Feminists hope party will prevent collapse of Bridges

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Taking a page from its own publication, the national Jewish feminist journal Bridges is rounding up a legion of talented women in the Bay Area.

But instead of bringing together these women to confront issues in Jewish feminism, they'll be gathering to throw a party for the magazine's 10th anniversary and solicit donations.

The journal, which is based in Oregon but has editors across the country, is seeking to raise funds to keep the magazine going.

On Saturday, Aug. 28 at Berkeley Fellowship Hall, the journal will present a smattering of musicians, writers and performance artists.

Performers include monologist and self-proclaimed "juggling diva" Sara Felder, vocalist Lisa Cohen, writer Elana Dykewomon and musicians Jewlia Eisenberg and Nina Rolle, part of the Jewish folk and rock band Charming Hostess.

"I'm a Jewish feminist, so I support the idea of a Jewish feminist magazine," said Eisenberg, a singer who lives in Oakland. "The journal is engaging in various struggles which I support. So it seems good to help them in their benefit."

Bridges began publication in 1990 under the direction of Claire Kinberg, who lives in Eugene, Ore. As a forum for Jewish women's activism, the journal showcased poetry and fiction as well as personality profiles.

Kinberg, speaking by phone from her Oregon home, said she founded the magazine as "a converging point" for the "diversity of Jewish women's voices that are often from the margins. It's about Jewish women exploring their own identity and place in the world."

Circulation for the journal hovers around 1,500 subscribers, including several hundred in the Bay Area, Kinberg estimated. The journal is published at least once a year, twice if the money is available.

Despite the consistent subscriber base, the publication is having trouble staying afloat due to production costs, Kinberg said. The goal of the fund-raiser is "to capitalize ourselves in a way we never have," said Kinberg, who will attend the event.

Fund-raiser organizer and Berkeley resident Rivka Mason has subscribed for six years. "It's going to be a really big party for Jewish feminists and their friends," she said. "I think these kinds of events bring women together to see what is out there and how the struggle is continuing."

Describing Bridges as "like a Chanukah present in the mail," Mason said the journal appeals to her because "the stories are incredibly moving."

She added: "They interview poor and working-class women who are Jews, women who are disabled, women who organize against racist and religious violence and women who survive incest."

Eisenberg also gravitates to Bridges because of its community-building. That's why she's eager to help the journal keep the flame burning.

"In Judaism, the more voices you hear, the richer Jewish life is," Eisenberg said. "It's not that there's a hole in Judaism and the journal figured [to] fill it. It's more a reflection of the importance of all the different people that make up the community."