Sarah Wildman

Sarah Wildman is a Prospect senior correspondent and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. She was a Spring 2006 Milena Jesenska Journalism Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, in Vienna, Austria, the first North American to receive this grant, and has been based in Europe since October 2005. Previously, Wildman was a contributing writer for the Advocate magazine and a Pew Fellow in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Before accepting the Pew fellowship, Wildman was on staff at The New Republic. Her work has also appeared in Elle, The Christian Science Monitor, Travel & Leisure, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Salon, The Jerusalem Report, and O (the Oprah magazine).

Recent Articles

Slightly Un-Orthodox

Tova Rosenberg (not her real name) lives in Rosh Pina, a little hippie town in the Galilee region of Israel that overlooks the Hula Valley. She is pretty in an unadorned way -- her long red hair is cut in a blunt straight style, her glasses are wire and speak to function over form, and her face is bare of makeup. She wears a zip-up sweatshirt and cargo pants, and she looks more like an American teen than a 26-year-old woman who has endured years of anxiety and bitterness. Rosenberg is a lesbian from an Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem. Her parents were hozrei b'tshuvah -- secular people who “returned” to faith in their late teens. It took her years to come out; she felt she was “evil” and went out with at least “20 guys” on pre-arranged matches hoping something would spark. When she finally did come out to her family, her mother tried to send her to “change therapy,” the Jewish equivalent of programs run by Christian fundamentalists in the United States. “[My mother] calls it the...

Tune In, Turn On, Fight Back

Public television is under attack from within, undermined by a Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) that is stacked with highly political appointees who think any programming based on “freedom, imagination, and initiative” -- the words are from the first section of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 -- is inherently liberal. But can they be countered? In May, at a raucous media-reform meeting in St. Louis, Bill Moyers received a rousing ovation when he announced that the current political climate might force him “out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair.” Barring that eventuality, the job will be left to progressive groups including Common Cause, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, and Free Press. In the weeks leading up to the conference, these groups called for town-hall meetings across the country to drum up grass-roots support for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy and advocacy at Consumers...

Breach of Faith

At the Muslim Al-Noor school in Brooklyn, New York, all girls wear the hijab . Heads covered with white cloth scarves fill the classrooms, and long blue or green robes hide any Western-style clothing worn underneath. A few are modest beyond what's mandatory, wearing chador-style coverings that expose only the eyes, but the robes and headscarves do little to suppress the very New York accents that bubble through the halls as the girls giggle and talk about school and sports and friends. Before the election, 20 journalists were invited to Al-Noor to hear students and administrators reflect on living as practicing Muslims in America. The principal, Nidal Abuasi, told the group that the school's teen-pregnancy rate is between 1 percent and 2 percent -- all among girls who marry before they graduate. Otherwise it is zero. A few years ago, such a conservative religious institution would not have interested Democrats. Much has changed. In 2000, 31 percent of America's 6 million Muslims voted...

Wedding-Bell Blues

On October 28, as Democrats scrambled volunteers to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, Philip Burress, chairman of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, was so confident of victory that he wasn't even in the state. Burress had championed Issue One, the anti–gay-marriage amendment, and had secured a place for it on the ballot just as the legal time limit for ballot initiatives was about to close in late September. But his campaign was rolling along so nicely in the days leading up to the election that Burress left for Tennessee, where he spoke to pastors about his presumptive win. “I vote values,” he said that day, well before that word took on the weight it would in the weeks to come. The 11 anti–gay-marriage ballot initiatives are playing a starring role in the Democratic hunt to understand how the party missed four-fifths of the 22 percent of Americans who claimed “moral values” as their top election priority. “This has been a galvanizing issue,' says Carrie Gordon Earll, a...

Leave the Light On

On the Web site of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that “identifies, trains and supports open lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates and officials,” you can search by state to find openly gay officials in office. The names and positions on the list are almost exclusively local. City councils. Boards of education. State House and Senate seats. There are exactly two openly gay representatives, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe, and one openly lesbian representative, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Of the three, only Baldwin ran for national office while fully proclaiming her sexuality. Frank and Kolbe both came out once in office, voluntarily, but with a little nudge, and Kolbe, given his party affiliation, has far trailed Frank in terms of gay advocacy. Last week there was a new addition to the Victory Fund's Web site. On the page for New Jersey, listed under John Loffredo, Asbury Park city councilman, and before Jim...

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