- From the Editor
This is an open, un-themed issue of Bridges, which gives Bridges' editors a chance to publish what's bubbled up from Jewish feminists around the world. In the past, Bridges has sometimes sought work based on contributors' identification: we've published special issues by working class Jewish women, Sephardi and Mizrahi women, Jewish women of color, and women "under thirty." We've focused whole issues on themes such as "resistance," "health and healthcare," the biblical Miriam," "translation," "Jewish feminists and our fathers," and "Israeli feminists and the peace movement." Diversity among contributors has always been a top editorial priority, and in this we have only partially succeeded: working class women and Jewish women of color are still not well-represented in Bridges pages.
This issue includes work from writers living in Belgium (Anya Topolski), Cyprus (Ami Bar-Ilan), and Israel (Dana Barnat), as well as several pieces from Canadian writers (Chava Rosenfarb, Goldie Morgentaler, Gili [End Page 1] Haimovich, Debbie Yaffe) and the United States. Of this issue's twenty-two contributors, about one-third are lesbians; they range in age from twenties to nineties. Almost all are Ashkenazi and I don't know the class background of most. But it's clear that Bridges is currently not meeting our own expectations. Marla Brettschneider's insightful and demanding essay, "Race Segregation and Jewish Feminists," explores this problem and calls on all of us to do much better.
So, what are the themes that emerge from this collection of work? There is a deep sense of longing and loss that pervades much of this writing: loss of language and culture, the on-going weight of the Holocaust, the loss of mothers, friends and mentors. There is also sweetness and the satisfaction that comes from learning from life, and moving on. Both short stories, "Houseplants" and "After the Night of the Inheritance," are, in part, about complicated mother/daughter relationships, and this theme is in many of the poems as well.
Donna Spiegelman's memories of the biologist and activist Rita Arditti gives us an example of a life well-lived. What an inspiration Rita is to Donna, myself and so many others. And in a completely different kind of essay, Anya Topolski's original thinking on the matriarch Rebekah brings an "aha" of a buried truth brought to the surface. Adrienne Cooper and Julia Wolf Mazow open time capsules and commune with Yiddish writers of other eras.
This issue has translations from both Yiddish and Hebrew, with the original languages. These poems are by contemporary poets, currently living in Canada, Chava Rosenfarb and Gili Haimovich, respectively. The legacies of immigration run through much of the work, as does hovering depression. And there is humor, quixotic shifts in perspective, and the vitality of writing and activism, which is, after all, what Bridges is about. [End Page 2]