Wednesday, October 7th, 2015...2:50 pm

Lihi Lapid: ‘It’s okay not to be so perfect’

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Renowned Israeli writer and journalist will discuss feminism at Sabes JCC next week

By MORDECAI SPECKTOR

Israeli author and newspaper columnist Lihi Lapid is on the beach at Tel Aviv. It’s between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and the normally frenetic pace in Israel’s cultural capital has mellowed.

The sunset over the Mediterranean is “amazing,” says Lapid, during a recent phone interview with the Jewish World.

“Everything is like slow motion,” she adds, regarding the period between the Holy Days. “We are usually in high pressure — everybody is extremely energetic here. And now it’s those 10 days that everybody is a little more quiet and patient… really special days.”

Lapid will speak on “Writing Feminism: A Feminist Perspective on Journalistic and Literary Writing in Israel,” Wednesday, Oct. 14 at the Sabes JCC. Her talk is part of Culture BVLD 5, which is presented by the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. The American Jewish World is a media sponsor of the series featuring eminent Israeli writers, filmmakers and artists.

Lihi Lapid: We live in an era in which feminism is kind of part of our lives. (Photo: Avi Valdman)

Lihi Lapid: We live in an era in which feminism is kind of part of our lives. (Photo: Avi Valdman)

In addition to her three best-selling books (Secrets from Within, Woman of Valor and I Can’t Always Be Wonderful), Lapid, 47, has been writing a popular weekly column for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot. Prior to her writing career, Lapid worked as a photojournalist; she writes about her assignment in Rwanda, in the aftermath of the genocide there, in Woman of Valor, which is available in an English edition from Gefen.

And Lapid has become even more famous in Israel since her husband, Yair Lapid, the Channel 2 news anchor, formed the Yesh Atid Party, in 2012, and became a Knesset member. He now serves as Israel’s finance minister.

Early in the phone interview, as we chat about our families, Lapid mentions that her son, Lior, is in the army, so he was not with the family for Rosh Hashana, “which was very, very weird.” The Lapids also have a daughter.

The author’s talk here will be about feminism, and Lapid says, “We live in an era in which feminism is kind of part of our lives; but it’s still not exactly clear for us what exactly it means.”

Lapid says that women continue to be torn between the competing demands of career and family. And she says that, amid the emphasis on equal rights in the workplace over many years, “motherhood was left behind. And I’m really trying to figure out how to do this thing: motherhood, and being a modern woman that lives today, and wants to look great and achieve her goals. And, I think, at the end, it’s not so easy.”

Her message to other women is “that it’s okay not always to be so perfect.”

This was the theme of Lapid’s TEDx Jerusalem talk earlier this year. Lapid, in the 10-minute speech that can be viewed on YouTube, suggests “falling in love with compromise.”

She will expand on this TEDx address at the Sabes JCC. On this ongoing discussion about having it all — a fabulous career and a great family life — Lapid points out that her grandmother and her peers had a particular way of describing a “bad woman.”

“They used to say about her that ‘she’s a woman that loves herself.’ And that was the most horrible, horrible, horrible thing you could say. And you know what? I think, still now, it’s the most horrible thing a woman can hear about herself, or you can say about another woman.”

Lapid continues, “I want to try… to teach our daughters to love themselves, and to teach us to love ourselves a little bit more.”

The Lapids have been a high-profile couple in Israel; but since the emergence of her husband as a rising star in politics, Lihi Lapid allows that life has “changed totally.”

“I remember before Yair went into politics, I was talking to the wife of a very high-ranking politician. And she told me, ‘You don’t know what you are getting into.’ And I was thinking to myself, my husband is well known, he’s on TV, she’s exaggerating a little bit. And now I can tell you that she was totally, totally right — I didn’t know what I’m getting into.”

Lapid said that the family discussed her husband’s idea of running for office. “We gave him our blessing, and since then we are completely into the Yesh Atid thing…. We are totally political, all of us now.”

The writer now finds herself fielding questions relating to the state of affairs in Israel, vis-à-vis her husband’s position in government, and his effort to create a moderate center in politics.

“People are calling to ask things, and it’s a totally different life, in a good sense,” she says.

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Lihi Lapid will speak 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at the Sabes JCC, 4330 Cedar Lake Rd. S., St. Louis Park. The talk will be facilitated by Sally Abrams, co-director of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s speakers bureau. For tickets ($12 in advance), call 952-381-3499 or email: tickets@sabesjcc.org.

Taglit-Birthright and Masa alumni will be admitted free (contact Ariel Biel at: abiel [at] mplsfed [dot] org).

This event is part of Culture BVLD 5, which is presented by the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. Co-sponsors are the Women’s Philanthropy of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Adath Jeshurun Women’s League, Adath Jeshurun Israel Committee, Bet Shalom, Masorti Fund of the Adath Jeshurun Foundation, National Council of Jewish Women and Temple Israel Sisterhood. The American Jewish World is a media sponsor.

(American Jewish World, 10.9.15)

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