The Lilith Blog

April 11, 2019 Mona Zeldis McDonough

A Novel Invents a Musical Masterpiece

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 5.30.09 PM

Lauren Belfer’s And After the Fire, is a complex, highly textured novel that moves easily between past and present to tell the converging stories of musicians and those in their orbits, centering around one imagined musical masterpiece through the centuries.

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Belfer talks to Lilith’s Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the inner melody that led to this highly original and haunting story. 

Yona Zeldis McDonough: What inspired you to write about a fictional piece of music?

 

  • 1 Comment
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 10, 2019 by

A Feminist Takes on the Constitution—Live on Broadway

The easiest word to overlook in the title “What the Constitution Means to Me” is the “me.” The exceptionally moving and surprisingly entertaining play by Heidi Schreck now running at the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway is about the Constitution, of course.

But it is also about Schreck—who plays herself, the central character—in resonant personal ways: Consider the story she tells of her own great-great grandmother, brought to America when she was purchased for $75 through a matrimonial publication, later placed in a mental institution and dead at age 36 of what the death certificate called “melancholia.” Domestic violence may have been part of the cause. 

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 9, 2019 Yona Zeldis McDonough

A Jewish Beauty’s Journey, in Fiction

images
Entertaining and witty, Susan Dworkin’s novel, The Garden Lady—chronicling a woman of notable beauty—nonetheless asks some penetrating questions about the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep going.

Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough talks to Dworkin, a feminist who worked at Ms. in its early days, about what Gloria Steinem called her “new dreams of justice” and how she’s pursued them both in this novel and elsewhere. 

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 8, 2019 by

Israel’s Trailblazing Candidates Dima Taya and Michal Zernowitzki

 

joan election 4 joan election 3 joan roth israeli election 2 joan roth israeli election

Worlds apart, and running on the tickets of opposing parties, Dima Taya and Michal Zernowitski both plan to play a key role in bringing peace, seated at the same governmental table. In addition to running as the first Muslim women on the Likud party ticket, Dima Taya (Dima Sayyif Tayia Zidan) at 27, would also be the youngest Knesset member in Israel’s history. Another trailblazer, 37-year-old Michal Zernowitski, is the first ultra-Orthodox Haredi woman on the Labor party slate. And, while Taya is listed as number 62 on the Likud party ticket, Zernowitski  is positioned as number 21, which for a new candidate is very high.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 8, 2019 by

A (Feminist) Defense of Barbie as She Turns 60

Barbie has just turned 60, a long lifespan for a toy. But then Barbie has always been more than a toy—much more.  She was the brainchild of Ruth Handler, a savvy, stubborn Jewish businessman woman (her husband Elliot was the second half of Mattel) who got the idea watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls. These dolls were women, and integral to their charm was the fact that they came with numerous outfits and could be endlessly redressed. Handler envisioned a plastic, 3-D version of the doll, which would have represented a significant departure from the baby-and-little-girl dolls of the period. 

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 3, 2019 by

Comic: “Anxiety Nights”

Anxiety has been a familiar companion in my life. Starting in high school, I have used tv as an effective and addictive coping mechanism for anxiety. Bedtime is a particular battleground for my anxious mind.

I know mindful breathing, reading, and meditative tapes are the healthy way to transition into sleep. But watching “Bob’s Burgers” is so much easier. 

(Previously: “Hello, Anxiety, My Old Friend“)

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

April 3, 2019 by Janet Rosen

Fiction: The Orphans

Still slender, short, and small-boned as adults, the orphans rush the buffet table at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and office parties–even when they know there will be dancing. In their good heels and Lord & Taylor dresses they form a line but sway from side to side while waiting, peeking around the person in front of them to see if there will be plenty of roast beef because there is never enough roast beef.

There is never enough roast beef, never enough chicken Kiev, smoked salmon, shrimp scampi, broccoli with hollandaise, pommes au fromage, those flaky miniature croissants, even the warm, gummy pasta in a pink sauce that has been a feature at these events lately.

  • 2 Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

March 28, 2019 by

“Commanded to Repair the World:” A Young Writer Confronts Climate Change

I’ll be 24 next week. And in ten years, I’ll probably be buying my first house. I might be celebrating a wedding anniversary that’s not even in the double-digits yet. I may be ready to have a child, or I may already have one or two. I should not be thinking of en years as a period at the end of a sentence. It should be an ellipse… a bridge to a continued narrative of my life.

And yet, in the wake of the climate report, ten years has come to mean something entirely different. In the context of climate change, ten years means a point of no return. Hence, my crippling fear.  

  • 1 Comment
  •  

The Lilith Blog

March 27, 2019 by

Standing Up for Immigrant Families, One Case at a Time

When New York Law School professor Lenni B. Benson created the Safe Passage Project in 2006, she did not anticipate that the number of unaccompanied minors trying to find asylum in the United States would skyrocket, going from 16,067 in 2011 to 41,456 in 2017.

But it has, causing tens of thousands of children to be taken into federal facilities where they will face formal removal proceeding that require them to appear before a judge and explain why they left home.

  • No Comments
  •  

The Lilith Blog

March 22, 2019 by Eleanor J. Bader

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.

  • No Comments
  •