November 27, 2017

Moment on intermarriage

The cover article in Moment Magazine recently had to do with intermarriage; specifically, is it good for the Jews? They interviewed 18 Jewish professionals and, not surprisingly, there were different answers, some even from the same person [two Jews, three opinions]. I found it all very interesting, but one thing stood out.

What none of the interviewees addressed is how the debate over who is a Jew affects the definition of intermarriage. According to the Rabbinate in Israel, which rejects non-Orthodox [and even some Orthodox] conversions, there are far more intermarriages in the world than according to Reform Judaism, which recognizes patrilineal descent and accepts all denominations’ converts as Jewish. And what about the couple where one partner converted after marriage? Are they intermarried or not?

Personally, considering all the problems Jewish women face in being left an agunah, I think the solution is for a Jewish woman to marry a Reform convert. Then nobody condemns her for intermarriage, but since she's not married to a Jew according to the Orthodox rabbis, she doesn't need a get should she be divorced. A win-win situation.

There is no doubt in my mind that Judaism thrives on converts and needs more of them. At a minimum they increase the number of Jews in the world, and ideally, when they marry born-Jews, they create a lot more Jewish families and children than born-Jews alone would do by marrying each other. And by the way, if what we object to in intermarriage is that their children won't be raised in Judaism, why prevent older Jews from "marrying-out"?

Posted by maggie at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2017

gendered text project

I’m back from not my hectic Midwest book tour, which at point included six consecutive days during which I took five airplane flights. So naturally I got sick. But I did get a lot of writing done on my new novel, although my blogging fell to the wayside. I remedy that now with news about a fascinating, and fun, website called Gendered Text Project. To quote its developer, “If you need a break from an aggravating news cycle and want to play with some fun feminism and retroactive gender equality, try out the Gendered Text Project.”

How does the Gendered Text Project work? The Project is an open source, volunteer run, website allowing users to radically alter the gender of characters in a story. Alice in Wonderland becomes Alan in Wonderland, Conan the Barbarian becomes Cuzha the Barbarian. Users can enjoy gender-swapping characters while examining unconscious biases in gender and writing. They can read selected texts already modified for this format. Or, if they follow the instructions and respect copyright, they can modify texts and share them. Modifying a text is time consuming and the Project does not accept unsolicited texts to modify on users’ behalf.

The Project library currently has dozens of stories from all different genres - Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Western, Children's, Science Fiction and Horror. You can gender-bend classics, like Frankenstein, or read modern award winners in a new light. There are short stories and full-length novels. Original publications dates range from 1884 to 2017. Have fun and experiment with gender swapping, or even make some characters non-binary.

The Project welcomes participation, especially from published novelists, who can email them at If you know people who might be interested in the Project, spread the word. Which is what this blog is doing. I personally would like to see some texts with Jewish content.

Posted by maggie at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)