Editor’s Page

Spring 2011

Dear Readers,

As I write this, spring has already arrived in my corner of the world. The acacias are in full bloom, the wild plum trees have begun to leaf, and the heavy rains of winter have left the hillsides green.

In spring, especially, I see change and growth everywhere. I am reminded that nothing stays put—not in our relationships, our circumstances, our bodies, or the earth around us. This fact shakes me out of the complacency that comes from sitting in front of the fireplace during the long winter.

These days I am thinking a lot about change. When we started Persimmon Tree, we had an idea of what we wanted the magazine to be, and we’ve more or less followed that course. Our format has remained essentially the same through the past four years, and we haven’t changed the background color of persimmon-orange. From the outside, it might appear that there have been no changes in the magazine.

But of course, nothing remains the same—this is most evident by the fact that there is new material in every issue. Behind the scenes, the workings of the contributing editors have shifted a lot over these years. For example, Marcia Freedman has taken on the promotion and fundraising for the magazine, and Sandy Butler is now doing the “Short Takes” section.

Back when we began, all the contributing editors lived in the Bay Area. We’ve been changing that, too. We have two editors who live on the East Coast: Gena Raps, who has been our music editor for over a year, has contributed two outstanding pieces to the magazine. (Check them out in the Archive.) And with this issue, we’ve added a second East Coast editor, Sue Leonard.

Welcome to Sue! For 45 years, Sue taught every variety of history except American history at independent high schools for girls, with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband, John Leonard, were co-editors of the “Books and Arts” section of the Nationmagazine. Now retired, Sue fills her days with reading, needlework, friends, family and long walks.

The magazine’s life goes on, shifting and changing in ways that work for us and make it a better, stronger vehicle for the creativity of women over sixty.

Wishing you a good spring,

Nan Gefen


Nan Fink Gefen was the founding publisher of Tikkun magazine in 1985 and the founding editor of Persimmon Tree magazine in 2007. She is the author of Stranger in the Midst (Basic Books, 1997) and Discovering Jewish Meditation (Jewish Lights, 2nd edition 2011), and her fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in literary journals and magazines. She currently is working on a novel, Woman on a Wire.