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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2015 | THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER | C3

Zohar (Zoe) Lewis Goldman


and her parents, Yosef Goldman
and Annie Lewis. BINYAMIN GOLDMAN

n a city of 8.3 million people, they kept finding each


other: on random subway
lines, at two different birthday parties in the East Village. Of course, those meetings
werent complete coincidence;
both Annie and Yosef were students at Manhattans Jewish
Theological Seminary, studying
to become rabbis.
Friends noticed the spark before they did. Yosef kept protesting, But Annie and I are such
good friends, and buddies
would retort, Dont you see,
youre not just friends?
Finally, he saw. After a few
months of dating, they were inviting one another to their families Passover celebrations. And
on the 15th day of the Hebrew
month of Av, while both were in
the Bay Area for the summer,
Yosef convinced Annie to trespass on a naval base on Alameda Island. A full moon dangled
over the San Francisco skyline.
He gave her a ring, a Mobius
strip set with a pink pearl.
The setting was so cinematic,
Annie jokes, I figured he was either going to propose or kill me.
Despite their obvious commonalities rabbinic aspirations, a
love of music, a commitment to

ANNDEE HOCHMAN + parents@phillynews.com

THE PARENTS: Annie Lewis, 31,


and Yosef Goldman, 36, of Mount Airy
THE CHILD: Zohar (Zoe) Lieba, born Jan. 6, 2015

social justice the pair had


grown up in different Jewish
worlds. Yosefs family was modern Orthodox; they believed
women should not lead public
prayers or take leadership roles
in rituals. In the synagogues he
attended, a physical barrier separated men from women.

Annie came from a Conservative Jewish home; her mother


served as executive director of a
synagogue, and the family believed that women should have
equal access to ritual space and
leadership.
At their 2010 wedding, they
managed to negotiate those

fraught distinctions: The weekend included one synagogue service that was fully egalitarian,
and another in which men and
women sat separately. At the reception, three potted plants
made a symbolic divider on the
dance floor.
But there was no division in
the couples core values. While
studying at an Israeli seminary,
they lobbied school officials to
ordain lesbian and gay students
and when administrators refused, they left the program.
Being in our relationship
gave me the courage to take that
sort of risk, knowing we were
doing it together, Yosef says.
Both knew they wanted children. But Yosef, whose father
committed suicide in 2005,
found himself struggling with
that legacy and what it meant
for his own parenthood. His fathers death had been a stress
test of my theology, he says
one that prompted him to question Orthodox teachings and ultimately embrace a more pluralistic Judaism.
Early in their marriage, Annie
became pregnant, then lost the
baby at nine weeks. They
werent quite ready to be parents both were still full-time
students, juggling rabbinic internships on weekends but
the loss jarred them into more
serious discussions of family
and future.
It changed us. It changed
me, Annie recalls. After that
point, I didnt stop thinking
about wanting to have a baby.
About a year afterward, a
friend helped the couple create
a ceremony to honor that loss.
They washed one anothers
hands, using a small pitcher and
basin their friend had found at a
farmers market. They sang.
They prayed. They planted
seeds.
Passover the holiday that
marks both springtime and the
Jews liberation from slavery in
Egypt was on its way. And
several years later, during the
same season, Annie noticed an
uptick in her carefully charted
basal temperatures. She yelled
to Yosef to come see the double
line on the pregnancy test.
By then, Annie was assistant
rabbi at Germantown Jewish
Centre; Yosef was a chaplain resident at Einstein Medical Center. They led hectic lives:
evening meetings, weekend
work, sudden calls to officiate at
a baby naming or a funeral.
One thing we learned in this
whole journey is that you cant
plan. There is no such thing as
the right time, Annie says.

She waited 12 weeks before telling colleagues not an easy feat,


considering that she once vomited
while walking to work, startled by
a squirrel that dashed across her
path (We called it squamitting,
she laughs.)
Once again, ritual helped
steady the course. When Annie
welcomed other couples babies
or led the mourners prayer at
funeral services, she felt a soft
ripple inside. It was a very spiritual time singing, and feeling
the baby move and kick.
In her ninth month, on New
Years Eve, she went with several friends to a mikveh, a ritual
bath used for cleansing and transition ceremonies. She read a
prayer about preparing for
birth; she and her friends meditated and sang.
Yosef, meanwhile, put his energy and musical acumen into
making playlists for the birth; at
the suggestion of a doula, he
made one mix of chants and relaxing music and another of
more upbeat tempos.
It was Libavtini an original piece by the Epichorus, an
ensemble in which Yosef sings,
with lyrics taken from the Song
of Songs that was playing the
night their daughter was born. A
few weeks later, Germantown
Jewish Centre filled with 300 relatives, friends, and congregants
from both their synagogues. The
couple stood under a canopy
made from Yosefs fathers
prayer shawl, held aloft at the
corners by their parents and
Yosefs brother.
They invited each person to
turn to someone nearby and tell
the story of his or her name.
Yosefs nieces and nephews
planted cress in a yogurt cup.
Everyone sang: Love, love, our
love/ watch our circle grow.
Yosef, now assistant rabbi at
Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in
Center City, had officiated at
countless life-cycle rituals. But
this time felt different. Here
was this resilient but delicate being out in front of all these people, having our family, a new
family structure, revealed.
He and Annie explained the
origin of their daughters name
and recalled the night of her
birth, especially the eons-long
moment of silence just after she
emerged.
There she was, Annie remembers gooey and warm, blueeyed, alert. A baby named Zohar
(brightness) for Yosefs father
and Lieba (beloved in Yiddish
and heart in Aramaic). And
then the cry, a voice that had
never been heard before, announcing, Here I am.

If youve become a parent for the first, second or fifth


time within the last six months, e-mail us why we
should feature your story: parents@phillynews.com.
(Giving birth, adopting, or becoming a
stepparent or guardian all count.) Unfortunately,
we cant respond individually to all submissions.
If your story is chosen, you will be contacted.

Mirror, Mirror

Continued from C1
Hilfigers, Diane von Furstenbergs, Betsey Johnsons and
even Rocawears to dominate the
world fashion scene.
Givhans take is written with
convincing authority. After all, after the Versailles competition, de
la Renta, Klein, Blass, and Halston became household names.
Burrows, the one African American in the group, would be remembered in fashion circles for
his work with silk jersey. And
much later, Burrows would be
credited for introducing to international runways the Black Is
Beautiful mantra, thanks to his
model friends Pat Cleveland and
Bethann Hardison.
But that night, the decks were
stacked against the Americans.
Ready-to-wear, or pret-a-porter,
was just, well, gauche. Regular
people may have bought off the
rack, but anybody with social
standing was still visiting couture
houses for wardrobe additions.
As Givhan describes it, the designers personalities set off
some Project Runway-worthy
tantrums. Klein, the only woman
in the group, felt marginalized.
Blass was more focused on creating his lifestyle brand. And Burrows, who had just closed his
salon at the Henri Bendel flagship, was going through his own
manufacturing and distribution
blues.
The drama makes for an enticing read, and Givhan, who won
the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for criticism while writing for the Washington Post, interviewed many
longtime fashion insiders including de la Renta and Kleins
then-young assistant, Donna Karan for the juicy details.
Unfortunately, the Versailles
images are less plentiful. Many
of the pictures used for the book

were taken by New York Times


photographer Bill Cunningham,
one of the few photographers invited.
Givhan starts the story of Versailles by explaining the history of
couture: beginning in royal courts
where kings and queens dictated
their looks to dressmakers.
That dynamic changed with
designer Charles Frederick
Worth, who arrived in Paris in
1845. Worth eventually dictated
his sartorial preferences to the
aristocracy, and then tailored it
to their bodies. In this way, he
opened the first fashion house,
and haute couture was born.
Well-to-do Americans traveled
to Paris several times a year to
buy directly from fashion houses and, for generations, thats
how the wealthy shopped.
By the mid 1950s, American
department stores such as Bonwit Teller copied French styles.
When it came to cachet, Paris
ruled.
Eleanor Lambert would
change that. As the industrys
first publicist (think Kelly Cutrone from Peoples Revolution),
Lambert organized Fashion
Press Week in 1943. She founded
the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1962. She endlessly championed the work of
American designers.
So when aristocrat Florence
Van der Kemp was looking for
ways to raise money for the restoration of the Palace of Versailles in July 1973, Lambert suggested a friendly competition between top French and American
designers.
The November night, on
which Liza Minnelli and Josephine Baker performed, raised
$280,000 the equivalent of
$1.5 million today and 720 attendees, including Princess

Stephen Burrows (seated in fringed shirt) with pals on Fire Island, N.Y., in a photo from The Battle of
Versailles. Burrows, known for his work with silk jersey, was one of five Americans to win a fashion show
contest against French designers that was also a fund-raiser for the crumbling Versailles palace. CHARLES TRACY
Grace Kelly, the Duchess of
Windsor, and Paloma Picasso,
came to watch.
the pews of Versailles,
Givhan writes, overflowed with
the burdens of history, the dignity of the state, the power of provenance and of extraordinarily
dusty money.
Versailles is a good read for
anyone interested in how fashion intersects with larger cultural, economic, and social issues,
especially because todays hot
topics are similar to those of the
1970s.
For example, todays American designers are trying to
claim their rightful place as artistic authorities who set the

fashion standards. But rather


than competing with European
designers, they are contending
with celebrities who fund collections to satisfy their inner
clothes whores.
Also, manufacturing remains
in the spotlight. Back then, the
industry sent manufacturing
overseas. That lowered prices so
that fashion was available to the
masses. And now were trying to
figure out ways to bring those
jobs back Stateside.
And, like today, there was a
desire to employ models with diverse complexions and shapes.
(Lets hope the interest really
sticks this time.)
The biggest similarity, though,

is in the aesthetics. On that


night in 1973, Halstons widelegged jumpsuits and plunging
necklines; Kleins clean, workinggirl separates; and Burrows
maxi silk jersey dresses with
their bombastic geometric
prints would be at home on todays runways, where the 70s
are enjoying a major fashion
comeback. Back then, however,
the Americans win was measured by clapping and aftershow buzz.
Just imagine if there had been
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