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To Be a Jewish Dyke in the 21st Century

To Be a Jewish Dyke in the 21st Century: A New Sinister Wisdom Jewish Lesbian Issue

Every generation of Jews experiences their times as fraught with questions of identity and allegiances. We come from long traditions that are radical as well as conservative, religious and secular, defiant and assimilationist – and resisting binary categories altogether.

Sinister Wisdom asked us, Judith Katz and Elana Dykewomon (bios below), to take a fresh look at contemporary Jewish Dykes, in the spirit of the earlier anthologies, Nice Jewish Girls (1982, Evelyn Torton Beck, ed.) and The Tribe of Dina (1986, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz and Irena Klepfisz, eds.).

Much to our individual amazement, we agreed. So this is a call to Jewish Lesbians, Dykes & Queer Women and these are some of our questions – to which we hope you will have answers. Or at least, great questions to ask back.

• How do we remember, honor, and engage with Jewish activists & writers who came before us (can we go back further than the lesbian Pauline Newman, who ran for Congress on the Socialist Ticket in 1918?)?

• How do we deal with/conceptualize zionism and the rights of the Palestinian people in these fraught, divisive, and infuriating times?

• What kinds of relationships do Jews of Color and Jews with white skin privilege have with/to each other? With larger Jewish and activist communities? Within our own networks?

• How do working class Jewish dykes see themselves in our larger Jewish and activist communities and networks?

• How do we perceive and deal with anti-Semitism coming from both the right and left? What kind of strategies can we use to counter that?

• What is the place of art in our activist lives: as makers, as audience, as resisters?

• What issues concern young Jewish dykes – how are they defining alliances and community?

• What role does being an observant Jew play in our activism? In our lives? What does it mean to be a Jew outside of traditional Jewish centers of culture and practice?

Looking toward answers for these and any other questions you can pose. We welcome poetry, prose, memoir, essays, short stories, fiction, songs, and visual art by Jewish Lesbians, Dykes & Queer Women (2,000 word limit).

So that's a start. Our call. Your response. Check out style guidelines here.

Submit manuscripts through Submittable by February 28, 2019.

Elana Dykewomon, a long-time social justice activist and teacher, has published eight books foregrounding lesbian heroism, including the award-winning novels Riverfinger Women (Daughters, Inc and Naiad Press), Beyond the Pale (Press Gang and Raincoast Books), Risk (Bywater Books) and most recently, What Can I Ask – New & Selected Poems 1975-2014 (Sinister Wisdom Sapphic Classics). She is currently working on a play about lesbian community and the right to die. From 1987-94 she was an editor of Sinister Wisdom and experiences both apprehension and excitement at the prospect of editing another issue.

Judith Katz is the author of two published novels, each first published by Firebrand Books in the 1990's, then reissued recently by Bywater Books: Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound which won a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction, and The Escape Artist, which seeks to remind us of the place of Jewish lesbians in our history and our historical imaginations. She is currently trying to wrestle her third novel to the ground, and working on a longer non-fiction piece about her brother's unexpected death in 2005. Editing this issue of Sinister Wisdom is a challenge I look forward to with pleasure!

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin