesn’t enjoy. Sure, I’ve never gone hungry—she comes home every evening and makes a meal for my sister, father, and I—but I’ve always been able to tell that she doesn’t enjoy it. She needs to feed her family, and then she needs to go to sleep. My family views food as fuel, not as something to be savored and enjoyed, largely because of my mother’s attitude toward cooking.

This being said, my mother is still Jewish—and she’s still a damn good mom. She’s never been one for practicing her religion, but she chants the Shabbat candle blessings with me when I ask her to. Her mother was Jewish, her father is Jewish, and without really meaning to, she raised a Jewish family. But she doesn’t like to cook.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

January 22, 2018 by

Women’s Marches from Coast to Coast

Lilith photographer Joan Roth marched in New York City. Her granddaughter, former Lilith intern Shira Gorelick, marched in Los Angeles. See the protests through the lenses of this grandmother/granddaughter team—documenting history in cities on opposite coasts. 

Joan Roth, New York City

clearing for granddaughter joantrump paper mache JoanNCJW Joantwo small children JoanSusan Joantwo sign crowd shot Joansunglasses shot Joan

woman warrior Shira Gorelick, Los Angeles

granddaughters witches shirastrong female lead Shira

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Live from the Lilith Blog

January 12, 2018 by

Yet Another Study Shows Women Can Safely Self-Induce Abortion—When Given Proper Information

A new study conducted in Peru, where abortion is legally restricted, finds that women can safely and effectively self-induce abortion after receiving information from a healthcare provider about how to use the drug misoprostol. Although abortion is common in Peru, few women qualify for legal services, and many instead seek out clandestine providers or use unsafe methods on their own.

Researchers at Ibis Reproductive Health, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region documented outcomes with a harm-reduction model of care implemented at non-governmental clinics in Lima and Chimbote. Women who said they were considering ending their pregnancy were evaluated by nurses, given information about ways to use misoprostol that are scientifically shown to be safe and effective for early abortion. They were encouraged to return to the clinic to ensure the abortion was complete, treat any complications and receive contraception. The study followed 220 women who took misoprostol on their own after a clinic evaluation.

“We found that almost 90% of women reported having a complete abortion after taking misoprostol, and very few had medical complications, such as heavy bleeding, infection or severe pain,” Dr. Daniel Grossman, the director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) and lead author of the study, said. “Our findings corroborate those from a growing number of studies indicating that women can safely and effectively use medication abortion on their own with minimal clinical supervision.” 

Grossman shared with Lilith the ways he sees Judaism informing his work for reproductive justice. “I think my Jewish upbringing instilled in me a strong sense of tikkun olam or ‘repair of the world’ and a desire to work for the welfare of society at large,” he said. “My parents aren’t very observant Jews, but they were active volunteers in our temple’s social action work. My research on access to reproductive health care, as well as my clinical activities, are certainly motivated by a desire to reduce disparities and ensure that all people can attain the highest level of health possible.”

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Live from the Lilith Blog

January 4, 2018 by

You’ve Come a Long Way, Sister: 20 Years After Carlebach Allegations, His Daughter Hears #MeToo

On Tuesday, Lilith’s founder Susan Weidman Schneider sent out an email, subject line “and now, Neshama Carlebach weighs in.” She was writing to Managing Editor Naomi Danis and to Sarah Blustain, who reported for Lilith in 1998 about allegations of sexual harassment against famed rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and the response from his daughter—twenty years later. “Want to respond?” Susan wrote. 

The daughter’s belated response brought up a slew of memories about what it was like to report on sexual harassment before #MeToo, in a community that only now is beginning to reckon with the dark side of its spiritual leader.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

November 16, 2017 by

Reflections from the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Conference

Three Lilith correspondents—Rishe Groner, Amy Stone, and Ann Jackowitz—attended the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom fourth annual conference on November 5. Here is some background on the event we invited them to cover for our readers:

Sheryl Olitsky, is a former Fortune 500 corporate marketing executive and the wife and mother of rabbis. Atiya Aftab, is a former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General and the immediate past president of the NJ Muslim Lawyers’ Association. Together, they launched the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom nationally in 2013 and convened the organization’s first annual conference in 2014. The number of attendees has since mushroomed six-fold.

The Sisterhood is the fastest-growing, grassroots movement of Muslim and Jewish women, with over 150 chapters, in more than 25 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada. More than 1000 women have put their names on the waiting list to join.

Its members are secular and religious Jewish women with German, Eastern Europe, Middle Eastern and Sephardic ancestry, and Muslim women of Turkish, Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani and Palestinian descent. 

The Sisterhood consists of small groups of equal numbers of Jews and Muslims who meet regularly to share Shabbat dinners and iftars (meals eaten to break fast during Ramadan), get a better understanding of each other’s lives and faiths, concentrate on their similarities, respect their differences in a safe environment, without interference from the presence of men, and perform acts of tzedakah and sadaqa (note the similar pronunciations), one of which included helping Syrian refugees find shelters.

The Mincha and Asr prayers being held side-by-side. Mincha was led Andrea Hodos, creator of Moving Torah Workshops—physical, spiritual and intellectual. The Asr afternoon prayer was led by Tahera Ahmad, Director of Interfaith Engagement and Associate University Chaplain, Northwestern University. Photo credit: Amy Stone.

The Mincha and Asr prayers being held side-by-side. Mincha was led Andrea Hodos, creator of Moving Torah Workshops—physical, spiritual and intellectual. The Asr afternoon prayer was led by Tahera Ahmad, Director of Interfaith Engagement and Associate University Chaplain, Northwestern University. Photo credit: Amy Stone.

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Live from the Lilith Blog

September 4, 2017 by

Lilith Labor Day Articles Through The Years

1280px-Abolish_child_slavery 2The Triangle Fire—Through the Eyes of a Cartoonist (1978) 
An important part of Jewish history and the labor movement retold as you’ve never seen it before. 

You Are What You Wear (1997) 
A report on the proliferation of sweatshop labor in the garment industry, and the coalition of Jewish women in the spirit of the ILGW who came together to try to stop it. 

Labor Pains (2010-2011)
Lilith’s report on the creation of the Freelancer’s Union, and the state of women in the gig economy. 

Jewish Women on Rampart for Graduate Worker Unions (2017)
Why graduate workers at universities across the U.S. are coming together to form unions, and how Jewish women see it as connecting with their heritage. 

Head of Workmen’s Circle on Strike Solidarity, Yiddish and Fighting Fascism this Labor Day (2017)
Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle talks about the future of the labor movement, the continued influence of Jewish radical women and High Holidays with Lilith.  

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Live from the Lilith Blog

February 28, 2017 by

Remarks from the (First-Ever) Lilith Launch Party

Rebecca Katz, former Lilith intern and current Lilith cartoonist, speaking at the launch party. Photo Credit: Joan Roth.

Rebecca Katz, former Lilith intern and current Lilith cartoonist, speaking at the launch party at the JCC Harlem. Photo Credit: Joan Roth.

Lilith decided that in these chilly times we need the warmth of one another’s company. It’s a great time to have feminist friends! For the first time in our 40-year history, we held a party at the new JCC Harlem celebrating the launch of an issue our magazine. In case you missed it, here’s a chance to sample some of what was said. 

Rebecca Katz on What It Means for a Workplace to Be Feminist
“That’s when I learned what a feminist environment was. What it meant to be in a group of women who support each other, who lift each other up, who support and drive each other to be better.”

Elizabeth Mandel on Embracing Judaism and Feminism
“When I was growing up in the 1970’s, my mother, like so many women of her generation, didn’t finish college, stayed home when her three daughters were small, later worked part time as my father’s assistant in his medical office, and then, when we were in middle school, went back to school to finish her college degree, got her Master’s in international affairs and went on to a successful and inspiring career. She was—is—strong and determined, a role model for me and for my sisters—but, also like so many women of her time, she insisted that she was not a feminist. 

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Live from the Lilith Blog

February 10, 2017 by

Recipes for Solace

cooking

There are many ways to respond to our current political moment—phoning your representatives, protesting at airports, screaming into a pillow. But sometimes, we just need to decompress and eat comfort food. Here, four Lilith contributors share what they cook up when in need of emotional sustenance. Have your own recipe for solace? Tell us about it at info@lilith.org.


When I had my first inklings on election night of what the outcome was going to be, I abandoned the TV in my living room for my kitchen and made myself pancakes to sustain me to watch through to the bitter end.

Here’s the current iteration of my Whole Grain Pancakes. (more…)

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