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Women

3 Stories

Between Zionism, Socialism, Feminism, Judaism, the Holocaust, and all the American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Asian cultural influences that compete for primacy as models for women in Israel, their status and self-image is deeply multi-layered and complex. This half hour documentary, which I completed for National Public Radio back in the early 1990s, offers a sound-rich and varied sampling through the eyes of real women living, working and raising families in that amazing place.

Down a couple of old Maryland country roads that barely show up on state maps you’ll find Grandma Cora, an elderly African American lady who is known throughout those parts for her delicious sweet potato pies, which she lovingly backs on her old stove and sells to make ends meet nicely. I spent an afternoon with Grandma Cora for this “Women in Business” story, and got both happier and fatter as a result.

This is a story about some of the most beautiful short poetry I have ever come across. Edited by the poet Jane Hirshfield (see “Given Sugar, Given Salt” elsewhere in this blog), it is a collection of short erotic haiku-like poems written by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, who were part of the Japanese medieval court. The themes – transience, love, loneliness, and erotic longing – are eternal, but the words come across both artful and vividly personal (not to mention steamy) across the centuries.

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