Where's the Beef?

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Today I googled the Wendy’s commercial of the early 1980s were an older woman uses the catchphrase “where’s the beef?!”. This may—or may not—surprise you. What probably will surprise you was the fact that this search was not inspired by my Memorial Day plans of grilling, but because of my job here at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

While exploring our archives I came across a truly remarkable activist, Clara Lemlich Shavelson.  Born in 1886, Shavelson was a key player in the labor movement. She was also a suffragist, communist, community organizer, and peace activist. Read on to find out where the beef comes into play!

New Home, New Life

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Judith Malina

For those of you wondering about the fate of the peripatetic theatre legend Judith Malina, there’s good news.  The Forward just published an article and posted a video of the grounds and atmosphere of Malina’s new home at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, NJ, along with interviews with Ms. Malina and her fellow “hostages” (as she jokingly calls her fellow residents).

Pearl Lang

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Pearl Lang photo - image [media]

I, too, was a Midwesterner transposed to New York, trying to find my own way in the rich and heady dance scene. I knew Pearl Lang had come from Chicago, where she was raised in a cultured but poor Yiddish-speaking family. Her breathtaking career as a Graham dancer meant she had toured the world. And she often performed with her own company, the Pearl Lang Dance Theater, at the famed 92nd Street Y’s theater, where I went for performances by modern dance legends and for Fred Berk’s Wednesday night Israeli folk dancing. But now I was going to Hunter to see Lang’s “Shirah,” which she created in 1960.

Judy Blume: Still Our Voice

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When I heard that "Tiger Eyes" was being turned into a movie, I quickly turned to my friend circle to spread the news. Like any member of the facebook tribe, I immediately put a call out for Judy Blume fans—I figured if I was lucky, I could get someone to see Tiger Eyes with me when it comes out in June. I figured if I was really lucky, I could get someone to write a blog post for Jewish American Heritage Month about how Judy Blume affected their childhood.

Meet “Bulletproof Stockings” and “Yiddish Princess”

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Bulletproof Stockings

Today we feature female American Jewish musicians who aren’t softly crooning classic Hebrew folk songs, traditional prayers, or even hava nagila. They are not belting out Broadway tunes or love songs à la Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler. These women are rocking out to their own beat.

Reflections on the Theatre

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Mona Golabek Photo

As a special treat for our blog readers, we’re taking this Friday to do a bit of a blog round up. Our bloggers often explore areas of entertainment, and nothing gets us writing more than a good night out at the theatre. Check out these five incredibly diverse blog entries, each focusing on a different aspect of the stage.

An Un-Love Song

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Ruth in Boaz's Field

An Un-Love Song is written as a psalm to Shavuot, which is associated with one of the most beautiful, celebratory poems in history, the Song of Songs. However, it’s written in the style of a Lamentation, as a response to heartbreaking acts of aggression towards women and children in the misappropriated name of religion. The poem addresses current events against a backdrop of Biblical recounting, including the Mount Sinai experience, the sin of worshipping the golden calf, the subsequent breaking of the original Tablets, and the story of Ruth and Naomi. It is a decidedly feminist poem.

Mae Rockland Tupa: Artist and Author

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Mae Rockland Tupa

The objects Mae made and the books she wrote helped shape the field of Jewish Americana. Mae’s work, taken as a whole, reflects her view that “just as Jews have become an integral part of the American scene, so can a classical American symbol be used to express a Jewish theme.” A shining example is her hannukiah titled “Miss Liberty”, which is emblazoned with the last lines of Emma Lazurus’s poem “The New Colossus,” and is in the permanent collection of the Jewish Museum in NYC.

For the Love of Children

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Rabbi Janie Grackin

My heartbreak was saved by a friend who watched my interaction with groups of children on playgrounds and in schools who told me that because I didn’t have other children, my heart was big enough to hold everyone else’s. 

Reflections on My Mom

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Shannon Sarna & her mom_ Shannon Sarna & her Daughter

This year it’s been 15 years since my mom passed away from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I think this past year has actually been one of the most difficult without her.

When my mom first died, some people warned me how difficult it would be not to have her down the road, especially during lifecycle events such as weddings, children, and other moments of joy. Well, they were right.

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