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parsed(2022-08-02) - pubdate: 2022-08-02
pub date: 1659416400
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Salt and Honey

Jewish Teens on Feminism, Creativity, and Tradition

August 2, 2022 | Trade paperback
ISBN: 9781681150772
Reader Reward Price: $21.56 info
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"Raw, vibrant, and full of love" --Kirkus Reviews

"A moving work that encourages solidarity . . . reflect(s)on race, gender, family, religious practice, and culture" --The Jewish Book Council

In 78 vibrant works by 62 gifted contributors, Jewish girls, young women, and nonbinary teens voice their celebrations and challenges, their anger and their eagerness in essays, poetry, and visual art.

And their themes are universal, touching on childhood, spirituality, sexuality, race, family, friends, and the world around us.

We are writers, editors, photographers, and artists. We are multiethnic, multiracial, and multifaceted. We are nourished by the sweet honey and harsh salt of our lives. 

Although we are often misunderstood, we find strength within ourselves and our communities. This book elevates our stories as we honor the past, explore the present, and look toward the future. Through poetry, fiction, essays, and art, we make our voices heard. 

"Within these pages is a representation of the Jewish community at its best: a diversity of voices and experiences; a rigorous commitment to challenging the status quo; creativity; humor and heartbreak; suffering and joy. That such an invigorating and affirming work was produced by the teens of jGirls Magazine is proof that they've learned a very important lesson early in life: nobody can tell your story but you." --Molly Tolsky, from the Foreword to Salt & Honey.

The award-winning Salt & Honey and was created by a team of writers and artists brought together as part of jGirls Magazine, including editors Elizabeth Mandel, Emanuelle Sippy, Maya Savin Miller, and Michele Lent Hirsch. 

Includes works by: Aliza Abusch-Magder; Lauren Alexander; Gertie Angel; Yael Beer; Alex Berman; Alyx Bernstein; Leah Bogatie; Isabella Brown; Aydia Caplan; Whitney Cohen; Emilia Cooper; Tesaneyah Dan; Denae; Alexa Druyanoff; Emily Duckworth; Elena Eisenstadt; Tali Feen; Abigail Fisher; Leah Fleischer; Lily Gardner; Abigael Good; Sequoia Hack; Madison Hahamy; Samara Haynes; Ahava Helfenbaum; Dalia Heller; Sascha Hochman; Audrey Honig; Alexa Hulse; Liel Huppert; Noa Kalfus; Alma Kastan; Rachel Kaufman; Maya Keren; Naomi Kitchen; Gavi Klein; Jamie Klinger; Emily Knopf; Aidyn Levin; Sonja Lippmann; Shoshana Maniscalco; Liora Meyer; Maya Savin Miller; Becca Norman; Juliet Norman; Dina Ocken; Zoe Oppenheimer; Lily Pazner; Annie Poole; Ofek Preis; Maya Rabinowitz; Emma Rosman; Artie Ross; Sydney Schulman; Eliana Shapere; Emanuelle Sippy; Michal Spanjer; Frankie Vega; Molly Voit; Abigail Winograd; Sarah Young; Makeda Zabot-Hall.

The included Reader's Guide by teen educator and award-winning author Michelle Shapiro Abraham, RJE makes this an outstanding resource for book groups and for teen programming in a variety of contexts.

About this Author

ISBN: 9781681150772
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 176
Publisher: Behrman House
Published: 2022-08-02


"Jewish teens share their experiences, loves, hopes, and fears in this anthology of essays, poems, and artwork from the online publication jGirls Magazine.

Split into six chapters, the works trace the young people's experiences through triumphs and tragedies. "We Always Seem To Return" brings meditations on memory and inheritance, highlighting how Jewish joy and sorrow often walk hand in hand. "When We Were Small" tells stories of childhood and growing up, interrogating such themes as gender identity, substance abuse, and antisemitism. "A Healthy Collection of Blessings and Hardships" tells of the body and the mind, exploring the sacred nature of the self while making space for struggles in mental health. "Traditions, Interpretations, and Imperfections" dives into spirituality and tradition, celebrating the rich variety of the Jewish community. "Where Is the Peace?" confronts ignorance, including experiences of racist, homophobic, antisemitic, and sexist violence. Finally, in "Carving Our Own Footsteps," the artists of a new generation set out to continue the battle for justice and freedom. 

The offerings in this book are emphatically and unapologetically Jewish, but the stories they tell will resonate broadly. Contributors include Jews who are Black and Asian, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, and who reflect diversity in gender identity, sexuality, and ability. The young artists and writers featured here bring an appetite for life as well as the teeth necessary to enjoy the meal.

Raw, vibrant, and full of love." (artist statements, reader's guide, resources, about jGirls Magazine, about the contributors) (Anthology. 13-18)  --Kirkus Reviews

"Salt & Honey teems with the smells and images, pains and joys, memories and longings that prove that our Jewish identity is already held in spectacular trust by these voices of our future." --Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor, Slate

"Some of the works in this book will haunt you, some will surprise you, and others will buoy you. All will galvanize you."   --Leora Tanenbaum, author of I Am Not a Slut: Slut Shaming in the Age of the Internet.

"This powerful work . . . is a celebration of what it truly means to be eishet chayil, a woman of valor: for to speak in one's authentic voice is valor in action." --Marra B. Gad, writer, producer, and award-winning author of The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl

"Deep and powerful, sometimes disruptive and disturbing, but most often hopeful and life-affirming . . . Don't miss this." --Ruth W. Messinger, social justice consultant

"In this col­lec­tion of per­son­al essays, poet­ry, and visu­al art­work, Jew­ish young adults from the online pub­li­ca­tion jGirls Mag­a­zine con­front dif­fi­cult truths in a chang­ing world. Many of the pieces are unfil­tered, seek­ing to con­nect with oth­er teens rather than defend­ing their points of view to adults. The result is a mov­ing work that encour­ages sol­i­dar­i­ty. Non­bi­na­ry and LGBTQ+ teens speak out, as do bira­cial Jews, dis­abled Jews, and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized Jews who refuse to accept the lim­i­ta­tions of tra­di­tion­al Judaism and aim to cre­ate viable new Jew­ish communities.

Search­ing for mean­ing, the works reflect on race, gen­der, fam­i­ly, reli­gious prac­tice, and cul­ture. In the sec­tion "A Healthy Col­lec­tion of Hard­ships and Bless­ings," Abi­gael Good writes of try­ing to find "The Right Words" to artic­u­late how anx­i­ety has been a con­stant pres­ence in her life. Emanuelle Sippy's poem, "The Menu is Over­whelm­ing," uses metaphor to describe the uni­ver­sal­ly dif­fi­cult yet nec­es­sary process of mak­ing deci­sions. Bold truth-telling char­ac­ter­izes many selec­tions in "Tra­di­tions, Inter­pre­ta­tions, and Imper­fec­tions," where writ­ers come to terms with rigid bar­ri­ers that have lim­it­ed their Jew­ish iden­ti­ties. Emma Rosman's strong con­vic­tions answer the ques­tion, "Asian Jew or Jew­ish Asian?" and Lau­ren Alexander's "My Ver­sion of Prac­tic­ing Judaism" dis­cuss­es the inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of some Jew­ish rit­u­als, which abled Jews may take for granted.

Each of the cre­ative respons­es to con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish life is unique. Ele­na Eisenstadt's clever vari­a­tion on bar/bat mitz­vah cul­ture, "My Jew­ish-Themed Bat Mitz­vah," inverts a soci­etal norm by offer­ing a seem­ing­ly obvi­ous alter­na­tive. In Ofek Preis's inter­pre­ta­tion of Jew­ish social jus­tice val­ues, "The Pow­er of Jew­ish Youth," she address­es Jew­ish teens' involve­ment in the fight against gun vio­lence. Oth­er pieces engage with the mitz­vah of pray­ing with tefill­in, a prac­tice from which women are gen­er­al­ly exclud­ed in the Ortho­dox world. Alyx Bernstein's "L'hitateif V'l'hani'ach (To Don and to Wrap)" exam­ines the seem­ing con­tra­dic­tions of this spir­i­tu­al expe­ri­ence for a trans­gen­der person.

The visu­al artists' inter­pre­ta­tions of Jew­ish life are rich­ly var­ied, and each work rewards repeat­ed view­ing. Whit­ney Cohen's Eva is an insight­ful por­trait of old age; Alexa Druyanoff's Held depicts a moth­er and child and draws atten­tion to their sim­i­lar­i­ties; and Dina Ocken's vision­ary Kotel of My Dreams imag­ines a place where bar­ri­ers of reli­gious dif­fer­ence and gen­der have been replaced by har­mo­ny. Ocken's paint­ing sum­ma­rizes the first chapter's intro­duc­to­ry remark: "We are inher­i­tors and authors of mem­o­ry; it's the most pow­er­ful heir­loom entrust­ed to us." --Emily Schneider, The Jewish Book Council

"Making jGirls voices heard

Adults often look back at their youth through rose-colored glasses. But life is not always easy for the teenagers, something that becomes clear in the poems, stories, essays and artwork by Jewish teens that appear in "Salt and Honey: Jewish Teens on Feminism, Creativity, and Tradition" edited by Elizabeth Mandel with jGirls Magazine (Behrman House/jGirls Magazine.) The preface notes that the teens, ages 13-19, are "self-identifying Jewish girls, young women, and nonbinary teens." The magazine jGirl gave them the space to explore different aspects of their lives, including difficult subjects and joyous ones. The work is titled "Salt and Honey" because the writers "embrace the salt and the honey, the sting and the sweetness" of their lives. 

It's difficult to pick out specific works to talk about because they all offer something of interest, but a few that stood out include:

  • "Seeing Beyond" by Leah Bogatie that speaks about the author's disabled sister, whose example taught her to acknowledge everyone's humanity. 
  • The painful and moving "Dad" by Denae (whose last name was not given), who is unable to make peace with her feelings about her father and forgive him his sins.
  • Audrey Honig's two wonderful poems, "Almost Thirteen" and "Seventeen," about antisemitism and the joys of being Jewish.
  • An excellent and beautiful prayer/poem "21st Century Amidah" by Jamie Klinger. 
  • Elena Eisenstadt's "My Jewish-Themed Bat Mitzvah" that captures the true meaning of the ceremony.
  • The moving "My Version of Practicing Judaism," in which Lauren Alexander writes of how her illness impacts her Jewish practice.
  • Lily Pazner's poem "You Have Not Walked the Same Streets As Me," which talks about how women are not safe from harm, even when simply walking down the street. 
  • A class visit to the Holocaust Museum that caused Samara Haynes to ponder the reactions of her classmates in "What You See."
  • Sarah Young's poem "Kyke Dyke," where she writes of discovering other Jewish lesbians who helped reaffirm her identity.

Although "Salt and Honey" was written by teens for teens, this work will also resonate with adults. Parents of teenagers may want to read this book and discuss it with them in order to better understand how they view the world. The work includes artist statement's about the drawings and paintings featured, and questions to stimulate discussion. jGirls is to be commended for publishing the thoughts of these Jewish teens. --Rachel Esserman, Executive Editor, The Reporter Group, Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton.



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