Spring 2021

Will the Earth Forgive Us?

All things periods • Patriarchy, race and the Cosmos • Ecofeminists answer urgent questions • A sex therapist loses (and finds!) her orgasms in shul • The Jewish Jane Austen

In This Issue

Lilith Feature

Menstrual Blood, in Terror and Glory

Susan Weidman Schneider

Menstrual blood and bleeding have been simultaneously powerful and shameful in the lives of many. For Jewish women, the particular religious strictures and customs have long added many more layers to this natural aspect of mammalian cycles—even for those who don’t themselves observe Judaism’s many regulations regarding the “impure” status of someone currently menstruating.  From... Read more »

Lilith Feature

How a Sex Therapist Misplaced Her Orgasms in Synagogue. Then Found Them There.

Bat Sheva Marcus

Let’s face it. We like to blame sexual problems on our relationships.   How do I know this? I’m a sex therapist. And maybe more important, I’m a woman. Of the hundreds of women I see in our practice, nearly everyone blames any issues that come up on her relationship.  Janie’s husband is not interested in... Read more »

Lilith Feature

Will the Earth Forgive Us?

The earth is dying. Permafrost is melting, wildfires are raging, chunks of glaciers are falling into the ocean with a thunderous crash. A pond is no longer safe for skating in the winter. Allergens and droughts and “natural” disasters are deadlier. Polluted soil is not supporting crops. And everywhere this happens, existing inequalities of gender,... Read more »

More Articles

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“Where the Hell Have I Been?”

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In 2019, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn—a veteran of the Jewish nonprofit world—founded Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action. In March 2021, Steven Spielberg selected the organization, which has quickly sprung into the center of the vibrant climate justice movement, to receive a portion of his million-dollar Genesis Prize. Arielle Silver-Willner: What drove you to start... Read more »

“Judaism is Ecological at its Heart”

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In 1988, when many people were ignoring ecologists, Rabbi Ellen Bernstein founded Shomrei Adamah (Keepers of the Earth), the first Jewish ecological organization in the U.S. Rabbi Bernstein sought to draw attention to the “ecological heart” of Judaism. Arielle Silver-Willner: You describe the ecological crisis as a “spiritual crisis.” How do you connect Judaism, feminism... Read more »

Jewish Ecofeminism through Time

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Jewish environmentalism began long before the current climate crisis. According to the Torah, “God said unto Abraham—go out from the land of your father where you now live and go to the land which I will show you.” An ecologically conscious interpretation of this passage links the spiritual and physical worlds, centering the land which... Read more »

Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder

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When I was three and a half, we emigrated, travelling by train from Kharkov, Ukraine, via Poland, to Vienna. Our year in Vienna was a migratory stopover, only we differed from warblers in that we had no idea where exactly we would end up. Unlike the Prothonotary warbler that breeds in the same trees every... Read more »

My Scarlet Summer

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A six-story building on Tiebout Avenue in the Fordham section of the Bronx. Inside apartment 3C live five inhabitants, then four, then three. A bipolar father in a manic state being thrown out by my mother. We are four. Me shrugging (What could I say?) when an elderly neighbor calls me aside to ramble, “Your... Read more »

Talking All Things Periods with Anita Diamant & Emilia Diamant

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My mom, writer and Jewish educator Anita Diamant, is my hero. It wasn’t always that way—I was sort of a nightmare as a pre-teen/teen—but now we’re really close, and now nothing is off the table when we talk. I was excited to chat with her about our new favorite family topic, menstruation! Her new book,... Read more »

Fiction: This Has Been Declared an Unlawful Assembly

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THE CITY WAS burning and I had my first period cramps in a year. At first I had thought it was anxiety—death in the streets, cases piling up at the hospital—then I thought perhaps gas, as I do have a relatively delicate stomach. But no, pure uterine pain. Small flecks of blood in the toilet... Read more »

From the Cosmos to the Patriarchy

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As a Black Jewish person who was socially assigned female at birth, I wasn’t supposed to become a theoretical physicist. Jewish women are familiar with this phenomenon, after having been locked out of the rabbinate for centuries. While theoretical physicists, like Rabbis, get to think about exciting questions regarding the origins of spacetime, gatekeeping impacts who... Read more »

The Jewish Jane Austen Whose Novels Were Almost Forgotten

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Emma Wolf took on assimilation and identity before most American Jews were even talking about it.

Poetry: Bubbeh in Shul

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in a cream colored Chanel suit she got at Loehmann’s licks a crooked finger turns a slim page in a prayer book with a busted binding. I never knew her more still than she was in temple no one, not even God calling her name. At home she watched Days of Our Lives while ironing... Read more »

Fiction: My Daughter’s Boyfriends

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“Is it true?” I ask her. “Would you really kill yourself if Owen left you?” She nods solemnly. I fight the urge to call the police, her father, my husband.

Fiction: Still Life

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When he didn’t answer, Ida took her cart and gently, just a touch really, pushed it against the back of his knees. It was barely a tap. But the shmendrick started screaming. "What’s wrong with you, you crazy old woman?!”

Can I Be Angry?

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