Tag : history

October 23, 2020 by

The Afterlife of Objects

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July 27, 2020 by

We are Dying Because of the Fears of White People

Why are white people so afraid of my Black skin? When will living in this Black body feel liberating and freeing, instead of terrifying? When will this country acknowledge this pain? When will we have to stop running on the wheel of white supremacy? When will we be able to breathe?

I am exhausted, too. All the Black people in me are tired. […] We can’t get into an accident and knock on someone’s door for help. We can’t be too loud in our joy. We can’t be too Black. We can’t go birdwatching. We can’t say “I can’t breathe” and expect to live. We can’t be. We are murdered and blamed for our own deaths. We are tired of running. Tired of being told that we are not enough. Tired of constricting ourselves into tiny boxes. Tired of screaming “Black Lives Matter” at the top of our lungs. Tired of mourning and grieving those we’ve lost—those lost to gun violence, those who’ve slipped through the cracks in our society, those we’ve lost to Covid-19. We are tired.

My liberation is tied to your liberation. I want collective liberation. I need collective liberation. I need to feel free in this Black body. Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) need the time and space to dream, heal, and rest.

This is not a fight of our own creation. We are living and dying because of the fears and imaginations of white people. It is long overdue for white folx to join us in this fight. This feels especially relevant when the mainstream Jewish community continues debating whether Jews of Color exist, and cannot even have conversations about how Ashkenormativity in the Jewish community hurts Jews of Color.

It is no longer the time to stand on the sidelines and cheer us on (and it never was). If you love me, show me. Show me what the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam look like. Will you shield me with your body to protect me from the vicious blows that come from living in a white supremacist society? Will you move through the pain that comes with wading through 400 years of racist and white supremacist history to get to the other side with me?

Black people are magic. We make the impossible possible. We always were and always will be. It amazes me that despite the injustices, the maimings, the killings, and the collective trauma, we haven’t yet burned the world down. I suppose that given all our ancestors went through, we will not go down without a fight. Or, maybe we are just otherworldly and we’re here to inform you of new ways of being.

DENA ROBINSON, The Lilith Blog

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July 27, 2020 by

Our Education is Never Over

“I am Jewish and I am American. I cannot divorce myself from the fact that the country that gave my family a future was built from slavery. I will continue to educate myself about interconnectedness to this land and its many peoples. As a rabbi, I will continue to raise awareness about mass incarceration and bail reform. If I am silent, I am complicit.” 

RABBI MIRA RIVERA, “A Jewish Journey to Montgomery,” by Eleanor J. Bader, The Lilith Blog.

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November 5, 2019 by

Speaking While Female •

Historically, women have been nearly absent from the record of public speaking, with their speeches seldom respected or remembered. In an effort to change that, a new initiative showcases women speakers from antiquity to the present, and around the world. Ida B. Wells on lynching. Rose Schneiderman on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Alexandra Kollontai on revolution. Oprah at the Golden Globes. They’re all here, and hundreds more, with transcripts, video, and, in some cases, audio. Are there historically significant speeches by women you’d like them to include? Send suggestions to: info@speakingwhilefemale.co

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The Lilith Blog

April 30, 2019 by

In the Shadow of Notre Dame

Back in the 1970s when I was a graduate student in Paris, I started a couple of traditions for myself. Now, each time I’m in the city I spend some alone time just sitting in the left-bank’s Square René-Viviani just across from Notre Dame Cathedral, and each time I leave Paris I stand on the Petit Pont, toss a coin into the Seine, and promise to return. And return I do, time and again, for short periods and long to the city that has become my second home.

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October 7, 2014 by

Before the World Was Ready

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Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (R) and guide in the Prauge Jewish Cemetery

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (R) and guide in the Prauge Jewish Cemetery

 

The first women ordained as rabbis in the Unites States — Sally Priesand, Reform, 1972; Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Reconstructionist, 1974; Amy Eilberg, Conservative, 1985; and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Modern Orthodox, 2010 — traveled together to Berlin, Prague and Terezin in July to commemorate and learn more about the life of the first woman rabbi ever ordained. Lilith readers are familiar with the story of Regina Jonas, but new details surfaced during the poignant trip, which was organized by the American Jewish Archive and the Jewish Women’s Archive. Rabbi Eilberg shared these details on the Jewish Women’s Archive blog:

 

 

Rabbi Regina Jonas

Rabbi Regina Jonas

“Regina Jonas, born into a poor Orthodox Jewish family in Berlin in 1902, dreamed of being a rabbi at the astonishing age of 11, far before the Jewish world was ready to support her aspirations. During the 1920s, she studied at the Academy for the Science of Judaism, taking all the same courses and exams required of rabbinical students, and wrote her rabbinic dissertation on the remarkable topic, ‘Can Women Serve as Rabbis?’ The faculty member who seemed ready to ordain her suddenly died and the institution agreed only to grant her the degree of ‘Academic Teacher of Religion.’ But in 1935, she was ordained as a rabbi by Rabbi Max Dienemann, representing the association of liberal (Reform) rabbis in Berlin. At first she was invited to work in schools, Jewish hospitals and nursing homes. As many rabbis fled the country, there was an unmet need for rabbis and Rabbi Jonas was able to serve in several synagogues that were desperate for rabbinic leadership as catastrophe approached. Regina Jonas was deported to Terezin in November of 1942, where she worked with psychologist Viktor Frankl in the camp before being deported to Auschwitz on October 12, 1944, where she was murdered.”

Rose Zoltek-Jick, a Boston law professor and Lilith board member who is the child of a Holocaust survivor, was one of the delegation of about 30 people who made the trip. She wrote, “It was far more meaningful than I could have ever anticipated. I knew that being surrounded by committed Jews would be the only way I could encounter the fears and ghosts that have shaped my being.

“[At the Berlin Jewish museum] it is unsettling (to say the least) to feel the clang of the door in Leibskind’s memorial that shuts you into a concrete tower with a crack of light and a ladder you could never reach; one descends into the maze of memorial stones created by Peter Eisenmann and realizes the hide and seek is not a game, if you are being pursued and you are not sure that there will be anyone waiting to find you at the other end. And it is quite another emotion to sit in Gestapo headquarters and know that you, a Jew, unlike one’s people just one generation ago, will walk out of there alive.

“At the same time, we had the honor of meeting Jews who have created a new rabbinic academy and its graduates who are serving in communities of small numbers all over Europe, and women rabbis who are creating the new norms that are necessary to reach out and spark any hope of renewal.”

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