From the Editors
Introducing our new editors
Bridges' editorial board is changing and growing again. For many years we worked in a semi-collective style, with our volunteer editors—living across North America—taking on editing responsibilities as needed and when their schedules allowed. We're moving now toward each editor having responsibilities for specific areas or genres. Jessica Stein continues as poetry editor and Faith Jones as editor for Yiddish. Clare Kinberg, our Managing Editor, is also the specific editor for book reviews. Two former guest editors, Carolivia Herron [Volume 9 Number 1, Writing and Art by Jewish Women of Color] and Yosefa Raz [Volume 10 Number 1, Amid Grief: Writings by Israeli Jewish Women on Peace Seeking] have joined our editorial board. Emily Milner, a long time friend of Bridges and former coordinator of the Jewish Women's Resource Center of the National Council of Jewish Women NY Section, has joined the board as our regular copy editor and proofreader.
Carolivia Herron will be our editor for fiction. Carolivia is the author of Thereafter Johnnie and Nappy Hair, and is a retired professor of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing currently living in Washington, DC. Carolivia has held literature and creative [End Page 1] writing appointments at Harvard University, Brandeis University, Binghamton University and the College of William and Mary. She writes fiction, directs the PAUSE creative writing literacy program, and leads the Jewish Writers Circle sponsored by the Washington, DC Jewish Study Center. Her works in press and in progress include, Little Georgia and the Apples, High Seas for Children, and Asenath And Our Song of Songs. Little Georgia and the Apples is a family folk tale taken from her mother's childhood. High Seas for Children recounts the coming of her Jewish ancestors from Spain and North Africa to the Georgia Seas Islands where they intermarried with the Geechee African people. Asenath is a comic novel describing the previous and contemporary lives of Asna't, the ancient African woman who married the biblical Joseph.
Yosefa Raz was raised in Jerusalem and now lives in Berkeley, CA. After completing her army service and B.A. from Hebrew University, she immigrated to the United States, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from University of California - Davis. Her poetry book, In Exchange for a Homeland, was published by Swan Scythe Press in 2004. Beginning with our next issue, Yosefa will be Bridges editor for Israeli and Arab writers. Following her work with us on the Israel issue, she is committed to bringing Israeli Arab voices to Bridges readers, including, we hope, Bedouin women from the Negev, Druz, and Palestinian women living both in the Middle East and in the diaspora. Yosefa is a poet who gives special attention to voices that are rich with details and straddle complex political and interpersonal positions. On her frequent trips back to Israel she will be able to strengthen Bridges' connections to Israeli writers and translators. Following her desire to make the editorial process more transparent she plans to introduce the texts she edits by giving context to the writers and explaining her editorial choices.
On a topic as intensely personal as health and health care, the Bridges editors had no intention of putting together a comprehensive or definitive collection. Yet, as often in our pages, the searching voices taken together have created a layered statement, a record of profound concerns and passionate involvement.
We were at first surprised that a majority of pieces we received for this issue concerned final illnesses, dying and death; still there's barely a pessimistic note. A lot of reflection, and a lot more roll-up-our-sleeves and get busy, whether in accounts of specific organizational activism (Maskit Bendel, Physicians for Human Rights—Israel and Elaine Fox, Physicians for a National Health Plan), or the deeply personal work on the illnesses, caretaking and death of parents (Willa Schneberg, Jyl Lynn Felman, Brenda Serotte, Ellen Meeropol, Jessica Weissman.) Reproductive health and rights, birth and motherhood are also running themes as is our individual responses to living with cancer and chronic illness and pain. We are especially pleased to grace these pages with Susan Eisenberg's sardonic photography and the hard-hitting graphic work of Lisa Link.
This very healthy mix of fiction, poetry, essays and creative work will give you plenty to think about. Please write to us and share your thoughts.
Our upcoming issues
Our Fall 2006 issue (deadline March 1, 2006) will be on the theme "resisting the Right: yesterday, today and tomorrow." How can we, as feminists committed to Jewish [End Page 2] principles of social justice, continue to put forward our vision in this desperately difficult time? Bridges plans to foster discussion of this question by publishing material that looks back at other eras and across other political systems, describes current efforts at organizing against the Right, and envisions possible directions for the future.
Spring 2007 (deadline September 1, 2006) will be a thematic departure for Bridges: work inspired by the biblical Miriam. Our friend and colleague Enid Dame (her memory is a joy) was editing a collection on Miriam when she passed away in 2003. Enid's essay, notes and poems on Miriam give us a solid start on this "powerful and silenced woman." Musing on Miriam has stimulated much feminist art and writing over the past decade, and there is already one fine anthology on Miriam (All the Women Followed Her: A Collection of Writings on Miriam the Prophet and the Women of Exodus, edited by Rebecca Schwartz, 2001). For this issue of Bridges, we are especially interested in work on Miriam that motivates us toward tikkun olam, repair of the world, including portraits of historic and contemporary women activists, outcasts and healers.
For an essay on Miriam, Enid wrote:
Miriam is not Moses, not Aaron, but a powerful female force in her own right—singer, choreographer, prophet, big sister—operating at the vital moment when the Jewish family coalesced into a Nation. It is our loss that she was excluded, exiled, made to represent "the Other," rather than given her due as an essential female presence in her culture. Fortunately, she was never totally eradicated. And today, thanks to the works of women poets boldly claiming their right to enter and revise traditional texts, her voices can be heard in all their splendid variety, their ability to soothe and stimulate, to cause unease, and to offer comfort.
This issue of Bridges, dedicated to Enid's memory, will honor her.
Submissions to Bridges must be unpublished and original. Send duplicate copies and SASE for reply or submit via e-mail. Mail to Bridges, PO Box 1206, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A correction to Volume 10 Number 2
Due to an editorial mistake, a draft version of Miryem-Khaye (Amanda) Seigel's delightful new Yiddish song, "Gikher, shvester/Faster, Sisters," was published in our last issue. Our sincere apologies to Miryem-Khaye, and all readers. On the following pages is the song as it should have appeared. [End Page 3]
Click for larger view
Hey, Rokhl-Rivkele/Play me a tune/So that not just the men/Get to jump on the stage
Hey, Basye-Malkele/Gimme some of that fiddle/Let's all dance/In a circle
Hey, Khaye-Zisl/Just tap your foot/Leave your shoes behind/And that old wig, too./Hey, Gitl- Dvoyre/Beat on that old drum/Let's dance the circle dance!
Come on, folks,/Let's dance now!/Come on, kids,/Let's dance now!/Come on, my dear sisters,/ Let's dance now—/ Let us all/Rejoice
Hey, Sore-Reyzl/Burst into song like a bird./Embrace the world/Let her spin/Like a dreydl./Hey, Beyle-Blume/Just blow your clarinet now./Let it be sweeter/Than wine itself./Hey, Mirl-Perl/ Dance a sher/Turn around now/And run like a pony.../Oh those wild beauties/With their pearly teeth/They draw me/Into the circle too.
Quiet!/The rebbe's coming!/Quiet!/The rebbe's coming!/Now let all of us Hasidim/Clap our hands:/Oy, our beloved rabbi!
She's coming now, the rabbi,/She's coming now, the rabbi,/Here is the Torah/And we're ready for her now.
Faster, faster,/My sisters, my sisters!