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Two Jewish LGBT Poets Remember Their Mothers

Aurora, the daughter of Rosario. Lesléa, the daughter of Florence. The mothers are invoked; their names are eternal.

Aurora-LesleaAurora Levins Morales and Lesléa Newman came together on a recent Sunday afternoon in Boston under the auspices of Keshet—a national organization dedicated to the inclusion of LGBT Jews in all aspects of Jewish life — to talk about their mothers and their dynamic relationships with them. They spoke about loving and fighting and ultimately grieving for their mothers.

Levins Morales and Newman possess disparate identities. Levins Morales, who has a Jewish father and a Puerto Rican mother, identifies as queer. She is the mother of a 26 year-old daughter. Newman, who has no children, also identifies as queer and Jewish and in the last years of her mother’s life was very intentionally her mother’s daughter.

As the daughter of Rosario, Levins Morales collaborated with her mother on two books. In their most recently published work, “Cosecha and Other Stories,” they speak to each other in memoir and fiction. In Spanish, “cosecha” means harvest. Together, this mother and daughter have harvested a lifetime of words.

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