Author Archives: Anne Lapidus Lerner

Anne Lapidus Lerner

About Anne Lapidus Lerner

Dr. Anne Lapidus Lerner is director and founder of the Jewish Women's Studies Program, director of the Jewish Feminist Research Group, and assistant professor of Jewish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Dr. Lerner teaches courses in Hebrew and American Jewish poetry, modern Jewish literature, and the portrayal of women in Jewish literature, and the Jewish life-cycle.

Lilith Magazine

Reprinted from

Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia

with permission of the author and the

Jewish Women’s Archive

.

Founded in 1976 by a small group of women led by Susan Weidman Schneider “to foster discussion of Jewish women’s issues and put them on the agenda of the Jewish community, with a view to giving women–who are more than fifty percent of the world’s Jews–greater choice in Jewish life,” Lilith: The Independent Jewish Women’s Magazine has remained true to its mission.

Lilith CoverFrom its inception, it has intentionally, though not exclusively, emphasized religious and social issues, with somewhat less focus on areas such as economics or politics. In 2004 the editors changed the tag line on the cover to read “independent, Jewish & frankly feminist.” The contours of the Jewish women’s movement and its own consciousness of a role that exceeds that of a magazine can be traced through nearly three decades of publication.

Although, during its initial years, publication was sporadic, the magazine has settled into a regular rhythm of quarterly issues. About half of the ten thousand copies printed go to subscribers; the rest are sold on newsstands or distributed as single copies. The readership is estimated to be twenty-five thousand. Advertising, sparse since Lilith‘s inception, has grown, but it continues to cover a relatively small proportion of the cost of the magazine. Subscriptions, tax-deductible contributions, and grants cover the rest.

Lilith, the Character

The character Lilith, whom the magazine honors in its name, was the mythic first partner of Adam. While absent from the biblical text of the creation story, she is assumed by later interpreters to have merited banishment from the Garden of Eden because she refused to do Adam’s bidding, particularly in sexual matters. She is the quintessential female rebel, a woman who would not take direction from a man.

According to some rabbinic versions of this legend, her children were killed, leading her to attempt vengeance by killing infants. By taking her name, Lilith attempts a rehabilitation of her reputation and underscores the extent to which it identifies with the voices of women who who are not afraid to take some risks to ensure gender equality.