Page 56 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
the new beginning is truncated some time later by the un in ten ­
tional m u rd e r o f Hava by a Bedouin who had been the lover o f
one o f the o ther women. This m u rd e r seems to imply tha t the re is
no renewal to be gained through a daugh ter. Women must tackle
the ir own lives.
T erry is still ano the r o f the women who seem larger than life.
She is one o f the few women to have an ongoing happy relation­
ship with a man, an o lder fabric salesman named Shlomo Sasson.
As director o f the Home for Jewish Wayward Girls, she organizes
a street demonstration to protest the closing o f the Home. This
moves her into politics and she wins an election to the Knesset. As
an activist, she remains involved in women’s issues.
These women, and the others, bear the message tha t the re is
strength for women who band together. T h e communal aspect o f
the lives o f these women is the element tha t enables them to take
on Baba’s mythic proportions. None o f them, alone, is large
enough. Toge ther they have strength — strength nourished by
the ir shared interests, by their female spirituality, and by the ir
history. “How goodly are thy tents, thy reclaimed ruins, O Sara, O
ou r mothers o f the desert.”18
In examining some o f the women portrayed by both Yezierska
and Broner one is struck by the similarity o f the questions and by
the differences between the answers. Each au tho r grapples with
the question o f what makes a woman whole, o f how she is to live as
a person. Yet, as might be anticipated in light o f the ir very d if fe r­
en t personal histories and historical times, each has come to a
d ifferen t conclusion. Yezierska seems to stress one answer —
independence, a husband , and the latitude to be altruistic. B roner
evolves an answer which changes over the years, stressing most
recently the need for interdependence among women, regardless
o f career or marital status. This mutual in terdependence com­
bines independence and altruism as it reflects a group in which
the independen t members reach ou t to each other. In this way
they manage to form meaningful relationships with women
which supplant or supplement those with men. Regardless o f the
differences between Yezierska’s women and B roner’s, the women
are united in the ir strong will to survive, to live as free and
complete individuals.
18
Ibid.,
p. 294.