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Fiction

Lia Levi

Lia Levi was born in Pisa on November 9, 1931 to a Jewish family of Piedmontese origins. Her father, Alessandro (1901–1973), who was born in Brescia, was an attorney at law. Her mother, Leontina Segre (1906–1984), was born in Turin and had a degree in law. They married in 1931. After the promulgation of the fascist racial laws in 1938 and the beginning of antisemitic persecutions, Lia Levi’s family left Northern Italy and found refuge in Rome. After the end of World War II Levi remained in Rome, where she completed her studies in philosophy and became a successful journalist. For more than thirty years she has directed the Jewish monthly Shalom.

Ada Leverson

One of the most attractive qualities of Ada Leverson was her unswerving loyalty to her friends, among whom she counted Oscar Wilde and his circle. She met that master of paradox in 1892, and remained faithful to him when he was pilloried as a homosexual, throughout his trials, imprisonment and exile. He admired her wit and encouraged her literary gifts, memorably calling her the “Sphinx.” Later, she would be regarded as the Egeria of the aesthetic movement of the eighteen nineties.

Gerda Lerner

Entering the field of United States history with a freshly minted Ph.D. in 1966, Gerda Lerner blazed a new professional path that led to the establishment of the field of women’s history. The force of her personality and her commitment to the possibilities contained in the historical study of women made her impervious to the ridicule with which the male-dominated historical profession initially responded to the notion of women’s history.

Blume Lempel

Blume Lempel was a master of stream-of-consciousness, flashback, free association and eroticism—all rare in Yiddish literature. Her modern short-story style was appropriate to her themes, which were often daring: incest—Oedipus in Brooklyn (1981), rape—Aleyn in Eynem (Alone Together, 1989) and the ambivalent attraction of one woman to another (Correspondents, 1992).

Lazarus, Nahida Ruth

In 1891 Nahida Ruth Lazarus published The Jewish Woman, a product of her fundamental interest in both feminism and Judaism, which aroused enormous interest. It was and remains an important source book for women’s studies, used and cited by countless female and male authors.

Emma Lazarus

“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” proclaims the “Mother of Exiles” in Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus.” Her best-known contribution to mainstream American literature and culture, the poem has contributed to the belief that America means opportunity and freedom for Jews, as well as for other “huddled masses.” Through this celebration of the “other,” Lazarus conveyed her deepest loyalty to the best of both America and Judaism.

Else Lasker-Schüler

“I was born in Thebes, Egypt although I came into the world in Elberfeld in the Rhineland.” This is how Else Lasker-Schüler characterized her background, indicating the separation between imagination and reality, artistic and bourgeois existence that marked her life. To speak for her she created the persona of Jussuf, Prince of Thebes, her alter ego who appears in her writings and drawings and with whose name she often signed her letters. This figure has an important Jewish component. Her Egyptian Jussuf is in fact the biblical Joseph with whom Else Lasker-Schüler identified already as a child. He is Joseph the dreamer and poet, ridiculed by his brothers, betrayed and sold.

Shulamit Lapid

One of Israel’s best-known contemporary writers of fiction, drama and poetry, Shulamit Lapid was born in Tel Aviv in 1934. Her father, David Giladi (b. 1909), was one of the founders of the daily Ma’ariv newspaper. She studied Middle Eastern studies and English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1956 to 1957, but did not complete a degree. She is married to journalist Joseph (Tommy) Lapid (b. 1931), who from 1999 to 2005 was a member of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:345]Knesset[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Israeli legislature).

Anna Langfus

Anna Langfus’s novels all deal with the experience of war, destruction and loss after the Holocaust, weaving autobiographical material with fiction. Le Sel et le Soufre (Salt and Suffering, Prix Charles Veillon, 1960) retraces the war years in Poland, the destruction of the Lublin ghetto and the eradication of the protagonists’ comfortable middle-class family. The Jewish community’s early denials of impending doom, the German atrocities, as well as the participation of Jewish officials in the deportation of their own community are all narrated by Maria, an overprotected young woman, who early on flees into her own forms of denial: sleep, dreams, illness and reckless roamings in the city’s streets.

Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Press in the United States

Ladino-speaking Jews, descendants of the Iberian Jewish exiles of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, began to emigrate from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey and the Balkans) to the United States in the 1880s. By 1924, thirty thousand had settled in the United States, with the largest concentration (approximately twenty thousand by the early 1920s) in the city of New York. By the 1930s, the American Judeo-Spanish press estimated the total Ladino-speaking population nationally at roughly fifty thousand. Sephardic historian Joseph Papo has written that in 1916 approximately 10 percent of the twenty thousand [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:394]Sephardim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] of New York were women. (This figure seems low, particularly given Jewish immigration statistics indicating that women comprised forty percent of Levantine newcomers in 1913.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fiction." (Viewed on April 24, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/fiction>.

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