levitra free active ingredient in viagra viagra before and after pictures adderall and cialis generic levitra reviews

The Lilith Blog

January 6, 2020 Mónica Gomery

How Singing (Yes, Singing!) Can Create Radical Jewish Accessibility

LMPS_Philly-13There’s a Hasidic story about a man who lived in Poland, renowned across the country for the fervor of his prayers. So stirring was his reputation that the Baal Shem Tov decided one day to travel great lengths to see this spiritual power for himself. After making a long journey, he found a shepherd boy standing on a hilltop, holding a prayerbook and calling out letters one by one. “Bet! Reish! Vav!” he cried out, on and on, and then, “Master of the Universe, this is all I can do. You know how the prayers should be pronounced. Please, arrange the letters in the proper way.”

When I first heard this story, I recognized myself in it, and countless people I know: those of us for whom Jewish education and Jewish life has not always been accessible. Those of us filled with a hunger to express ourselves, to cry out in prayer, and to contribute, who didn’t start out knowing how to piece the letters together —metaphorically or literally.  I’ve devoted my adult life and my rabbinate to creating spaces where people like me, like this fabled shepherd boy, can access Jewish tradition and thrive. Because, as this story reminds us, brilliance and creativity aren’t dependent on literacy. God receives us as we are, judging not our level of knowledge but rather the depths of our hearts. And as it turns out, one key to finding that space is through music.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 31, 2019 Dove Kent

Can We Cut Off Antisemitism at its Roots?

526493DB-2386-4875-B9FD-82A2A5AD1A07On the antisemitic attack in Monsey:

Last night I had a dream that it was finally time to harvest the root vegetables. In the dream, they had been left too long in the ground, and they were starting to rot.

I woke up, dressed, and went outside to harvest. I wasn’t too late. The first radish, round and bright and pink, allayed my fears. I spent the morning digging up the roots, rinsing them clean, putting them into containers to store. Then I checked the news.

Hasidic Jews in New York attacked with a machete inside their Rabbi’s home on Chanukah. The ninth antisemitic attack in New York during this week. Visibly Jewish people bearing the violent brunt of the story told about all Jews: that we are the ultimate source of people’s suffering. And that by harming us, killing us, that suffering will be alleviated.

  • 2 Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 31, 2019 Liba Vaynberg

On Christmas, and Confusion

Passing. There’s no time like the holidays for it. Passing plates. Passing on obligations and invitations. Passing by the Salvation Army jingles and tourists gawking at Macy’s holiday window displays. And passing by all the trees, wrapped up and dreaming of living rooms.

Suddenly, nothing is secular, so everything is secular. I usually don’t listen to music through headphones—music was made for orchestras and turntables and studios and theaters and speakers. But in December, I do. It’s cold, it’s lonely, and there’s a whole catalogue of carols written to address the temperature and the accompanying existential squall. And all the best songs were written by Jews, of course. So, I put in my headphones and join my ancestors and pass.

When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a report about Irving Berlin. I chose him randomly—I browsed the biography shelves after my immigrant parents, who had waited to get the internet until it became necessary, dropped me off at the library. I remember opening a book and seeing a menorah on the first page and reading something about his Russian roots. Perfect, I thought. He’s just like my dad, this’ll be easy. White Christmas meant nothing to me at the time—I didn’t see it until this year and only because I’ve been consumed by religious inversions recently. 

Hanukkah wouldn’t exist without Christmas. It’s been plucked out of scriptural obscurity and magnified to give Jews something to do. Or rather, something to buy, should we not succumb to the cheerful Christmas monolith. I don’t mean to deride the monolith—I mean to define it. I mean to trace its edges and describe its shape in a way that only certain kinds of outsiders can. Jews occupy a particular intersectional niche: we are frequently able to pass and comment both from the inside and the outside on what we see.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 27, 2019 by

After Loss, a Devotion to Those Afflicted by AIDS

Not long after nurse and public health activist Elena Schwolsky’s husband, Clarence Fitch, died of AIDS in 1990, she left her job at a Newark, New Jersey, pediatric AIDS clinic, enrolled in graduate school, and went to Cuba to study the island’s AIDS treatment protocols and meet people living with the virus. The result of her six-month stay is the recently released Waking in Havana: A Memoir of AIDS and Healing in Cuba (She Writes Press).

Both deeply personal and deeply political, the book is a reflection on the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS and what it means to deliver humane medical care. The impact of the US embargo on Cuba and the collapse of the Soviet Union are part of the story, but Schwolsky’s focus never wavers from the individuals who are working to eradicate the disease. Likewise, people living with the virus are front-and-center in her moving, and often surprising, account.

Schwolsky sat down with Eleanor J. Bader in mid-December to discuss Waking in Havana, her ongoing AIDS work in Cuba, and the pervasive and persistent misconceptions about the island that continue to be promulgated.

Eleanor J. Bader: After working in a pediatric AIDS clinic and losing your husband to the virus, what made you want to do a deep dive into Cuba’s AIDS crisis?  

Elena Schwolsky: I did ask myself if I really wanted to put myself in a Cuban sanitorium, where every resident had the virus and would likely get sicker and sicker. But Clarence had been on the frontlines and it somehow felt comforting to share in this work. It seemed like an important battle. I also think that I had survivor’s guilt.  The universe had given me a pass and I felt committed to using my life in a way that had meaning.  It gave me an identity, and the camaraderie in the AIDS service community had an urgency that bound us together. Plus, I was curious and wanted to see how the epidemic was handled in a different place.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 26, 2019 by

A Jewish Girl’s Summer Among New England WASPs

It’s 1987 and Eve Rosen, a young aspiring editor, abruptly leaves her lackluster job in New York City and decamps to Cape Cod. Once there she becomes the assistant to a well-regarded older male writer and is ushered into the kind of heady literary life she’s only been able to dream about. Author Karen Dukess talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about The Last Book Party (Henry Holt), her witty and tender debut novel.

YZM: Does Eve feel intimidated by the largely non-Jewish crowd she finds herself in withkaren dukess that summer? 

KD: Eve is definitely intimidated by this crowd, but the aspect of their difference from her own background that most unsettles her – and also attracts her – is not that they are not Jewish, but that they are writers and artists. Eve believes that if she had been born into a literary world instead of the conventional, upper-middle class, professional world of her family, her path to becoming a writer would be smoother. She’s comfortable with people like her parents who read The New Yorker (or just subscribe and let it pile up) but she is intimidated by people who write for The New Yorker. Everything about this crowd is “other” to Eve – they are accomplished, sophisticated and worldly in a way that Eve yearns to be. That they are mostly WASPy is just one more factor of difference.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 19, 2019 by

Maiden, Sorceress and Stepmother on Stage, Yiddish-Style

Image courtesy of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Image courtesy of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

I was a little skeptical when I learned that the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene—the company that brought us the excellent Yiddish “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Hannah Senesh”—was going to present “The Sorceress,” an operetta that was the first formal Yiddish theatrical production in America.  Written in 1878 by Avrom Goldfaden, it centers on an innocent young woman suffering at the hands of a devious stepmother and her cohorts, led by the evil title character, traditionally played by a man, as it is here. 

I suspected it would not be feminist. But, I thought, maybe the director and others who restored the play (a massive effort) and created this version find ways to make demeaning stereotypes more palatable for modern audiences.  

Or did the play (“Di Kishemakherin” in Yiddish) actually already depict strong Jewish women in a powerful and provocative way? Was it feminist in 1878 and is it feminist in 2019?

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 18, 2019 by

7 Jewish Feminist Highlights of 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

(Photo by Joan Roth) Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 Between impeachment hearings, an overstocked Democratic presidential field, intensifying attacks on abortion rights, continued governmental atrocities against immigrants, and hate crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions, 2019 has been quite the year (and that’s understatement!). But as Deborah Lipstadt wisely counsels in her book Antisemitism: Here and Now, we need “to balance the ‘oy’ with the ‘joy.’” In that spirit, I offer my annual seven Jewish Feminist Highlights (seven being the number associated with creation and blessing in the Jewish tradition). 

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 11, 2019 by

The Threat to Abortion Rights You Might Not Know About

Imagine you go to purchase birth control, but find it is no longer available.

Imagine you want an abortion, but there are no clinics left in your state.

Imagine you want to start a family and struggle with getting pregnant, so you research and turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy, only to find out they’re illegal.

Imagine at every phase of family planning, your right to have a child, prevent an unwanted pregnancy, or seek an abortion – rights that should be protected by the Constitution – have been taken away.

It sounds like an episode of the Handmaid’s Tale. But last week, when Sarah Pitlyk was confirmed as a judge on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, it became a very real scenario for millions of women who want to make their own decisions on how, when, and if they should have children.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 9, 2019 by

Art in Exile Showcases Work by Artists Who Escaped the Nazis

“Old Walls by the Sea” by Mina Krocherthaler, ~1968 Art in Exile, LBI

“Old Walls by the Sea” by Mina Krocherthaler, ~1968
Art in Exile, Leo Baeck Institute

Dispossession has been an historical constant, but during World War II thousands of German Jews with the means to escape Hitler’s rule found sanctuary in countries throughout the world. Of course, there were challenges aplenty; still, many thrived, finding personal and professional toeholds wherever they landed. 

Some found solace in creativity, something that is showcased in Art in Exile: Paintings by German-Jewish Refugees, an exhibition now on display at New York City’s Leo Baeck Institute (LBI). The show homes in on the creativity of 11 artists who used painting, drawing and collage to explicate their refugee status and illustrate feelings of gratitude, fear, joy, loneliness, and apprehension. Four of the 11 are women.

Dr. Magdalena M. Wrobel, project manager at LBI, notes that in choosing the art, the curators sought a range of styles. But, she adds, they also wanted to illustrate a range of life trajectories. The goal? “To cumulatively demonstrate how an oppressive regime, exclusion, persecution, and finally exile can influence the artistic creativity of those afflicted in various ways.” In addition, Wrobel adds that in order to be included, the works had to be in good condition despite the passage of time and be available for the six-month duration of the show.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

December 6, 2019 Leslea Newman

Lesléa Newman: What Happened When I Was Uninvited to a Yeshiva

Originally posted on the Nerdy Book Club.

I have been invited to hundreds of schools as a visiting author over the last several decades. And there are hundreds (thousands!) of schools who haven’t invited me. But I have never been uninvited to a school. Until now.

Here’s what happened: my publisher set up several days worth of school visits at a few yeshivas (Jewish day schools) in Brooklyn, the city of my birth. I was excited to discuss with students my newest picture book, Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story. Based on my own family history, the book tells how nine-year-old Gittel travels from Europe to America alone in the early 1900’s to escape pogroms and have a better life. It is a story infused with Jewish culture (Gittel’s mother gives Gittel her treasured Shabbos candlesticks to bring to the new world) and Jewish values (Gittel’s mother tells her, “This is God’s plan. God will take care of you.”) I imagined that the students might have their own family immigration stories to share and I was eager to hear them.

  • 1 Comment
  •