My newest piece is up on Tablet. When I submitted the pitch several months ago to the Life and Religion editor, Wayne Hoffman, he cautioned me: do you really want to do this?
The topic of the essay is a controversial one in the Jewish community — women wearing Tefillin — and he was afraid I’d get a lot of trolls. And probably some genuine hate mail, to boot.
My original proposal was a much wider topic — the denigration of traditional feminine roles by many “feminists” in the Jewish community. I shot off the query letter in a fit of pique after yet another feminist looked down her nose at my lifestyle and basically told me I was so persecuted I didn’t know that I was persecuted.
The first draft was a mess: too big, too venting, too…too…everything.
I have to really give credit to the very special Mr. Hoffman, who asked the right questions and nudged me in the right direction until I could be proud of the resulting essay. We cut most of the first draft, and narrowed the topic considerably, then tried to focus on the positive aspects of the story.
Anyway, I hope you check the essay out and share and comment and all that.
4 thoughts on “The new Tablet story my editor is afraid I’m going to get hate mail for”
In reading this article, I really appreciated your honesty about your feelings and experiences coupled with the importance of dignity and autonomy for people to choose different paths. One thing I took away from your article was a deep appreciation that we aren’t all the same, and many people have very different needs in order to feel respected in their communities. As a both a fellow student of anthropology and Jewish women, I appreciate this sentiment. I thought the piece was lovely.
Thanks so much. I really learned a lot about empathy through studying anthropology, and I think the personal essay is a wonderful way to spread that kind of common human feeling to other people.
Someone posted it on Fb today and (duh) I loved it. Though I found it very calm and rational, I suspect you will get emotional responses. Good for you for writing it. That every woman deserves a voice should be a centerpiece of feminism.
Thanks for the appreciation. The first draft of the essay was written while I was not entirely cool-headed, which was funny because the decisions I made and describe in the essay very much were. It really, really was due to the intervention of Wayne Hoffman that the final draft contains the focus and calm (I waited for about a month to rewrite) it needed.