Essays:

Huffington Post, “What It Means to be a Gay Teen in a Jewish Ultra-Orthodox Community

Jewish Book Council, “Visiting Scribe, three essays

Books By Women, “Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life

Houston Chronicle, “Not quite straight: My life, my love

Houston Chronicle, “The Supreme Court, the law, and my same-sex marriage

Tikkun Magazine, “Praying With The Other” weaving together the immigrant and Jewish experience.

Moment Magazine, “Is Religion Good for Women? A Symposium.”

EquallyWed, “The Unveiling of a Lesbian in Love.”

Dame Magazine,  “I Was An Invisible Woman.”  Reposted to Hairpin, WIP, and as a Salon Magazine Sunday feature. ReTweeted by Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker.

Lilith Magazine, “Fabulous Hair!” and “One Woman’s Resumé.” Recipient Samuel Rockower Award in Jewish Journalism.

Fiction:

Leah Lax blog, “Berkeh’s Story”

jewishfiction.net, “Munya’s Story.”

Interviews:

Hedgebrook’s Women Authoring Change

Huffington Post

Houston Matters/ drive time radio

Berkeley KPFA Women’s Magazine

Haaretz: “Off the Path Memoirs of ex-Hasidic Jews Shine Light on Faigy Mayer’s World

Outsmart: “Author Leah Lax: A Jewish Lesbian Uncovered

Beyondbeliefanthology.com: “Beyond Belief Interviews Leah Lax.

Frumgaygirl.blogspot.com: “THE CHASSIDIC WRITER: A Lesbian Mother of Seven.

Workstewpodcast.com: http://www.workstewpodcast.com/?p=1502

Excerpts from Uncovered:

Huffington Post

Susan Stamberg reads Uncovered on NPR

Advocate

Intellectual Refuge, “Deep Dark Blue.”

Survivor’s Review, “Hassidic Love Story.”

Lilith Magazine,  “With This Wedding, I Leave Myself Behind.”

“The Supreme Court, the Law, and my Same Sex Marriage,”feature in Houston Chronicle Sunday edition, August 29, 2015. Also online.

“One Woman’s Resume,”in Lilith Magazine, Winter 2014-15. SECOND PLACE, SIMON ROCKOWER AWARD. Also online.

Fiction

  • “This Captain of Trains” – short story, in Seven Hills Review, vol. 15, 2010. CONTEST WINNER.
  • “Hava’s Birth” – short story, Hampton Shorts, 2003.
  • “Berkeh’s Story” – short story, CONTEST WINNER, Moment Magazine, 2001.

Non-Fiction

  • memoir excerpt, “Because I am Weak. Because I am Alive,” in Poetry City USA, anthology, Vol. 4, Lowbrow Press, April, 2014.
  • memoir excerpt, “Water of Sleep,” FINALIST: JOHN GUYON PRIZE, CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW. Publication Winter/Spring issue, 2014.
  • memoir excerpt in Double Dealer, January, 2014. Manuscript FINALIST: WILLIAM FAULKER PRIZE, New Orleans.
  • print symposium participant, Moment Magazine, September, 2013.
  • memoir excerpt in Beyond Belief: women who lived with extreme religion, anthology, Seal Press, 2013. Washington Post 2013 Notable Non-Fiction.
  • essay commissioned by Houston Arts Alliance, November, 2012.
  • memoir excerpt, “Deep Dark Blue,” in Intellectual Refuge, September, 2012. on-line journal
  • memoir excerpt, lead essay in Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox women, unorthodox desires, anthology, Random House, 2010. GOLDEN CROWN LITERARY AWARD best anthology, 2011.
  • memoir excerpt, “A Hassidic Love Story,” in Survivors’ Review, August, 2010. on-line journal
  • personal essay, “A Renewed Mikvah” in Women and Judaism, anthology, 2009. FINALIST: NEW MEXICO BOOK AWARD.
  • memoir excerpt, “With This Ring…” Lilith Magazine, 2007.
  • “Praying with the Other,” essay in Tikkun Magazine, September/October issue, 2007.
  • prose poem, “Rocking Horse Reverie,” Texas Review, Fall, 2004.
  • “Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers” book review, Moment Magazine, summer, 2004.
  • book, “The Mikvah Project,” 2000—a collection of quotes coupled with faceless portraits of woman confiding their experiences with the Jewish ritual bath. Photography by Janice Rubin

I use interviews and glean candid, wry, moving, startling, revealing comments that capture the character. I excerpt and build with these comments, often pairing them with photography, into the final product. Projects that are based on this interview technique:

2013: “Houston In Concert Against Hate”

Performed by the Houston Symphony in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, honoring Houston heroes in civil rights past and present, featuring actress Audre Woodard and rapper Bun B. I designed and wrote the show. Houston’s 3000-seat Jones Hall sold out a week in advance.

READ BUN B INTERVIEW IN ROLLING STONE

2011: Not From Here: new Americans and their journeys.

This book manuscript is a powerful collection of voices of Houstonian immigrants and refugees telling their stories. Illustrated with portrait photographs by Janice Rubin.
This project was underwritten by the Brown Foundation, Houston Endowment, and Inprint.

2007: “The Refuge”

With music by Grammy Award winner Christopher Theofanidis, this ninety-minute oratorio is based on true-life experiences of Houston’s immigrant and refugee communities. Performed at Houston’s The Wortham and at Miller Outdoor Theater, reviewed with acclaim in the New York Times, Opera American, American Symphony League, etc., and broadcast on NPR.

READ THE NYTIMES REVIEW OF “THE REFUGE”
PURCHASE THE CD
LISTEN TO THE PRE-PRODUCTION RADIO BROADCAST

Printed in Moment Magazine in response to the question “IS RELIGION GOOD FOR WOMEN?”

As a lesbian who left Hasidic life (30-year marriage, seven children) to finally be who I am and love who I love, this question evoked powerful images of covered women around the world whose lives are force-fit into boxes delineated by religious rules. I picture those same women, when religion-defined life is restrictive and physically demanding beyond reason, ironically turning back to their religion for inspiration and strength, and for reassurance that this is how life is supposed to be, kissed by God. So, as the world is today, is religion good for women? Too often not. Not at all.

But religion per se? As moral compass, as inspiration, as a window on one’s own spirit, as tie-in to peoplehood and history and a powerful sense of belonging, as system of personal discipline, of course religion is good. In my perfect world women particularly would be taught to sift their religion’s teachings, and even in the face of powerful ancient pronouncements (or very judgmental men), to judge for themselves, daring to reject and to choose.

Hasidic philosophy insists that the best way to answer a question is to make it no longer a question. When women are simply people and not an often-beleaguered class, that is, when the only imaginable question regardless of gender is “Is religion good for people?” (and those “people” are thinking, questioning adults) then my answer is still an emphatic yes. Or rather, yes, it can be. Go out and make it so.

Forthcoming: Uncovered the Opera

With lyrical, moving music by composer Lori Laitman. Finalist for the Donald J. Pellicciotti Prize for new opera.

see workshop performance of Scene 1

Forthcoming: Sailors’ Song: USS Houston

With composer Mark Buller. Powerful operatic choral work in three movements commemorating survivors of the US Naval flagship USS Houston, sunk by the Japanese in WWII. Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera’s HGOCo.

2000: “The Mikvah Project”

“The Mikvah Project,” an international traveling exhibit with photographer Janice Rubin.

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“I read your book and was overwhelmed with that lovely feeling when you get in touch with mastery and love. Your voice in this book is just so personal, so true, such a testament to speaking your truth and showing the beauty in life, even in the challenging parts. All that you’ve accomplished is impressive and inspiring – and not to take away from that – but I just loved the heart feeling that you created in your writing, and can’t wait to read more in the future. So beautiful.” -Heidi, Texas