Articles from Issue 3

The following are sample articles from Issue 3. Click here or contact to order the full zine in hard copy or PDF format.

The One True Goddess (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper

Religion is a significant aspect of Israeli society and serves to shape much of the country’s socio-political makeup. Three different religions consider it to be the Holy Land, each having its own connection to the land through history and holy sites.
In a democracy, it’s nice to be able to have different beliefs and share this common holy ground (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict notwithstanding). However, religion and its social structures appear to be anti-democratic in and of themselves as all three religions in Israel – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – contain aspects that suppress women, often attempt to control their behavior and actions, and at the extreme even demonize them.
There are religious women who believe that religion does quite the opposite and believe that it serves to empower them. I personally think that, in essence, they’re right. If we believe in God, and believe that both man and woman came from God and are created in His/Her image, then religion is essentially a fair system for the benefit of men and women alike.
However, today’s society is lead by men. Just like there is an overwhelming majority of men in a position of power and in the government, there is also an overwhelming majority of male religious leaders. I have yet to see female rabbis, priests and sheiks. It is this patriarchic order that took religion and adapted it to serve its misogynistic purpose. The women who say they feel empowered by religion have been conditioned by this patriarchic order to believe they are being empowered and have internalized their secondary status within their religion.
To change this, women must retaliate with the same system that men have adopted. That is, women must take religion and practice it in a manner which will serve their own purpose. Use religion as a tool of empowerment, and refuse to submit yourself to the will of male leaders, because in God’s infinite wisdom, there is no place for suppression and segregation. And in fact, there are aspects of religion which do praise and empower women.
This issue presents both positive and negative aspects of different religions, focusing mostly on Judaism, and has pieces on important female figures and female deities, as well as the regular Riot Grrrl column on a female Israeli folk trio with beautiful music for the mind and soul.

Religion Above and Beyond (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Hashem's Art (by Sarah I. Illouz)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

You Shall Love With All Your Heart (by Merav Fima)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Letter to Daughter Who Has Left the Derech (by Anonymous)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Burn the Witches! (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Profile: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (by Anthony McIntyre)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

A Post-Script to the Talmud (By Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper (part 1)
View paper (part 2)

Back in Canada, I saw this film on ARTV, called “Kadosh” (Holy). It was obviously in Hebrew and filmed in Jerusalem but because TV viewers are too lazy to read subtitles, the producers translated the film by dubbing it.
The movie is about two sisters living in an ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem, probably around Me’a She’arim. One of them, Rivka, was married to this guy for 10 years, and was having trouble getting pregnant. The second, the younger one, Malka, was in love with this religious guy, Yaacov (but apparently not religious enough for the community to accept him) and she was forced to marry this other guy she didn’t love, Yosef.
I personally don’t know much about these religious communities but I hope to GOD that what I saw in this film was nothing more than a twisted exaggeration of these people’s reality.
In a nutshell, Rivka’s husband was forced to divorce her (after his father convinced him he was living in sin because his wife cannot bear children, so his seed goes to waste) and marry another woman to have kids with her.
A couple of times in the movie, it was mentioned that the Talmud says that a woman who cannot bear children is dead, or is not a woman. That was infuriating to say the least. Ironically, in the movie, it turned out that Rivka was perfectly fertile and her husband was the one with the problem, but it was unclear whether anything came of that at the end of the movie. Is an infertile man a dead man, too?
The younger sister, Malka, finally married the guy she was not in love with, since the choice wasn’t up to her in the first place. Their first night together disgusted me even more. The husband was a complete animal. He stripped his wife of her virginity with the utmost violence and cruelty. He covered her mouth with his hand suffocating her cries. It wasn’t love-making, it wasn’t fucking, it wasn’t even rape. It was worse than rape. It was “voluntary” rape. The woman didn’t even try to fight him off. It was as if it was her duty to serve her husband and satisfy his sexual needs as well as give him a child. Whether it was the intention of the director or not, the image of this violent act looked like a machine - a perfect baby factory.
Later on in the movie, Malka sneaked out of her house in the middle of the night and went to meet the man she loves and slept with him. She came back the next morning to find her husband with a belt in his hand and he eventually beat the living shit out of her.
Again, whether this is the reality of Israel’s ultra-orthodox communities or not, I have no way of knowing (thank God). What I do know is that this is not the way God intended it to be. God gave the Jewish People the Torah to live by, not to suffer by. And I don’t know if these fanatics teach their sons that the Jewish marriage contract literally states that a man has to satisfy his wife. He has the obligation to SEXUALLY satisfy his wife. And if he doesn’t, she has the right to divorce him.
Another thing that I know is that if you’re a woman and you walk by Me’a She’arim with pants, or a short sleeve shirt or a short skirt, you’re gonna get stoned (as in have stones thrown at you). If you drive by the area during the Sabbath or any High Holiday, you’re also gonna get stoned.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can have your own beliefs all you want. This is what living in a democratic country is all about. But if you hurt other people in the process, you deserve to burn in Hell. There are extremists in Israel on both sides of the spectrum (religious and secular), and they’re always at each other’s throats. I like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle. I wear pants but I keep Kosher. I fast on Yom Kippur but I have premarital sex. I believe in God but I also believe in myself. Basically, I use the religion the way I feel comfortable without hurting myself or other people in the process.
This message is not only for Jews but for anyone who feels any kind of belief or a connection to a divine entity. Religion and spirituality is a beautiful thing in essence. Our ability to believe in a higher power that cannot be seen is what separates us from the animals. It is when people abuse of these beliefs, and use them to hurt other people through socio-political means, that they become animals themselves.

The Mechitza (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Eshet Chayil (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

God Is Coming-And She's Beautiful (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
View paper

Lilith (Judaism):
Lilith is a very complex figure since many define her and her myth in different, often contrasting ways. She is believed to have been Adam’s first wife, and was created by God, and not from Adam’s rib, and therefore she was his exact equal. She refused to have Adam dominating her, and refused to lay under him during sex. Adam complained to God about Lilith’s insubordination and God eventually banished her from the Garden of Eden. The myth goes on to say that in revenge, Lilith mated with Satan, and became the mother of all Incubi and Succubae (male and female demons). The Talmud depicts Lilith also as a night demon. I think that if Lilith would have remained in the Garden of Eden and been accepted as Adam’s equal, many of the religious folk who argue that men have the right to dominate women because women are nothing more than a rib, would have no more substance for their argument, and we would be a step closer to being released from the chains of patriarchy. Hail Lilith!

Shekhina (Judaism):
Shekhina is more of an entity than an actual deity, which is why she is never described in any clear way. In the Talmud, she is described as the presence of God on earth. But although, in Hebrew, God is referred to and described in male terms, God’s Shekhina is of a female gender. The Holy Temple was built in order for God’s Shekhina (God’s presence) to dwell among the Jewish People. Dr. Ilil Arbel of describes Shekhina as a maternal entity: “Shekhina represented compassion in its purest form, and despite being, officially, the female side of God, she was visible and audible as a feminine entity in her own right. A beautiful being of light, whose most important function was to intercede with God on behalf of her children.” The three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as Moses, his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam, when their time came, they were too pure to be taken by the Angel of Death, and so Shekhina released their soul with a kiss. The Kabbalah says that it was Shekhina who carried Moses to his secret grave. Dr. Arbel elaborates on the Kabbalah’s statements about female entities: “The Kabbalah greatly elaborated on the theme of the feminine aspect of God. She would appear… as the glorious figure of Shabbat Hamalka - Queen, Bride of God, celebrated every Saturday by Jews all over the world as they light the Sabbath candles. And by tradition, the candles must always be lit by a woman.” (

Full article available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Minim-E (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Regurgitation (by Sandra Fragola)
View paper

Oh Catholic Mother,
I am not your little girl
I am not your barbie doll
dresses and makeup won’t do.
Oh Catholic Mother,
I am not your little slave
I was taught to use my mind
not to put it into a grave.

Oh Catholic Mother,
How pure you seem to be
Looking so angelic
as you lie to your wide audience

Oh Catholic Mother,
I have become your ‘bad daughter’
My sister sneers it in my face
as she bends over and kisses your ass

Oh Catholic Mother,
my father has called from far away
it was his birthday yesterday and I didn’t call (Bad Daughter!!)
Answer me this: Will he march in my queer pride parade?

Oh Catholic Mother,
How you sat and told the story to my inlaws
The dream you had of me, the one where you “lost your little girl”
I sat there, saying nothing, while on my mind was one thought: Revenge.

Oh Catholic Mother,
How you taught me to be ashamed of everything that I am
Remember how you cried on the couch because your husband had left you
And so had I.

Oh Catholic Mother,
Pristine is your house
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
A dust bunny is a shame.

Oh Catholic Mother,
Hide your true self
your filthy self from everyone
I am not blind

Oh Catholic Mother,
I will come knocking
we will have a chat
I won’t be denied any longer.

Oh Catholic Mother,
my heart deserves happiness
everything you taught me about myself is a lie
and you will know it.

Oh Catholic Mother,
Why do you think I ran away?
You do not understand me
I have lived my life in shame.

Oh Catholic Mother,
my own communities reject me
I am not allowed to hold a grudge, am not allowed to be this angry
I should be put on prozac.

Oh Catholic Mother,
I cannot live this way any longer
you hate cats because you believe they have no souls
I am the shame you turn your head from.

Oh Catholic Mother,
my sister and I have exchanged verbal attacks
while you stood there saying “Stop it. It’s Thanksgiving.”
No. I won’t be silenced any longer.

Oh Catholic Mother,
my depression has turned into Rage
my inner Self screams to be heard
A True Riot Grrrrl Never Dies.

Where Is Miriam on the Seder Plate? (by Yael Levine)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Leonardo Was a Feminist! (Excerpt of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code")
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.

Riot Grrrl Corner (by Hadass S. Ben-Ari)
Available only on PDF version or hard copy. Click to order.