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Elana Dykewomon, influential Jewish lesbian author and playwright, dies at 72

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JTA/J. The Jewish News of Northern California — “Beyond the Pale,” Elana Dykewomon’s award-winning 1997 novel, traced the intertwined stories of Jewish lesbians from Kishinev, Moldova, to the Lower East Side, in a saga that included both Russian pogroms and the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

“It can’t be that we are the first generation of Jewish lesbian activists on the planet,” Dykewomon said at the time. “So part of what the novel is about is searching for our ancestors and ancestral community as Jewish lesbians.”

The book won the 1998 Lambda Literary Award for lesbian fiction and was reissued in 2013. It remains a classic in the genre, where Dykewomon, who died this week at 72, was a pioneer.

Dykewomon’s death Sunday in Oakland, California, where she had lived for many years, was caused by esophageal cancer, according to her family. It came just minutes before her first play, inspired by the 2016 death of her wife, was to be performed in an elite festival.

“We mourn the loss of Elana Dykewomon, a queer activist, author, and teacher with a fiercely dedicated readership,” the Jewish Women’s Archive said in a tweet, in one of many tributes to come after Dykewomon’s death. “May her memory be a blessing.”

Born Elana Nachman in New York City in 1949, Dykewomon changed her name after........

© The Times of Israel

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