This Week in History


Publication of "Jewish and Female"

June 1, 1984
Schneider, Susan - still image [media]
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Founder and editor of Lilith, the "independent Jewish women's magazine," Susan Weidman Schneider is devoted to the many causes of concern to Jewish women and to highlighting the unique challenges and possibilities facing those who make a commitment to both Judaism and feminism.

Institution: Lilith

Susan Weidman Schneider's Jewish and Female: Choices and Changes in Our Lives Today was published on June 1, 1984. The book, whose original working title was The Ways We Are, attempted to codify two decades of Jewish feminist thinking and work by tracing the major changes in Jewish women's lives and placing them within the context of the traditions against which these changes were taking place. The book was comprehensive, including chapters on Jewish law, marriage, women's bodies, holidays, work, and philanthropy, among other topics. In the tradition of feminist scholarship, it incorporated women's voices throughout the text. It included, as well, a 90-page "networking directory" of Jewish women's organizations.

Weidman Schneider was well positioned to write Jewish and Female; since 1976, she has been the executive editor of Lilith: The Independent Jewish Women's Magazine. The magazine is named after the woman who, according to rabbinic legend, was first created with Adam, but was then banished from Eden when she insisted on equality. Founded "to foster discussion of Jewish women's issues and put them on the agenda of the Jewish community," Lilith has now chronicled over three decades of Jewish feminism. Focused more on religious and social issues than economics and politics, the magazine has reported on topics ranging from new Jewish rituals to the position of women in Israeli life, from women's health to women's rabbinic ordination. Lilith also regularly publishes fiction and poetry.

As editor of Lilith, Weidman Schneider has taken a prominent place in organized Jewish life. The magazine is proudly activist; its editor takes that activism on the road through her frequent lectures and public presentations. She has, for instance, regularly been invited to address the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. In addition, Weidman Schneider has addressed issues of concern to women in two more recent books. In 1990, she published Intermarriage: The Challenge of Living with Differences between Christians and Jews. The following year, she co-authored (with Arthur B.C. Drache) Head & Heart: A Woman's Guide to Financial Independence.

To learn more about Susan Weidman Schneider, visit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution and Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

See also: Lilith Magazine; "Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity: Bringing it home" and Q&A with Joyce Antler: Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity" on Jewesses with Attitude.

Sources: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, pp. 854-856; New York Times, August 1, 1976, October 27, 1991; Susan Weidman Schneider, Jewish and Female: Choices and Changes in Our Lives Today (New York, 1984);; Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution,

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Publication of "Jewish and Female"." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <>.