cover image The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology

The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology

. Beacon Press (MA), $22 (364pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-3605-1

Although uneven in literary quality and sometimes naive, this potpourri of short fiction, poetry, essays and interviews is a vigorous, stimulating celebration of a multifaceted Jewish womanhood. Cultures outside the mainstream American experience are illuminated via memories of childhoods in a Jewish Sephardic home in Catholic Argentina and in a segregated Russian-Jewish community in China. Novelist Sarah Schulman offers a walking tour through radical Jewish women's history on the Lower East Side, 1879-1919, and Jerusalemite Chaya Shalom discusses the discrimination she has faced as a Sephardi and as a lesbian in Israel. Savina Teubal reads Genesis as the usurpation of a matriarchate by a patriarchy; and Julie Greenberg, a lesbian rabbinical student, attempts to reconcile Jewish traditions with feminism. Preserved here are a 19th century Moroccan ballad of a young woman who chooses martyrdom rather than joining the Sultan's harem and converting to Islam, and an autobiographical story by an American college student who was hidden in a Polish orphanage during WW II. The editors are both writing instructors at Vermont College. (Aug.)