Aviva Cantor not only created a powerful forum for Jewish feminists by cofounding Lilith magazine, she went on to invent a “unified field theory” of Jewish history that offered compelling possibilities for egalitarianism. Cantor worked as a reporter for the Jewish Chronicle before becoming editor of the Jewish Liberation Journal and associate editor of Hadassah Magazine. She helped plan the first National Jewish Women’s Conference in 1973, where she began discussing the idea of a Jewish feminist magazine. Three years later, Cantor launched the first issue of Lilith as founding co-editor. Cantor spent years researching what she called a “unified field theory” of Judaism that would use a feminist methodology to explain all of Jewish history and culture, culminating in Jewish Women/Jewish Men: The Legacy of Patriarchy in Jewish Life. Here she argued that Jews reacted to persecution by taking on feminist values of cooperation, compassion, and consensus, and by redefining men’s and women’s roles in the community. Beyond her work as an editor and feminist scholar, Cantor also devoted herself to animal rights as vice president of CHAI: Concern for Helping Animals in Israel, which drafted Israel’s animal protection law.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Aviva Cantor." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/cantor-aviva>.