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Tag : judaism

The Lilith Blog

August 5, 2020 by

Nostalgia for the 1939 World’s Fair

Neither Maxine Roth nor Vivi Holden wanted to be sent to World’s Fair in the spring of 1939; Max was angling for a journalism internship at the New York Times and Vivi was excited by a starring role—her first—in the Hollywood film Every Last Sunset. But both young women do end up at the fair.  What they learn—about themselves, the nature of friendship and indeed life—are the basis for the novel We Came Here to Shine (St. Martin’s, $16.99). Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough chats with author Susie Orman Schnall about her entertaining new summer read—think of it as a perfect respite from the horror of the daily news.   (more…)

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The Lilith Blog

July 31, 2020 by

Is Rape a Crime? A Conversation with Michelle Bowdler

Is Rape a Crime: A Memoir, an Investigation and a Manifesto (Flatiron, $27.99) ought to come with a warning: parts of this book are so harrowing that I frequently had to put it down for a spell before picking it up again, avid to continue. Long after the fact, author Michelle Bowdler returns to the home invasion and brutal rape she suffered as a young woman.  As one might expect, the attack both branded and shaped her.  When she was finally ready to explore the subject in print, she was able to go deep into her own experience but also wide, to place it within a historical and cultural context.  Bowdler talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about what this literary exploration has meant for her—and what she hopes it will mean to others. 

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The Lilith Blog

July 30, 2020 by

Why My Hair Falls the Way it Does

When I was 11 years old, my father sat me down on a broken, four-legged stool that had been in our apartment for years. Facing me, he began to hum the tune of a Tracy Chapman song. As I sat staring at him, I noticed his long dreads and the scar he had from when he was a boy in Jamaica. I prayed the song would never end.

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July 27, 2020 by

Who Shall Die…

Friday would’ve been the 65th birthday of my first wife and her yahrzeit is this week. As I thought about the beauty of her laugh and the pain of her end, so different from those on whose behalf we cry out, the words of the Unetaneh Tokef—a prayer that inspires fear and awe during the High Holidays—came to me.

Both the Unetaneh Tokef and the impact of this list of killings of Black Americans (compiled by an unknown community member) inspired “Unetaneh Tofek for Black Lives”.

Each day we hazard our Black lives in the Court of the White World

We know our worth

Yet the white world is judge-self-appointed

We pass before you to be counted

12.5 million bodies stolen

1.8 million mercifully avoided your shores

Stolen shores, stolen land

10.7 million arrived unsafely

…times 401 years

…times infinite human indignities

…times ⅗ of a human being

We now number 47.8 million

 

 

In the morning it is written and by curfew it is sealed

Who shall die while jogging (#AhmaudArbery)

Who shall die while relaxing in the comfort of their home (#BothamJean #AtatianaJefferson)

Who shall die while seeking help after a car crash (#JonathanFerrell #RenishaMcBride).

Who shall die while holding a cellphone (#StephonClark).

Who shall die while decorating for a party (#ClaudeReese).

Who shall die while leaving a party (#JordanEdwards #SeanBell)

 Who shall die while enjoying music (#JordanDavis).

Who shall die while selling music…trying to make a way outta no way (#AltonSterling).

 

Who shall die while sleeping (#AiyanaJones)

Who shall die while worshipping the Lord (#Charleston9).

 

Who shall die for a traffic violation (#SandraBland).

Who shall die while coming from the store (#MikeBrown and #TrayvonMartin).

 

Who shall die while playing cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

Who shall die while lawfully carrying a weapon (#PhilandoCastile, #FreddieGray).

Who shall die while on the shoulder of the road with car problems (#CoreyJones #TerrenceCrutcher).

Who shall die in the first hours of the new year (#OscarGrant)

Who shall die while shopping at Walmart (#JohnCrawford).

Who shall die while cashing a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

 

Who shall die while reading a book in their own car (#KeithScott).

Who shall die while taking a walk with their stepfather (#CliffordGlover).

 

Who shall die while reaching for their wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

Who shall die while running away (#WalterScott).

 

Who shall die while asking a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

Who shall die while begging for their life, their breath (#EricGarner #GeorgeFloyd).

 

Who shall die by the effects of supremacy, greed, and apathy

…who by beast, indeed

 

“But repentance, prayer and charity temper judgment’s severe decree”

“But repentance, prayer and charity avert judgment’s severe decree?”

But turningconnection and giving, these return us to our Gd?

Whose repentance? Whose prayer? Whose charity?

Temper, please temper

Temper already! Temper… 

For sins against God, the Day of Atonement brings forgiveness; for sins against one’s fellowman, the Day of Atonement brings no forgiveness till he has become reconciled with the fellowman he wronged. (Mishnah Yoma 8:9)

“The Day of Atonement brings no forgiveness 

till he has become reconciled with the fellowman he wronged.”

When will you atone? How will you atone?

 

For you, like us, will be judged.

You, like us, will return to dust.

 


 

Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman is one of the co-founders of Romney Associates, Inc. She has more than 25 years of experience organizing, educating, and developing curriculum for social justice. Her writing about racial intimacy and anti-racism at her Brooklyn synagogue can be found in the chapter she co-authored in UnCommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race and Friendship (Peter Lang). 

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The Lilith Blog

July 16, 2020 by

“Better Things:” Your Jewish and Frankly Feminist Review

Better Things reached season 4 and protagonist Sam’s kids are still assholes: the formerly angelic Duke a little bit more, the always caustic Frankie a little bit less, and we barely see lovely wild child Max anymore. Time, in the world of this funny, melancholic, and moving show about raising three daughters as a divorced single mom in LA, is progressing. And Sam – played by director and creator Pamela Adlon, herself, like Sam, a single divorced mother with a Jewish father – is moving on too.  This season is all about movement: in the water that forms the backdrop to every episode in one way or another; in the lingering camera shots that dwell on paintings, or facial expressions, in an expected black and white silent movies; and in the interviews of women that dwell lovingly and joyfully and painfully on their words as if to insist that these words matter. 

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The Lilith Blog

July 14, 2020 by

Stitching for Survival: the Story of Holocaust Survivor Trudie Strobel

Some artists work with a brush; others with a pen, and still others with their voices, bodies, or a musical instrument. Trudie Strobel’s instrument is a slender needle, and she wields it with fierce and incredible power. Lilith first learned of Trudie Strobel’s recovery of her Holocaust past when she told Rabbi Susan Schnur of recreating the treasured doll the Nazis had torn away from her when she was a small child. When Jody Savin encountered Strobel’s work, she knew she had to tell her story (Stitched & Sewn: The Life-Saving Art of Holocaust Survivor Trudie Strobel, Prospect Park Books, $35).  Savin talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the delicate process of excavating Strobel’s harrowing past and how her art was a way of coming to terms with it.

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The Lilith Blog

July 14, 2020 by

Everyone Is an Artist

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 4.30.29 PMIn April, Lilith Magazine’s staff found themselves discussing the intense feelings of isolation that they were experiencing during quarantine. What practices were we turning to ground ourselves? How were we connecting with friends and family when we could no longer be in the same space together? Two Lilith staff members, Rachel Fadem and Rebecca Katz, discovered a joint love of zine making that allowed them to wrestle with all the uncertainties surfacing at the beginning of the pandemic– and find time for joy. As a result, Lilith’s Jewish Feminist Quaranzines Maker Space was born.

On Tuesday, July 14 and July 28, 8-9 PM Eastern, join Lilith to explore questions at the intersection of art, justice, and Judaism through the feminist medium of zines. RSVP Here.

Zine, short for magazine or fanzine, is a self-published work motivated by the self-expression of the creator. From their creation in the 1930s to today, zines have been a radical, disruptive tool dedicated to sharing narrative, voices, and information ignored or erased by mainstream media.

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The Lilith Blog

June 11, 2020 by

To Save the Planet and Ourselves, Root Down to Love

There are five things at the forefront of my mind these days; the national struggle against racist violence, the climate crisis, the coronavirus, death, family, but underlying it all… love. 

A phrase that’s always bothered me is, “You have to love yourself before someone else can love you.” At its core, it’s a true statement. Self-love is the foundation from which all healthy and fulfilling love grows.

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The Lilith Blog

June 9, 2020 by

Unetaneh Tokef for Black Lives

Friday would’ve been the 65th birthday of my first wife and her yahrzeit is this week. As I thought about the beauty of her laugh and the pain of her end, so different from those on whose behalf we cry out, the words of the Unetaneh Tokef—a prayer that inspires fear and awe during the High Holidays—came to me.

Both the Unetaneh Tokef and the impact of this list of killings of Black Americans (compiled by an unknown community member) inspired “Unetaneh Tofek for Black Lives”.

Each day we hazard our Black lives in the Court of the White World

We know our worth

Yet the white world is judge-self-appointed

We pass before you to be counted

12.5 million bodies stolen

1.8 million mercifully avoided your shores

Stolen shores, stolen land

10.7 million arrived unsafely

…times 401 years

…times infinite human indignities

…times ⅗ of a human being

We now number 47.8 million

(more…)

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The Lilith Blog

June 9, 2020 by

Where Was the “Peace” 400 Years Ago?

My father is the most peaceful man I know.

A few years ago, he came home from the watch store, and told us that the owner had said to him, “What would people think if they walked in and saw a nigger working here?” after my father had casually said something about becoming his apprentice and learning how to fix watches. In that very moment, I wish my dad hadn’t been the peaceful man that he is.

“… a nigger working here…”

I think about this story frequently. I was so angry at my father for not screaming in the owner’s face, or arguing with him until he had lost his voice. My father had let me down. I wanted him to fight, but I never told him this.

A few weeks ago in an argument, I brought this story up again, and in an instant I finally revealed to my father how I truly felt; how I felt about him walking out the door before an argument could even begin. About how his actions made me lose faith in his ability to defend the color of my skin. As he listened to my concerns, with his legs crossed and his eyes calm but focused, he soaked up the emotion that poured out of his 18-year-old daughter. That day, my father told me that if he had gotten into an argument, he would have been risking his daughters having a future without a father or his sons having to lock the door at night, because they would now be the oldest men in the house. He wanted to fight, but he had to choose.

I thought my father hadn’t fought that day because he gave in. I thought he had let them win, when in reality, he had decided that his life, vows, and the promises that he had made to his wife and children trumped everything. His family was more important than defending the color of his skin, in that rundown watch shop. My father decided to swallow his anger in the face of a man who only saw his Black skin, a man who perceived my father’s brown eyes as more threatening than the small pocket knife dangling from his own jeans.

My father chose us. He chose to come home instead of lying on a rug in a pool of blood, alone, and unable to defend the skin that would be soaked in the very red that is printed on the flag of a country that promised to protect him.

There will be more racist shop owners, there will be more blood, there will be more sons and daughters waiting on the stoop for their fathers who are never coming home.

Who’s gonna raise the kids of the parents who were murdered screaming “George Floyd?” Who’s gonna carry the body of a young Black man who has not even graduated high school yet?

My father is the most peaceful man I know, and I love him for that. But I won’t wait for my brothers to be the next young Black men that “fit the description.” I want to see my 13-year-old brother graduate from middle school.

I want to be peaceful, but where was the peace when my people hung from trees, naked and stripped of their lives?

Where was the peace when Emmett Till was mutilated and murdered at the age of 14? 
Where was the peace when unarmed Breonna Taylor was shot eight times in the comfort of her own home? Where was the peace when two men in a pickup truck chased Ahmaud Arbery, an innocent man, and fired a shotgun into his stomach?

We need more peaceful people like my father, but I won’t wait for his blood to be spilled.

So let me ask you again,
Where was the peace 400 years ago?

—-

Makeda Zabot-Hall is on the editorial board of jGirls Magazine, where this piece was originally published. You can read more of Makeda’s work here

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