Call for Submissions: Anthology of Writings By and About Orthodykes

May 29, 2008 at 12:01 am 7 comments

We saw this call for submissions and knew that our blog would be the perfect place to pass it on. This anthology will be the first of its kind so if you know of any queer religious Jewish women, let them know about this.

Call for Submissions:


Deadline: July 31, 2008

Jewish women who are bisexual, transgender, lesbian or queer-identified live lives that can often be fraught with discord. But they have also mined the complexities and contradictions that come with these identities as sources for spiritual change, ritual innovation and community building. Keep Your Wives Away From Them is an anthology of professional scholarly essays and personal journalistic pieces that will document the stories of those who have lived in the meeting-ground of Judaism and queer desire. This anthology, in calling attention to an otherwise hidden or silent population of women, will unravel the puzzle of a seemingly impossible identity. It will also document the rich innovations in Jewish and queer life in the communities of Jewish LBTQ women and female born genderqueer individuals that have developed in around the world over the past 25 years.

Some topics KYW will address:

Life as a LBTQ person: What are the dilemmas and difficult elements of maintaining simultaneously and LBTQ identity? What are the joys and triumphs?

Family Ties: Personal stories may describe shifting filial or sibling relationships and severed or renewed family ties.

Community: Have traditional communities integrated LBTQ women into their midst? What rules must be followed to blend in?

Trans/intersex experiences: What are the challenges of being trans/intersex/genderqueer in the religious world and what resources are there for dealing with them? How do trans people adapt or relate to Jewish law, which so rigidly distinguishes between male and female obligations?

Ritual and Jewish Law: Often discussions of “homosexuality and Judaism” are focused exclusively on men. What are the sources of Jewish law, ritual, and halakah for interpreting classical Jewish teaching on lesbianism?

Requirements for submission:

• The essays in KYW will reflect a multitude of experience and contexts. Essays may draw upon personal experience or may be academic/scholarly in nature; literary non-fiction is also welcome. No poetry or fiction.
• Submissions must be carefully written and edited; personal pieces must be strong in narrative drive, dialogue, and tell a compelling story. Accepted submissions will reflect a diversity of experiences (class, culture and cultural setting, religious belief, educational background, geography, ethnicity, generation, and marital status).
• Essays should be 5-15 pages in length and must include a bio and CV. Must be in Microsoft Word file; double spaced, with margins of an inch on either side; one-inch indent for paragraphs, with footnotes as appropriate.
• If a submission has appeared previously in another publication, the author must obtain permission for reprint and pay any permission fees. The best twenty pieces will be picked and published in KYW by North Atlantic Books and distributed by Random House. Each accepted contributor will receive two copies of the book. Essays should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than July 31, 2008.
• Authors may publish under a pseudonym.
• Essays, short bios, and accompanying CV should be sent to Miryam Kabakov at KeepYourWives AT

About the editor: Miryam Kabakov, LMSW has been a builder, participant and beneficiary of Orthodyke communities in New York, Jerusalem and Berkeley and an activist in the Jewish LGBTQ world. As a young woman she first read Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence and made a non-binding vow to break silence for yeshiva girls everywhere.

UPDATED TO ADD: You can find the more updated version of the call for submissions on Keep Your Wives Away From Them’s page on Facebook:

Posted by tirtzah.


Entry filed under: Community Events & Announcements, Uncategorized.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Beth  |  June 2, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I’m curious about the “female born genderqueer individuals”. I’ve seen this call for submissions in 7-8 places so far, and about half of them say that. The other half say “trans persons”.

    I wrote to the editors asking for clarification, but I’ve received no reply. If anyone here knows Miryam or the others involved, it’d be nice if they could ask about this.

  • 2. queerbasyisroel  |  June 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Beth – I wondered that as well! I do not know her but I think you should certainly consider e-mailing her at the address listed in the post, to ask for clarification. I read it as basically “anyone who is in some way woman or female identified, or has been” – I.E. inclusive of transwomen but also of people who were raised female but have a genderqueer (rather than male) identity. If you find out, please do let us know. Thanks for commenting! As a new blog, comments mean a lot because they let us know people are actually reading ;-P

  • 3. tirtzah  |  June 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Beth – Oops, I just saw you wrote but didn’t hear back. Maybe try again?

  • 4. Diana Henry  |  June 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I was enjoying the website but the call for submissions for a title that has such a predatory concept of lesbianism I find disturbing. Is this the underpinning of the lesbianism of frum women, rather than self-realization? Is this what lesbianism in general is about?

  • 5. queerbasyisroel  |  June 19, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Diana, I could not agree with you more. The editor has said that the title is tongue in cheek and meant to be ironic. It is apparently a reference to something. However, I do not think we live in a world where most people will understand the “irony” – I personally think it furthers a very damaging and homophobic idea of lesbians as sexual predators. In fact I have contacted the editor about this but she did not seem to have any interest in reconsidering the title. Maybe if more people e-mailed her about this, that would be helpful. I have spoken to others who found it offensive but I’m not sure any of them expressed this to her. I know some people who have chosen not to submit their writing because of the title. Others of us will decide it is worth writing for this book anyway. I am sure the author is well intentioned. There are so few resources for frum queer women that sometimes some of us we take what we can get – Even if that means a book with a title that makes us uncomfortable. I do believe this book has a potential to be a very positive thing.

    Please be aware that this anthology is not in any way associated with Tirtzah as an organization or as a blog – We are just posting this because we try to share any news that is relevant to religious Jewish queer women. It doesn’t necessarily represent Tirtzah’s views, though I’m sure some of our members will choose to submit their work to it. Thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the site.

  • 6. Diana Henry  |  June 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Thank you for elucidating the relationship between Tirtzah and the anthology. I think it’s a shame about the title of the book, because, judging from the Tirtzah website, there is a lot of serious and wonderful material and people that others would like to know about, but not much appetite or interest I wouldn’t think for someone going after someone else’s wife, Adultery and lesbianism could be considered but not as the umbrella for a general interest first book about frum lesbianism. I wish you well in your efforts to obtain a more fair and credible representation of all your offerings.

  • 7. Miryam Kabakov  |  December 26, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Dear Tirtzah bloggers,

    Thanks for your thoughtful feedback about the title of the anthology. After reading these submissions I see that the title begs for some explanation which I certainly intended to give in the book’s introduction.

    While at first glance this title seems to imply that lbtq women are predatory, it is actually a loosely translated descriptive term used by the Rambam. He uses it when discussing women who have a penchant for having sexual, intimate relations with other women. The Rambam describes the habits of these women, what kind of punishment they should get for their behavior and then adds this as a warning to the men in the community.

    As someone who grew up in yeshiva and continued past high school in various seminaries and religious women’s institutions of learning I live my life according to and always in relation to Jewish text. It’s one of the first places I went to learn about being a lesbian.

    Thus, I use this term as a way of reclaiming text, much like you are all using the term “queer”, an otherwise charged and negative term (and used originally in a pejorative sense to refer to gay people), as a way of reclaimng and reforming an identity.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions about the title or if you are considering writing for the anthology (whether or not the title is preventing you from doing so). I appreciate and consider seriously all input.

    All the best and a happy Chanukah,


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About Tirtzah

We are a community of frum queer women who gather to celebrate and study our yiddishkeit. We are committed to the value of shleimut (wholeness) and to supporting one another in observing a meaningful, integrated, honest and joyful Jewish life.


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